Somnath Jyotirlinga is one of the twelve sacred shrines of Lord Shiva, known as Jyotirlingas. Old Somnath temple was constructed by Chandra Dev in the Kruta Yuga Somnath Jyotirlinga and is located in the Prabhas Patan area of Saurashtra in Gujarat, India. Jyotirlingas, a term derived from two words – “Jyoti,” meaning light, and “Linga,” symbolizing Lord Shiva, are believed to be self-manifested, powerful representations of Lord Shiva’s divine form. There are 12 jyotirlingas in total. Old Somnath temple is said to be the first jyotirlinga.
Where is the Original Old Somnath temple located?
Located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval, Saurashtra, Gujarat, Somnath Temple is situated on the coast, providing breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea. The serene beach, known as Somnath Beach, is perfect for a peaceful stroll and meditation. Near the submerged Dwarka, Old Somnath temple was said to have been built with sandalwood by Lord Shri Krishna. The Somnath Temple boasts impressive Chalukyan-style architecture. It features intricate carvings, ornate domes, and a towering shikhara (spire). This architectural marvel is a testament to the skills of the artisans who designed it.
Legend of Somnath Jyotirlinga
According to Hindu mythology, the Moon God, Chandra, was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Chandra had a favourite wife among these daughters, Rohini, whom he loved more than the others. This favouritism led to dissatisfaction and jealousy among his other wives.
Upset by Chandra’s unequal treatment, Prajapati Daksha cursed Chandra to suffer from a disease that caused his light to wane. Chandra, afflicted by the curse, began to lose his brilliance and slowly faded away. He realised the gravity of the curse and sought the help of Lord Brahma, who advised him to perform penance and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
READ MORE: NAME, PLACE AND IMAGES OF ALL 12 JYOTIRLINGAS
Chandra followed Lord Brahma’s advice and undertook a rigorous penance dedicated to Lord Shiva. He constructed a temple at the Sangam of the three ancient rivers Saraswati, Hiranya and Kapila in the Holy Saurashtra region which is believed to be the site of the current Somnath jyotirlinga, to worship Lord Shiva. Chandra built the Shiva Linga and constructed the old Somnath temple in gold as an act of devotion and to seek forgiveness for his actions.
Pleased with Chandra’s devotion and penance, Lord Shiva appeared before him and granted him his blessings. As a result, Chandra’s lustre was partially restored, and he regained his brightness.
The temple that Chandra built in gold became known as the “Somnath Jyotirlinga” with the name derived from “Som” (Moon) and “Nath” (Lord). It is believed that the Moon God’s devotion and the temple construction at Prabhas Patan are the reasons behind the temple’s name and its association with the Moon.
The Somnath Temple has continued to be a revered pilgrimage site for Hindus and a symbol of devotion, faith, and the enduring nature of India’s religious and cultural heritage. The first temple of Lord Shiva in Saurashtra is considered the first out of 12 jyotirlinga.
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History of Destruction of Somnath Jyotirlinga by Islamic Rulers
- Somnath Jyotirlinga existed for a long time in Saurashtra region
- 645 AD, King Maitre of Vallabhaneni – reconstructed second time
- In 745, The old ruler of Sindh took his army and attacked the temple and destroyed the temple.
- Pratishtha King Nag Bhatt II constructed the temple for the third time in 815 using a red stone (sandstone) stone.
- In 1026, Mahmud Ghazni lent the precious jewels and property of Somnath temple.
- During 1026 – 1042, Solanki Raja Bhimdev built the fourth temple of Bhoj and Anhilwad Patan, Parmar King of Malwa.
- In 1299, Somnath was destroyed when the Delhi Sultanate occupied Gujarat.
- In 1709, Mughal ruler Aurangzeb completely demolished the Somnath Jyotirlinga.
- In Nov 1947 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel promised and rebuild the temple which is currently present in Gujarat
How to reach Somnath Jyotirlinga
By Air: The nearest airport to Somnath is the Diu Airport (approx. 65 km away) and the Porbandar Airport (approx. 125 km away). You can take a flight to either of these airports and then continue your journey to Somnath by road.
By Train: The nearest major railway station to Somnath is Veraval Railway Station, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus to reach Somnath, which is around 6 km away.
By Road: Somnath is well-connected by road to various cities and towns in Gujarat. You can use private or state-run buses to reach Somnath from nearby cities like Junagadh, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, and Bhavnagar.
Unknown facts about the old Somnath temple
- After Chandra deva constructed the old Somnath temple, It is believed that in Treta Yuga Ravana rebuilt this temple with silver. Lord Krishna built this temple with sandalwood in Dwapara Yuga. And the current temple we have is the one we have is the one built with stone.
- There is no land mass to the south of Somnath temple until you reach Antarctica. This is inscribed on the Baan Stambh (Arrow pillar) in the temple premises .
- Old Somnath Temple was built in the Sangam of three ancient rivers which doesn’t exist today. Them being Saraswati, Hiranya and Kapila.
- Seven Pagodas: The temple complex was once part of a group of seven temples, often referred to as the “Seven Pagodas,” which were built along the western coast of India. Six of these temples are believed to have been submerged underwater.
- Solar Alignment: The temple is designed in such a way that the first rays of the sun illuminate the deity’s idol at dawn.
- Ancient History: The Old Somnath Temple is believed to be one of the oldest temples in India, with references to it dating back to ancient texts like the Rigveda.
- Sound and Light Show: Visitors can enjoy a captivating sound and light show in the temple complex that narrates the history and significance of Somnath.
- official Somnath website link : JAY SOMNATH, SOMNATH ORG