The Somnath temple, additionally referred to as Somanātha temple or Deo Patan, is a Hindu temple positioned in Prabhas Patan, Veraval in Gujarat, India. It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage web web sites for Hindus and is assumed to be first the diverse twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is uncertain even as the primary model of the Somnath temple changed into built with estimates varying some of the early centuries of the primary-millennium to about the 9th-century CE. The temple isn’t referred to in historical Sanskrit texts of Hinduism as Somnath nomenclature but the “Prabhasa-Pattana” (Prabhas Patan) is cited as a tirtha (pilgrimage website), in which this temple exists. For instance, the Mahabharata in Chapters 109, 118 and 119 of the Book Three (Vana Parva), and Sections 10.Forty five and 10.Seventy eight of the Bhagavata Purana state Prabhasa to be a tirtha at the shoreline of Saurashtra.
The Somnath temple is located along the coastline in Prabhas Patan, Veraval, Saurashtra region of Gujarat. It is about 400 kilometres (249 mile) southwest of Ahmedabad, 82 kilometres (51 mile) south of junagadh– another major archaeological and pilgrimage site in Gujarat. It is about 7 kilometres (4 mile) southeast of the Veraval railway junction, about 130 kilometres (81 mile) southeast of the Porbandar and about 85 kilometres (53 mile) west of the Diu airport.
The Somnath temple is located close to the ancient trading port of Veraval, one of three in Gujarat from where Indian merchants departed to trade goods. The 11th-century Persian historian AI-Biruni states that Somnath has become so famous because “it was the harbor for seafaring people, and a station for those who went to and fro between Sufala in the country of Zanj (east Africa) and China”. Combined with its repute as an eminent pilgrimage site, its location was well known to the kingdoms within the Indian subcontinent. Literature and epigraphical evidence suggests that the medieval era Veraval port was also actively trading with the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This brought wealth and fame to the Veraval area as well as the temple.
Nomenclature and Significance
Somnath means “Lord of the Soma” or “Moon“. The site is also called Prabhasa (“place of splendor”). Somnath temple has been a jyotirlinga site for the Hindus, and a holy place of pilgrimage (tirth). It is one of five most revered sites on the seacoast of India, along with the nearby Dwarka in Gujarat, Puri in Odisha, Rameshwaram and Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.
Many Hindu texts provide a listing of the maximum sacred Shiva pilgrimage websites, in conjunction with a guide for traveling the website. The first-class regarded were the Mahatmya genre of texts. Of those, Somnath temple tops the list of jyotirlingas in the Jnanasamhita – bankruptcy thirteen of the Shiv puran, and the oldest recognised textual content with a listing of jyotirlingas. Other texts include the Varanasi Mahatmya (determined in Skanda Purana), the Shatarudra Samhita and the Kothirudra Samhita. All both without delay mention the Somnath temple as the primary of twelve sites, or name the pinnacle temple as “Somesvara” in Saurashtra – a synonymous time period for this website online in those texts. The genuine date of these texts is unknown, however based totally on references they make to different texts and ancient poets or students, those have been commonly dated among the tenth- and 12th-century, with a few dating it an awful lot earlier and others a chunk later.
The Somnath temple is not mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism, but the “Prabhasa-Pattana” is mentioned as a tirtha (pilgrimage site).
Alf hiltebeitel – a Sanskrit pupil recognized for his translations and research on Indic texts which include the Mahabharata, states that the correct context for the legends and mythologies inside the Mahabharata are the Vedic mythologies which it borrowed, included and re-adapted for its instances and its audience. The Brahma layer of the Vedic literature already mention tirtha associated with the Saraswati river. However, given the river changed into nowhere to be seen while the Mahabharata become compiled and finalized, the Saraswati legend became changed. It vanishes into an underground river, then emerges as an underground river at holy websites for sangam (confluence) already popular with the Hindus. The Mahabharata then integrates the Saraswati legend of the Vedic lore with the Prabhasa tirtha, states Hiltebeitel. The vital versions of the Mahabharata, in numerous chapters and books mentions that this “Prabhasa” is at a coastline near Dwarka. It is defined as a sacred website in which Arjuna and Balarama cross on tirtha, a domain wherein Lord Krishna chooses to move and spends his very last days, then dies.
