Somnath Jyotirling Temple - Some facts

The temple city of Somnath or Prabhas Patan is situated in the state of Gujarat on the Arabian Sea. This is the first among the twelve Jyotirlings. Since ancient times, Prabhas Patan has been a pilgrimage center, being the confluence of the mythological Saraswati, Hiranya and Kapila. Legend has it that Lord Shiva’s Kalbhairav linga is situated at Prabhas. It is also associated with the moon as the Moon God is also said to have worshipped this Shivling. This is also the reason why this temple is popularly known as Somnath, the one named after the moon. The present temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasad is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent skill of sompuras, Gujarat’s master masons. It has the shikhara, the Garbhagriha, the sabha mandap and the nritya mandap.
On the Southern side of the temple, on the wall at the sea shore, there is a pillar. It is called “Baanstambh” बाणस्तंभ्. On the top of the pillar is placed a globe of Earth and an arrow pierces through it. On the pole is inscribed “Aasmudrant Dakshindhuvparyant Abaadhit Jyotirmarga”. It means If you start travelling from Somnath Temple towards South in Arabian Sea, you will not meet any land until you reach the South Pole or the Antarctica. The temple has been built in such a position that there is no land between the Somnath temple and Antarctica.

This very sacred pilgrim centre is also called Prabhas Teerth. The temple houses one of the oldest consecrated Jyotir Lingas mentioned in Rigveda, Skanda Purana and Mahabharata. It is believed that the Shivlinga placed in the sanctum (Garbha Griha) of the temple actually freely levitated in air without any support. This is mentioned in the Puranas and also in the account given by Zakaria Al Qazwini, the famous astronomer and geographer. The present Somnath Linga is the largest of the 12 Jyotir Lingas. It is a greyish cylinder formed stone made of granite about 1m high and 60cm in diameter. The top is rounded and the Lingam is placed in a large silver plated Yoni.
Somnath Jyotirling
In AD 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple, and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji and later Aurangzeb. It is said that the temple was looted and destroyed as many as seventeen times. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in the construction of this present temple, an edifice reminding visitors of the splendour of the original Somnath temple. Renowned temple architect Prabhaschandar designed it and the first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad installed the Jyotirling in the new temple on May 11, 1951. The present temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent skill of sompuras, Gujarat’s master masons. It has the Shikhara, the Garbhagriha, the Sabha Mandap and the Nritya Mandap.

The temple of Somnath that resurrected from ashes many a times.

The peak of the temple when seen against the sun reveals Nandi & Trishul on the Flag (Dwaj) atop the tower.
The roof of the temple has beautiful architecture. And it looks more grandeur early morning when first rays of sun fall on it.

Close by is the very old Sun Temple, which dates back to time of the original Temple of Somnath and gives a clue what the original temple looked like. This very old temple give an indication of what the original Somnath Temple was like.
Sun Temple near Somnath temple

In the northern main street leading to the temple is the Prabhas Patan Museum. The museum displays remains from the earlier Somnath Temples which were found on excavations. Those relics tells us the glorious past of this temple and its architecture. I’ll cover that with the detailed history and photographs of those relics of the temple later.
Not to be missed, just few meters away from the temple, on the Arabian Sea coast are found naturally formed Shivlings. Few lie on the coast itself while couple of them are in the sea with sea water doing the abhishek.

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