- PRIME MINISTER was elected new chairman of the Shree Somnath Trust (SKT), the religious body which manages and maintains the famous Somnath temple near Veraval in Gujarat.
- Somnath, literally translated as the Lord of Moon (Soma) houses the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas or the symbolic representation of Lord Shiva.
- This highly famed pilgrim destination is located at the Viraval Port or PrabhasPattan in Saurashtra, Gujrat.
- The temple’s positioning is quite unique.
- The temple is positioned in such a way that not a single piece of land is visible from the Somnath seashore until Antarctica.
History of Somnath Temple
- It is said the first version of the temple came into being even before the start of Christian era.
- The second version of the temple came into being under the initiative of the Vallabhi king around 408AD-768AD.
- This temple is often referred to as the ‘eternal shrine’ because historical records say that this temple has been destroyed several times by invaders and have been resurrected several times too.
- Archaeological investigations point out that the temple of Somnath had been rebuilt nearly thrice before the raid of Muhammad Ghaznavi in the year 1026.
- Also, it is told that later the temple was attacked three times more.
- Thus the temple was attacked and destroyed as many as 6 times until the present 7th version emerged.
- The latest rebuilding of Somnath temple was done in 1947 under the initiative of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel; the then deputy PM. Prabhashankar Sompura was chosen as the architect and thus the present day Somnath temple came into being.
- Some of the ancient texts tell that the temple was built for the first time in gold by king Somraj during Satya Yuga.
- In Treta Yuga, Ravana had built it out of silver while in Dwapara yuga lord Krishna had built it out of wood.
- Later King Bhimadev had built the temple out of stone.
- That is the claim of some of the ancient scriptures of our country.
Troubled History of Somnath Temple
- In AD 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple,and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji and later Aurangzeb.
- It is said that the temple was looted and destroyed as many as seventeen times.
- The Iron man of India, SardarVallabhbhai Patelwas instrumental in the construction of the present temple. Renowned temple architect Prabhaschandar designed it and the first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad installed the Jyotirling in the new temple on May 11, 1951.
Architecture of Somnath Temple
- The temples in India stand for their architectural marvel, craftsmanship and showcases rich culture and heritage.
- The present structure was built by the Sompura Salat community in Kailash Mahameru Prasad Style or the Chalukya style.
- The main spire of the temple is 150 foot high and has a flag post of 27 foot tall.
- A kalash of weight 10 tons was put on the top of the spire.
- The Baan-Stambh or the arrow-pillar located on the sea-protection wall indicates that the point is the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.
- The Tirsthambh located at the temple indicates that the nearest landmark (South Pole or the Antarctica) is located at about 9936 km away indicating the geographical wisdom of ancient India.
- The silver doors, intricate carvings and a fabulous nandi are worth seeing inside the temple.
- The sea is visible from a side door inside the temple which gives you the most scenic view and worth watching for hours.
- The temple attracts huge crowds during the Mahashivaratri festival and every Kartik Purnima is grandly celebrated here.