Catherine Ludvik – A Religious Studies and Sanskrit scholar, sees eye to eye with Hiltebeitel. She states that the Mahabharata mythologies borrow from the Vedic texts but adjust them from Brahmin-centered “sacrificial rituals” to tirtha rituals which can be available to every person – the meant target market of the extremely good epic. More in particular, she states that the sacrificial sessions alongside the Saraswati river discovered in sections inclusive of of Pancavimsa Brahmana were changed to tirtha sites inside the context of the Saraswati river in sections of Vana Parva and Shalya Parva.Thus the mythology of Prabhasa inside the Mahabharata, which it states to be “via the ocean, near Dwaraka”. This indicates an accelerated context of pilgrimage as a “Vedic ritual equal”, integrating Prabhasa that should were already essential as a tirtha website online while the Vana Parva and Shalya Parva compilation turned into complete.
The 5th-century poem Raghuvamsa of Kalidas mentions some of revered Shiva pilgrimage sites of his times. It includes Banaras (Varanasi), Mahakala-Ujjain, Trayambaka, Prayaga, Pushkara, Gokarna and Somnath-Prabhasa. This list of Kalidasa gives a “clear indication of tirthas celebrated in his day”, states Diana Eck– an Indologist known for her publications on historic Indian pilgrimage sites.
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 Saraswati). Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is said to be the waxing and waning of the moon. The name of the town, Prabhas, meaning lustre, as well as the alternative names Someshwar and Somnath (“the lord of the moon” or “the moon god”), arise from this tradition.
Ruined Somnath temple, 1869
The name Someshwar begins to seem starting inside the 9th century. The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata recorded that he has visited tirthas in Saurashtra, consisting of Someshwara. Romila Thapar states that this doesn’t mean the life of a temple, however alternatively that it turned into a pilgrimage website online (tirtha).
The put up-1950 excavations of the Somnath website have unearthed the earliest recognized version of the Somnath temple. The excavations showed the rules of a tenth-century temple, wonderful broken elements and information of a main, nicely decorated model of a temple. Madhusudan Dhaky believes it to have been the only that changed into destroyed by way of Mahmud of Ghazni. B.K. Thapar, the archaeologist who did the excavation, stated that there has been clearly a temple shape at Somnath-Patan inside the 9th-century, but none earlier than.
Mahammad of Ghazni, the Turkic Muslim ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire, raided India as a long way as
Somnath, Mathura and Kannauj in Gurjara Pratihara territory.
In 1026, at some degree in the reign of Bhima, the Turkic Muslim ruler Mahumad of Ghazni raided and plundered the Somnath temple, broke its Jyotirling. He took away a booty of 20 million dinars. According to Romila Thapar, relying on a 1038 inscription of a Kadamba king of goa, the condition of Somnath temple in 1026 after Ghazni’s is doubtful due to the fact the inscription is “puzzlingly silent” about Ghazni’s raid or temple’s situation. This inscription, states Thapar, need to advocate that rather than destruction it may have been a desecration due to the fact the temple appears to have been repaired fast inner twelve years and have become an lively pilgrimage internet site with the aid of 1038.
The architecture of the current structure of the Somnath Temple is a blend of different styles, including the Chalukya, Solanki, and Hemadpanti styles. The temple has a height of 155 feet and is built in the Kailash Mahameru Prasad style, which symbolizes Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.
The temple has a shikhara or tower, which is adorned with several kalashas or decorative pots. The entrance to the temple is through a large gateway called the Mahadwar, which leads to the main hall or mandapa. The mandapa has several pillars that are intricately carved with images of deities and mythological scenes.
The sanctum sanctorum or garbhagriha of the temple houses the lingam, which is believed to be one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The lingam is placed on a silver platform, and the walls of the garbhagriha are adorned with images of Lord Shiva and other deities.
The temple also has several other structures, including the sabha mandap, the nritya mandap, and the kund or sacred pond. The sabha mandap is used for various religious ceremonies, while the nritya mandap is used for dance performances and other cultural events.
In Conclusion, the Somnath temple is not only a religious website online but a image of resilience and faith. Despite being destroyed and rebuilt several instances, it has stood the test of time and remains one of the maximum vital pilgrimage sites in India. Visitors come from a ways and huge to pay their respects to Lord Shiva and to witness the grandeur of the temple. The breathtaking architecture, tricky carvings, and peaceful ecosystem make it a must-go to destination for everyone journeying to Gujarat.
The Somnath temple isn’t only a testomony to the wealthy history and subculture of India, however additionally a reminder of the strength of faith and devotion. It is an area where humans from all walks of existence come together to are searching for solace and enlightenment. Whether you’re a devout Hindu or in reality a curious traveler, a visit to the Somnath temple is an revel in that you will cherish for a lifetime.