a complete guide to somnath temple


Nestled on the shores of the Arabian Sea in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, the Somnath Temple stands as a beacon of spiritual and cultural significance. Renowned as the “Eternal Shrine,” Somnath is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. In this comprehensive guide, we embark on a journey to explore the rich history, architectural grandeur, and spiritual allure of the Somnath Temple.

Table of Contents:

  1. Historical Reverie: The Saga of Somnath
    • 1.1 Legends and Mythology
    • 1.2 Invaders and Reconstructions
    • 1.3 Symbolism and Significance
  2. Architectural Splendor: Somnath Temple Complex
    • 2.1 Pradakshina Patha and Grabhagriha
    • 2.2 Sabha Mandap and Nritya Mandap
    • 2.3 Aakaash Ganga and Shiva Linga
  3. Spiritual Practices: Rituals and Festivals
    • 3.1 Aarti and Abhishek
    • 3.2 Shivratri and Kartik Purnima
    • 3.3 Somnath Light and Sound Show
  4. Pilgrim’s Sojourn: Visiting Somnath
    • 4.1 Best Time to Visit
    • 4.2 How to Reach Somnath
    • 4.3 Accommodation Options
    • 4.4 Dress Code and Etiquette
  5. Exploring Beyond: Nearby Attractions
    • 5.1 Triveni Sangam
    • 5.2 Bhalka Tirth
    • 5.3 Gir National Park

1. Historical Reverie: The Saga of Somnath

1.1 Legends and Mythology:

The history of Somnath is steeped in legends and mythology. It is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlingas and has connections to the legendary tales of Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance and the moon-god Chandra. The temple finds mention in ancient texts like the Puranas and the Mahabharata, adding to its timeless mystique.

1.2 Invaders and Reconstructions:

Somnath’s resilience has been tested through centuries of invasions and reconstructions. The temple faced numerous sackings, most notably by Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century. Despite the destruction, it was rebuilt time and again by the devout rulers of the region, embodying the undying spirit of faith and devotion.

1.3 Symbolism and Significance:

Somnath symbolizes the eternal nature of the divine and the cyclical nature of creation and destruction. The temple’s resilience and its continuous reconstruction signify the triumph of spirituality over material challenges. It stands as a living testament to the endurance of devotion.

2. Architectural Splendor: Somnath Temple Complex

2.1 Pradakshina Patha and Grabhagriha:

The Somnath Temple complex is an architectural marvel, featuring intricate carvings and timeless design. The Pradakshina Patha, the circumambulation path around the sanctum, leads to the Grabhagriha, the inner sanctum housing the Jyotirlinga. The sheer craftsmanship and the spiritual energy within these walls leave visitors in awe.

2.2 Sabha Mandap and Nritya Mandap:

The Sabha Mandap, the assembly hall, and the Nritya Mandap, the dance hall, showcase impressive architecture and intricate carvings. The pillars and ceilings narrate tales from Hindu mythology, creating an immersive experience for devotees and art enthusiasts alike.

2.3 Aakaash Ganga and Shiva Linga:

The Aakaash Ganga, a silver-coated ceiling, adds a celestial touch to the sanctum. The main deity, the Shiva Linga, is a representation of the cosmic energy of Lord Shiva. The divine ambiance and the serenity within the sanctum offer a spiritual retreat for seekers.

3. Spiritual Practices: Rituals and Festivals

3.1 Aarti and Abhishek:

The daily rituals at Somnath include elaborate Aarti ceremonies and Abhishek, the sacred bath of the Shiva Linga. Devotees participate in these rituals, seeking the divine blessings of Lord Shiva. The rhythmic chants and the fragrance of incense create an atmosphere charged with spiritual energy.

3.2 Shivratri and Kartik Purnima:

Shivratri, the night dedicated to Lord Shiva, is celebrated with grandeur at Somnath. Pilgrims throng to witness special ceremonies and participate in night-long prayers. Kartik Purnima, another significant festival, sees the temple adorned with lights and fervent devotees.

3.3 Somnath Light and Sound Show:

The Somnath Light and Sound Show narrates the captivating history of the temple. The play of lights and the resonant narrative create a mesmerizing experience, bringing alive the centuries-old tales of devotion, destruction, and reconstruction.

4. Pilgrim’s Sojourn: Visiting Somnath

4.1 Best Time to Visit:

The ideal time to visit Somnath is during the winter months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant for exploration.

4.2 How to Reach Somnath:

  • By Air: Diu Airport is the nearest airport, approximately 65 kilometers away.
  • By Train: Veraval Railway Station is well-connected to major cities.
  • By Road: Regular buses and private taxis connect Somnath to nearby towns and cities.

4.3 Accommodation Options:

Somnath offers a range of accommodation options, including dharamshalas and hotels. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak pilgrimage seasons.

4.4 Dress Code and Etiquette:

Devotees are expected to dress modestly, and there is a prescribed dress code for entering the sanctum. Silence and reverence are encouraged within the temple premises.

5. Exploring Beyond: Nearby Attractions

5.1 Triveni Sangam:

The confluence of three holy rivers—Hiran, Kapila, and Saraswati—forms the Triveni Sangam near Somnath. Pilgrims often visit this sacred site for ritualistic activities and to experience the spiritual confluence.

5.2 Bhalka Tirth:

Bhalka Tirth is believed to be the site where Lord Krishna was accidentally shot by an arrow, leading to his divine departure. The temple at Bhalka Tirth commemorates this event and attracts devotees seeking a connection to Lord Krishna’s transcendental journey.

5.3 Gir National Park:

Nature enthusiasts can explore the Gir National Park, approximately 40 kilometers from Somnath. Home to the Asiatic lions, the park offers a unique blend of wildlife and biodiversity.


Somnath, with its rich history, architectural splendor, and spiritual resonance, beckons pilgrims and travelers alike. As the eternal abode of Lord Shiva, the temple stands as a symbol of unwavering faith and the timeless cycle of creation and destruction. Plan your pilgrimage thoughtfully, immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance, and let the divine aura of Somnath leave an indelible mark on your soul.