In this post, I am going to tell you everything about Somnath Temple, including its history, why it is called Somnath, darshan timings, how to reach there and so on.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Table of Contents:
About Somnath Temple
Architecture & Interior
History of Somnath Temple
Darshan & Aarti Timings
How to reach Somnath?
Nearby Place to Somnath
Best Time to Visit
Dress Code at Somnath Temple
Where to Stay at Somnath Temple
About Somnath Temple
Somnath Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is located at the shore of the Arabian ocean near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat. The temple is a symbol of immense spirituality and the country’s rich traditions, culture and heritage
It is one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations of India. It is located near the Triveni Sangam the confluence of three rivers: Kapila, Hiran and Sarasvati. It also has the place where Lord Krishna took his last journey.
Why is it Called Somnath?
Somnath is a composite of two words Som+Nath. Here the Som represents Moon, and the Nath represent Lord. Hence, the lord of the moon is called Somnath.
It is said that the Somnath Temple was first developed by the God Moon himself. It was established in Satyug, and was made of Gold.
In Treta Yuga, the demon King Ravan rebuilt the temple, and it was made of silver.
In Dvapara Yuga, Lord Krishan rebuilt the temple with Sandlewood.
In Kaliyug (the present time), it was again built by Vikramaditya after the end of Mahabharata.
Temple Architecture & Interior:
- Sompura Shilpakar Brahmins design Somnath temple architecture.
- It is 155 feet tall and has seven stories.
- There is a Kalash (pot vessel) at the apex of the temple which weighs 10 tons.
- The flag on the vertex is 37 feet long.
- The temple rests on 64 pillars.
- The temple faces north and has three entries, each from east, north, and south.
- The designs on the pillars and walls proof that the temple has Jain influences.
- The sculptures made on the dome are characteristics of South Indian architecture.
- The Shikhar resembles the Nagara Style of Architecture.
- The entrance gate has Jharokhas, which resembles Rajput style architecture.
The temple interior is divided into these parts:
- Garbha Griha
- Sabha Mandap
- Nritya Mandap
Garbha Griha: This is the central part of the temple where the Jyotirlinga is situated. The roof is made of loadstone.
It has gold plated doors. The doors have gone gold plated after a Mumbai based family donated 100 kg of gold to the temple.
Apart from the doors, the utensils resides in Garbha Griha has also tuned into gold-plated.
Sabha Mandap: It is a large hall. It is a place where religious preaching was given to devotees. It has stone flooring where the idol of Nandi is situated.
Nritya Mandap: It is also known as Rang Mandap. It is a place where dance performances were given.
History of Somnath Temple
The story starts all the way from Satyuga. Prajapati Daksha, the son of almighty Lord Bramha, has 89 daughters. Daksha was looking for the perfect life partner for their daughters.
Moon approached him and asked to marry 27 daughters. The Prajapati nodded in affirmation and tied the knot of his 27 daughters with Chandra.
Out of the 27 wives of the Moon, the Rohini was very beautiful and attractive. He fell in love with Rohini and started neglecting the other 26 wives.
When the other wives started noticing this thing, they approached their father Daksha and called a spade a spade to him.
After noticing the condition of his daughters, King Daksha went to the Moon and asked him to do the justice and take care of all the spouses equally.
Daksha also warned him that if he did not do it, he has to pay for it.
Moon ignored his father-in-law advice. Daksha got angry and cursed the moon that he will lose its brightness.
When the Chandra started losing its brightness, he penanced Lord Shiva to get his glow back. He penanced at Prabhas Tirtha for six months.
After seeing such a devotion of the moon, Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked his wish. The moon requested lord Shiva to save him the curse. Lord Shiva removed the curse and gave him his brightness back.
The Installation of Shiva Lingam
After getting free from the curse, Moon asked Lord Shiva to stay at the same place in the form of Shiva Linga. Lord Shiva agrees to the advice of Moon, and stayed there and the place is known as Somnath.
Built and Rebuilt History
The temple was attacked and rebuilt many times in ancient history. The Muslim invaders looted and destroyed the sanctum sanctorum many times but by the grace of the lord, it never lost its significance.
The Seventeen Attacks
In 1025, Mahmud Ghazni ransacked the Somnath Temple and destroyed the holy Jyotirlinga. He looted the precious stones and gold which, was worth two million dinars at that time. King Vaughan of Junagadh then rebuilt the temple.
The second attack was carried out by Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1218 but the temple was rebuilt again.
The sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb looted it again and also destroyed the Shiv Linga. He not only destroyed the Somnath Temple but also demolishes the other shrines like Kashi Vishwanath and Keshav Deo temple and built Mosques over there.
In such a way, the temple was destroyed 17 times in the past but each and every time it was recovered.
The Present Temple
After the Independence of India, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel ordered to construct it again in 1948. The modern architecture was built in Chaulukya style.
The reconstruction got completed in 1951. The first president of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad installed the Shiv Linga in the temple and completed the pran prathistha.
