Sights to See
One of Gujarat’s busiest pilgrimage sites, attracting a large number of devotees every day, this beautiful shrine is a place of intense religious activity. The temple is one of the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga shrines or the 12 shrines enshrining Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlingam in the country.
Somnath is also known as Prabhas Patan. Legend has it that the Kala bhairava Shivalinga (Bhairavanatha) here was worshipped by the moon, and hence is referred to as Somanatha. The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath as one bright as the sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharatha also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva. Legend goes that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati but was partial to Rohini his favourite. An angered Daksha cursed him to wane into nothingness. A disturbed Chandra came down to Prabhasa with Rohini and worshipped at Somnath after which he was blessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half. As the moon regained his light here, this town came to be known as Prabhasa. The glory and wealth of Somnath was described by the Arab traveller
Al Biruni and his accounts prompted a
visit by Mahmud of Ghazni who ransacked and destroyed the temple in
1025 AD. It was immediately rebuilt by King Bhima of Gujarat and King Bhoja
of Malwa. This temple was destroyed again by Alaf Khan, the general of
Allauddin Khilji in the year 1300 AD. It was rebuilt again by King
Mahipala of the Chudasama dynasty. This shrine was destroyed again and
yet again in 1390, 1490, 1530 and finally in 1701 by Aurangazeb. It was
rebuilt with perseverance each time after it was destroyed. In the year
1783, Queen Ahilyabhai Holkar built a new temple nearby, and in 1951,
the president of India re-installed the Jyotirlinga of Shiva on the
same Brahmasila on which earlier temples had been built.
Built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Legend has it that this is the place where Lord Krishna, mistaken for a deer, was wounded by an arrow of a Bhil tribal and left his mortal body. The hunter mistook his partly visible foot for a deer and shot an arrow piercing his heel which was his vulnerable spot.
This is the holy place where Lord Krishna, having been injured, passed the last moments of his life under a pipal tree. A temple has been built here.
This is the entrance gate of the town of Somnath.
An archaeological museum, showcasing relics of previous Somnath temples.
Other places of importance in Somnath are Baldevji’s Cave, Daityasadan, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Mahakalika Temple, Maha Prabhuji’s Baithak, Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple, Shashibhushan Mahadev Temple, Surya Mandir and Veneshwar Temple.