|The Somnath in the Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra,
on the western cost of Gujarat (INDIA) is one of the twelve
Jyotirlings that are most scared to the Hindus. It is as old
as creation and its reference is available in Rig Ved also.
It is said - the Moon (Soma) with his wife Rohini worshipped
the deity of the temple, the Sparsha Ling, to free himself from
the curse of his father-in-law, Daksha Prajapati. Lord Shiva
pleased with his penance restored his light for half of the
month. Hence the deity here is known as Someshwar or Somnath,
Lord of the moon and the place as Prabhas. The Somnath is known
as the Shrine Eternal as it has withstood the shocks of time
and the attacks of the destroyers. It has risen like a phoenix
each time it was destroyed or desecrated. The present temple
is the seventh temple built on the original site. Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel, the great son of India and its first Deputy Prime Minister
took a pledge on November 13, 1947 for its reconstruction which
was completed on December 1, 1995 when the President of India,
Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma dedicated it in the service of the
nation. The present temple is built by Shree Somnath Trust which
looks after the entire complex of Shree Somnath and its environs.
The Present Temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasada is built in the
chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent
skill of Sompuras, Gujarat's master masons. It has the Shikhar
portion, the Garbh Gruh, the Sabha Mandap and the Nritya Mandap.
Such a temple has not been constructed in India during the last
800 years. The Temple is situated at such a place that there
is no land in between from Somnath sea-shore to Antartica, the
South Pole. Such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the
ARROW-PILLAR erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath
Temple. The Prabhas Kshetra is one of the most sacred places
in India for Shaivaites as well as for Vaishnavites. Lord Krishna
was hurt here at Bhalka in his foot by the arrow of a hunter
who mistook him to be a deer.
There is Bhalkha Tirth temple at this sacred place. His mortal
remains were cremated at Dehotsarga, on the banks of river Hiren.
Shree Somnath Trust has built Dehotsarg canopy and Gita Mandir
at Dehotsarga. The Dehotsarg canopy shelters "Krishna-Charan".
The Trust has taken up project to develop this sacred place
as "Shree Krishna Neejdham-Prasthan Teerth". Ahalyeshwar
Mahadev Temple built by Queen Ahalyabai, Gita Mandir, Laxmi
Narayan temple, Baldev Gufa, Mahaprabhuji's Bethak, Triveni
Sangam, Parshuram Kshetra, SUN Temple, Prachi and Shashibhushan
temples are other places of religious significance in and around
the Somnath Temple. Its earliest history fades into legend -
it is said to have originally been built out of gold by Somraj,
the moon god, only to be rebuilt by Rawana in Silver, then by
krishna in wood and by Bhimdev in Stone. A description of the
temple by Al Biruni, an Arab traveler, was so glowing that it
prompted a visit in 1024 by a most unwelcome tourist - Mahmud
of Ghazni. At that time, the temple was so wealthy that it had
300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and even 300 barbers just to
shave the heads of visiting pilgrims.
Mahmud of Ghazni, whose raids on the riches of India are legendary,
descended on Somnath from his Afghan kingdom and after a two-day-battle,
took the town and the temple. Having looted its fabulous wealth,
he destroyed it for good measure. So, began a pattern of Muslim
destruction and Hindu rebuilding that continued for centuries.
The temple was again razed in 1297, 1394 and finally in 1706
by Aurangzeb, the notorious Mughal fundamentalist. After the
1706 demolition, the temple was not rebuilt until 1950. Outside,
opposite the entrance, is a statue of S V Patel (1875-1950),
who was responsible for reconstruction. The current temple was
built to traditional designs on the original site by the sea.
It contains one of the 12 sacred Shiva shrines known as jyoti
linga. Photography is prohibited inside the temple, and you
must leave your camera at the hut outside. There is a grey-sand
beach outside the temple which is part of the temple's lonely