Friday, 30 September 2011

Somnath Temple

सौराष्ट्र देशे विशदेतिरम्ये ज्योतिर्मयं चन्द्रकलावतंसम 
भक्तिप्रदानाय कृपवातीर्नाम तं सोमनाथं शरणं प्रपद्ये
[Saurashtra deshe vishadeti ramye, Jyotirmayam Chandra kalavatamsam
Bhakti pradanaya kripavateernam, Tam Somnatham sharanam prapadye]
[I seek refuge of the Somnath who resides in the holy and beautiful Saurashtra, who dazzles with light, who wears the crescent moon, who has appeared there to give the gift of devotion and mercy]
श्री सोमनाथ महादेव प्रथम आदि ज्योतिर्लिंग हैं ज्योति अर्थात ज्ञान और ऊर्जा का प्रकाश मानव सभ्यता के प्रारंभ से ही परम तत्त्व की खोज हो रही है ऐसी ही एक बात ज्योतिर्लिंग के प्राकट्य के साथ जुडी है शिव पुराण की परंपरा के अनुसार एक बार श्री विष्णु भगवान और श्री ब्रह्मा जी के मध्य महत्ता की प्रतिस्पर्धा हुई जिसका निवारण करने के लिए परमात्मा ने अपना ज्योतिर्मय स्वरुप प्रकट किया जिसका रहस्य स्वयं श्री विष्णु जी और श्री ब्रह्मा जी भी नहीं समझ सके करुणा के सागर परमात्मा शिव ने कहा 'आप तीनो अर्थात ब्रह्मा विष्णु और रूद्र मेरे ही स्वरुप हैं मेरी ही ऊर्जा से आप सृष्टि का निर्माण संचालन और प्रलय करते हैं मेरा ही अंश सृष्टि के प्रत्येक जीव एवं निर्जीव पदार्थ में विराजमान हैभगवान शिव  का यह दिव्य स्वरुप आदि ज्योतिर्लिंग के स्वरुप में प्रकट हुआ

Somnath, or the protector of the Moon God, is the first among the twelve Aadi Jyotirlingas.

