Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, December 5, 2022

Somnath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somnath, an epithet of Lord Shiva and a small temple town located 5 kms from Veraval, Gujarat is largely recognized as the place which houses his first jyotirling-in the Somnath temple. According to tradition, the Shivalinga in Somnath is one of the twelve jyotirlingas in India, where Shiva is believed to have appeared as a fiery column of light. The jyotirlingas are taken as the supreme, undivided reality out of which Shiva partly appears. Each of the twelve jyotirlinga sites takes the name of a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is a lingam representing the beginning-less and endless stambha (pillar), symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

It is believed that this temple was built by the Moon (also known as Soma) after Lord Shiva relieved him from the curse of his father in law, Daksha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having been destroyed and rebuilt many times over, the Somnath temple is also known as 'The Shrine Eternal'. The colossal temple lies on the confluence of three rivers and stands facing the splendid Arabian Sea. . The temple of Somnath has existed since times immemorial and it is also mentioned in the oldest holy scriptures, Rig Veda.

 

 

 

This land holds many a significance for the devout Hindu as the place where Krishna succumbed to a hunter's arrow. The place where Krishna left his mortal coil - Dehotsarjan Sthal is just two kilometres from the Shiva temple. 

 

 

 

The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni sangam (the confluence of three rivers — Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Sarasvati).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamnath Mahadev Temple is a massive temple complex located opposite Triveni Sangam made by King Mayurdhwaj almost 200 years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is believed that ages ago Shiva had reduced Kama to ashes by unleashing the fury of his third eye. A huge temple of the main deity, Kamnath, occupies the centre surrounded by many small structures. There are two huge water bodies inside the periphery, a holy pond known as Dudhiyu Talav and a bathing pool called as 'Mahadev no Kund'. It is widely believed that King Mayurdhwaj recovered from leprosy after bathing in Dudhiya Talav and hence many devotees come to take a dip in this pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

In the interiors, there is a long, narrow cave where Adi Shankaracharya meditated for years. A spectacular presentation of all the twelve jyotirlings of Shiva is shown at the opening of this cave. Devotees from every corner of India throng this place during the end of the month of Shravan when a grand fair is held to mark the culmination of this holy period. 

 

 

 

 

Veneshwar Mahadev Temple is one of the most ancient structures in Somnath dating right back to the twelfth century. It is located in front of the Somnath-Dharamshala Gate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the legend goes, when Mahmud of Ghazni attacked Somnath, the local king of Vaja clan was unwilling to surrender and decided to put up a tough fight. The Muslim Generals hatched a new plan to abduct his daughter, Veni, who used to pay visit to this linga everyday. When they attacked this temple, Veni locked herself in and surrendered in front of Shiva asking for his help. At this, the linga is said to have divided into two and Veni was taken inside. What is visible to the eye, to this day, is an impression of her hair that was left out as well as the mark of the linga splitting open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veni achieved instant salvation and Mahmud's plan failed. After this event, this Shiva temple was christened 'Veneshwar Mahadev' in fond memory of this miraculous episode. The temple has a very unusual spire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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