“Jay Somanath! Jay somanth”!
The Viraval port and Prabnas Pattana in Sourashtra, echo will shouts ol joy with the above chanting by hordes of pilgrims.
The waves hitting the steps of the Mandirghat seem to join the happy chanting. They seem to say ‘Jay Shankar, Jay Shankar” This low baritone sound together with the ringing of the golden bells seem to merge into a sweat sound of “One Namah Sivaya, On Namah Sivaya”. The entire place acquires a holy and pious atmosphere.
The huge golden bell of the temple was supposed to weigh arounc two hundred “Mans” (each Man is equal to 40 seers) and the fifty pillars studded with gem stones like diamonds, rubies, cats eyes etc supported it.
The inner temple of the Garbhashay was supposed to glow with the lustre of these gemstones. The Nance Deep was always kept lighted with Kkannauji attar, The treasure of the temple was forever full of vast wealth anc was kept safe.
For worship of the Lord-and Abhishek (worship with holy water sandalwood scented water was brought from Haridwar, Prayag Kashi ever> day. However flowers for special festivities were importec from Kashmir For the routine daily worship, one thousand Brahmins were appointed. About three hundred and fifty dancing girls were appointed for the reqular music and dance concerts that took place in the Temple courts.
This religious place of worship was earning the produce of ten thousand villages. Among the twelve JyotirLingas (Lingas of light) Somnath is considered as the primary one. Because this deity is supposed to be Swayanbhu (self-born) and is always awake, lakhs of devotees visited this temple and considered themselves blessed and to have achieved piety. Offerings made by crores of devotees amounted to crores of rupees which kept the Temple always rich and abundant. Along with this, the Sun worshipping foreigners (probably Parsis) also contributed a part of their profits to the temple treasury which kept its coffers full, all the time.
Chandra, (Moon God) was the first one to receive the benefic boon of Shri Somnath of Sourashtra, the Shiva pilgrimage, Agni Teertha and Surya Teertha. Then Chandra built a beautiful golden temple and put a glorious Jyotirlingas in it, the first of its kind in India.
According to Prabhaskhand of Skanda Purana,(the legend goes like this)
Chadra Married the twentyseven daughters of Daksha, but was very partial and showed a lot more love and affection to Rohini. The remaining twentysix wives not only felt neglected but also insulted. They were disappointed with their husband and went and complained to their father. Daksha was upset to see his daughter suffer thus, and tried twice to convince his son-in-law to change himself, but in vain. He put a curse on him that Chandra would be “decreasing” in size.
The gods were very sad at Chanra’s plight and went to Brahma, The Creator, in order to find out a remedy for this condition of Chandra and get a solution for redressing the curse. Brahma told them that the only way out was to worship Vrishabhdhwaj Shankar at Prabhas Kshetra Mahamrityunjay. Chandra went on a penance for six months and prayed to Lord Shiva, at the end of which Shankara appeared before him. He gave Chandra the boon that in a month, he would grow for fifteen days in one half and in the other half he would keep loosing one Kala (shade) per day and decrease in size. He was pleased with the and in order to increase the prestige of the place, Lord Shiva Himself came to be known as Someshwar, meaning famous Moon (Som). The established a Someshwar Kund there. By taking a holy dip in this holy pond or Kund, it is believed that one would obtain release from all the sins.
Chandra or Moon is also called Som. That is why this JyotirLinga has become famous as Somanath. Chandra or Moon looks very bright here. Therefore, this place is also known as “Prabhasapattana”.
This grand temple of Somanath came under the attack of the Muslims several times. In the year 722, Junamad, the Sindh Subadar attacked it for the first time and looted innumerable items from its treasure.
Later, Shri Somnath Mandir was built by Ravana for Rupa and Lord Krishna for Chandan. Surrounding the Sorati Somanath, there are several mythological stories based on the local incidents, which are given at the end.
The beautiful statue of Somnath, can be seen Irom the center because of the miraculous magnetic power. Ghajni Mohammed, destroyed this statue on Friday, the 11 th of may 1025 AD. From then onwards, Ghajni Mohammed came to be known as the “Statue Destroyer” (Iconoclast). On that day, he plundered and looted a treasure worth 18croro:.
