‘Moksha’ or freedom from the karmic cycle is the purpose of human life. The twelve jyotirlingas in Hinduism are said to represent the twelve different forms of Lord Shiva. Each jyotirlinga is said to possess incredible powers. Many people believe that visiting all twelve jyotirlingas will bring them closer to achieving moksha, or freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
There is an ancient mythological story connected to Somnath, considered the first jyotirlinga. The Moon God had twenty-seven wives but he favoured his favourite wife. His father-in-law, Daksh Prajapati, cursed him and made him lose his lustre. The Moon God was full of panic and went to several holy places to reduce his grief.
At last, he came to Somnath and worshipped Lord Shiva wholeheartedly for many years. Shiva was full of pity for him and said that he should wane his brilliance for only 15 days in a month. The Moon God would recover his lost splendour in the following fortnight. The Moon God was overjoyed and then made a golden temple as an offering to Lord Shiva. Thus, the moon got another name as it regained its brilliance. It was called “Prabhas”, meaning ‘exceedingly brilliant’.
Where is Somnath Jyotirlinga located?
The Somnath Jyotirlinga is located along the coastline in Prabhas Patan, Veraval. This is the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The Somnath Temple in Gujarat is the most famous of the twelve jyotirlingas. It is located near a Triveni Sangam, meaning a confluence of three rivers – Hiran, Kapila, and Saraswati. Somnath means “Lord of the Moon.”
History of Somnath Jyotirlinga
“Jyotirlinga” refers to a special shrine where Lord Shiva is worshipped as a fiery column of light. “Jyoti” means radiance and “Lingam” means the mark of Lord Shiva. In simple words, “Jyotirlinga” means the radiant sign of the Almighty.
The Shiva Mahapuran, an ancient Indian religious text states that there was once an argument between Vishnu and Brahma. Both of them claimed to be the supreme power. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds into a massive pillar of light called the “jyotirlinga.” Lord Shiva asked Vishnu and Brahma to reach the extreme of the pillar saying whoever finds it first will be declared the winner.
Both Brahma and Vishnu did not know the pillar was infinite. Brahma returned claiming that he had found the end while Vishnu honestly admitted defeat. Lord Shiva was angered by Brahma’s lies.
So, Shiva appeared as a second jyotirlinga. He cursed Brahma by telling him that he would have no place in any of the sacred ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped in all ages for times to come.
In Hindu mythology, there are 12 Jyotirlingas where it is believed that Shiva appeared as a form of light. These Jyotirlingas symbolise the true essence and power of Shiva.
Interesting facts about Gir Somnath Jyotirlinga
The following facts about Gir Somnath Jyotirlinga will help you understand more about the significance of the place.
- The ancient temple’s timeline can be traced to 649 BC but is believed to be older than that. The present form was reconstructed in 1951.
- It’s said that Somraj (the moon god) first built a temple in Somnath, made of gold. This temple was rebuilt by Ravana in silver. Similarly, Lord Krishna built the temple in wood and Bhimdev in stone.
- The current symmetrical structure was built in traditional designs on the original coastal site. It is painted honey hue and has a fine sculpture. The large, black Shiva lingam at its heart is one of the 12 most sacred Shiva shrines, known as jyotirlinga.
- A chapter in the Skanda Purana, Prabhasa Khanda mentions Somnath temple. It is also in the text of Rig Veda and the Bhagavat.
- The temple is built at a location where there is no land in a straight line to its south till Antarctica. This makes it a sea-protected site. It is believed that the Shivalinga was hidden within the hollowness of the “Syamantak Mani” or the philosopher’s stone (associated with Lord Krishna). This stone has alchemic properties. It can produce gold. This stone was also believed to have magnetic properties. So, the Shivalinga can remain suspended in mid-air!
- Al-Biruni, an Arab traveller gave such a beautiful description of the temple that in 1024, Mahmud of Ghazni from Afghanistan looted the premises. Thereafter began a pattern of destruction and rebuilding that continued for centuries.
- The temple was again razed in 1297, 1394, and finally in 1706 by Aurangzeb, the Mughal ruler. However, the temple wasn’t rebuilt until 1950.
Somnath Temple Darshan Timings
Darshan Timing is from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
Somnath Temple Aarti Timings
Aarti Timings: Morning 7:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, 7:00 PM.
Best time to Visit Somnath Jyotirlinga
The best time to visit Somnath Temple is from October to February. Shivratri (in February or March) and Kartik Purnima (near Diwali) are celebrated with great splendour.
Visiting Places Near Somnath Temple
There are many places to visit near Somnath. The following list will help you to plan your itinerary.
1. Around 20 km from Somnath
Ahalyabai Temple. Bhalka Tirth, Shashi Bhushan Temple, Triveni Sangam Ghat, Golokdham Tirth, Harihar Mahaprabhuji’s Bethak and Prachi Tirth.
2. Chorwad (35 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial, Holiday Camp.
3. Sasan Gir (65 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Asiatic Lion Sanctuary.
4. Madhavpur (75 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Shri. Madhavraiji Temple (Shree Krishna), Shri Vallabhacharyaji Betha.
5. Kankai (70 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Kankai Mataji Temple.
6. Gupt Prayag (80 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Shri. Vallabhacharyaji Bethak.
7. Diu (85 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Nagoa Beach, Diu Fort.
8. Junagadh (90 km From Somnath)
Major Tourist Attraction: Narsinh Mehta’s Choro, Mount Girnar, Upperkot Fort.
9. Tulsi Shyam (110 km from Somnath )
Major Tourist Attraction: Tulsi Shyam Mandir
10. Porbandar (130 km from Somnath)
Major Tourist Attractions: Darbargadh, Sartanji Choro, Kirti Mandir(Gandhiji’s House), Huzoor Palace.
11. Dwarka (around 250 km from Somnath)
Major Tourist Attractions: Dwarkadhish Temple / Jagat Mandir, Beyt Dwarka, Rukmini Temple.
Cost of travel to Somnath Mandir from Delhi & Noida
The cheapest way to reach from New Delhi to Somnath is by train to Ahmedabad Junction. Then you need to take a bus to Somnath which takes 34h 40m. However, the fastest way to reach from New Delhi to Somnath is a flight to Rajkot Airport, and then a cab to Somnath which takes 6h 22m.
The cheapest way to reach from Noida to Somnath is a cab to Rewari, then a train to Ahmedabad Junction. Thereafter take a bus to Somnath which takes 36h 37m. However, the fastest way to reach from Noida to Somnath is to take a bus to Delhi, and then a flight to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, then a bus to Somnath which takes 22h 58m.
A visit to Somnath temple is a life-changing experience. So, it is revered as a sacred place by many devotees. Somnath has witnessed so many destructive pursuits of greedy invaders but has managed to become an epitome of India’s rich cultural past, myth and legends.
Somnath Jyotirlinga is situated in Sagar Kant of Saurashtra in Gujarat state.
Located in Veraval, Somnath Temple is considered one of the most famous and revered Shiva shrines in the world as it is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlingas.
Somnath temple is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Hinduism. It is believed to have the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
On average, the trip to Somnath temple will cost around 6000 INR for a single person.