The first of the 12 Jyotirlingas is located in Veraval, Gujarat, inside the Somnath Temple. The region is also known by the names Deo Patan and Prabhas Kshetra. One of the most well-known temples to visit on a Hindu pilgrimage is the Somnath Temple.
The word “natha” translates to “lord,” while “soma” signifies the moon. As a result, the name Somnath can also be interpreted as “The Lord of the Moon,” which is another name for Lord Shiva. The Puranas recount a tale that served as inspiration for the naming of the Hindu temple.
“Somnath is a famous city in India that is located on the coast and is constantly being pounded by the waves of the ocean.” The Hindu temple, in which the statue known as Somnath was housed, is of the many marvels that could be found at this location. This idol was placed in the center of the temple, but there was nothing to hold it up from below or to hang it from above.
The Hindus maintained a very high regard for the Somnath Temple as a divine place for worship and poojas. More than a hundred thousand Hindus would congregate there during an eclipse of the moon in order to perform a religious ritual known as a pilgrimage. This would take place every time the moon passed in front of the sun.
They believed that the souls of men would meet there after they had been separated from their bodies and that the idol would, at its discretion, combine them into other bodies. This was in accordance with the transmigration concept that they followed. The rising and falling of the tide were interpreted as the ocean performing a form of worship directed toward the idol.
Everything that is precious was brought to this Hindu temple as offerings, and the Somnath temple was endowed with the money collected from the nearby surrounding towns. Two hundred parasangs separate the city of Somnath from the holy river known as the Ganges, yet the distance between the two is equal to one parasang.
They used to travel to this river every day and bring water from it to Somnath, where they would utilize it to clean the temple. One thousand Brahmans were busy worshiping the idol and attending to the visitors, while five hundred damsels sang and danced at the entrance of the temple; all of these were sustained upon the endowments of the temple.
The structure of Somnath Temple located in Veraval, Gujarat is supported by fifty-six teak pillars that had lead plating atop them. The shrine of the tile idol was dimly lit by chandeliers of exceptional worth that were adorned with precious stones.
The Somnath temple had been constructed by Mularaja. Between the years 1026 and 1042, the Paramara king Bhoja of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhimdev I of Anhilwara (now Patan, Gujarat) were responsible for the reconstruction of the temple. This looks to have been a wooden construction in the past, but Kumarpal decided to replace it with a temple made of stone.
The Puranic interpretation of the Somnath Temple
Sati’s father, Prajapati Daksh, also had a number of other daughters in addition to Sati. Sati was Shiva’s wife. Chandrama ( Lord of the Moon) was married to Rohini and Revati, thus which makes two of them. However, Chandrama showed an excessive amount of favoritism toward Rohini and paid very little attention to Revati.
When Revati confronted his father, Prajapati Daksh, about the injustice done to her, he listened to her complaints. Chandrama was cursed by Daksh to experience ‘Kshay,’ which literally translates as “degradation of the body in a very short amount of time.”
The rishi Markandeya in the Prabhas region was responsible for the composition of the “Mahamritunjaya mantra,’ which was the hardest penance that Chandrama had to complete in order to break the curse.
On the very night of Mahashivratri, the Lord Mahadev appeared in front of him and informed him that he could not be freed from the curse because what he had done was just as unjust as the curse itself.
After realizing his error, Chandrama expressed his regret and remorse. Even though Mahadev had explained to him that he would only have to suffer the effects of half of the curse, he still had to face it. It was necessary for Mahadev to lay Chandrama on his head in order to break the curse that Daksh had placed on Chandrama so that the curse would not be in vain.
Chandrama was warned by Mahadev that the curse would affect him for 15 days of the month and that for the remaining 15 days, he would experience growth to an even greater extent.
The Chandrama that has been drastically cut down is referred to as “AMAVSYA,” while the Chandrama that has been left intact is called “POORNIMA.” After receiving such a blessing from Lord Shiva, Chandrama constructed a massive temple and gave the Jyotirling the name “Somnath mahadev.”