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Somnath

One of India’s 12 Jyotirlingas, venerated since ancient times

Somnath temple is a highlight of any trip to Gujarat. Also known as Prabhas Patan, Somnath is one of the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga shrines or the 12 temples enshrining Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlingam in the country. One of the oldest places of pilgrimage, the temple finds mention in ancient texts and scriptures. Its glowing description by 11th century Arab traveler Al Biruni prompted an unwelcome visit by Mahmud of Ghazni who ransacked and destroyed the temple in 1025 AD. Razed and rebuilt at least six times since its foundation, the existing temple standing at the shore of the Arabian Sea came into being as a result of the efforts of Sardar Patel, the Iron man of India.

Fast Facts

Temperature : Summer: 36.4 - 16°C
Winter: 31 - 11°C
Season : November to March
Clothing : Tropical
Languages Spoken : Gujarati, Hindi and English
STD Code : 02876

Tourism Office:Manager, Somnath Temple Trust, Prabhas Patan, Tel: 231212, 231200; Manager, Toran Holiday Home, College Road, Veraval, Tel: 246588; TCGL, 1st Floor, Khetan Bhavan, J. Tata Road, Churchgate, Mumbai 400020. Tel: 22024925. Fax: 22883541. Website: www.gujarattourism.com, E-mail: tcglmumbai@mtnl.net.in, pancholi_rmtcgl@yahoo.co.in

Getting There

Air
The nearest airport is at Rajkot that is connected by flights from major cities of India.

Rail
The nearest railhead is Veraval (7 km) connecting several important cities in India.

Road
Somnath is connected by good motorable roads to all places in Gujarat.
Somnath is

  • 304 km from Ahmedabad
  • 261 km from Bhavnagar
  • 238 km from Dwarka
  • 246 km from Jamnagar
  • 85 km from Junagadh
  • 188 km from Rajkot

Hotels in Somnath

At Veraval
Chandrani Guest House
Opposite Railway Station, Veraval
Tel: 220356

Chetna Guest House
Opp. S.T. Bus Stand
Tel: 220688

Hotel Minaxi
Junagadh Road
Opp. Indian Rayon Factory
Tel: 222250

Hotel Rajdhani
S.T. Road
Tel: 223281, 241344 (350-500)

Toran Holiday Home (TCGL)
College Road, Nr Circuit House

Veraval
Fax: 02876-246588
Reservations: TCGL
Mumbai
Tel: 22024925

Rajendra Bhavan Atithi Griha
Tel:  220072
Fax: 241526

At Somnath (Prabhas Patan)
Somnath Temple Trust
Opp. S.T. Stand
Tel: 231212, 231200

Other guesthouses are Damani Guest House No. I & II, Dharamsingh Guest House, Goenka Guest House, Jaypuri Guest House, Kalinga Kunj, Kamani Guest House, Mittal Guest House, M.K. Bungalow, Modi Guest House, Modinagar Guest House Modinagar Suite and Tanna Guest House.
Dharamshalas: Bhatia Vasanji Nanji Dharamshala; Gordhan Bhavan, Kansara; Shri Ahilyabai Dharamshala; Shri. Niwas Rest House and Shri Ram Niwas Dharamshala.

Places to Visit

Somnath Temple
One of Gujarat’s busiest pilgrimage sites, attracting a large number of devotees every day, this beautiful shrine is a place of intense religious activity. The temple is one of the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga shrines or the 12 shrines enshrining Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlingam in the country.

Somnath is also known as Prabhas Patan. Legend has it that the Kalabhairava Shivalinga (Bhairavanatha) here was worshipped by the moon, and hence is referred to as Somanatha. The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath as one bright as the sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharatha also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva. Legend goes that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati but was partial to Rohini his favourite. An angered Daksha cursed him to wane into nothingness. A disturbed Chandra came down to Prabhasa with Rohini and worshipped at Somnath after which he was blessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half. As the moon regained his light here, this town came to be known as Prabhasa.  The glory and wealth of Somnath was described by the Arab traveller Al Biruni and his accounts prompted a visit by Mahmud of Ghazni who ransacked and destroyed the temple in 1025 AD. It was immediately rebuilt by King Bhima of Gujarat and King Bhoja of Malwa. This temple was destroyed again by Alaf Khan, the general of Allauddin Khilji in the year 1300 AD. It was rebuilt again by King Mahipala of the Chudasama dynasty. This shrine was destroyed again and yet again in 1390, 1490, 1530 and finally in 1701 by Aurangazeb. It was rebuilt with perseverance each time after it was destroyed. In the year 1783, Queen Ahilyabhai Holkar built a new temple nearby, and in 1951, the president of India re-installed the Jyotirlinga of Shiva on the same Brahmasila on which earlier temples had been built.

Ahilyabai Temple
Built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Bhalka Tirth
Legend has it that this is the place where Lord Krishna, mistaken for a deer, was wounded by an arrow of a Bhil tribal and left his mortal body. The hunter mistook his partly visible foot for a deer and shot an arrow piercing his heel which was his vulnerable spot.

Dehotsarga
This is the holy place where Lord Krishna, having been injured, passed the last moments of his life under a pipal tree. A temple has been built here.

Junagadh Gate
This is the entrance gate of the town of Somnath.

Museum
An archaeological museum, showcasing relics of previous Somnath temples.

Other places of importance in Somnath are Baldevji’s Cave, Daityasadan, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Mahakalika Temple, Maha Prabhuji’s Baithak, Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple, Shashibhushan Mahadev Temple, Surya Mandir and Veneshwar Temple.

Excursions

Chorwad (25 km)
A quiet and charming sea resort along the Arabian Sea, the place is home to the summer palace of the former Nawab of Junagadh. The palace has been converted into a hotel.

Sasan Gir (48 km)
Located within Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Sasan Gir is the sole entrancing preserve for the Asiatic lion. Currently their population stands at more than 400. Though the undisputed highlight of the Sasan Gir is obviously the Asiatic lion, the park is home to 38 species of mammals, 37 species of reptiles, and more than 300  species of birds.

Ahmedpur Mandvi (79 km)
One of the finest beaches in the country, Ahmedpur Mandvi is a gem of Gujarat. It is a magnet for people fond of water sports, with facilities of water skis and scooters, speedboats, water toboggans, etc. Delwada is the nearest railhead.

Diu (82 km)
The Union Territory of Diu was one of the oldest bastions of Portuguese power.  It lies just across Ahmedpur Mandvi and is connected to it by a bridge.

Tulsi Shyam (109 km)
Located in the heart of the Gir forests Tulsi Shyam is a scenic spot famous for hot springs. The place also attracts devotes for its temple dedicated to the Pandava Bhim and his mother Kunti.