The town of Somnath contains many a number of streets, which moves away from the phoenix shaped temple. The rough and turbulent seas situated below offers a meditative and peaceful environment. Many a number of pilgrims come here to visit Somnath.
'I am omnipresent, but I am especially in twelve forms and places.' was quoted by Lord Shiva in the Shivapurana and Nandi Upapurana. These kinds of locations were termed jyotirlingas and Somnath is one of the very first that was discovered in the world. Dedicated to the prosperity and humanity of Lord Shiva, a legendary temple of gold was constructed by the moon god Soma.
PLACES TO SEE
Somnath Mahadev Temple: In the 11th century, the main Somnath temple was supposed to be constructed the moon god Soma in gold, by the sun god Ravi in silver, by Krishna in wood and by the Solanki Rajputs in stone. In the year 1951, the seventh time restoration of the initial temple had been done. The loyal Hindu worshippers helped in reinstating of the condition of the temple, even after many invasions taking place due to the stories of the temple’s prosperity. In the Chalukyan design of architecture, the temple had been built. It also has a shikhara, whose height is 50 meters. Fine engravings, beautiful carvings, doors made of silver, a grand idol of Nandi and the main shivalinga are the parts of the temple’s structure.
The spectacular view of the sea shinning under the bright sunlight can be seen from the side door situated in the temple. The beautiful sea below is not at all safe to take a swim in; however it offers a breathtaking view. On the banks of the sea, a tower named Deep Stambha is present. An arrow indicating towards the direction of the South Pole is present on the tower.
As per the calendar followed by the Hindus, the Kartik Purnima Fair commences on Kartik Sud 14. The fair goes on for a stretch of 4 days. Numerous tourists come here to visit the fair.
Archaeological Museum: The historical relics of the Somnath temple are displayed in the museum, which is located in the north direction of the temple. The timings to visit the temple are 8:30am-12:15pm and again from 2:30pm-6pm. Some tourists find the museum more intriguing and exciting than the temple because of the presence of numerous historical artifacts like statues, engravings and potteries. The ruins of the very old shrine built by Anhilvada Patan’s Chalukyan Maharaja Shri Mularaja Deva Solanki are worth making a trip to this place.
Somnath Beach: The beach is not an ideal place for taking a swim; however it offers a way out from the hustle bustle of daily life to enjoy the peacefulness of the environment. Camel rides and tit bits from the local market are also available.
Sun Temple: In the 14th century the construction of this interesting temple took place. A grand porch and statue of the Sun god are present in the entry point of the temple. This temple is located beside the Sitala Mata temple.
Other Historical sites: Some of the other sites related to history are the Daityusudan shrine, which contains a picture of Vishnu dating back to the 7th century AD, the temple of Mahakali situated close to the Somnath temple, which Indore’s Maharani Ahalyabai Holkar constructed in the year of 1783 AD, the holy Shashibhushan shrine located on the route to Bhalka Tirth from Somnath, Sana caves located in the district of Amreli close to Rajula. Dispersed at various levels are as many as 62 number of rock shelters. Numerous pillars in the halls and dome like structures are present in some of the caves. Belonging to the time period of 2nd century BC, these caves are considered to be one of the most ancient caves that are located in the western part of India.
Veraval: One must take a stroll around the striking and pictorial harbor amidst a great many number of fishing boats along with it’s never ending coast line. It is a wonderful experience, although it can be a bit smelly at times because of the fishes. Veraval is a big business hub, especially recognized for its fisheries. The Kharwa fisher-folk possesses a bigger control over the area. It acts as an entry point to Somnath.
The fishing activities are carried out with the help of both trawlers and also the conventional boats. A boat manufacturing industry is there in Veraval, which takes care of the maintenance and repairing of the boats with the old conventional methods. Previously the Government had begun a seafood industry, which in the present times has become a major industry. Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Persian Gulf countries and the USA are some of the countries to which the good quality seafood made in many a number of processing factories in Veraval are exported. One can very comfortably come to this place since it has a good link via road ways as well as railways. Some standard hotels and guest houses are there for tourist to stay in.
Bhalka Tirtha & Dehotsarg: The Bhalka Tirtha temple is situated on the way to Veraval, in the south direction of Somnath. This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is believed that on this very spot, Krishna was shot on the foot mistakenly. The location where Krishna was supposed to break down because of his wound is the place of Dehotsarg. The name of Mahaprabhuji’s Bethak is given to the temple of Bhalka Tirtha. Here a tulsi tree has been sown as a remembrance of Lord Krishna. Speech on Shrimad Bhagvat Gita was given by Shri Vallabhacharya for a time period of 7 days in the 9th century Ad on this spot of Dehotsarg Tirth. He also gave speech on Gita Mandir. As many as 18 pillars made of marbles are situated here. On each of the pillars a chapter from Bhagvat Gita was been engraved. A wonderful and elegant tribhangi statue of Lord Krishna, playing music on a flute, is present.
Baldev Gufa, a cave, is also present close by. As per the Hindu legend goes, Baldev, Lord Krishna’s elder brother, vanished through this cave and is supposed to have gone to another world. He came back as the personification of Sheshnag, who was the king of snakes.
Mai Puri Masjid: From the Junagadh Gate the distance of this age old Mai Puri Masjid is a mere 1 Km. this gate is the entry point to Somnath when a person is coming from the direction of Veraval. A grand and majestic architecture, the masjid is entirely enveloped in blue and white colored tiles. Apart from the numerous other tombs and mosques of Somnath, this masjid is also a significant location for pilgrimage for Muslims.
Ahmedpur Mandvi: One of Gujarat’s most spectacular and gorgeous beaches, Ahmedpur Mandvi is a 6 Km long beach. The blue colored water of the Aranbian Sea bushes the beach gently. This beach is situated beside the Diu Island. The beach extends right into the neighboring region of mainland Diu as the Ghogla Beach.
The tourists visiting the beach are presented with many choices like having a bath in the soothing and clear waters, enjoying the exciting water sports and seeing the dolphins. This place is located at the convergence of Gujarat and Diu. An intense and eclectic mix of the customs and traditions of Saurashtra region and Diu’s Portuguese culture can be seen in the tiny fishing villages.
Chorwad Beach: The grandiose palace of the Nawab of Junagadh is located on the Chorwad Beach. This beach is situated at a distance of 37 Kms from Somnath. At present, the palace is a place of relics. The beach is a little too dangerous for taking a swim. However it is quite clean and is a perfect place for rest and un-wind oneself in the calming cool ocean breeze. No lodging facilities are there in this place, however one can come for a day visit from Somnath.
HOW TO REACH
By road: Major cities of Gujarat are well connected to Somnath via various state government buses as well as private buses. The distances between Somnath and Junagadh, Chorwad are 79 Kms and 25 Kms respectively.
By rail: The closest railway station is located at a distance of 6 Kms from Veraval.