In 1297AD ,Allauddin Kkhilli sent his SardarAltaf Khan to! Jomanath on a mission of destroying and putting down the Somanath Mandir I lie Somnath Temple was subjected to series of attacks starting in 14 /<) Al) try Mohammad Begada, Mujaffar Shah, II, in 1503 AD, and finally by Aurangazeb, known to be the most intolerant towards others religions, In 1701 AD, where in, the Temple was totally destroyed, plundered and looted in a most horrible way. A large number of people were killed mercilessly and a lot of money stolen.
In 1783 A.D. Sadhvi Ahialya devi Holkar, a great devotee of Shiva, built a new temple for Somnath after India become independent, the lion of Gujarat, Sardar Vallabhai Patal renovated the SomanathTemple on the advice of Kakashaheb Gadgil of Maharashtra with its revived Indian architectural beauty for which it became an unique example. It drew the attention of the world,
The Somanath JyotirLinga statue was reinstated (Pran Pratishta) on Friday, the 11 th May 1951 at 9.46 A.M. It was done by the then President of India, Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad, to the tune of the Veda chanting of VedamurtiTarkaTeertha Lakshman Shastri Joshi, in a grand manner.
This primary JyotirLinga located in India, is the cynosure of all Indian pilgrims. It is always crowded with lakhs of devotees. A large number of Sadhus and pious men can be met there. With the offerings of devotes, the Somanath Temple’s grandeur is revived. In spite of being subjected to destruction by non-believers, the faith of Indian devotees’ dedication and their love was never destroyed. Shri Somnath JyotirLinga stands as the legendary example of the same.
The temples 15th memorial and the ancient monument located on the seaside of Kathiavad near Prabhaspattan. There are many famous mythological stories attached to them. The sun Temple is the most ancient of all. There is no presiding deity in it, but the architecture of temple is so exquisite, that even by seeing the ruins one can imagine.
The Bhadralkali Temple is very ancient.The door has a stone inscription of fifty one classic letters on the right wall. It has a reference to Raja Kumar Pal who built the temple and gave lots of donations.
Bhallantak (Bhalooka)Teerth-is the place where Lord Krishna’s injured toe of His left foot bled from the hunters arrow. This is known as Bhallantalk Teerth.There is an idol of Lord Krishna here. It is here that Arjun acquired the hand of Subhadra in marriage. A big fete is organised on Karthik Pournima here.
Lord Shri Krishna built the Golden Dwarika here in Kushavrat in Kathiavad. Later on it is these Kush-Darbha or reeds which gave rise to the Musala which destroyed the Yadava dynasty. Shri Krishna and Balaram were very saddened at the whole thing. Balram entered the sea and ended his incarnation in a cave under the sea. The cave can be seen even today
On the banks of river Hiranya a large bathing wharf is built which is known as Dehotsarg. The last rites of Lord Krishna were performed here. A huge memorial and a Geeta Mandir standing on number of pillars are built here.
At the place where the physical body of Lord Krishna received the last rites in form of cremation, a crystalline idol of the Lord has been installed. When one stands in front of this idol of Lord Shri Krishna, one can imagine the entire life story of Lord Krishna. He was born in the prison of Mathura. His .childhood was spent in the house of Nanda in Gokul. He grew up there. He went to the court of Kamsa, the demon king and slain him there. He played Raas, the ethereal love-play with the Gopis in Brindavan. He received His education in the hermitage of Sandipani. He built the new city of Dwaralka and became Dwarakadham, its king. In the Mahabharat war that took place in Kurukshetra, he offered to be the charioteer for Arjuna, and helped the Pandavas win the war.
He gave the world an eternal message through the Geeta. After seeing the internal strife among Yadavas, Shri Krishna chose the reed-bow as the medium of inviting death on to Himself in order to end His incarnation. All those who get the holy company of Lord Krishna, be blessed. We see this idol of Lord Krishna emerges in front of our eyes as the complete and perfect man.
Saint Agastya, is supposed to have drunk the entire sea near Prabhasapattan. Mythological heroes like Janamejaya, Pandavas, Ravana are supposed to have visited Prabhasapattan Teerth. In the month of Magha (sometime in February) on the day of Shivaratri, Somanath JyotirLinga festival is celebrated with great aplomb.