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Gir Somnath is a district in the state of Gujarat and is home to various magnificent and mesmerizing adventure and spiritual tourist destinations. The district came into existence in 2013 when it got separated from the Junagadh district and seven new districts in the state of Gujarat were formed. The district is located in the Kathiawar peninsula and the headquarters of the district is Veraval. Two places are extremely famous in this district one is the Somnath Temple which is the highlight of Gujarat and the other is Gir forest is the natural habitat for many wildlife creatures and species and most importantly the Asiatic lions. 

History of Gir Somnath 

Gir Somnath is primarily known for legends related to Somnath temple and Gir forest. Gir Somnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is a popular pilgrim spot that is visited by Hindus from across the country. According to Maha Puranam, once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were fighting over supremacy in the world. To come to a conclusion and test them Lord Shiva intervened. Lord Shiva spread the three worlds into an endless light pillar ‘jyotirlinga’  and asked Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find the ends of the pillar. Lord Vishnu admitted his defeat and surrendered while Lord Brahma lied to Lord Shiva that he has found the end. 

Lord Shiva then cursed Lord Brahma that he would not be worshipped whereas Lord Vishnu will be worshipped till eternity. It is believed that there are 64 jyotirlingas ‘light columns’ out of which Lord Shiva appears. Out of these 64 jyotirlingas, 12 are highly auspicious and one out of these 12 is located in Somnath. 

Historians claim that the famous Somnath temple was looted 17 times by Muslim invaders and foreigners for its wealth. Mughal ruler Aurangzeb is believed to have looted and destroyed the temple in the 18th century. The temple was reconstructed as per the Chalukyan architecture style by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel around the 1950s. Since then it’s a prominent Hindu pilgrim site. 

Gir Somnath is not just a tourist destination it also accommodates various big industries. Gujarat Heavy Chemicals, Ambuja Cement, Gujarat Siddhi Cement, and Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd are also present in the Somnath district. 

Also Read: Murlen National Park and Rih Dil a heart-shaped Lake are the major highlights of this town

Places to visit in Gir Somnath

Somnath Temple

One of the sacred temples of Lord Shiva and a wonder to eyes, Somnath temple is a great crowd-puller both for holy as well as tourist purposes. The temple is situated just at the shore of the Arabian sea which makes it even more delightful to see. Read more

Nalsarvovar Lake 

Nalsarovar lake is a popular tourist spot for locals and bird lovers. The lake is home to many migrant and resident water birds and people often come here to watch different species of birds in their natural habitat. Back headed cuckoo, eagles and woodpeckers are commonly seen here. 

Paanch Pandav Gufa 

Founded in 1949 this cave is known as Paanch Pandav Gufa. Legends have it that the 5 Pandavas once lived here and there is temple nearby in the honor of the 5 Pandavas. The temple is located in a peaceful ambiance which is calming and refreshing for the mind. 

Gir National Park

If you are a wildlife lover and want to witness the ferocious Asiatic Lions then Gir National Park in Gujarat is the place to be for an adventurous encounter. Gir Forest national park is spread in an area of 1400 square kilometers and is the only natural habitat left for Asiatic lions. Other than the lions, there are many more rarely found wild animals in the national park which will definitely attract you. Read more

Things to do in Gir Somnath

Jungle Safari 

The best way to explore a forest is to go on a jungle safari on a jeep or on an elephant. Jungle safari in the Gir National Park will be an amazing experience that you will cherish throughout your life and who knows you might spot some Asiatic lions and other distinct species of wildlife during the visit.

Drool over-elaborate Gujarati Cuisine 

Gujarat is home to various lip-smacking vegetarian dishes. From street food, snacks to the main course every Gujarat dish is a treat for taste buds. If in Gujarat one must taste khaman dhokla (snack), Thepla (stuffed chapati), Undhiyu (mix vegetable curry), Handvo (cake), Gujarati Kadhi, Khichu (snack) and Mohanthaal (sweet dish).   

Events and Festivals in & around Gir Somnath

Rann Utsav

If you have heard of White Desert, you must also know about the great grand event that takes place amidst that White desert of India in full Gujarati Style. Rann of Kutch is one of the most beautiful places in India that annually hosts a cultural dance and music festival Rann Utsav. Read more

Tarnetar Mela

The amazing fair is mainly to find your partner but that does not mean it has less entertainment for you in any way. The fair showcases the folk arts of the state and there is a lot of entertainment through performances, dance, and music that one shouldn’t miss out for sure. Read more

Best time to visit Gir Somnath

The months of November-March are probably the best time to visit Gir-Somnath since in summers it tends to get really hot. During this time the climate is pleasant and apt for traveling and exploring the place. 

How to reach 

By Road. Tourists who are planning to reach Gir Somnath by roadways have two travel options. One is to book a seat on the inter-state tourist bus and the other is to take the personal vehicle. In both cases, one has to cover nearly 1,300, 900, 2,400, and 1,800km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. 

By Rail. Veraval is the headquarters of the Gir Somnath district and is also the nearest railway station. It is connected with many cities and states like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Jabalpur, etc. The railway station is 7 km from the main district and one may reach the district by taxi, or a bus.  

By Air. Diu Airport is the nearest airport to Gir Somnath. The airport is nearly 50km away from the main district and one may take a taxi or a bus to reach Gir Somnath. The airport receives flights from all parts of the country such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. 

You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here

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