Somnath by the Sea

posted in: Asia, Gujarat, Heritage, India | 24
Somnath, a  little temple town is situated along the West Coast, close to the Gir Forests. Though famed for the Somnath temple, the place also, has a few other attractions that have a lot of legends and history associated with the same, with the main Somnath temple having its mention in the age-old Rig Veda.  Let’s have a quick tour of some of these – 

Somnath Temple

Somnath temple                                                     Image Credits: Anilhwara under Wikepedia Commons
Somnath temple                                                                                         Image Credits: Anilhwara under Wikepedia Commons
The main attraction here, this shore temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga and hence, a key pilgrimage spot for a lot of people. The temple is believed to have been originally, built by Lord Soma (Moon God) and subsequently rebuilt by Ravana, Krishna and then, Bhimdeva. It has been destroyed by various invasions, including the first one by Mahmud Ghazni and what is currently seen, and is a rebuilt version of the old temple. The temple itself is magnificent and one can appreciate the beautiful carvings on the roof and walls within. The light show takes place every evening and one should definitely opt for the same. The show beautifully showcases the history of the temple. An interesting story behind the temple involves the story of Lord Soma who is said to have married 27 daughters of King Daksha, but was partial to one – Rohini. King Daksha cursed the Lord causing him to lose his brilliance. It is said that Lord Soma prayed and meditated here to Lord Shiva, who took pity on him and reduced his curse such that he would wax for 15 days and wane for the rest in a month.
Pointing to South Pole            Image Source: Admishra under Wikepedia Commons
Pointing to South Pole        Image Source: Admishra under Wikepedia Commons
Within the temple, watch out for a pillar by the sea with an arrow (image above) that points to South Pole. It is said that the path of light from reaches the South Pole at the end of the Ocean, without any obstructions in its way.
5kms from the temple, is the Somnath beach.The beach is a great place to relax and as you walk along the same, one should try and spot the Swayambhuva (self appeared) natural lingas.
Located close to the Somnath temple and known as the old Somnath temple, this monument was built by Ahilyabai to protect the actual and original linga from destruction. One can see glimpses of the original Somnath temple here. The original linga has been preserved in the basement of the temple . Here one can actually go into the inner sanctum, close to the idol

Bhalka Teertha 

Around 2-3 kms away from the Somnath temple, on the Verawal- Prabhaspatan highway, is located a temple dedicated to Shri Krishna. It is said that this is where Sri Krishna was shot by a poacher and where he ended his life. The poacher mistook his foot to be a deer and shot an arrow which led to the death of Sri Krishna. There is a beautiful statue of Shri Krishna in a sleeping pose under a tree. It is said that after forgiving the poacher, the injured Sri Krishna walked to the river Hiren and departed from his mortal existence. His footprints are said to have been preserved in marble in a shrine at this spot.

Gita Mandir

Gita Mandir and Triveni Sangam Image Source:Wikimedia Commons
Gita Mandir and Triveni Sangam                                                                                          Image Source:Wikimedia Commons
Close to the Bhalka Teertha, you find the beautiful Gita mandir made of marble , with the entire Gita inscribed on its 18 pillars. Dedicated to Sri Krishna, it is said that it is built around the spot where he took rest on his way to the Triveni Tirth, after getting wounded. Built by the Birlas, this temple has amazing acoustics where every sound echoes back to you. Within and around the temple campus are some more amazing places to sight see – including Dauji ni Gufa, Laximnarayan Mandir and the Triveni Sangam.
Dauji ni Gufa is a cave where Sri Krishna’s older brother, symbolised by a snake, departed from Earth.
The Triveni sangam is a confluence of three rivers: the Hiranya, the Kapila, and the Saraswati, though the later is now dried up. The campus as a whole, is a beautiful and peaceful place to just enjoy the banks of the river Hiran and the divine surroundings. It is said that the waters here can miraculously cure people of various diseases. However, in the current state, just sit on the banks and enjoy the calm waters. The sangam has a lot of fish and one can buy crackers from the local shops nearby to feed them.

Panch Pandav Gufa

Panch Pandav Gufa                              Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Panch Pandav Gufa                                                                                                                                  Image Source: Tirtha Yatra

Dedicated to the 5 pandavas, it is said that during the Pandava exile, the 5 brothers had used the cave as a place to hide and were immersed in prayers that invoked Lord Shiv. This is a narrow cave that allows only single person to enter at a time. It has a small idol of Hidimba Devi, who is said to have appeared before the Pandavas and is said to be the Kuldevi of Pandavas

Kamnath Mahadev Temple

The temple is an old one dedicated to Lord  Shiv. It is said that it is here that Lord Shiva opened his third eye and burnt Kamdev. There are 13 Shivlingas that greet you when you enter the place. As you go in further, you can find an old cave with a very old idol of Lord Shiv. The place also, has a pond called Dudhiyu Talav. It is said that the water in the pond has magical properties that help cure King  who built this temple, King Mayurdhwaj of leprosy.
With so much of spirituality, beauty and calmness around the place, Somnath gives one a feeling of peace and serenity.

Travel Tips:

  • Best time to visit Somnath is between November – February.
  • The place is crowded on Kartika Purnima (Full moon ) owing to the special prayers session in Somnath Temple.
  • Accommodation is available in the form of small hotels.
  • A lot of tourists opt to stay in Veraval which is around 6 kms away from Somnath.
 Getting there:
  • There are plenty of buses available from Ahmedabad and other major cities in Gujarat for Somnath.
  • Verawal station, which is 6kms away from Somnath, is well connected by rail from most stations in Gujarat
  • Mumbai and Ahmedabad are the closest airports. Diu airport is closer than these cities but the frequency of flights is limited and are only from Mumbai.
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24 Responses

  1. this is so lovely… the Somnath temple is just mind blowing… thanks for sharing 🙂
    cheers, Archana –

  2. The temple is so beautiful, I think those are pigeons dotting the facade.
    Thanks a lot for the useful info.

  3. Thank you Archana. Cheers

  4. Thanks Indrani. If you do happen to go there, do share your experience as well.


  5. Beautiful pictures! Somnath is on my travel list 🙂

  6. The temple looks so grand but I would love to see the cave and revisit Gir!

  7. Nice post with beautiful pics. Revived my memories of Somnath and Gita Mandir. I haven''t been to the cave. The pillar they say gives unobstructed view of South Pole, but not sure if it is actually so,

  8. Nice post with beautiful pics and workable information .

  9. I parents visited there last year and I opted not to visit.. But going through your post now I am regretting my decision..

    Awesome post Ami 🙂

  10. Yep, wouldn't mind a visit again to this part of the country.

  11. Actually, it is said that the light rays from that point reaches SouthPole . Interesting right?

  12. Ah! That happens….next time maybe. Thanks for reading through

  13. Beautiful place. Thanks for reminding me of my visit.

  14. Wow.Lovely post Ami.Great write up.It is in our list to visit these places for a very long time.Your post is making us to plan here.


    Sriram & Krithiga

  15. Thank you Sriram and Krithiga. Let me know your experience once you have been there

  16. Thanks Abhi 😀

  17. Visiting Somnath later this month and have taken tips from this post.

  18. Thanks Bharat. Let me know about your experience there.

  19. The Somnath temple shines like a Pearl on the shores of the sea. It is a testimony to the resilience and faith of India. Lovely temple, have been there a couple of times, but always want to go back.

Would love to know what you think