Another throwback in this lockdown, my last chapter of Gujarat Trip.
Now I will walk you through, Sourashtra sundaram soma-nadeesh-waram, the first of the 12 Jyothirlinga Shrines of Lord Shiva.
It is located on West Coast of Gujarat. The temple has great history of being rebuilt 17 times owing to invasions. It is indeed an Eternal Shrine that never lost it’s beauty.
Let’s plunge into divine experience of Somnath temple.
We started early morning by road from Jamnagar to Somnath and it took 5hrs to reach temple town.
As we were approaching Somnath, we could feel a considerable change in climate and vegetation. It had seashore smell and lot of coconut farms on either side of the road.
We reached around 11am, just before Aarti time.
Darshan Timing is from 6 AM to 9.30PM.
Aarti Timings : Morning = 7:00 Am, 12:00Noon, 7:00Pm.
Light And Sound Show Timing: 8pm To 9pm.
(Except in the Monsoon / Rainy Season).
Similar to other temples, we had to deposit cell phones, cameras and bags in a locker room. We were just allowed with small wallet. Not to mention, keep the tokens safe. Else it will be Herculean task to get your things back.
Having cameras and phones locked sounds good to me because with so much beauty around we usually get stuck with photos and seldom enjoy or understand the place.
I could get some pics of shrine from outside though.
Once we entered the compound, the temple looked as if it is floating on the sea. We could hear sea gulls on one side and Hara Hara Mahadeva hymns on other side of the temple. Aarti is about to start and all the devotees were in line to view the Great Lord.
The temple had aura of peace and tranquility.
As we were waiting in queue, first thing that usually grabs my attention is the architecture. The temple structure looks familiar. Yes, it is similar to Alampur, Jogulamba temple. Read about my blog on Jogulamba. This temple is also Chalukya Architecture.
The beauty of this architecture is it gives temple a mountain shape and thus expanding the space allowing for finer carvings and scriptures.
Once inside, I saw the ceiling and amazed to see that it is all done with excellent water color paintings. It is said that once upon a time, the temple interior was done with real gems and jewels. But the brilliance is being looted from time to time by many invaders.
I wish I had a pic of ceiling but a few things are only meant to be seen live 🙂
Now, the Hero of the Shrine
Since it was near Aarti time, Shiva Linga was decorated and made ready for rituals. The entire time I waited and the aisle I walked felt completely worth it.
As I mentioned earlier, this is the 1st Jyothirlinga temple. A Jyothirlinga is a space created by forces of nature and not by humans. These spaces have an extraordinary positive energy and all you need to do is allow that energy to touch you.
More than these divine facts, what attracted me was the strength of this shrine that has been resilient to nature and human forces.
My only prayer was saying thanks for all the blessings I have in my life.
Once we stepped out, the external architecture was even more amazing. I went around the temple and could not take my eyes off beauty of sculptures on pillars and shikaras. Even from a distance the carvings had amazing clarity.
We walked towards the sea, there is a sheltered walk way where one can enjoy the seaside. Even for an afternoon, the weather was good and I am sure an evening visit will be even better.
It is believed that there is no land from this end of the temple until Antartica. This is even inscribed on the Banastambam (Arrow Pillar). This pillar has an arrow pointing towards Antartica.
Temple has facility for donations including Anna daanam. You can contribute based on your interest.
Visiting this place was not in our initial plan but it got added. I am glad it happened.
These places have amazing energy. When we visit them, we would have absorbed some part of that energy. During difficult times, a very thought about such places can propel our strength and gives us the ability to endure tough situations.
Time we are traveling now is unpredictable. All we need to do is stay put and do our bit to strengthen our families, friends and communities in this journey.
STAY SAFE….STAY AT HOME…HELP THE NEEDY NEARBY…