Somnath Temple is one of the very ancient temples of India located in Gujarat and stands as a famous landmark in the Indian history. In the Shiva Purana and Nandi Upapurana, Shiva said, `I am always present everywhere but specially in 12 forms and places as the jyotirlingas`. Somnath is one of these 12 holy places. This is the first among the twelve holy Shiva Jyotirlings of India. this is the place where bhagwan shri krishna took his last journey to neejdham.
Its located about 79 kilometers from Junagadh in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval.It stands at the shore of the Arabian ocean on the western corner of Indian subcontinent in Gujarat State.
The other names of this famous Somnath Temple are Deo Pattan, Prabhas Pattan, or Somnath Pattan. In the past, the Somnath Temple was known as the treasure trove of wealth and goodies, that were looted away by Muslim rulers. The Somnath Temple is an ideal example of the ancient Indian temple architecture. The Somnath Temple is home to one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’, which is considered to be the most sacred lingas in the Hindu pantheon.
Ancient Indian traditions maintain a close relationship of Somnath with release of Chandra (Moon God) from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati. Moon was married to Twenty-Seven daughters of Daksha. However, he favoured Rohini and neglected other queens. The aggrieved Daksha cursed Moon and the Moon lost power of light. With the advice of Prajapita Brahma, Moon arrived at the Prabhas Teerth and worshipped Bhagvan Shiva. Pleased with the great penance and devotion of Moon, Bhagvan Shiva blessed him and relieved him from the curse of darkness.
It is believed that he shore temple of Somnath is built in 4 phases-Somraj, the moon god, built the Somnath Temple or the Somnath Pattan out of gold. It was rebuilt by Ravana in silver. Again Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu built it in wood. Further in the 10th century it was rebuilt in stone by King Bhimdev Solanki.
The temple is consisting of Garbhgruh, Sabhamandap and Nrityamandap with a 150 feet high Shikhar.
The Kalash at the top of the Shikhar weighs 10 tons and the Dhwajdand is 27 feet tall and 1 foot in circumference. The Abadhit Samudra Marg, Tirsthambh (Arrow) indicates the unobstructed sea route to the South Pole. The nearest land towards South Pole is about 9936 km. away. This is a wonderful indicator of the ancient Indian wisdom of geography and strategic location of the Jyotirling. The temple renovated by Maharani Ahalyabai is adjacent to the main temple complex.
The research based on ancient Indian classical texts show that first Somnath Jyotirling Pran-Pratistha was done on the auspicious third day of brighter half of Shravan month during the tenth Treta yug of Vaivswat Manvanta.The modern temple was reconstructed with the resolve of Sardar Patel who visited the ruins of Somnath temple on November 13 1947. Then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, did the Pran-Pratistha at the existing temple on 11 May 1951.
Other spots in the temple are Shri Kapardi Vinayak and Shri Hanuman Temple in addition to Vallabhghat. Vallabhghat is a beautiful sunset point. The temple is illuminated every evening. Similarly, the Sound & Light Show “Jay Somnath” is also displayed every night during 8.00 to 9.00p.m.The temple was visited by the people from all parts of the country even in the ancient times.