Somnath Mahadev Temple
Old Somnath Temple
Mai Puri Masjid
Welcome to Somnath,
The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat,India is the most sacred of the twelve Jyotirlings (lingas of light) of the God Shiva. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God".
The Somnath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time. On the last occasion, it was built after a plan was mooted by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in November 1947, when he visited the area for Indian Integration of Junagadh, and later after his death carried out by K.M. Munshi, also a Minister in Government of India.
On a 6 km stretch of clear Arabian waters kissing the beach, Ahmedpur Mandvi is one of Gujarat's lesser-known gems and finest pieces of coastline. Adjacent to the island of Diu, which lies just across a creek, it continues as Ghogla Beach into the adjoining part of mainland Diu.
From lazing on a hammock with a book to bathing in its pristine waters, this beach also offers many water sport adventures and opportunities for dolphin sightings. Situated where Gujarat and Diu come together, Ahmedpur Mandvi provides a rich blend of cultures from Saurashtra and the Portuguese influence from Diu, in several lively fishing hamlets.
Down the lane to the north of the temple is a museum with important archaeological remains from the former Somnath Temple. The museum is open from 8:30am-12:15pm and 2:30pm-6pm. To some, the museum is even more interesting than the modern temple, for it preserves stone sculptures, inscriptions and pottery from several periods
Though lacking in proper documentation or guidebooks, the time spent here is supremely worth the journey, with the remains of the ancient shrine reconstructed by the Chalukyan Maharaja Shri Mularaja Deva Solanki of Anhilvada Patan.
North of Somnath, en route to Veraval, is the famous Lord Krishna temple, Bhalka Tirtha, on the site where Krishna is said to have been mistakenly shot in the foot. Nearby is Dehotsarg, where he succumbed to his mortal wound. The temple at Bhalka Tirth is known as Mahaprabhuji's Bethak, and a tulsi tree has been planted in Lord Krishna's memory.
At the Dehotsarg Tirth, in the 9th century AD Shri Vallabhacharya gave discourses on Shrimad Bhagvat Gita for seven days, as well as the revered Gita Mandir, which has eighteen marble pillars with a chapter from the Bhagvat Gita inscribed on each one. The temple also contains a beautiful tribhangi idol of Lord Krishna playing his flute.
Nearby is a place known as Baldev Gufa (cave). According to legend, Lord Krishna's elder brother Baldev disappeared through this cave and went to the netherworld, as he was considered to be an incarnation of Sheshnag, the king of snakes.
Located 37 kms from Somnath, this beach was once home to the royal palace of the Nawab of Junagadh. Today it remains in a ruined state. The beach is unsafe for swimming, but it is relatively clean, ideal for relaxing and enjoying the ocean breeze. It does not offer any accomodation facilities but serves as an ideal excursion from Somnath.
Gita Mandir, placed at the confluence of three holy rivers known as Triveni Tirtha, is a Krishna temple built by Birla family in 1970. Mythology says that Lord Krishna walked about 4km from Baluka Tirtha to here after hit by the arrow by a hunter Jara. Gita temple, also known as Birla temple, is a marvelous architectural beauty in Marbles. The images of Gita Hymns are depicted in the inscriptions of marble walls. The Mandir is constructed in such a way that one can hear the echo of his voice inside the temple, so that the Krishna bhajans by the devotees can be echoed in the environments.
Junagadh Gate, a main attraction in Somanth, is the prime gateway to Somanth. One can enter the temple town from the nearest city Veraval only through this gate. This is a triple gate with historical significance and is an ancient structure which was built many centuries back. This is a striking gate with many intricate carvings on the gate walls. It is through this gate the foreign invader Mahmud Gazni broke it to enter the holy city and destroyed the temples in the town and looted the great wealth.. The foreign invader ruined most parts of the structure as well during his invasion to the city.
The Kamnath Mahadev Temple, built about 200 years ago by a Mayurdhwaj King, is a renowned temple located in Somnath. This is a large temple complex with a holy pond known as Dudhiyu Talav, a water well known as Gangvo Kuvo and a bathing pool named as "Mahadev no Kund". The legendary stories claim that the pond water has majestic healing powers and it is believed that Mayurdhwaj King recovered from leprosy after taking bath in this place. There was a saying in Gujarat, which means, "He who does not bath at the Kund is as good as dead or is a living dead". This is a very famous religious attraction in Gujarat. Thousands of devotees throng to this temple when grandeur fair is conducted at the end of Shravan Maas every year.
Lakshminarayan Temple is located closeby to Gita Mandir (Birla temple) in Somanth. It is ideally located at a pristine location in the Somnath shore. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Lakshminarayan, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. This temple is placed in a very big complex in a spiritual environment. Daily Pujas are offered in this temple. The idols of many other Hindu Gods and Goddesses are also enshrine the temple. The temple is built in modern Indian architectural style is an imposing structure. The glossy marbles with many intricate carvings depicting the puranic stories are real attractions of the temple. The temple has been visited by thousands of devotees every year.
