Somnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva
and one of the 12
in India, was built in gold by
(Moon). The temple was destroyed seven times and it rose to its splendid glory through the hands of Hindus, like a Phoenix bird. Somnath Temple is situated at Somnath
on the shores of the Arabian Sea
, on the western coast of Gujarat
The temple finds several references in Hindu mythology and it is believed that the temple was renovated by Ravana in silver. Later it was built in wood by Lord Krishna and in stone by Bhima.
Mahmud of Ghazni plundered the temple in 1024 and this marked the beginning of a series of Muslim invasion and Hindu rebuilding, which continued for centuries. The temple was again razed in 1297, 1394 and finally in 1706 by
Sardar Vallabhai Patel pledged on November 13, 1947 to reconstruct the mutilated temple back into its glory. Thus on December 1, 1995, the then President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma dedicated the temple to the service of the nation. The present temple was built and authorized by Sri Somnath Trust. The temple features unique architecture of a 50 m high shikara tower, intricate carvings, silver doors, a pretty Nandi, the Shivling, a lot of holy idols and images.
Nearby is the Prabhas Patan Museum, which houses the 11th century version of the Somnath temple with 5 domes and many pillars. The Somnath Beach is also unique due to its pilgrim nature.