Thursday, 10 April 2014

Somnath Trip – 11: Accommodation in Somnath


Dear friends,

Somnath is flooded with national and international tourists now-a-days. 

Somnath Temple has been known all over the world today for its magnificence and historical significance. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan (Big B), as a brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism, has done a great job with the Khushboo Gujarat ki campaign.

Somnath is an outstanding tourist place on the western coast of Gujarat. The tourists visit Somnath not only for the grand Somnath Temple and the Somnath beach, but also for Nij Dham Prasthan, Bhalka Tirth and other tourist attractions around Somnath, The historical and religious places in and around Somnath make it an important tourist centre of Gujarat.

Somnath has been a star tourist attraction in Western India, thanks to the efforts of Government of Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism and Somnath Trust. They have made lot of efforts for the development of Somnath.

SomnathTrust is providing accommodation to all tourists at reasonable rates. Comfortable rooms with standard amenities are available at the guest houses managed by Somnath Trust. They provide both AC and Non-AC rooms and suites and dormitories also. The tariff at the Somnath Trust guest houses is affordable to all tourists. Visitors are advised to check and confirm tariff before booking accommodation.

Accommodation at Somnath Trust guest houses can be booked in advance telephonically or on the NET. Rooms can be booked at Somnath Trust offices at Ahmedabad or Prabhas Patan (Somnath).

Somnath Trust manages decent guest houses named Sagar Darshan Atithi Gruh, Lilavati Atithi Bhawan and Maheshwari Atithi Gruh. All these three guest houses of Somnath Trust are near the Somnath Temple. 

Sagar Darshan has sea-facing AC Double-bed rooms with quality facilities in the tariff range of Rs 1500. Lilavati and recently built Maheshwari Atithi Gruh have AC and Non-AC rooms with TV, intercom and attached bath. As of February 2014, their Double-bed room tariff is APPROXIMATELY Rs 1000 for AC and Rs 700 for Non-AC for accommodation for two persons per night. Tourists may note that tariffs are revised periodically. All these rooms can be booked on the Net at the website of Somnath Trust. Sagar Darshan Atithi Gruh, Lilavati Atithi Bhawan and Maheshwari Atithi Gruh – each guest house has its own dining halls that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at economic rate. Lunch and dinner is served as Gujarati Thali with acceptable quality at affordable rate.

Somnath Trust also runs budget guest houses (e.g. Tanna Guest House) where a simple double bed room may cost around 300 to 500 rupees per night. You may also get large halls for a group of 10 or 20 persons at very low budget at the Trust guest houses.

There are private hotels/ Guest houses in Somnath and Veraval. Some of the hotels are Shubh Suvidha,   Sukhsagar, Lords Inn, Ambar, Shree Hari and few others.

Leading travel and tour operators or travel agencies also help to book hotel accommodation in Somnath. Renowned travel agencies have websites on the NET and they help in room booking online for hotels in Somnath and Veraval. Make My Trip, Travel Guru, Clear Trip, Trip Advisor, Wego and many others have their websites. Tourists must verify all the details while booking online and use lot of discretion to choose the right agency and the right hotel. After all it is your choice and your decision.

Friends! Somnath Temple is our national pride. Like Akshar Dham, Somnath Temple is an amazing and classic example of modern architectural and sculptural accomplishment. Not only for Gujarat Tourism, even for Indian Tourism Somnath spells countless promises for redefining tourism. Tourist amenities are developing at a rapid pace. But let us accept that lot needs to be done yet.

How nice if Gujarat tourism is redefined!

With all best wishes,


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Somnath Trip – 10 : Do's and Don’ts – Somnath


Dear friends,

Somnath is an important tourist destination in India. It is a prominent historical and religious tourist place in Gujarat.

If you want to make your Somnath Trip comfortable and memorable, please read all Somnth Trip 1 to 10 – all blog-posts at this Blog, GUJARAT TOURISM REDEFINED.

You often ask: What are Dos and Don’ts for Somnath Temple?

In order to make your Somnath visit comfortable, keep the following points in mind. Hope these tips for Somnath trip will make your Somnath visit memorable.

Tips for Somnath Temple
Dos and Don’ts for Somnath Visit (Somnth Trip) :

About Visiting Somnath:

  • Somnath is heavily flooded with tourists in the months of October-November and late December, April-May and August.
  • Tourists visit Somnath in large numbers during festivals of Maha Shivaratri, Diwali – New Year day, Kartika Poornima and in the month of Shraawan.
  • If you are lucky, you will encounter less rush during first 15 days of December, first fortnight of January or February.
  • Gujarat Tourism and Somnath Trust are trying their best to provide tourist services. However, their staff is not techno-savvy. Their on-line services often do not work. Tourists should always follow-up with telephonic call to confirm details.
  • The best way to visit Somnath is going by your own vehicle. Or reach Somnath by train and hire one at Somnath as and when needed.

