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Somnath – The Shrine Eternal

Picture of Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Somnath, an epithet of Shiva is a holy place located at a short distance from Veraval, Gujarat. This temple houses the first Jyotirlinga.

According to Hindu mythology, this temple was built by Soma (the Moon) after Shiva relieved from him from the curse of Daksha, his father-in-law. Destroyed numerous times and rebuilt time and again, Somnath is also called ‘The Shrine Eternal.’

The temple is located on the confluence of three rivers and faces towards the Arabian Sea. The land holds special significance for Hindus as this is the place where Krishna succumbed to an arrow from a hunter.

Some of the important places for pilgrimage which are located in this temple town are mentioned below-

Bhalka Teerth

Among all the holy places worth visiting in Somnath, Bhalka Teerth is unique. Situated between Somnath and Veraval, it is the place where Krishna was fatally wounded by an arrow shot by a hunter while he was resting under a peepal tree. Krishna pardoned the hunter but went to Dehotsarg, located 4 km from here to depart from this world. 

Beside the peepal tree, a temple has been constructed with sculptures depicting the hunter asking for forgiveness from Krishna. The spot is undergoing redevelopment from the central government. There are no resting and parking area at this holy site.

Somnath Temple

The temple is named after Soma(Moon) who worshipped Shiva to get rid of a curse which he had received from his father-in-law Daksha. After being blessed by Shiva, Soma regained his light. Therefore, Somnath is also called Prabhas.

The original temple was constructed by the moon in gold. According to Hindu mythology, Ravana rejuvenated it with silver, Krishna with sandalwood and finally Bhimdeva with stone. Since then, the temple was destroyed numerous times by foreign invaders.

The existing temple was constructed using reddish yellow stones and inaugurated by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President in 1951. You can have a memorable view of the waves of the Arabian Sea hitting the walls of the temple.

Somnath Temple idol

Parshuram Temple

This temple is located at a distance of 2 km from the Somnath temple, on the way to Dehotsarg. No clear signage of the temple is available as it is located in the interior. It is widely believed that Parshuram conducted a severe penance for the sin of killing numerous kshatriya warriors at this place.

The area around the temple is surrounded by dense trees and weeds. Its premises are surrounded by a number of water bodies.

The main sanctum has a black idol of Parshuram holding an axe apart from the idols of Kama and Kala beside it. There are shrines of Ganesha, Hanuman, and Renuka, Parshuram’s mother over here.

During Harihar Parva, an auspicious event among Hindus, many Naga sadhus come down from the Himalayas to visit the temple and pay their obeisance.  Though the temple does not feature in the map of local tour operators, yet it is a place worth visiting for the faithful from all walks of life.