Somnath temple stands at the shore of the Arabian ocean on the western corner of Indian subcontinent in Gujarat State. It is also known as Deo Pattan, Prabhas Pattan and Pattan Somnath. It is believed that the Somnath temple here was originally built by Somraj, the Moon God himself, out of gold, and then rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then by Krishna in Wood, then by King Bhimdeva in stone. This pilgrimage is one of the oldest and finds its reference in the ancient texts like Skandpuran, Shrimad Bhagavat, Shivpuran etc. Rig-Veda & other scriptures have quoted importance of pilgrimage to this place along with Ganga, Yamuna & Saraswati. In  the Shiva  Purana  and Nandi  Upapurana, Shiva  said, `I  am always present everywhere  but  specially  in  12  forms  and places as  the  jyotirlingas`. 
According to Ancient Indian traditions Chandra (Moon God) was relieved from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati. As per the story, 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 did penance to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva blessed and relieved him from the curse of darkness.
The research based on ancient Indian classical texts show that first Somnath Jyotirlinga Pran-Pratistha was done on the auspicious third day of brighter half of Shravan month during the tenth Treta yug of Vaivswat Manvantar. Swami Shri Gajananand Saraswatiji, Chairman of Shrimad Aadya Jagadguru Shankaracharya Vedic Shodh Sansthan, Varanasi suggested that the said first temple was built 7,99,25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skand Puran. Thus, this temple is a perennial source of inspiration for millions of Hindus since time immemorial.
The Somnath Temple is known as "the Shrine Eternal", as it has withstood the six-repeated desecration by the Muslim invaders during 11th to 18th century A.D. The very existence of this temple is symbol of reconstructive spirit and cultural unity of our society. The seventh existing temple is built in the Kailas Mahameru Prasad style.
The modern temple was reconstructed with the resolve of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who visited the ruins of Somnath temple on November 13 1947 and after his death restoration work was completed by Shri K.M. Munshi. Then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, did the Pran-Pratistha at the existing temple on 11 May 1951.
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 AD. This was destroyed in 725 AD by Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind. The third temple was built with red sandstone in 815 AD by Gurjara Pratihara king Nagabhata II.
In 1024 AD, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni who raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. The temple was rebuilt by the Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhima of Gujarat (Anhilwara) or Patan between 1026 and 1042 AD. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal (1143-72 AD), who built the temple of stone.
In 1296 AD, the temple was once again destroyed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji's army. The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 AD and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351 AD. The temple was destroyed in 1375 AD by Muzaffar Shah I and again in 1451 AD by Mahmud Begda (both Sultan of Gujarat).
In 1701 AD, the temple was once again destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who built a mosque on the site of the Somnath temple, using some columns from the temple, whose Hindu sculptural motifs remained visible.
Later on a joint effort of Peshwa of Pune, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore & Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior rebuilt the temple in 1783 AD at a site adjacent to the ruined temple which was already converted to a mosque
'Proclamation of the Gates' Incident
In 1782-83 AD, Shreenath Mahadaji Shinde (Ruler of North India: Ujjain/ Gwalior/ Mathura) victoriously brought the Three Silver Gates from Lahore, after defeating Muhammad Shah of Lahore. After refusal from Pundits of Gujarat and the then ruler Gaekwad to put them back on Somnath temple, these silver gates were placed in temples of Ujjain. Today they can be seen in Two Temples of India Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Mandir & Gopal Mandir of Ujjain.
In 1842, Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough issued his famous 'Proclamation of the Gates' in which he ordered the British army in Afghanistan to return via Ghazni and bring back to India the sandalwood gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni in Ghazni, Afghanistan. These were believed to have been taken by Mahmud from Somnath. There was a debate in the House of Commons in London in 1843 on the question of the gates of the Somnath temple. After much cross-fire between the British Government and the opposition, the gates were uprooted and brought back in triumph. But on arrival, they were found to be of replicas of the original. So they were placed in a store-room in the Agra Fort where they still lie to the present day.
In the 19th Century novel, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the diamond of the title is presumed to have been stolen from the temple at Somnath and, according to the historian Romila Thapar, reflects the interest aroused in Britain by the gates
Temple consists of Garbhgrah, 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 Jyotirlinga. The temple renovated by Maharani Ahilyabai is adjacent to the main temple complex. There is a grey-sand beach outside the temple which is part of the temple's lonely seaside charm.
Darshan & Aarti Timing at Somnath temple
Darshan: 6.00 AM to 9.00 PM
Aarti: 7.00 AM, 12.00 Noon and 7.00 PM
