Sunday, June 7, 2009

Somnath Temple


Somnath Temple

The legendary shore temple of Somnath is located near Veraval and is about 80 kms from Junagadh. The Somnath temple is one of the twelve most sacred shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple contains the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. This temple has a very long history. According to the legends, the Somnath temple is very old and was originally built in gold by the Somraj, the Moon God. Later, it was rebuilt by Ravana, in silver; then by Krishna in wood and by Bhimdev in stone. Mahmud of Ghazni, upon hearing the description of the richness of the Somnath temple by Al Biruni, an Arab traveller, visited this temple in 1024 AD. At that time, this temple had about 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and 300 barbers to shave off the heads of pilgrims. After a 2 days battle, Mahmud destroyed the temple and carried away jewels and gold to his homeland. Hence, a tradition got started, the Muslims destroy the temples and the Hindus rebuilt them. The Somnath Temple was raided again in 1927, 1934 and 1706. In 1706, this temple was raided by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In all, the Somnath temple was rebuilt and destroyed eight times. This temple was finally rebuilt in 1950 with the support of Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. The current temple was built as per the traditional designs on the original site by the sea and is a serene, symmetrical and sinuous structure. Today, this majestic temple is a replica of the earlier temple.

Somnath Mandir Timing :

Timing for Darshan at Somnath Temple : 6.00am to 9.00pm
Timing for Aarti : 7.00 am, 12.00 Noon and 7.00 pm

“Jay Somnath” Sound and Light Show : 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm

Official website of Somnath mandir : ,online darshan is also available

Somnath temple with illumination

Info from wikipedia:

The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India is the most sacred of the twelve Jyotirlings (lingas of light) phallic symbol of the God Shiva. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God". The Somnath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time.[1][2], on the last occasion, it was built after a plan was mooted by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in November 1947, when he visited the area for Indian Integration of Junagadh, and later after his death carried out by K.M. Munshi, also a Minister in Government of India. [3][4]


Hindu mythology states that years ago, the Moon God Chandra, being arrogant about his beauty, was cursed by his father-in-law Daksha to wane. The Moon then prayed to Lord Shiva at the Prabhas tirth (a Hindu pilgrimage) who then removed the curse partially, thus causing the periodic waning of moon.

It has been said that Somnath Temple was first built with gold by Moon God, with silver by Ravana, with sandalwood by Lord Krishna, and with stone by Bhimdeva (Solanki Ruler of Gujarat; Solanki was one of the 5 Rajput kingdoms in India).


The Someshwar Mahadev temple stands tall among the temples of India. The construction of the present temple in Junagadh district began in 1947. It is the seventh temple built to commemorate the glory of Lord Somnath who is said to have known as Bhairaveshwar in the Satya Yug, Shravanikeshwar in Treta Yug and Shrigaleshwar in Dwapar Yug.

The following extract is from “Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of Things Existing” by Asaru-L- Bilad, a 13th century Arab geographer. It contains the following description of Somnath temple and its destruction: The following is a long quotation:

“Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnath. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand. They believed that the souls of men used to meet there after separation from the body, and that the idol used to incorporate them at its pleasure in other bodies, in accordance with their doctrine of transmigration. “The ebb and flow of the tide was considered to be the worship paid to the idol by the sea. Everything of the most precious was brought there as offerings, and the temple was endowed with more than 10,000 villages. There is a river (the Ganges) which is held sacred, between which and Somnat the distance is 200 parasangs. They used to bring the water of this river to Somnath every day, and wash the temple with it. A thousand brahmins were employed in worshipping the idol and attending on the visitors, and 500 damsels sung and danced at the door–all these were maintained upon the endowments of the temple. The edifice was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak, covered with lead. The shrine of the idol was dark. hut was lighted by jeweled chandeliers of great value. Near it was a chain of gold weighing 200 mans. When a portion (watch) of the night closed, this chain used to be shaken like bells to rouse a fresh lot of Brahmins to perform worship. “When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k’ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). “The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols exceeded twenty thousand thousand dinars.

(Elliot’s footnote: The enormous treasures found at Somnat have been a theme of wonder for all who have written on that conquest.) “When the king asked his companions what they had to say about the marvel of the idol, and of its staying in the air without prop or support, several maintained that it was upheld by some hidden support. The king directed a person to go and feel all around and above and below it with a spear, which he did, but met with no obstacle. One of the attendants then stated his opinion that the canopy was made of loadstone, and the idol of iron, and that the ingenious builder had skillfully contrived that the magnet should not exercise a greater force on anyone side-hence the idol was suspended in the middle. Some coincided, others differed. Permission was obtained from the Sultan to remove some stones from the top of the canopy to settle the point. When two stones were removed from the summit the idol swerved on one side, when more were taken away it inclined still further, until at last it rested on the ground.”

