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.
Summer: 36.4 - 16°C
Winter: 31 - 11°C
November to March
Gujarati, Hindi and English
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,
The nearest airport is at Rajkot that is connected by flights from major cities
The nearest railhead is Veraval (7 km) connecting several important cities in India.
Somnath is connected by good motorable roads to all places in Gujarat.
- 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
Chandrani Guest House
Opposite Railway Station, Veraval
Chetna Guest House
Opp. S.T. Bus Stand
Opp. Indian Rayon Factory
Tel: 223281, 241344 (350-500)
Toran Holiday Home (TCGL)
College Road, Nr Circuit House
Rajendra Bhavan Atithi Griha
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
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.
Built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
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.
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.
This is the entrance gate of the town of Somnath.
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.
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
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.