Somnath is famous place on the shore of Arabic sea located 300 km southwest from Ahmedabadu in Gujarat. Lord Krishna was hit here by a hunter just before His departure and members of Yadu dynasty fought here with one another. Another name is Prabhas-patan or Prabhasa-ksetra.

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3 x bigger picture in new window Somnath is said to be located at the place where the river Sarasvati flows into the sea. Recent satellite pictures reveled that ancient Sarasvati river really existed in this part of India.
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Temple is located just on the shore of Arabic Sea. Nearby is beautiful beach.

3 x bigger picture in new window When Lord Krishna finished His mission on Earth, He wanted to recall His eternal associates, Yadavas. They were however so powerful, that nobody could defeat them. Therefore they were cursed by the will of the Lord and as result they were intoxicated and fought among themselves.
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"Somnath" means "lord of moon". Demigod Soma was too much inclined towards his wife Rohini. Since the other Soma's wives were Daksa's daughters, Daksa cursed Soma to loose his light. Waning Soma had to atone for the curse by taking bath in this place and therefore this place is known as "Prabhas" or "the place where moon regained light". He also built a temple for Lord Siva in place.

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It is said that original Somnath temple was built by moon-god from gold, then rebuilt by Ravana out of silver, then by Lord Krishna by wood and later by Bhima from stone.

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The temple was attacked in 1026 (silver gate was stolen), 1297, 1394 and just before his death by Muslim ruler Aurangzeb in 1706. The present temple was built in 1950. It is 50 m high but not so artistic. It is located exactly at the spot were the original temple was and the remaining parts of Bhima's stone temple are visible nearby.

It is said that once there were 200 brahmanas in the temple as well as 500 dancing girls and 300 musicians.

3 x bigger picture in new window Remaining parts of Bhima's stone temple.
3 x bigger picture in new window Somnath of today has just few streets around the temple.
3 x bigger picture in new window Local sadhu.

English texts, selection of images, design:
Tattva-darsi das
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book Holy Places of India,
which contains many additional information useful for travelers. It can be found on:

Photographs from his travels:
Radha-raman das


October 2001
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