Often called the Pride of Gujarat, it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus in India. It is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva.
According to tradition, the Shivalinga in Somnath is the first among the 12 jyotirlingas in India, where Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared as a fiery column of light. The jyotirlingas are taken as the supreme, undivided reality out of which Lord Shiva partly appears. The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni Sangam (the confluence of three rivers: Kapila, Hiran and Saraswati. Soma, the Moon god (Chandradeva), is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is said to be the waxing and waning of the moon.
Reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by several Muslim invaders and rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni, Alauddin Khilji and Aurangzeb, the present temple is built in the Chaulukya style of temple architecture and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat's master masons. The temple's shikhara, or main spire, is 15 metres in height, and it has an 8.2-metre-tall flag pole at the top.
The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in a straight line between the Somnath seashore and Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on a pillar erected on the sea-protection wall. The pillar mentions that it stands at a point on the Indian landmass, the first point on land in the north to the South Pole at that particular longitude.
Good to Know:
Location: 44 km from Sterling Rudra Gir
Timings: 7:30 – 11 am, 12:30 – 6:30 pm, 7:30 –10 pm
Gir National Park1 hr
The only place in India where you can see the Asiatic Lion in the wild, a trip to the Gir National Park is a must do for wildlife lovers.
Kamleshwar Dam1 hr
Known for its population of birds and mugger crocodiles, Kameshwar Dam is a sight to behold in Gir.
Durbar Hall Museum2 hrs
The former palace of the Nawab of Junagadh has since been converted into a museum housing the prized possessions of the Junagadh Nawabs.
Uparkot Fort2 hrs
One of the most interesting forts in Gujarat, the Uparkot Fort is said to have once withstood a 12-year siege. The fort is also famous for 2 stepwells – Adi Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuvo and the nearby Uparkot Caves, which are a part of the Junagadh Buddhist Cave Groups.
Girnar Hill3 hrs
An ancient hill near the town of Junagadh, Girnar is famous for more than just the spectacular views. Come and discover the Ashoka edicts, Asia’s longest ropeway, and the Girnar Jain Temples.
Kankai Mata Temple2hrs
Situated deep in the heart of the Gir Forest, the Kankai Mata temple is steeped in legend, and is a major holy site for Hindu pilgrims.
Diu Island7 hrs
Visit the pristine island of Diu to experience its ultimate natural beauty. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the country.
Mahabat Maqbara Complex3 hr
Mahabat Maqbara and Bahauddin Maqbra are mausoleums in Junagadh that are known for their amalgamation of Indo-Islamic, Gothic and European styles of architecture.
Sarkeshwar Beach2 hrs
Bordering Junagadh and the neighbouring city of Amereli, Sarkeshwar Beach is a great place not just for relaxing by the beach but for some fun-filled water sports and activities too.
Madhavpur Beach2 hr
A sandy coastline, endowed with coconut trees, Madhavpur Beach is one of the most treasured beaches of Gujarat. The long shoreline and minimal commercial activity make this a must-visit beach in Gujarat.
Tulsi Shyam Temple and Springs3 hr
Known particularly for its great scenic beauty, Tulsi Shyam Temple is a tourist center that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple has beautiful hot water springs which are referred to as ‘Taptodak’ in the Puranas.