Somnath is a temple town of ancient history. The famous Jyotirlinga Shiva temple immortalized by Sri Adi Shankara in his authoritative Jyotirlinga prayer "SAURASHTRE SOMANATHANCHA". The area is known as Prabhasa Teertha and has numerous places of historical and spiritual significance. The town itself has the Somanatha temple, Swayambhu Kali Mandir, Swayambhu Madhusudan Mandir. The place where Krishna left his mortal coil - DEHOTSARJAN STHAL is just two kilometres from the Shiva temple. The famous Gir forest, which has the only known population of Asiatic lions, is 60 Kilometers away. It is in this forest is the sacred Girnar hill. A steep 10,000 steps would lead to the Dattatreya Mandir on top of the hill.
Sri Swamiji had completed the visit of Dwaraka and Nageswar and arrived in Somnath on 16th November 2005 evening. Sri Swamiji was received by the temple administrator Sri Ashok Sharma and others. In the evening, Sri Swamiji visited the Shrine of Sri Somanatha Shiva Linga at 8 PM. The beauty of the temple on the coast of the sea is a feast to the eyes. Immense and huge, the temple is made of lime stone available locally. The intricate carvings, the numerous pillars, the stepped Gopura construction - they all were grand and superb. All the tiredness caused by the long journey disappeared when stood in front of the towering Shiva Linga which is about four feet tall and six feet in circumference. The priests offered the Prasadam of Somanath Mahadev to Sri Swamiji.
Later we attended a sound and light show of the temple's history. The show too is as grand as the temple itself. The idea is well conceived and executed. The narrator of the story is the sea God who outlines the history of the temple. The story's summery is
The sprawling open area around the temple lets visitors to enjoy all the architectural heritage of this magnificent edifice designed and built by the local Sompuria craftsmen. The lapping waters of the sea add a pleasant background roar.
Details of the temple -
The huge Shiva Lingam is installed in a spacious Garbhalaya (inner Sanctum). The other deities in the temple are Nandi, Kurma and Hanuman. Inside the Garbhalaya, there are idols of Suryanarayana, Brahma, Parvati, Vishnu, Durga, Ganga and Shesh Naag.
There is Akhanda Jyoti in a special enclosure.
Outside the temple are two shrines. Ganapathy and Kashta Bhanjan Hanuman.
Each morning Abhisheka to this huge Lingam is performed at 6.15 AM.
Overflowing with happiness, we retired for the day.
17th November 2005:
As we were in the Prabhasa Teertha - an area glorified
in Puranas.as a very sacred spot where many holy placed and activities
have taken place, Sri Swamiji visited the Triveni Sangam - where the
sacred rivers, Hiranya, Kapila and Saraswati (subterranean) meet -
before joining the sea couple of kilometers away.
The foot print of Bhagwan Sri Krishna is carved here to mark the divine memory of Sri Krishna Nija Dham Prasthan Leela. Baladeva, elder brother of Sri Krishna also took his last journey from here in his original serpent form. It is marked by an ancient holy cave called Dauji - ni - Gufa. It is said that it was in this very spot that Lord Krishna left his body. Sri Swamiji performed Abhisheka to the Padukas as Purusha Sukta mantras were chanted.
Sri Gajanana Nanda Saraswati, acclaimed scholar has calculated the exact date and time of this event and has declared that Lord Krishna left earth on 18th February 3102 BC at 02.27 hours.
Sri Swamiji then sat on the bank of the river. Sri Ashok Sharma, Administrator of the Somnath temple gave a short welcome speech and introduced the sacredness of the area. The devotees who numbered more than 100 and had accompanied Sri Swamiji (Most of them were devotees from Surat and Baroda - cities in Gujarat state). Sri Swamiji seemed lost in a different world. He then addressed the devotees and said thus:
In the afternoon, the Surat devotees met Sri Swamiji and sought directions for the development of the Ashrama in Surat.
In the evening, Sri Chakra Puja was conducted in the Sankeertana Bhavan of the Somnath temple. After the Puja, Sri Swamiji witnessed Arati performed to Lord Somanatha Linga To witness this sacred activity was a 20 minutes of intense energy transmission. Sri Swamiji sat in the temple complex for a while. Later Sri Swamiji visited the Ahalyeshvar Shiva temple - opposite the Somnath mandir. Ahalya Bhai Holker was a righteous queen who ruled Indore kingdom in the 18th century. She dreamt Lord Shiva instructing her to visit Somnath and rebuild the temple - which had been ransacked by the invading Moslems. She visited the site and was distressed by the sight she saw - a heap of rocks. She then rebuilt a subterranean temple of Lord Shiva so that future invaders cannot identify it. For over 300 years, this temple was revered as the original Somnath temple - until the present one was built. Sri Swamiji offered Bilva Patra leaves to the Shiva Lingam.
18 November 2005 - Friday
Sri Swamiji offered Purnahuti to the Rudra Homa performed in Shiva temple Mantapa. Later Sri Swamiji strolled around the Mandir, took Darshan of Sakshi Ganapathy Mandir and traveled to Rajkot and then to Mumbai in the evening.
The lucky group of devotees who accompanied
Sri Swamiji on this sacred pilgrimage
Sri Swamiji in front of the Somanath Mahadev
Somanath Mahadev Mandir, Sri Swamiji and
the full moon. It was Moon God who first built the temple
The grand stone Mandir - overlooking the
The Somanatha Mandir and the entrance arch
Sri Swamiji offers Puja at the Triveni Sangama-
the confluence of three rivers - Hiren, Kapila and Saraswati
Arghya from the sacred hands of Pujya Sadgurudeva
Sri Swamiji in the Mantapa where Krishna
Padukas are installed. It is said that it was in this exact spot Lord Krishna
left his physical body after the Krishna Avatara. This mantapa over looks
the Hiranya (Hiren) river
Abhisheka by Sri Swamiji on the Krishna
Sri Swamiji in Sheshnaag Guha (Cave of the
serpent). It is said that Krishna's elder brother Balaram assumed the form
of serpent and left for Vishnu Loka after the Krishna Avatar on the same
day as Krishna ended his Avatara
Sri Swamiji addresses devotees
Sri Swamiji sports Tulsi leaves in the head gear. It looked like the peacock feather sported by Lord Krishna
Sri Ashok Sharma, Administrator of Somnath
temple speaks about the sacredness of the Prabhasa Kshetra
Banyan tree in Krishna Dehotsarga Kshetra