Somnath Temple in Gujarat
Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple is situated in Somnath Patan (the south coast of Saurashtra), near Veraval in (Prabhas Kshetra) Kathaiwad district in Gujarat. Somnath is the first Jyotirlinga from 12 Jyotirlingas ofLord Shiva and is a revered pilgrimage center in India.
Legend of Somnath Temple
In Skanda Purana, ther is a story on Prabhasa Khanda, describes the emergence of this Jyotirlinga in Somnath. Legend goes that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Amongst all his wives, he special loves towards Rohini and neglected others. This negligence of Chandra towards his other wives Prajapati Daksha cursed Chandra, he would lose his beauty and radiance. But because of a moon devoid of radiance and beauty the entire world became lifeless. A disturbed Chandra, came down to Prabhasa with Rohini and worshipped the Sparsa Linga of Somnath, after which he was blessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half. As the moon regained his light here, this town came to be known as Prabhasa. Brahma, one of the trinity, installed the Brahmashila, and payed way for the construction of the temple. On the request of the Chandrama and other gods Bhagwan Shankar owned name as Somchandra (Jyotirlinga) and resided there in Somnath eternally. He became famous by the name Somnath in the three worlds. Since, it was the Prabhas Kshetra where Bhagwan Shri Krishna performed all his Lilas. A small cave in In this temple, in which a lamp(Jyoti) burns continuously.
It is believed that the Somnath temple here was originally built by Somraj, the Moon God himself, out of gold, and then rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then by Krishna in Wood, then by Bhimdev in stone.
The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath Temple as one bright as the sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharata also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva.
Ransacking and Rebuilding of Somnath Jyotirlinga
Somnath Jyotirling has been destroyed and rebuilt at a number of times in the history:
The first Mahmud of Ghazini who ransacked and destroyed the temple in 1025 CE, due to glory and wealth of Somnath.
which was immediately rebuilt by King Bhima of Gujarat and King Bhoja of Malwa.
Somnath temple was destroyed again by Alaf Khan, the general of Allauddin Khilji in 1300 CE.
It was rebuilt again by King Mahipala of the Chudasama dynasty.
Somnath shrine was destroyed yet again in 1390, 1490, 1530 and finally in 1701 by Aurangazeb.
It was rebuilt with perseverance each time after it was destroyed