Somnath, Gujarat

Somnath is popularly known as town of temples, located about 79 kilometers from Junagadh in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval and the most legendary temples of the western coast of India. Somnath, literally means Lord of Moon. This religious destination was earlier known as ‘Prabhas Patan’.  The Somnath Temple is home to one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’, which is considered to be the most sacred lingas in the Hindu pantheon.

According to legend, Som, the Moon God built the Somnath Temple from gold. Som constructed the temple out of respect after Lord Shiva cured his illness that was caused by Som’s father-in-law Daksha Prajapati’s curse. Daksha Prajapati had cursed Som as he was infatuated with Rohini and was not paying adequate attention to his other 26 wives who were all daughters of Prajapti. It is believed that Lord Brahma advised Som to build the temple to honor Lord Shiva.

somnath

The Somnath Temple is the seventh temple built to commemorate Lord Somnath, who was also known as Bhairaveshwar, Shravanikehswar and Shrilingeshwar, in Sat Yug, Treta Yug and Dwapar Yug respectively. The temple is built in Solanki style. The sabha mandap (assembly hall), sanctum sanctorum (innermost shrine) and the shikhar (top) was built in the first phase followed by the nritya mandap (dancing hall). The apex of the temple reaches a height of 155 ft and the kalash (pot) on top weighs 10 tons.

The Somnath temple was sacked by the Muslim invader Mahmud of Ghazna and then reconstructed in 1169. Then the temple was destroyed again during the final Muslim invasions of the late 13th century. Somnath temple was subsequently rebuilt and destroyed several times and then was again reconstructed in 1951.

How to Reach Somnath

Somnath by RailThe nearest railhead is in Veraval in Konkan that is only 5 kms away and is connect to cities like Mumbai (Vrl Bct Pass Ex), Ahmedabad (Somnath Express) and Vadodra (Mum Rajdhani). Direct trains are not available from Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.

Somnath by Air
The nearest airport to Somnath is Diu that is 90 kms away. Other nearby airports to Somnath are Porbandar Airport (PBD) that is 118 kms and Rajkot Civil Airport (RAJ), which is 164 kms away.

Somnath by Road
You can take a luxury bus from Diu to Somnath that will cost you around 300 bucks. Other than this the state transport buses and private luxury coaches connect Somnath to various cities in and around.

Best Season / Best time to visit Somnath

The climate of Somnath is temperate and pleasant in most part of the year. But the best time for visiting the place is from October to March.

  • Winters (November to February) have a temperature range of 10 °C to 34 °C. It is an ideal period of pilgrimage visits and sightseeing.
  • Summers (March to June) have daytime temperature reaching as high as 42 °C and minimum temperature level is around 24 °C, mostly tourists avoid the hot summer months of April and May.
  • Monsoons (July to September) offer heavy winds and rainfalls, Somnath ambiance will be humid and cool during this period. Post monsoons are accompanied with cyclonic storms or depressions in the Arabian Sea.

 

Places to Visit

Ahilyabai Temple
Built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Bhalka Tirth
Legend has it that this is the place where Lord Krishna, mistaken for a deer, was wounded by an arrow of a Bhil tribal and left his mortal body. The hunter mistook his partly visible foot for a deer and shot an arrow piercing his heel which was his vulnerable spot.

Dehotsarga
This is the holy place where Lord Krishna, having been injured, passed the last moments of his life under a pipal tree. A temple has been built here.

Junagadh Gate
This is the entrance gate of the town of Somnath.

Museum
An archaeological museum, showcasing relics of previous Somnath temples.

Other places of importance in Somnath are Baldevji’s Cave, Daityasadan, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Mahakalika Temple, Maha Prabhuji’s Baithak, Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple, Shashibhushan Mahadev Temple, Surya Mandir and Veneshwar Temple.

Chorwad (25 km)
A quiet and charming sea resort along the Arabian Sea, the place is home to the summer palace of the former Nawab of Junagadh. The palace has been converted into a hotel.

Sasan Gir (48 km)
Located within Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Sasan Gir is the sole entrancing preserve for the Asiatic lion. Currently their population stands at more than 400. Though the undisputed highlight of the Sasan Gir is obviously the Asiatic lion, the park is home to 38 species of mammals, 37 species of reptiles, and more than 300  species of birds.

Ahmedpur Mandvi (79 km)
One of the finest beaches in the country, Ahmedpur Mandvi is a gem of Gujarat. It is a magnet for people fond of water sports, with facilities of water skis and scooters, speedboats, water toboggans, etc. Delwada is the nearest railhead.

Diu (82 km)
The Union Territory of Diu was one of the oldest bastions of Portuguese power.  It lies just across Ahmedpur Mandvi and is connected to it by a bridge.

Tulsi Shyam (109 km)
Located in the heart of the Gir forests Tulsi Shyam is a scenic spot famous for hot springs. The place also attracts devotes for its temple dedicated to the Pandava Bhim and his mother Kunti.

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