Category Archives: Somnath


Lord Shiva Temple Somnath

The city of Somnath lies on the west coast of India, near veraval in Saurashtra in the state of Gujarat. The area was formerly called Prabhasa, and it was here that Lord Krishna arranged for the members of His dynasty to leave this world, on the pretext of killing one another in a great battle.

Somnath Temple

The main temple at Somnath is that of Lord Siva as Somesvara, “the lord of Soma, the moon-god.” (Somnath, from soma-natha, means the same thing). Shri Somnath is first among the twelve Aadi Jyotirlings of India. It has a strategic location on the western coast of India.

It is the most sacred of the twelve Jyotirlingas (lingas of light) phallic symbol of the Lord Shiva. The Somnath Temple is known as ‘the Shrine Eternal’, as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time.

As is common in Siva temples, the deity is a Siva-linga, a phallic representation of Siva as the original progenitor. According to the Siva Purana and Nandi Upa-Purana, Lord Siva is especially present on earth in twelve places. The Siva-lingas in these places are known as Jyotir-lingas (“lingas of light“), and the foremost of these is Somesvara at Somnath.

Somnath Jyotirling

To see Somesvara, one  has to pass through two impressive pillared halls. The Jyotir-linga looked like any other Siva-lingas , but the priest tells that a person who has attained a certain degree of spirituality sees the Jyotir-linga as a column of fire piercing through the earth. Many people visit the temple, most of them to perform the sraddha ceremony for the sake of their ancestors.

Timing for Darshan at Somnath Temple : 6.00am to 9.00pm

Timing for Aarti : 7.00 am, 12.00 Noon and 7.00 pm

“Jay Somnath” Sound and Light Show : 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm

Outside, from the back of the temple one can have a beautiful view of the ocean and the beach. Local people sell conch shells and small sculptures of deities, and pilgrims enjoy riding on horses and camels.

Regarding history of the Somnath temple’s repeated destruction, locals compare the temple to be mythical phoenix, a bird that burns up but leaves behind an egg so that another phoenix can rise. Similarly this temple, with the deity whose shape is like that of an egg, has risen eight times after being plundered and reduced to ruins between A.D. 1300 and A.D. 1707.

Somnath Temple (1869)

While excavating for the present temple, workers found the remains of many former temples. Unearthed sculptures, artistic pillars, ceilings, and inscriptions are displayed in the Prabhas Patan museum in town. The original temple is said to have been built in four phases. Soma, the moon-god, built it out of gold; Ravana, the demoniac king of Lanka, rebuilt it out of silver; with sandalwood by Lord Krishna, and with stone by Bhimdeva (Solanki Ruler of Gujarat; Solanki was one of the 5 Rajput kingdoms in India).

References to Prabhasa can be found in the Rig Veda and in several Puranas. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) mentions that Lord Balarama came here twice, once when He went on pilgrimage to avoid taking sides in the Battle of Kurukshetra, and again, on the request of sages, after He killed the disrespectful Romaharsana Suta.

Somnath – The Lord of Moon God


The story of Candra’s installation of Somesvara is found in the Skanda Purana and the Mahabharata. Although Candra, the moon-god, was married to all twenty-seven daughters of the progenitor Daksa, he was partial to Rohini, keeping her always with him and neglecting the others.

Annoyed, the other twenty-six wives complained to their father. After repeated warnings, Daksa cursed Candra to suffer from tuberculosis, lose his beauty and radiance, and wane into nothingness. Candra’s affliction disturbed the tides and the growth of vegetation. Sages asked Daksa to withdraw his curse, but he said he didn’t have the power to do so. He advised Candra to take refuge in Lord Siva. Candra came to Prabhasa with his wife Rohini, found the Jyotir-linga here, and worshiped Lord Siva in that form. Pleased, Lord Siva blessed Candra with fortnightly phases of waning and waxing. Because the moon regained his growth and light here, the place became known as Prabhasa (“to shine”).

Nearby from Somnath, one can also visit Pandava-gufa, a cave associated with Pandavas, who according to the Mahabharata did their penance at Prabhasa.

Shri Krishna Nija Dham Prasthan Tirth (Dehotsarg Tirtha)

Shri Krishna Nija Dham Prasthan Tirth

Lord Krishna left earth from this spot. His footprints in marble are installed in a small open shrine. This place is called as Shri Krishna Nija Dham Prasthan Tirth (DEHOTSARG TIRTHA). This Tirtha is exactly located on the banks of Hiran at a distance of 1.5km from Somnath temple. The Local temple suggests that Shri Krishna departed on the first day of bright fortnight of Chaitra month (which corresponds with 18th February of English calendar) in the year 3102 B.C. at 2:27:30 hours.

Close by is the Gita temple, where you can see the Deity of flute-playing Krishna. On the right side of the temple in a small attached shrine is a Deity of Lord Balarama with Ananta Sesa, His expansion. This is considered the site where Lord Balarama departed from the earth from here in his original serpent form. This is marked by an ancient holy cave called “Dauji-ni Gufa”

Triveni Ghat Somanath

Next to Balarama’s shrine is a Laksmi-Narayana temple. A room used by Vallabhacarya, founder of the Pusti Marga spiritual line, is in a courtyard nearby. His followers worship this place.

Opposite to Laksmi-Narayana temple is the confluence of three rivers: the Hiranya, the Kapila, and the now dried up Saraswati. This is well known confluence for Bathing known as TREEVENI SANGAM SNAN GHAT

Bhalka Tirtha

Bhalka Tirtha - Somnath

Bhalka Tirtha - Somnath

On the way to Veraval, a larger city six kilometers northwest of Somnath, is the place “Bhalka” where there is a Krishna temple known as Bhalka Tirtha. The temple is built around the tree under which Krishna was sitting when Jara, the hunter, shot an arrow into His foot. Lord Krishna was resting in meditation under a peepal tree when the hunter misread the foot of Lord Krishna as a deer and hit from a distance. Lord generously pardoned and blessed him & sent him to Vaikuntha. This divine lila of Lord Krishna is immortalized by a beautiful temple and an ancient peepal tree. Lord Krishna then arrived at the holy banks of river Hiran from where he took his last journey to his own abode in spiritual world.

Temple Hall - Bhalka Titha
Temple Hall – Bhalka Titha

Deities - Bhalka Tirtha
Lord Krishna inside the Temple

Kund - Bhalka Tirtha
Kund – Bhalka Tirtha

Shree Bhalka Tirtha

On the left side of the tree is a white marble altar on which Lord Krishna is sitting. His pink foot points toward Jara, who kneels with folded hands. At this spot Lord Krishna spoke His final instructions to Uddhava. [Srimad Bhagavat 11th canto]