Site Name: Somnath
Site Type: Jyotirlinga shrine; holy city of Hindus
Location: Gujarat state, India
Highlights: One of twelve Jyotirlingas; the site where Lord Krishna ended his life
Nearest Railway Station: Somnath
Nearest Airport: Rajkot, at a distance of 200 kms
How to reach: Well connected by road from all important towns/cities of Gujarat
Hotel: A lot of options across the city
Restaurants: Varieties of options across the city
Somnath is an important pilgrimage and holy city for Hindus. It is located in Gujarat state in India. The most important site in Somnath is the Jyotirlinga Shiva temple. There are other places associated with the end of Lord Krishna. Let me briefly present the descriptions of all the important sites of Somnath in this article.
- One of 12 Jyotirlingas. This is the first among the Jyotirlinga shrines.
- The temple was destroyed and built for multiple times.
- One of the oldest pilgrimages of the Hindus. References about the site are available in Puranas.
- The sites that are associated with the end of Lord Krishna are located in and around Somnath.
In Satya Yuga, Soma built the temple in gold. As it was built by Soma (Chandra), the temple was named as Somnath. In Treta Yuga, the temple was rebuilt in silver by Ravan. In Dwapura Yuga, it was rebuilt in wood by Lord Krishna. In Kali Yuga, it was rebuilt in stone.
Historically, the temple was built by the King Bhimadeva Solanki in the 10th century CE. He redesigned and reconstructed the existing temple. It appears that the temple was very rich. It had around 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and around 300 barbers.
Based on the description provided by the Arab traveler named Al Biruni, Muhammed of Ghazni raided the temple in 1024 CE. He looted the temple and carried away loads of jewels and gold in camels.
The temple was again and again reconstructed and destroyed by the Hindu Kings and Muslim invaders respectively. At last, the temple was demolished in 1706 CE by Aurangazeb. With the help of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the current structure of the temple was rebuilt in 1950 CE.
Somnath Mahadev temple is the most important attraction of Somnath. It is one and the foremost among 12 Jyotirlingas. The current structure of the temple was built in the 1950 CE.
The temple enshrines big Shiva Linga in the sanctum sanctorum. Few other deities like Gauri and others are also found in the main shrine.
The huge temple is located near the sea shore. It is a pleasant experience to be there during the Pooja times by enjoying the wind from the ocean, watching the Maha aarti and listening to the sound of temple bell.
Purana Somnath Temple:
After the Somnath temple was destroyed by Aurangazeb, a new temple was constructed in the site near the original temple. That temple still exists and is named as Purana Somnath temple.
Baad Gangeshwar is a site located in the sea shore near Somnath temple where three Shiva Lingas are found in the open space. It is the site from where a poacher released arrow towards Lord Krishna which hit him and resulted in his end.
Bhalka Teerth is a site located in the nearby village named Veraval. Krishna was lying here and was hit by the arrow released by a poacher from Baad Gangeshwar. There is a temple located here where Krishna is found in the sleeping posture with an arrow pierced in his leg.
The confluence of the rivers Hiran, Kapila and the mystic Saraswati with the Arabian Ocean is called as Triveni Sangam. It is considered as a holy site for Hindus. After hit by the arrow, Krishna arrived at this place and his life in Bhoo loka ended here. This site is called as Hari Har Teerth.
Gita Mandir is a new temple built with white marble stones. The temple is located near the site where Lord Krishna ended his life. Even the Balram Gufa from where Balram, the elder brother of Krishna ended his life is also situated near this temple.
There is an old temple dedicated to Surya. Near that, there is a cave named Ingla Devi. It is believed that the Pandavas stayed here for about one year. It is also believed that they built five Shiva temples here.
Near this site, there is Parasuram Tapobhoomi where Parasuram carried out penance.
People who visit Somnath should not stop merely with the visit of Somnath temple. They should visit all other little known sites of Somnath to get a complete experience of the region.