"The Spinx Temple - Somnath" Somnath by anilpradhanshillong

Somnath Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 18 photos

Somnath - Lord of the Moon

Barely 130 kms (2 hrs) from Porbandar and you are in Somnath after driving down a fabulous highway with the Arabian Sea as your constant companion. It is a small town totally devoted to Hindu religion, Hindu mythology and the Hindu epics. A pilgrimage spot for Hindus, this place is considered to be the foremost of the 12 Jyothirlingas (column of light) of Lord Shiva. The nearest railway station is Veraval, barely 7 kms away. A video of the temple is here at VirtualTourist.

It is not just the Prabhas (from the Sanskrit word, ?prabhat?, meaning ?dawn?) or Somnath temple that attracts thousands of devotees to this sleepy hamlet. Rather, there are a number of places here which are closely linked with the life and times of Lord Krishna, places that Hindus consider sacred, the principal one being the site where Lord Krishna cast off his mortal yoke and returned to his heavenly home. However, what is strikingly different in this holy place is the indefatigable spirit of reconstruction, renovation and rejuvenation that the temple of Somnath and the town reverberates with. Perhaps, very few places of worship in this world have been plundered, pillaged and destroyed so many times and yet, after each desecration, phoenix-like, the temple has been rebuilt, re-modified, resurrected and has soon resonated with the calming chants of the Hindu scriptures.

This perhaps, explains the paranoid security concerns of the police personnel posted in and around the temple complex. No cameras, no video cameras, no cell phones, are permitted inside the temple complex. If you manage to smuggle one in and attempt a shot, a whistle and a shout breaks the solemn air and you are liable to be interrogated searchingly. One fact, not sufficiently highlighted, is that there is no land mass between the Somnath Temple and the Antarctica (South Pole). There is only a pointer in the left-hand corner of the temple complex with a cryptic sign which reads, ?The lightpath stretching without obstruction upto the South-pole over the end of the ocean?. Truly unintelligible wording.

Somnath (Lord of the Moon), is in the extreme south-west Arabian coast of Sourashtra, and is considered to be the meeting place of the three holy rivers, Saraswati, Hiranya and Kapila, before the mythological river, Saraswati, flows into the Arabian Sea. Kartik Poornima, held on the full moon day in November-December, is a major festival in this temple town. Maha Shivratri, in the month of March, is another major draw. According to the legends, the Moon God, Somraj built the Somnath temple of gold at the time of creation; Ravan later built it of silver, Lord Krishna re-built it of wood and finally Raja Bhimdev built it of stone. It is suggested that the first temple was built 7,99,25,105 years ago as calculated from the Prabhas Khand of Skand Puran by Swami Shri. Gajananand Saraswatiji, Chairman of the Shrimad Aadhya Jagadguru Shankaracharya Vedik Shodh Sansthan, Varanasi.

According to the Hindu lore, Soma (the moon), the son-in-law of Daksha, disobeyed his father-in-law?s instructions to love all his 27 wives equally and not have any favourites as all the wives were daughters of Daksha. Soma, however, favoured Rohini. For this disobedience, Daksha cursed Soma to wane, wither and die away. However, before the moon faded away completely, the gods appealed to Daksha to revoke his own curse. Somewhat mollified, Daksha ordered Soma to bathe at the mouth of the mythological river, Saraswati and to pray to Lord Shiva. Soma obeyed and Lord Shiva was pleased with the penance and restored the light of Soma, partially, for half a month only, resulting in the waxing and the waning of the moon. The temple, therefore, is known as Someshwar or Somnath, Lord of the Moon.

Somnath Temple - A Constant Target

Somnath temple was always a target for invaders owing to its fabulous treasures, precious gems, and defenceless nature, combined with the power of the temple over the Hindu psyche. Marauding hordes would descend from beyond the Rann of Kutch, sweep down through the vast plains of Gujarat and reach the Arabian Sea coast with ease. It has been destroyed six times and has been rebuilt six times. The Arab Governor of Sind, Mahmud Ghazni, Sultan AllauddinKhilji Muzaffar Shah I, Mahmud Begda, Aurangzeb, all took turns in pillaging, plundering and destroying the temple. Fuelling their greed was their desire to forcibly convert the Hindus into Muslims.

The present structure is a 50 metre (164 ft.) high architectural wonder with intricate carvings and a number of holy images and idols. Rebuilt in November, 1947 when Sardar Vallabhai Patel visited the area for the integration of Junagardh into the Indian union, the work was carried on after Patel by Shri. K.M. Munshi, a Union Minister in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru?s cabinet. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India formally inaugurated the resurrected temple on May 11th 1951. The temple was fully completed only in 1962.

Two main doors of the complex have been permanently closed with only the main one open. After a thorough security check, you enter the temple premises. Once you go past the main entrance, you will find two entry/exits to your left and two more to your right. Straight ahead is the sanctum sanctorum.
All the stone columns are richly carved. The main dome is spectacular and each aspect of the temple draws out the piousness in you. After the ?darshan?, when you perform the parikrama, you are drawn to the seashore by the soothing breeze and the limitless horizon. To the right of the temple may be seen the blackened ruins of an older temple. Further, near the periphery, a visual treat awaits you in the form of Lord Shiva in his different aspects. There are also the Parvati, Hanuman and Ganesh temples. If the mood seizes you, you may relax outside the temple complex and feed the pigeons while watching children chase these docile birds.

Somnath Temple

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A never-say-die attitude
  • Cons:Lack of basic infrastructure for tourist or pilgrims
  • In a nutshell:The ancients had greater knowledge than us
  • Last visit to Somnath: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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