Located in Saurashtra, on the western coast of the north western state of Gujarat in India, the Somnath Jyotirlinga is the first in the series of 12 jyotirlingas spread all across the country. All these jyotirlingas in the country are said to be spots, where Lord Shiva has appeared as a fiery column of light and all of these lingas represent an endless nature of Lord Shiva, with start-less and end-less aspects.
The place is one of the most prominent pilgrim places in India and also a widely popular tourist spot. The popular Somnath Temple, which houses the Somnath jyotirlinga has many times in the past been demolished and reconstructed, until 1951, when it was finally built properly as per the style of Chalukya architecture, and till this present day, the temple is decked with the same architecture. The style is also known by the name of Kailash Mahameru Prasad style. The main spire of the temple is around 15 meters tall in height and is accompanied at the top by an 8.2 meters flag pole.
The destruction and reconstruction of the temple so many times, is very well written in the popular book by author K.M. Munshi, titled ‘’the Shrine Eternal,’’ which is a name by which the Somnath Temple is actually known. The installation ceremony of the new temple was done in the month of May, 1951, by the then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who was also the first president of the Republic of India. He was invited to the ceremony by K.M. Munshi.
Somnath literally means ‘’the lord of the Soma,’’ who is an epithet of Lord Shiva. The place has been a spot of interest for many pilgrims since ancient times due to being a confluence of three rivers (trivenisangam), which are River Kapila, River Hirani, and the mythical River Saraswati. It is believed that Lord Soma, known as the Moon God, because of a curse had lost his lustre and to regain the same, he took a dip in the holy waters of River Saraswati, and as a result of that, there was a waxing and waning of the moon . In fact, the name of the town where the Somnath Temple is located, Prabhas in Saurashtra, also arises from the same tradition, alongside its alternate names commonly used, which are Somnath and Someshvar.
Featured Image Source: somnath.org