One of the 12 jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva, Somnath Temple is also the specimen of fine architecture. Dubbed as Eternal Shrine, it is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter for heavenly abode. This legendary temple is said to have vandalized numerous times in the history but with the help of zealot Hindu Kings the temple was rebuilt each time.
Some of the interesting facts:
- The Shivalinga in the temple is believed to have been safely hiding within its hollowness the famous Syamantak Mani, the Philosopher’s stone, which is associated with Lord Krishna. It is said that it was a magical stone, which was capable of producing gold. It is also believed that stone had alchemic and radioactive properties and could create a magnetic field around itself that helped it remain floating above ground.
- The temple finds its reference in the most ancient texts of Hindus like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda which signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India.
- According to history scholars, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times as it was said to be the confluence point known of three rivers, Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Saraswati. The confluence was called as Triveni Sangam and is believed to be the place where Soma, the Moon god bathed and regained his lustre.
- The legend has it that the initial structure of the temple was first built by Moon God who constructed the temple with gold. The Sun God used silver for its construction, whereas Lord Krishna made it with the help of sandalwood.
- The temple was suffer destruction at the hands of Mahmud Ghazni in 1024, Khilji’s army in 1296, Muzaffar Shah in 1375, Mahmud Begada in 1451 and Aurangzeb in 1665.
- The temple is said to be situated at such a place that there is no land in straight-line between Somnath seashore till Antarctica. In an inscription in Sanskrit, found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple is stated that the temple stands at a point on the Indian piece of land, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.
- On the walls of the temple, along with Shiva, the sculptures of Lord Brahma and Vishnu can also be seen. According to the Prabhaskhand of Skanda Purana, answering to the question of Parvati, Lord Shiva reveals that so far Somnath has been named 8 times.