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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 following which seven new districts in the state of Gujarat were formed.

It is located in the Kathiawar peninsula and the headquarters of this district is Veraval. Two places are extremely famous here namely Somnath Temple which is the highlight of Gujarat and the other is Gir Forest; a natural habitat for many wild animals and most importantly the Asiatic lions. 

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: The Savanna grasslands and deciduous forests are a highlight of this place

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

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 destination 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, spreading 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. 

Angered by his untruthful behaviour, Lord Shiva 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 out of which, 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 pilgrimage site.

Major Attractions in and Around Gir Somnath

1. Somnath TempleOne of the sacred temples of Lord Shiva and a wonder to the 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.

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

3. 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 a temple nearby in the honour of the 5 Pandavas. The temple is located in a peaceful ambience which is calming and refreshing for the mind. 

4. Gir National ParkIf 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 about 1400 square kilometres 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 the foodies. 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).

How to Reach Gir Somnath

Gir Somnath is a very interesting place to explore due to a variety of reasons. For anyone, who likes adventure as well as spirituality, this getaway is a must-visit. It is located at an approximate distance of 1,312, 903, 1,868, and 2,360 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata respectively. Here is how you can travel to Gir Somnath by the following means of transportation. 

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 has good flight connectivity via other Indian cities.

By Rail. Veraval is the headquarters of the Gir Somnath district and is also the nearest railway station. It is fairly well connected to many cities and states. The railway station is 7 km from the main district and one may reach the district by taxi, or even a bus.  

By Road. The overall road connectivity to Gir Somnath is quite good. To reach here, you can either book an inter-state or private bus, hire a cab or if you want to travel at your own pace then, you may also consider taking your own vehicle. 

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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