This ancient structure is one kilometer from the Junagadh Gate which is the main gateway to Somnath from Veraval. Mai Puri Masjid is an impressive piece of architecture, covered with blue and white tiles. It is an important religious spot for Muslims along with other tombs and mosques in Somnath.
Old Somnath Temple is an ancient temple enshrining the sacred Shivlinga, one of the 12 Shiva Jyotirlingas. It is located on the shore of Arabian Sea. Mythological evidences put the foundation of this temple by Soma, the Moon. This temple was constructed by the moon and dedicated to Shiva (Somnath) as the moon got reprieve from the curse of Daksha at this place. This temple was destroyed many times by Muslim invaders and the first was by Mahmud Gazni in 1026 AD and the last time by Mughal emperor Aurangaseb in 1706. The temple was later renovated in 1950. The temple has a high tower of about 50 m height over the main sanctum. The ruins of the ancient temples are seen nearby.
Panch Pandava Gufa is a temple situated near Lalghati in Somnath. This is a marvelous temple founded by the late Baba Narayandas in the year 1949. This temple is dedicated to five Pandava brothers. This temple, located at an elevated place, offers a beautiful view of surrounding holy city. Imposing idols of five Pandava brothers are enshrined. The idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Rama and Goddess Durga are also installed in this grand modern temple. The temple is built in a scenic environment and the ambiance offers a calm and cool spiritual atmosphere. A Sanskrit college is established in the compound of this temple.
The Prasuram Temple is located at a holy spot on the banks of the Triveni Ghat. It is believed that Prasuram, one incarnation of Lord Vishnu, had undergone a long period penance in this place to come out from the curse of killing the Kshatriya Kings. It was here Lord Shiva (Somnath) offer relief to him from the immaculate curse. The temple is located at a scenic location with beautiful landscapes and two ancient Kunds (bathing pools). Many devotees visit this temple to pray to Lord Parasuram and spend their time in Dhyanam (meditation). This is one of the rare temples in India dedicated to Parasuram.
The hill has 62 rock shelters scattered at different levels. The most interesting group has ornate carvings and stupas, rock cut pillows, benches and chaityas. Some caves also have a dome and pillared hall. Experts believe that these are among the few earliest caves of Western India dating from 2nd century BC.
The principal temple of Somnath is believed to have been built in gold by the moon god Soma, in silver by the sun god Ravi, in wood by Krishna and in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century. The present temple, built in 1951, is the seventh reconstruction on the original site. Tales of its riches attracted a series of invasions, but each time the temple was invaded, it was restored to its original glory by devout Hindu worshipers
Commanding a breathtaking view from the tip of the Saurashtra peninsula, kissed by the waves of the Arabian coast, the temple has been constructed in the Chalukyan style with a shikhara nearly 50 m tall. The temple's imposing architecture includes intricate carvings, silver doors, an impressive Nandi idol and the central shivalinga. In the vast courtyard stand the massive mandapa (hall), as well as the main shrine, whose gently curved pyramidal forms tower over the whole complex.
With the help of locals, you might be pleasantly surprised to find this fascinating temple built in the 14th century. Situated adjacent to the Sitala Mata Temple, it has an imposing entrance porch, and idols of the Sun God and his two attendants.
Suraj Mandir, also popularly known as Sun Temple, in Somnath is also an ancient temple dating back to the origin of Somnath temple. This temple is situated at the north of the Triveni Ghat, the confluence of three holy rivers. The temple was set up to offer prayers to Sun God. The temple architecture is amazing with many images of elephants, lions and other birds and animals. This temple also was attacked many a times by Muslim foreign invaders. But later it was renovated to present structure. The temple is a rare specimen of worshiping to nature and is praise worthy symbols of Hindu cultural heritage.
Triveni Ghat in Somanth is the confluence of three holy rivers namely Kapil, Hiran and a mystical River Saraswathy. It is believed that the rivers flow to the ultimate destination of Sea from here. This symbolizes the human birth, life and death. This is a sacred location for taking dip in the Triveni Sangam. It is believed that the holy bath in the waters at this Ghat offers relief from all curses and ills happened in the whole life. Triveni Ghat has a significant place in Hindu Mythology and Puranas. This ghat was mentioned many places in Puranas and great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed that Lord Krishna paid a visit to this holy spot after he was hit by an arrow shot by Jara, a hunter. This is a highly revered place in Somnath. The famous temples Gita Mandir and Lakshminarayan temple are located on the banks of Triveni Ghat.
Wandering among the hundreds of fishing-boats, a walk on Veraval's picturesque dockyard and long uninterrupted shorelines is a lovely experience, but only if you can handle the smell of fish that hangs over town. A large coastal industrial center, Veraval is known for its fisheries, dominated by the Kharwa fisherfolk and as the gateway to Somnath.
Fishing here is done by trawlers, as well as by traditional boats, and Veraval maintains a boatbuilding industry that still constructs and repairs boats with traditional methods.
- The Daityusudan Shrine - with an image of Vishnu from the 7th century AD.
- The Mahakali Temple - It is near the temple of Somnath, built by Maharani Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore in 1783 AD.
- Sacred Shrine of Shashibhushan - where the moon god Soma performed a yagna to expiate his sins.