Somnath Mahadev is a significant place of Shiva worship. This brilliant architectural masterpiece sits alongside the banks of the Arabian Sea and invites thousands of devotees throughout the year. With a rich historical background and an equally interesting mythological account, the temple has remained an iconic landmark in Gujarat for a very long time. Somnath Mahadev represents the perfect blend of spirituality at its finest. People from all over the world flock together in Somnath to offer prayer and celebrate iconic festivals like Maha Shivratri.
About The Somnath Mandir
The term Somnath is a combination of two words ‘Som’ and ‘Nath’ that combine to mean ‘the moon lord’ or ‘the moon god’. Constructed between 1st millennium to 9th century CE, the Somnath Mahadev Mandir is said to be the 1st Jyotirlinga among the 12 Jyotirlingas across the Indian subcontinent. This centre of Hindu pilgrimage has found its mention in the ancient Hindu literary works of Mahabharat and Bhagavata Purana as a Teerth Sthal along the coastline in the Saurashtra region. The temple is tied to several fascinating facts that will definitely add a lot of mystical charm to your whole experience.
Located in the Sagar Kant of Saurashtra region, along the coastline of Prabhas Patan in Veraval, on can Travel to Gujarat, Somnath Mahadev Temple through various modes of transportation and routes. It is about 400 kms away from Ahmedabad, 82 kms from Junagadh and 7 kms away from the Veraval Railway Station. It is also 130 kms away from Porbandar airport and 85 kms away from Diu airport. The temple is also located very close to the ancient trading port of Veraval and as per historical writings and sources, it was one of the major spots from where Indian merchants used to export trading goods.
Being located very close to the trading routes and the holy Triveni Sangam of rivers Hiran, Kapila and Saraswati, the Somnath Mahadev Mandir has always been an important centre for Shiva pilgrimage. It is said that the Somnath temple was first built by the moon god, soma, who had constructed it entirely out of gold. Later on it was rebuilt by Ravan completely out of pure silver and then it was rebuilt by lord Krishna out of wood and finally by Bhimdev out of stone. As per mythological accounts, the temple was built on the place where the very first Jyotirlinga had first appeared. As per the description of the Arab Traveller – Al Biruni, who had visited the temple in 1024, the temple was extremely wealthy and contained hundreds of dancers and musicians. This also invited lots of looters from the neighbouring empires who would regularly plunder the temple off of its wealth and riches. Even after being destroyed and rebuilt 17 times, the temple is a true testament to the pure devotion and resilience of the devotees.
How to Reach
If you are travelling to Somnath from Delhi, then there are no direct routes available; however, being one of the most important places of pilgrimage, it is very well connected through various railway lines and roadways. There are several cabs and taxi services available as well to make the entire trip extremely easy.
- By Train – The nearest railway station to Somnath is situated 7 kms away which is the Veraval Railway Station. There are cabs and other such services available connecting to Somnath temple.
- By Road – There are regular bus services and other such public transportation available connecting various parts of Gujarat like Gandhinagar, Rajkot etc. To Somnath temple.
- By Flight – Diu airport is the closest airport to Somnath Mahadev Mandir and is located 81 kms away from it. Diu airport is very well connected to different parts of the country as well. After reaching the airport one can easily get a cab, taxi or a bus service to reach the temple.
Read More: Dwarka to Somnath Distance
Best Time to Visit
The best time to plan a holiday in Somnath is during the autumn-winter months of October to March. The weather remains pleasant during this time and the temperature isn’t uncomfortable to go out and explore. Visiting the temple during this time is also a good idea since the weather remains inviting and extremely comfortable for explorations as well.
Although Somnath is one of those rare places in India that can be visited throughout the year, it should be avoided especially during the peak summer months from April to early July as it gets extremely hot and humid. This makes travelling and sightseeing very challenging and uncomfortable. The temperatures sky rocket around these times making travelling and getting around next to impossible.