Darshan & Aarti Timings
Followings are Somnath Temple darshan timings and Aarti Timings for devotees:
6 AM to 9.30 PM.
Aarti is performed in the Somnath temple thrice a day. Following are the timings for the aarti:
Morning: 7:00 am
Noon: 12:00 pm
Evening: 7:00 pm.
Light and Sound Show:
The light and sound show is one of the major attractions of the Somnath Temple. The duration of the show is about 1 hour. The show broadcasts the details about the Somnath temple. Following are the timings and tickets for the show:
Timings: 8 pm
Tickets: 25 INR (for adults)
15 INR (for children)
However, entry is the temple is free of cost.
Major Events at Somnath Temple
- Shravan Month
- Golokdham Utsav
- Kartik Purnima Fair (5 Days).
- Somnath Sthapana Divas.
How to reach Somnath Temple?
The Somnath temple is connected with the major transport. You can reach the Somnath temple via flight, rail and road.
Flight: The nearest airport to Somnath temple is Keshod Airport. You can book a flight to Keshod airport from the entire major airports from the country.
The distance between Keshod airport to Somnath temple is 64 km.
It will take approx. one and a half hour from the airport to reach the temple.
Train: the nearest railways station to Somnath Temple is Veraval Railway station. Somnath temple is just 7 km away from the Veraval Railway Station.
If any direct train to Veraval is not available from your location, you can book the train to Ahmedabad railway station. Ahmedabad railway station is connected with the Veraval railway station.
You can also book the tickets to Jabalpur or Pune railways stations. These railway stations are also connected to Veraval railway station.
Road: It is also the convenient way to reach Somnath temple. Roads are smooth and very well connected to the major bus stations across the state.
Best Time to Visit the Temple
- Somnath is heavily flooded with devotees in the winter season, i.e., October to March.
- The temperature of the Somnath Temple varies from 20°C to 30°C from October to March. So this is the best time to visit the temple.
- Apart from winters, people also visit the temple on Maha Shivratri, Shrawan and Kartika Poornima.
Dress Code at Somnath Temple
Shree Somnath Trust defined some strict rules that have to be followed if you are visiting the temple. The trust has decided the following rules for both men and women:
- Shorts are not allowed.
- Leather Clothing such as Jacket, Belts, etc. may not be allowed.
- Mini-skirts, short tops are strictly not allowed inside the temple
- Leather clothing may not be allowed inside the temple.
Where to Stay at Somnath Temple?
If you are reading this, it means you have made up your mind to visit Shri Somnath Temple.
If you are looking to a better accommodation at Somnath, read this on.
Since, Somnath Jyotirlinga is one of the biggest pilgrimage spaces in India. Thousands of people visit the shrine every year. That’s why the government and Somnath trust has done the home work for you.
You can easily find the accommodation there. You can either book a hotel to stay, or go to dharmashala and complex if you have lesser budget.
Accommodation Provided by Somnath Trust:
Hotels: There are four hotels which are owned by the Somnath Trust. Here are the hotels:
- Shri Lilavati Atithi Bhavan: This is a budget hotel which is located just 500 meters away from the temple and 200 meters away from the Somnath Bus Stand.
Phone No. 02876-233033
- Shree Somnath Maheswari Samaj Atithi Gruh: It is located just one kilometer away from the Somnath temple. The cost of the room can easily fit in your pocket.
- Shri Sagar Darshan Atithigruh: This hotel is owned by the Somnath Trust and it is located just 2 km ways from the holy temple of Somnath. It is just 1 km away from the Somnath Bus Stand and 12 Km away from the Somnath Railway Station.
- Tanna Athiti Gruh: It is a Non AC accommodation. You can easily get a room here is 500 INR.
Phone No. 02876-231212
(Note: You are advised to ask the availability of rooms in the hotel. You either search the rooms online or call the hotel directly for the inquiry.)
The Complex: There is a complex maintained by Somnath trust and you can book online for accommodation. If you do not want to stay in a complex you can book the hotels.
Dharmashala: If your pocket doesn’t allow you to stay in the hotels. You may go to Dharmashala. You can find them near the Somnath Temple.
Nearby Places to Somnath Temple
|Sightseeing Places||Distance from Somnath Temple|
|Ahilyabai Temple||260 meters|
|Bhalka Tirth||4 Km|
|Bhidbhanjan Mahadev Temple||3 Km|
|Triveni Maha Sangam||1.5 Km|
|Golokdham Tirth||4 Km|
|Shree Mahaprabhuji’s Bethak||2 Km|
|Prachi Tirth||20 Km|
Q1: Is camera allowed in Somnath temple?
Ans: No, Camera is not allowed inside the temple premises. However, you can take photos outside the temple.
Q2: Is Mobile allowed in Somnath Temple?
Ans: No, Mobile phone is also not permitted inside the temple. It is advised to keep your mobile phone inside the locker room.
Q3: When should we visit Somnath Temple?
Ans: The temple remains open for visitors throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the temple is winters i.e. October to March.
Q4: How can I go to the Somnath Temple?
Ans: You can reach the Somnath temple by air, by train, and by road. All the mode of transportation is available.