One of the sacred Indian temples of Lord Shiva, this place gets visitors from all over the globe courtesy of its spiritual aura. The fact that this temple is situated near the Arabian sea only adds to the overall vibrancy of this place.
It is unfortunate to know that this temple has been destroyed and built several times during the course of prolonged Hindu history by the Muslim and Portuguese invaders. But despite all the atrocities, this place still remains one of the most popular tourist pilgrimage destinations in Gujarat. This present temple was essentially created in the Chalukya style of architecture and was completed in the year 1951. The orders to carry out the construction of the building of this temple were given by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel himself which got completed after his death.
The word Somnath means Lord of the Soma who is none other than Lord Shiva. If the legends are to be believed then the Shivalinga which is present in Somnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of immense value in Hindu mythology. These Jyotirlingas are the places that are believed to be the sites where Lord Shiva had appeared as a fiery column of light.
Moving to the best time to visit Somnath Temple, since summer gets unbearable in the state of Gujarat, winter is the best time to visit the temple. September to March tends to be calm and cold which is better than traveling in hot weather.
History of Somnath Temple
Since ancient times, the Somnath temple has been treated as one of the greatest pilgrimage sites in India. The major reason for this is the fact that it is located on the confluence of three rivers - also known as Triveni Sangam - namely Kapila, Hiran, and Sarasvati.
Many legends are associated with this place. According to one such folklore, once upon a time, Soma, the Moon God, had lost his luster. To regain it, he decided to bathe in the holy waters of river Sarasvati. And it is owing to this that people started believing in the phenomenon of waxing and waning of the moon.
According to the documented works of J. Gordon Melton, it was this place that witnessed the first temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Somnath. And the second temple is believed to have been built on the same site by the Yadava Kings in around 640 BCE. However, it was in the year 725 BCE that the Arab Governor Al- Junayd is said to have destroyed this temple when he invaded the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Then, in 1024, the cruel Turkic ruler Mahmud of Ghazni did many raids in Gujarat breaking the temple and severely damaging the Jyotirlinga from various places. It is said that he took away with himself a booty worth 20 million dinars.
Major Attractions Around Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple
1. Somnath Beach
Somnath Beach is quite an amazing place to relax and unwind yourself. It is worth noting that the waters around this place are not exactly recommended for swimming because of high and violent waves.
2. Paanch Pandav Gufa
Discovered by a saint named Baba Narayandas, this place has been dedicated to the five Pandava brothers. What is really interesting to know is that one can easily get a view of the entire city from this place.
3. Laxminarayan Temple
The major highlight of this temple is that it is famous for the 18 pillars on which inscriptions from Bhagwad Gita have been carved out.
4. Chorwad Beach
It won’t be wrong to say that Chorwad Beach is actually one of the most culturally thriving places to experience in Gujarat. However, the waters of this place too are not quite ideal for swimming around.
5. Suraj Mandir
Located near the Triveni Ghats, this is actually one of the only Sun temples located here. Anyone who is spiritually inclined will like the aura of this place.
How to Reach Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple
Somnath literally means Lord of the Moon and Somnath Temple justifies its meaning with its spiritual profundity and immaculate architecture. To travel here, you will need to cover a total distance of about 1,317, 907, 2,422, 1,871 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Check out the below-mentioned details on how you can reach Somnath Temple.
Diu Airport (DIU) is the nearest airport from the Somnath temple situated about 70-80 km away. This airport is fairly well-connected with other cities and nearby regions. After deboarding the flight, you will need to get a cab or some other means of transportation to reach your destination.
From Mumbai - Board IndiGo, Spicejet, Air India flights from Mumbai Airport. The airfares start from INR 3,000 - INR 4,000
From Delhi - Board Spicejet, Air India flights from Delhi Airport. The airfares start from INR5,000 - INR 6,000
Veraval is the nearest railway station to this place. This station comes under the Bhavnagar Railway Divison of Western Railway Zone and is well-connected with nearby regions. After deboarding the train you will further need to cover a distance of around 5-10 km. For this, you can consider taking up a cab or some other means of transportation option.
Traveling here by road can be a hassle-free experience for you due to the good road connectivity - Gir Somnath and its nearby regions are well connected with motorable highways. If you are living in nearby regions, consider booking interstate/private buses which are readily available with frequent connectivity. According to your convenience, you can also consider traveling via cab or your own vehicle.