The Somnath Mahadev Temple is located just on the coastline of Arabian Sea so visiting the temple during the peak monsoon times may not be a good idea.
Things to Do
There are plenty of things to do in and around Somnath Mahadev Temple to make your holiday as wholesome as possible. Here are some things to do during your visit to the temple:
- Visit The Aarti Darshan – The Aarti in Somnath temple takes place three times a day which are at 8 am, 12 noon and 7 pm. It is a divine experience for the viewers which is accompanied with lavish Aarti Darshan, chanting of hymns and devotional songs.
- Maha Shivratri Celebration – Somnath Mahadev is a holy Shiva temple and during the time of Maha Shivratri the temple is a sight to behold. Devotees of Lord Shiva from all over the world make it a point to visit the Somnath Temple and offer their respect to the lord. Everything is lavishly decorated and the celebrations go on for days on an end.
- Relax On Somnath Beach – Located right next to the temple of Somnath is the Somnath beach. People choose to relax their time away or watch the sunset at the Somnath beach. This will definitely be a relaxing experience.
- Visit Prabhas Patan Museum – Located a couple of metres away from the Somnath Temple is the prabhas patan museum. A visit to the temple is the perfect way of learning more about the history and culture of the temple and Gujarat as well.
- Sound And Light Show – If you happen to stay in the temple till later in the evening, you can get to experience the well-known sound and light show. This show is one of the best experiences in the temple of Somnath. The colourful show is narrated by Amitabh Bachchan who tells us about the history of the temple and everything one needs to know about it.
Places to Visit around Somnath Temple
There are plenty of places one could visit around Somnath temple. If you wish to explore more after visiting the temple, then here some suggestions for you to explore:
Bhalka Tirth – Gujarat is an important place of Krishna worship that invites pilgrims and devotees from across the globe. Gujarat is the land of lord Krishna and there are several spots and holy shrines marking his presence here. Bhalka Tirth is the place where the lord had left his mortal body and left for the heavenly abode. It was at this very spot that he was shot by an arrow when Jara the hunter mistook him for a deer. Ever since then this place has been of huge relevance to Krishna devotees.
Gita Mandir – Located very close to the Somnath temple, Gita Mandir is another one of the most important places to visit around Somnath. Built-in 1970 by the Birla group foundation, Gita Mandir is not only dedicated to lord Krishna but it is also dedicated to the holy Hindu book of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. The walls are covered in elaborate paintings depicting the book along with the life and times of the lord himself. The temple showcases 18 elaborately carved out pillars and each one of it is decorated with chapters from the Gita. The temple is said to be the spot where Lord Krishna had rested for a bit before heading off to Bhalka Tirtha.
Triveni Sangam – Triveni Sangam in Gujarat is made by the formation of confluence of the 3 holy rivers of Saraswati, Hiran and Kapila. For the convenience of the visitors, there is a dedicated corniche style of area where they can come and take their holy dip. Taking a dip in this Triveni Sangam is believed to offer the pilgrims with moksha and complete liberation from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. The significance of the Sangam dates back to ages ago when it was first used as the place for holy dips by the locals and later on it was refurbished to meet the needs of its ever-growing popularity.
Panch Pandav Gufa – Discovered in 1949 by the late Baba Narayan Das, this ancient cave is located at a distance of 1.5 kms from Somnath Mahadev Temple and 2 kms away from the railway station. According to ancient stories, the Pandav Gufas are known for worshipping Maa Hinglaj and this cave is now converted into a temple to honour the Pandava brothers and their pure devotion. One can offer their prayer in the Gufa to various shrines that are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Sita Mata, Lord Laxman and lord hanuman as well.