According to the legends, Soma, the moon God built the temple in gold, Ravan in silver, Krishna in wood and king Bhimdev of Anhilwad in stone. Soma constructed the temple as a gesture after Lord Shiva cured him of his illness. This illness was caused by his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati's curse. Daksha cursed him to wane as he was infatuated with Rohini and was neglecting the other 26 wives, all 26 of whom were the daughters of Prajapati. It is said that Brahma advised him to build the temple in honour of Shiva.

The present temple is the seventh temple reconstructed on the original site. The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the common era. The second temple, built by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649.

In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone.

In 1024, Mahmud Ghazni raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. Ghazni was challenged by the king, Ghogha Rana, who at the ripe age of 90, sacrificed his own clan fighting against Ghazni.

The fourth temple was built by the Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhima of Gujarat (Anhilwara) or Patan between 1026 and1042. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumar pal (r.1143-72), who built the temple of stone. [5].

The temple was razed in 1297 when the Sultanate of Delhi conquered Gujarat, and again in 1394. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple again in 1706.[6]

How to reach Somnath :

Amdavad is connected by Rail, Road and Air with all the major destinations. Veraval Somnath is connected with Amdavad to Rail and Road facilities. Somnath is at a distance of 465 km. from Amdavad. At present Jet Airwais operates passenger flight from Bombay to Diu every day accept Thursday. Somnath is connected with Diu by road (95 km).

By Train :

List of train From Ahmedabad :

Train No

Train Name

DepartureSort Train List

Arrival Sort Train List

Runs on






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By Road :

There are buses to all over Gujarat, including Dwarka (7 hr), Junagadh (2 hr), Rajkot (5 hr), Diu (2½ hr), Sasan Gir, Bhavnagar, and Porbandar (3 hr).

Where To Stay :

Where to Stay—Somnath
Sri Somnath Guest House 02876 (231212), close to the Somnath Temple, has basic rooms for Rs 60/80.
Hotel Mayurama 02876 (231286), across from the bus stand, has clean, basic rooms with bath for Rs 250/300.
Hotel Sivam 02876 (233086), not far from the temple, has double rooms with bath for Rs 225 and Rs 400 with A/C.

Where to Stay—Veraval
Satkar Hotel 02876 (220120), near the bus stand, is a good place to stay. It has well-maintained, clean rooms for Rs 250/250 to Rs 550/600 with A/C. It has hot water in the morning and dorm beds for Rs 50. It is on a side street, so it is quiet at night.
Hotel Ajanta, across from the bus stand, is a good place with rooms with bath for Rs 250/375 and Rs 400/500 for a deluxe room with TV.
Toran Tourist Bungalow 02876 (246588, 220488), College Rd, near the seashore and lighthouse, has quite well-maintained rooms for Rs 400/500 and with A/C for 500/600. Dorm bed for Rs 125. It is inconveniently located and checkout time is
9 am. Have balconies with a good view of the ocean and sunset.
Chetna Rest House 02876 (220688), across from the bus stand, has clean basic rooms with bath for Rs 100/150 and with common bath for 85/150.
Hotel Park02876 (242702; fax 242056), on the road to Junagadh, has rooms for Rs 750/950 and Rs 1150/1400 with A/C.
There are Retiring Rooms at the railway station for Rs 150/175. Dorm beds are Rs 75.

Where to Stay—Chorwad
At Chorwad, 20km from Veraval, there is a former summer palace of the Nawabs of Junagadh, now converted into the Palace Beach Resort (02876 88557). Rooms in the cottages are Rs 550. Rooms in the annex are Rs 300 and Rs 700 with A/C. This place can be booked ahead at a Gujarat tourist office. It is a pleasant place with a nice gar -den, although it has been poorly maintained and is beginning to fall apart.

» Guesthouse Facility : Somnath

Pilgrims can avail the guest house facilities of Shree Somnath Trust. Trust maintains a VIP Guesthouse, Eighteen other guest houses and an economical dormitory. The total number of rooms in the trust guest houses are in excess of Two hundred.

» Contact for Booking :

Vijaysih Chavda: Guesthouse Manager
Shree Somnath Trust, Somnath Prabhas Patan - 362 268
District : Junagadh,
Ph. No. : 02876-231212, 231200, 92278 77751, 98793 77751
» Office Supervisor :

Dilip Chavda
Ph. No. : 98258 73996

Link for location on Wikimapia :

For Google Earth : Coordinates: 20°53'16"N 70°24'3"E