One of the twelve Siva Jyotirlingas has been established in the Somnath Siva Temple. Somnath is on the extreme southwest coast of Gujarat, on the Arabian Sea, about 300km southwest of Ahmedabad. The town of Somnath consists of a few streets near the temple and bus stand. There is a nice beach by the temple.
Somnath is said to be located where the River Saraswati flows into the sea. Somnath is famous as the place where a hunter shot Lord Krishna in the foot. It is also known as Prabhas Patan and is the location where the Yadavas, Lord Krishna’s relatives, fought a fratricidal battle by the Lord’s will. The explanation is that after Krishna completed his mission on earth, he wanted to recall his eternal associates, the Yadavas.
They were, however, too powerful to be vanquished by anyone else, so by the Lord’s will, they were cursed to fight among themselves and destroy one another. Somnath Temple The temple is on the shore of the Arabian Sea, 6km south of Veraval.
In this temple is established one of the twelve Siva Jyotirlingas. A temple dedicated to Siva has been located here since ancient times. The temple was destroyed and raided by the Muslims several times, first by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026. It is said that this temple was originally built by Soma, the moon-god, to atone for the curse Daksha put on him. Daksha cursed Soma because he was partial toward Rohini over his other wives, who were all Daksha’s daughters. Because of the curse, the moon began to wane. Daksha advised Soma to go to Prabhas to free himself of the curse. The moon bathes here on amavasya, the new moon day, before he regains his light. Because the moon regained light here, this place is known as Prabhas. Somnath means the “Lord of the Moon.” This temple is said to have been built by the moon-god out of gold, then rebuilt by Ravana out of silver, then by Lord Krishna out of wood, and later by Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) out of stone.
Two thousand Brahmins are said to have served in this temple. The temple was also said to have once had 300 barbers, 500 dancing girls, and 300 musicians. The temple was raided and destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026. He removed a solid silver gate at that time and brought it back to his homeland. The temple was later destroyed in 1297, 1394, and for the last time in 1706 by Aurangzeb, just before he died. The present temple was rebuilt in 1950. It is large, but not artistic. The present temple has a tower over 50m (165 ft) high over the main sanctum (altar). It was constructed on the exact spot where the original temple was situated. You can see remains of an ancient temple right next to the present temple.