Friday, 28 February 2014
Somnath Trip – 6 : Somnath Temple – Magnificence Redefined
Somnath Temple has mesmerized you!
Somnath Temple is the centre of tourist attractions in Somnath. The ancient and auspicious Somnath Temple is the temple of Lord Shiva. Somnath is a compound word made from two words- SOM and NATH. ‘Som’ means Moon and ‘Nath’ means God. Somnath means God of Moon. Here Mahadev (Bhagwan Shiva) was worshipped by Moon, hence the name Somnath Mahadev. It is also referred to as Someshwar Mahadev in history.
Somnath is a ‘Jyotirling’ or ‘Jyotirlinga’ (Jyoti + Linga). The word Jyotirlinga stands for ‘Radiant Shiva’. Jyotirlinga is said to be the manifestation of Shiva in a radiant form. Somnath is one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlinga shrines in India. In fact, Somnath Temple is well-known as the ‘aadi’ Jyotirlinga. ‘Aadi’ refers to the first and foremost. Somnath is the first among twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of our country. Your friend Meet has pointed out that the references to Somnath are found in ancient Indian scriptures. Rigveda, the oldest Veda, has also mentioned ‘Someshwar Dev’.
Somnath Temple has witnessed the vicissitudes of thousands of years. It was originally built by Som Dev (the Moon god) to please and worship Bhagwan Shiva. Somnath Temple was attacked and destroyed several times by outsiders, invaders, a couple of intolerant Muslim rulers. But no one could destroy the spirit of the culture and the pride of this great nation. Every time the Somnath Temple was rebuilt with the power of creation, with enhanced grandeur.
The present day Somnath Temple is the result of the vision and efforts of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel, who was the first deputy Prime Minister of India.
As you know, friends, Somnath Temple stands on the western shore of Gujarat (India), proudly proclaiming the spirit of creation of our culture and the indomitable power of India. Arabian Sea touches the feet of the grand structure of Somnath Temple. You can see a huge ‘Dhvaj Pataka’ (Flag) atop a 27-feet high flagpost.
The magnificence of Somnath Temple is unparalleled. Somnath Temple is meticulously designed and built on the basis of Chalukya sculpture style by the Sompuras, the master craftsmen of Gujarat. Somnath Temple is termed as ‘Maha Meru Praasad Mandir’. It is a unique temple of its style built in last 800 years in India.
The imposing structure of Somnath Mandir rises high above to a ‘shikhar’ which is 150 feet high. Atop the ‘shikhar’ of Somnath Mandir is a massive ‘Kalash’ of stone, which weighs a hefty ten tonne! Divinity of the Universe descends on to the ‘Shikhar’ of Somnath Mandir, therefrom, onto the devotees and tourists gathered over that sacrosanct place!
Let us go inside the temple. The Somnath Mandir has an impressive Garbha Gruha, a spacious Sabha Mandap and a Nritya Mandap. You will notice, friends, that the columns are carefully carved and meticulously decorated to the finest details. The dome above is awe strikingly gorgeous. Parts of interiors are covered with glittering silver or gold layers.
You devotedly take blessings of Nandi and train your eyes. The Great God Mahadev is there. In front of you is the Aadi Jyotirlinga, the radiant Somnath Shivaliga. How blessed you are!
Darshan done? Now you come out to the sprawling gardens of Somnath Temple. Walking through the garden, you may move over to the Vallabh Ghat. Vallabh Ghat offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. There is a Telescope Centre. On a nominal charge, you can view a distant temple. Take a couple of steps to reach the South Pole Arrow column. The arrow points towards the South Pole. Somnath Temple is the last piece of land. Will you believe? No land mass exists between Somnath Temple and the South Pole. Water, water! Everywhere water!
Vallabh Ghat of Somnath Temple also serves the purpose of a ‘Sunset Point’. View the sun setting in the evening, or spend time liberally in watching the roaring waves. Or sit on a bench and watch the grand Somnath Mandir silently
Your Somnath trip is incomplete without 'darshan' of 'Aarati' of Somnath Mahadev.
The Somnath Temple raises your heart-throbs at Aarati time. Aarati is the Puja and prayer of God. At Somnath Temple, Aarati Ceremony takes place three times- morning at seven, noon twelve and then at seven evening.
Don’t be surprised if the vibrations of Aarati may lift you up, into the next orbit of spirituality!
All best wishes.