This temple had countless treasures and the figures of gods were studded with the jewels of diamonds, pearls, gold and silver. Rajas of Northern India with their great forces came to protect this temple but failed. The worshippers offered huge wealth of rubbies so that idols of Somnath might not broken.
Home to one of the 12 Jyotirlings of India, the temple city of Somnath or Prabhas Patan is situated in the state of Gujarat on the Arabian Sea.
Best time to visit: The climate of Somnath is mild with the temperature ranging between 20°C and 28°C in the winters and between 28°C and 34°C in the summers. One can visit the place round the year but the best season to visit is winters – from October to March.
History: It is said that the original temple of Somnath was built by the Moon God and was made of gold. After it was razed to the ground, it was rebuilt with silver by Ravana. When the silver temple was knocked down, it was reconstructed in wood by Krishna. And when this was pulled down, an edifice of stone was erected by Bhimdev.
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.
Remains found from the region and descriptions in the writings of Indians and foreigners suggest that the place was a colony of the Aryans in the ancient times. This temple of religious as well as historical significance is believed to have been built sometime around AD 4.
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.
The Iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in the construction of the present temple, an edifice reminding visitors of the splendor 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, 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. It has been built in such a position that there is no land between the Somnath temple and Antarctica. This fact finds mention in the inscription found on the protection wall of the temple.
The museum at Somnath houses the remains of the earlier temples but in the form of a clutter of old carved stones littering a courtyard. It also houses pottery shards, a seashell collection, a glass case of water bottles containing samples from the rivers Danube, Nile, St Lawrence, Tigris, Plate, Murray, and seawater from Tasmania, and New Zealand.
The Bhalka Tirth is the place where Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and wounded by an arrow while sleeping in a deerskin. The place is situated on the confluence of three rivers. There is a sun temple (Suraj Mandir) nearby that was also knocked down by Mahmud of Ghazni.