Somnath – One of the Oldest Pilgrimage in India

Table of Contents

Introduction

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Somnath Temple

Situated at the shore of the Arabian Sea, Somnath or Prabhas Patan is the oldest pilgrimage destination in India. It is on the confluence of three rivers – Hiran, Kapila, and a mythical river called Saraswathy. The ghat overseeing this confluence is called the Triveni Sangam Ghat. It houses the Somnath Temple that houses the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and Hari Har Tirthdham – the holy place of Bhagwan Shri Krishna’s Neejdham Prasthan Leela. It also holds historical significance as Aryans were believed to have settled here in ancient times. 

Somnath Temple

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Jyotirlinga

Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple is the first among the twelve Aadi Jyotirlingams of India. It is located in Veraval, Saurashtra, in Gujarat, and is an important pilgrimage destination in India. There are various legends associated with the Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple. The word ‘Somnath’ means ‘Lord of the Soma (Moon)’ – an epithet of Lord Shiva.

Triveni Sangam in Somnath

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Triveni Sangam

The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site for many years due to the confluence of the rivers Kapila, Hiran, and the mythical Saraswathy. The confluence of these rivers or Triveni Sangam is believed by Hindus to be symbolic of birth, life, and death. It is also believed that the Moon God – Soma was once cursed that had led to him losing his luster. He had bathed in the River Saraswathy to regain it.

Interesting Facts about Somnath

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No land between Somnath Temple and South Pole
  • The Somnath Temple is believed to be the first of the 12 Aadi Jyotirlingams in India.
  • The location of the temple is highly intriguing. There is no land between the temple and Antarctica (south pole). 
  • The location of the Somnath Temple is also believed to be the spot from where Lord Krishna ended his earthly lila and left for his nij dham.
  • According to legendary tales, there was a magical stone in Somnath Temple called Syamantaka Mani that could convert anything it touched into gold. 
  • The Triveni Sangam at Somnath had made it a pilgrimage spot much before the temple was built there.

Best Time to Visit the Somnath Temple

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The winter months of October to February are the best time to visit Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple with temperatures ranging between 10 and 28 degrees C.

Things to do in Somnath

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Prabhas Patan Museum


Here are some interesting things to do in Somnath:

  • Visit the Temples in Somnath – There are many temples in Somnath that are considered sacred – Somnath Old Mandir by Ahilyabai, Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Veneshwar Mahadev Temple, Somnath Mahadev Temple and Mahakali Maa Temple. Thousands of pilgrims visit Somnath every year to pay homage. Don’t miss the chance to revel in the history and architecture of the magnificent temples in Somnath. 
  • Visit the Museums and Forts in Somnath – Somnath is an ancient city. There are many historical structures and forts that are still present narrating tales of the years gone by. The Prabhas Patan Museum has some interesting relics telling you about the events of the 12th century.
  • Unwind at the beaches of Somnath – Being a coastal town, Somnath has many beaches to help you unwind and relax. 
  • Shop at the local bazaar – Somnath has an interesting handicrafts market offering a range of products to buy. Spend some time at the local Somnath Bazaar and get ready to be mesmerized. 

Tourist Places to visit in Somnath

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Chorwad Beach

Somnath has a lot to offer to all types of tourists. Here are some sightseeing places in Somnath:

  1. Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple – A must-visit to experience the history, architecture, and divinity of the town.
  2. Chorwad Beach – This is one of the most scenic places in Somnath. While swimming is not recommended here, it is a great place to unwind and witness the majestic skies during sunrise and sunset.
  3. Prabhas Patan Museum – Established in 1921, this museum has a collection of more than 3500 objects including sculptures and objects from ancient times.
  4. Laxmi Narayan Temple – A gorgeous replica of the famous Laxmi Narayan Temple in Badrinath, this temple has an architectural design that is filled with intricate carvings. It sits on the serene shores of Somnath offering some amazing views of the sunset.
  5. Shree Parshuram Temple – The temple is believed to have been made on the spot where Bhagwan Parshuram performed penance for killing Kshatriyas. The temple also houses shrines dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Lord Ganesh.
  6. Sana Buddhist Caves – Somnath also had a Buddhist influence in ancient times. The Sana Caves stand testament to those times. With a complex network of 62 caves, you can spend a lot of time admiring these man-made shelters.

How to Reach Somnath

Here is how you can reach the pilgrimage town of Somnath:

By Train

Veraval is the closest railway station to Somnath. It is well-connected with major cities of the country. The distance between the Veraval Railway Station and Somnath is around 6 km. You can avail of a taxi from Veraval to Somnath and reach there in no time.

By Road

Somnath is well-connected with most cities in Gujarat. You can reach Somnath from the following cities with ease:

Junagadh to Somnath – the shortest route is via the Junagadh-Mendarda Highway – around 85 km

Rajkot to Somnath – the shortest route is via the NH27 and NH151 – around 200 km

Ahmedabad to Somnath – the shortest route is via NH47 – around 410 km

Porbandar to Somnath – the shortest route is via NH51 – around 140 km

By Flight

The nearest airport to Somnath is Keshod that is at a distance of around 55 km. It has flights from most major cities in India. You can also book a Ahmedabad airport taxi to Somnath.

For best offers and discounts from all the above mentioned cities and towns to Somnath, download the Savaari car Booking app.

Best time to visit Somnath

Being a coastal town, Somnath receives heavy rainfall and winds during the monsoon. Summers are particularly hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 24 to 41 degrees C. The best time to visit Somnath is during the winter months from October to March.

[Also Read: Daman and Diu: The Lotus of Marshlands]

Famous Places to Eat in Somnath

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Grand Daksh

Somnath holds a lot of surprise for foodies. Here are places to eat in Somnath:

  • The Grand Daksh, Somnath Bypass – for a fine dining experience
  • Triveni (The Fern Residency), Talala Road – a multi-cuisine restaurant
  • Sugar and Spice, Somnath Bypass – for casual dining
  • Aditya Restaurant, Talala – for Indian food
  • Real Taste Restaurant, Opposite S. T. Stand – for Punjabi food

Places to visit near Somnath

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Sana Caves

If you are in Somnath for a few days, then here are some tourist places near Somnath to consider:

  • Sasan Gir – Located at a distance of around 70 km from Somnath, Sasan Gir is a National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary near Talala Gir in Gujarat. You can go for a Jungle Safari and explore the wide variety of flora and fauna offered by the region.
  • Dwarka – Located at a distance of around 240 km from Somnath, Dwarka is one of the Char Dhams in India. It is also one of the seven most ancient religious cities in India.
  • Porbandar – Located at a distance of around 131 km from Somnath, Porbandar is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. From religious places to beaches, Porbandar has something to offer to all kinds of tourists.
  • Diu Island – Located at a distance of around 75 km from Somnath, Diu Island is known as the perfect holiday destination with family and friends. 

Hotels in Somnath

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Dwarka

Here are some popular hotels in Somnath for a memorable stay:

  • The Square Somnath, Somnath Bypass
  • Sarovar Portico Somnath, Somnath Bypass
  • The Fern Residency Somnath, Veraval Bypass
  • Regenta Central Somnath, Near Veraval Bypass
  • The Grand Astoria Somnath, Somnath-Junagadh Highway
  • The Somnath Gateway, Somnath-Junagadh Highway
  • The Grand Daksh Mansingh Inn Somnath, Junagadh Highway

Share this with your family and go on a religious trip to Somnath. Let us know your best travel stories here in the comments below.

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Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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