“Jay Somnath” Sound and Light Show: 8.00 to 9.00 PM: The temple is illuminated every evening. Similarly, the Sound & Light Show “Jay Somnath” is also displayed, which allows the pilgrims an ethereal experience in the backdrop of grand Somnath temple and the holy wave sounds of the Ocean
This sacred teerth is located 5 km on Prabhas Veraval highway.
As per Shrimad Bhagwad & other scriptures, arrow of a poacher named Jara hit Lord Shri Krishna at this spot. Shri Krishna was resting in meditation pose under a pippal tree when the poacher misread the foot of Lord Shri Krishna as a deer and hit from a distance. Lord generously pardoned the poacher and blessed him. Shri Krishna then walked a small distance and arrived at the holy banks of river Hiran from where he took his last journey to his Neejdham.
This divine leela of Lord Shri Krishna is immortalised by a beautiful temple and an ancient pippal tree.
Shri Krishna Neejdham Prasthan Teerth (DEHOTSARG TEERTH)
This Teerth is located on the banks of Hiran at a distance of 1.5 km from Somnath temple.
After being hit by the arrow, Lord Shri Krishna arrived at the holy confluence of Hiran, Kapila and Saraswati and their Sangam with the ocean. He performed his divine Neejdham Prasthan Leela at the sacred and peaceful banks of river Hiran. Rich accounts of the Shri Krishna Neejdham Prasthan Leela are maintained by the authentic traditions of Mahabharta, Shrimad Bhagwat, and Vishnu Puran etc.
The footprint of Lord Shri Krishna is carved here to mark the divine memory of Shri Krishna Neejdham Prasthan Leela. Baldevji, the elder brother of Shri Krishna also took his last journey from here in his original serpent form. This is marked by an ancient holy cave called “Dauji-ni Gufa”
Swami Shri Gajananand Saraswatiji has critically examined the previously mentioned classical Indian traditions and suggested the time of Neejdham Prasthan. He suggested that Shri Krishna departed on the first day of bright fortnight of Chaitra month (which corresponds with 18 February of English calendar) in the year 3102 B.C. at 2:27:30 hours.
GEETA MANDIR: the divine message of Shrimad Bhagavat Geeta is carved on eighteen marble pillars. SHRI LAKSHMINARAYAN MANDIR is also close by. [Both Gitamandir and Laxminarayan mandir are located in Dehotsarg campus.]
PARSHURAM TAPOBHUMI: sacred spot at the holy banks of Triveni where Bhagvan Parshuramji carried out penance and he was relieved from the sin of Kshatriya killings by Bhagwan Somnath. Temple has two ancient kunds
The Pandavas have said to have visited this place and taken holy bath in the Jalprabhas and built five Shiv temples.
Other spots in the temple are Shri Kapardi Vinayak and Shri Hanuman Temple in addition to Vallabhghat. Vallabhghat is a beautiful sunset point. Ahilyabai temple is also close by, which was built by the queen mother Ahilyabai Holker during 1782. This temple maintained the Pooja Parampara of Lord Shiva during the hostile political conditions
The holy confluence of three rivers Hiran, Kapila and Saraswati and their sangam with ocean is very sacred moksha teerth for Hindus.
The holy temple of Shashibhushan is located at a distance of 4 km on the Somnath-Veraval highway with a beautiful sea-shore. The Jara poacher is said to have taken aim from this spot while hitting an arrow towards Bhagwan Shri Krishna. The ancient Somnath Poojacharya Shri Bhav Brihaspati is said to have built this temple. Bhagwan Shashibhushan with Bhidbhanjan (Saviour form of) Ganesh is worshipped here with traditional spiritual traditions.
The Rajputa “Vaja”clan was in charge of Somnath during the Muslim desecrations. The devotional episode of the princess “Veni” is depicted in the novel by Shri K.M. Munshi. The temple was outside of the fort wall of Prabhaspatan at the time of holy war with Gazani. The soldiers of Gazani attempted an abduction of “Veni” who regularly visited the temple to offer her services to Shiva. The traditions maintain that the Shivlinga was spontaneously got divided and the princess got buried into it. The Shiva temple here is knows as “Veneshwar” temple after the fond memory of divine episode of Veni.
VERAVAL BEACH: Just about 5 km from the Somnath Temple is this amazing beach, which is great place to relax and refresh your body, mind and soul.
How to reach Somnath
Air: Nearest Airport is at Diu and linked to Mumbai, from here one can reach Somnath by road (distance 95 Kms)
Rail: The nearest railhead is seven kms away at Veraval, which is connected by train to Ahmedabad and other important cities in Gujarat.
Road: state transport corporation buses and private coaches operate regular services. Somnath is well connected to other places like Veraval 7 Km, Ahmedabad 889 Km, Bhavnagar 266 Km, Junagarh 85 Km, Porbandar 122 Km, and Mumbai 889 Km.
Shri Somnath Trust maintains a VIP Guesthouse, eighteen other guest houses and an economical dormitory. Accommodation is also available at Lilavati Atithi Bhawan, Sanskriti Bhawan and other Dharamshalas.
Contact for Booking:
Shri Somnath Trust,
Somnath Prabhas Patan - 362 268
District: Junagadh, Gujarat. Ph. no.: +91-2876-231212
Dilip Chavda: Office Superintendent Ph. No. : +91-94282 14901
Surubha Jadeja: Asst. Guesthouse Supervisor Ph. No. : +91-94282 14911
Contact for Lilavati Guesthouse Booking: Ph. 02876 233033


The Somnath Trust runs Prasadam Hotel and there are few shops on the by lanes and in the Complex opposite to the temple. As per practice in religious places, Alcohol is banned here.
Shri Somnath Trust 
C / 12-A, Shri Om Villa Apartment

F.C.I. Godown Road,
Shahibaug, Ahmedabad -380 004
Phone and Fax No.: +91-79-22686335
Phone No.: +91-79-22686442,
Dy.Secretary & General Manager
Shri Somnath Trust
Prabhas Patan -382 268,
Dist.: Junagadh,
Gujarat, India.
Ph. No.: +91-2876-231200
Fax No.: +91-2876-232694
Mobile: 98242 85667

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very informative and good article on this famous Jyotirlinga. The information helps one get inspired for a visit to the temple for religion and history.