Devalia National Park – Other than spirituality, Gujarat is also known for its rich biodiversity that can be experienced through its national parks and sanctuaries. Devalia National Park is also referred to as the Gir interpretation zone is an area that is carved out for visit by the tourists as well as the locals for viewing of the rare Asiatic Lions among other rare species of flora and fauna as well. This is an area which is made out of a part of the Gir National Park. The government has done this to promote eco-tourism, and to keep the wild animals in the core regions as protected as possible.
Shree Ram Mandir – Located just 1 km away from the main temple of Somnath and very close to the Ghat of the Triveni Sangam, Shree Ram Mandir is another one of the major attractions to visit around the temple. Built by the Somnath trust in 2017, the temple is the epitome of gracefulness and elegance at its finest. The main shrine or the Garbha Griha of the temple is dedicated to Lord Ram, Lord Laxman and goddess Sita. There are other 2 shrines dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Lord Ganesh with each of the idols being made out of pure marble.
Buddhist Caves – Located in the Gir Somnath district of Gujarat and also known as the Sana caves, this set of Buddhist Caves is extremely ancient. These caves are rock-cut in nature and attract large numbers of adventure enthusiasts. The caves date back to 3rd to 6th century AD and were used as shelter for Buddhist monks as well as the Bhikkhus, especially during the monsoon months. The caves are inteself extremely unique in nature and the inclusion of a water tank here also makes it different from the rest of the structures around the region. There are about 20 sets of caves here that has also suffered in the past as a result of water leakage.
Shree Chandrabhaga Shakti Peeth – The Chandrabhaga Shakti Peeth is an important and a very powerful place of Devi worship. This is a Shakti Peeth where the stomach of goddess sati had fallen. The temple is situated extremely close to the holy Triveni Sangam and this place’s mention can also be found in variou Hindu texts. Every year this place is flocked by a huge number of devotees to offer prayer and celebrate various festivals. A visit to this temple can also be combined with a visit to the Somnath Mahadev temple.
- Make sure to go to Somnath Mahadev Temple during the right time. Check the weather conditions prior to your visit in order to make it memorable and wholesome.
- Pack only light clothing items if you are travelling in summer or autumn time. The weather here remains hot and humid so wearing cotton and light-colored clothing will be the best choice and will also make your travels more comfortable.
- There are many food stalls available that offer a range of delicious traditional, Gujarati ethnic food styles available. You don’t have to worry about the food quality or the choices here.
- While visiting the temple make sure to wear appropriate clothes that cover your shoulders and knees. This is a place of immense religious importance and dressing appropriately should be kept in mind in order to not hurt the religious sentiments of the locals.
- Somnath of Gujarat in general is a very popular tourist and religious destination so be sure to complete all your bookings way before your time of visit. Do not leave things to the last minute.
Somnath Mandir FAQs
Q. Why Is Somnath So Famous?
Ans. Somnath Mahadev is famous for being the first Jyotirlinga in India among the other 12 that spread across the subcontinent.
Q. Which Food Is Famous In Somnath?
Ans. Famous foods available in Somnath are: dairy products like Chaas, Lassi and buttermilk along with Dhokla, Khakda, Fafda, Malpua, Puran Poli etc.
Q. Who Destroyed The Somnath Mandir The Most Number Of Times?
Ans. Mahmud of Ghazni had destroyed the Somnath Mahadev Mandir multiple times.
Q. How Many Steps Are There To Reach Somnath Temple?
Ans. There are 270 steps connecting the Ghat leading up to the main temple entrance.
Q. What Is The Architectural Style Of Somnath Temple Known As?
Ans. The architectural form of Somnath Mahadev Mandir is known as the Gurjar Hindu Temple style of architecture.
Q. How can I go to Somnath and Dwarka?
Ans. If traveling to Somnath and Dwarka from Ahmedabad, then there are several public Buses, Taxis, and Cab services available. There are trains also available connecting Ahmedabad to both of these places. First, visit Dwarka and then visit Somnath. The road distance between the two places is 5 hours. Visit to Dwarka Somnath Temple is a great way of exploring Gujarat.