Shree Somnath is the first Jyotirlingas among 12 twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Somnath Temple is established on the western coast of Gujarat, in Prabhas Patan near Veraval. It is a famous Tourist spot and pilgrimage of Gujarat. The Somnath Temple was reconstructed multiple times in the past due to repeated destruction by Muslim invaders and Portuguese. The present temple was reconstructed in the Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture and displays the skill of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat’s master masons. The Somnath Temple reconstruction was finished in May 1951. The reformation of the temple was started under the orders of the first Home Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and completed after his death.
Due to various legends connected to it, the temple is considered sacred. Indian ancient traditions mention a close relationship of Somnath with the release of Chandra, the moon god from the curse of his father a law Daksha Prajapati. Legend says that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. He was partial to Rohini, his beloved and neglected the others. The raged Daksha cursed him to wane into nothing. The concerned Chandra reached at Prabhasa with Rohini and pleaded the Sparsa Linga of Somnath after which he was blessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half. Because the moon regained his light here, the town came to be known as Prabhasa.
Somnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, and this is where Lord Shiva happens to have appeared as a fiery column of light. Each of the 12 jyotirlinga sites is named differently according to the manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is a lingam representing the beginning-less and endless stambha, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
The first Shiva temple at Somnath built in the past is unknown. The second temple is said to be built at the same place by Yadava kings of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh destroyed the second temple as a part of his invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815 CE, with red sandstone. The Somnath Temple was renovated with gems and stones but it was repeatedly destroyed by Muslim Invaders. They looted the temples, made Hindus a hostage, broke the jyotirlinga despite the plea of brahmins not to destroy it.
In 1546, the Portuguese, based in Goa, raided ports and towns in Gujarat including Somnath and destroyed numerous temples and mosques. The temple was rebuilt every time with the reconstructive spirit of the Hindu worshipers.
The temple’s Sikhara, or main spire, is 15 meters in height, and it has an 8.2-meter tall flagpole at the top. The temple’s imposing architecture includes complex carvings, silver doors, an extraordinary Nandi idol, and in the center is Shivalinga. In the spacious courtyard stand the massive mandapa or hall, as well as the main shrine. The place where the Somnath temple is situated has no land in a straight line, between Somnath seashore until Antarctica.
Somnath temple is well-connected by road to all major parts of India. Regular buses run to Somnath temple from any major city in Gujarat like Ahmedabad or Vadodara. Somnath has its railway station which is well-connected to other major parts of India. Another railway station nearest to Somnath is Veraval which is 5 km away. If anyone needs to travel through air Diu airport is the nearest airport from Somnath temple. The distance from Diu airport to Somnath is approximately 90 km. It costs around Rs 2000 to reach the Somnath temple from Diu airport.
Many famous personalities have quoted about the charisma of Somnath Temple. Somnath Temple is a representation of the rich cultural heritage in India. The description of this ancient temple has been made in ‘Rig Veda’ of Hindu origin. The term Somnath implies ‘the protector of Moon God’. Lord Shiva is portrayed in the form of a Jyotirlinga, as the protector of Moon God. The temple of Somnath is termed as ‘the Shrine Eternal’ because the temple has shattered for more than five times and every time, it has been reconstructed. The temple was rebuilt because of the spirit of the Hindu worshipers.