Somnath Dham

We reached Somnath Dham yesterday in the afternoon. We checked in to the hotel that we had booked before. After taking our lunch, we went to the Somnath temple. We worshiped at the temple.

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CHORWAD

On the way, we stopped for cold drink in a village. I found a shop opened, which was selling cold drinks. I asked the lady owner of the sop, while purchasing the bottles, about the name of the village. She replied that the village is “Chorwad” and added that it is the native village of the renowned industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani. It’s a village on the coast of Gujarat. Located 30 km from Somnath, the Chorwad beach was once home to the royal palace of the Nawab of Junagadh. Today it remains in a ruined state. So, we didn’t take detour to see the beach.

THE PLACE

The small shore town of Somnath in Gujarat is one of the most frequented spots in Gujarat. It is one of the oldest pilgrim centers of India and is said to house one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Somnath temple is located on the western coast of Gujarat and is one of the oldest and most revered temples of India and finds its reference in the most ancient texts like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda which signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most celebrated pilgrimage sites or Tirthdham.

THE LEGEND

According to Hindu mythology this is also the place where Lord Krishna was shot in the leg. As is evident Somnath has many a story associated with it.

As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of protection) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshiped till the end of eternity.

Ancient Indian traditions maintain a close relationship of Somnath with release of Chandra (Moon God) from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati. Moon was married to Twenty-Seven daughters of Daksha. However, he favored Rohini and neglected other queens. The aggrieved Daksha cursed Moon and the Moon lost power of light. With the advice of Brahma, Moon arrived at the Prabhas Teerth and worshiped Bhagwan Shiva. Pleased with the great penance and devotion of Moon, Bhagwan Shiva blessed him and relieved him from the curse of darkness partially, thus causing the periodic waning of moon. Pauranic traditions maintain that Moon had built a golden temple, followed by a silver temple by Ravana, Bhagvan Shree Krishna is believed to have built Somnath temple with Sandalwood.

Located as it is, it is widely believed that if one were to sail from here in a straight line, the end of the journey would be at the North Pole, without having to travel over land.

THE TEMPLE

The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means “The Protector of (the) Moon God”. The Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”.

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Somnath temple, 1869 (Image: @IndiaHistorypic/Twitter)

Somnath temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva which are considered to be very holy as each of the twelve Jyotrilinga is considered to be the manifestation of the Lord Shiva. It had been desecrated and vandalised repeatedly by Muslim invaders. Every time it was rebuilt at the same site. The modern temple was built over five years – from 1947 to 1951. It was inaugurated by then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.

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No electronic item is allowed inside Somnath temple. We deposited our camera, mobile phones at the locker room and walked into the temple.

BHALKA TIRTH

We reached Somnath temple after visiting Bhalka Tirth – the legendary spot where Lord Krishna was mistakenly hit by the arrow of a hunter. We worshiped at the Krishna temple there. It’s this sacred place from where Bhagvan Shri Krishna took his last journey to his neejdham.

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TRIVENI GHAT

Then we went to the famous Triveni Ghat. Triveni Ghat in Somnath is the meeting point of three holy rivers – Kapila, Hiran and a mythical River Saraswati, which are believed to be flowing to their ultimate destination – Arabian Sea. These stages of rivers where they meet and then flow together to the sea symbolizes human birth, life and death. Considered as a sacred location for taking a holy dip to get rid of all curses and diseases, Triveni Ghat holds a significant place in the Hindu Mythology and Puranas and also finds a mention in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed that Lord Krishna visited this holy spot when he was hurt by an arrow shot by Jara – a hunter.

According to historians, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni Sangam. Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have bathed in the river Saraswati at this site to regain his lost lustre. The result is the waxing and waning of the moon or the waxing and waning of the tides at this sea shore location.

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I offered tarpana to my ancestors. Prabhash teertha is a holy place to offer tarpana to ancestors. Also, it’s the pitripaksh. After that, we returned to Somnath temple for Aarti scheduled at 7 PM. We also joined in the Aarti. After that we relaxed for sometime in the lawns and then returned to our hotel.

ॐ नमः शिवाय| Om Namah Shivaya!

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