About visiting Somnath Temple Complex:

  • Somnath Temple Complex is heavily guarded, high security area. You can enter only after passing through full security check up. You may carry cell phones/ digital cameras/ purse/small bag/cameras etc in the compound.
  • Personal photography is allowed ONLY in the limited area of the Compound of the Somnath Temple Complex.
  • Photography is prohibited as you approach the Digvijay Dwaar that leads you to the main Temple. You cannot shoot around or inside the main temple area.
  • You must enter the Temple barefooted. Remove belt and shoes/ chappals before joining the queue.
  • You cannot carry ANYTHING with you when you join the Queue for entry to the main Temple area. Of course, you may carry cash money. Even you may be allowed to carry identity card, ID proof, paper items and perhaps pen.
  • Cameras or mobile phones are NOT allowed. Electronic or digital devices, battery operated devices, torch, purse, belts, bags, plastic bags, sharpened items, eatables, bottles – Nothing can be carried.
  • Entrust your belongings to a person of your group and go for ‘Darshan’ turn by turn; or deposit your belongings at the Locker Room.
  • Locker Room (Cloak Room) is located on the left side in the Compound.
  • You can deposit your shoes/ chappals at the ‘JOOTA GHAR’. It is also located on the left side of the Compound, near the Locker Room.
  • Both Locker Room and Joota Ghar often present scenes of heavy rush, noisy interactions and chaos. They may consume lot of your time and energy, especially in the evenings.
  • A better idea to visit Temple is: Divide your group into two parties. Both parties can visit Temple turn by turn. One party may go for Darshan free-handed while the other party is seated on the benches in the compound with all belongings, with chappals even.
  • The best way to visit Somnath Temple is: VISIT EMPTY-HANDED. Do not carry anything with you and stay freed from all worries.
  • Inside the temple area, you may buy Prasaad. You may also buy tickets for Sound and Light show there. Money is allowed to be carried inside the Temple.
  • While visiting Temple, you may carry cash money on your person. You will need them to buy Prasaad inside the Temple area. You will also need money to offer Bhet/ Donation / do Vidhi/ buy tickets for Sound and Light Show. Carry enough cash.

Make your Somnath Trip enjoyable with these tips!

Inhale the Divine Khushboo Somnath ki! Enjoy Khushboo Gujarat ki!

Jay Somnath!


Somnath Trip – 9 : Somnath History


Dear friends,

Somnath is an ancient and sacred religious place in India. As we know, Somnath Temple is located at Prabhas Patan, a town near Veraval. Prabhas Patan is today known as Somnath.

In my earler letters to you, I wrote to you about Somnath and Somnath temple. Now let me throw some light on the history of Somnath.

The history of Somnath goes back to very ancient times. References to Somnath are found in ancient Indian Scriptures- in both the Shruti and the Smruti literature. Somnath is referred to in Rigveda, Shrimad Bhagwat, Shiva Purana and some other holy books.

The Sun (Surya Dev) and the Moon (Chandra Dev or Som Dev) are considered Gods in Hindu traditions. As the mythology goes, Chandra Dev (God Moon) got married to 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati (Daksha Prajapati was the ‘maanas putra’ of Brhmaji, the Creator of the Universe). Instead of treating all wives impartially, Som Dev used to treat one of them, Rohini, favourably. The other wives became unhappy. Som Dev invited the wrath of his father-in-law Daksha. Exasperated Daksha cursed Som Dev that he would lose his radiance. Som Dev was worried when his radiance went on diminishing. He prayed to Brahmaji who advised him to pray and please Lord Shiva. 

Som Dev came down to the earth in Saurashtra region in western Gujarat and with austere penance pleased Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva lightened his curse that his radiance would go on diminishing for a fortnight; and it would go on enhancing the next fortnight. Since then, the moon has been waxing and waning every alternate fortnight.

Thanks to Lord Shiva, Som dev regained his radiance. Som Dev regained his ‘Prabha’ (radiance) at this place in Saurashtra (Western Gujarat) which came to be known as PRABHAS (Prabhas Patan near Veraval). Som Dev built a temple of Bhagwan Shiva which came to be known as Somnath Mahadev. 

‘Som’ means Moon and ‘Nath’ means God. Somnath means God of Moon. Thus, Somnath mahadev Temple stands today at Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra (West Gujarat). Friends! You will be pleased to know that this story is nicely narrated in the ‘Sound and Light Show’ at Somnath temple.

Since olden times, Somnath Temple came to be known as a very sacred religious shrine for the Hindus and became popular as a place of pilgrimage in India. Somnath Temple was decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. It boasted of such rich treasures that its stories travelled beyond the boundaries and caught the attention of the foreign invaders.

Your friend, Shivani, has studied history of Somnath well. She is right in saying that Somnath Temple was invaded and destroyed or damaged several times in the last one thousand years. Though historical references are scattered, inadequate and debatable, it is said that it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The most notorious and barbaric attack on Somnath was made by Mohammad Ghazni during his invasion on India in 1025-26 AD. Mohammad Ghazni killed hundreds of people and looted the Somnath Temple. He brazenly looted the precious treasures of Somnath Temple and took away large chunk of wealth looted by his army.

Somnath Temple was restored or reconstructed several times. The important restoration of Temple was done in the eleventh century by King Bhimdev of Gujarat and in the eighteenth century by Queen Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore.

The present-day Somnath Temple is constructed with the inspiration of Sardar Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. The Pran-pratishtha of the Temple was done on 11 may, 1951 by Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of independent India.

Even today, periodical renovation work goes on at Somnath Temple.

Isn’t Somnath story very fascinating? 

Visit Somnath and see for youself what Somnath is. 

Inhale the Divine Khushboo Somnath ki! Enjoy Khushboo Gujarat ki!

Jay Somnath!


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Somnath Trip – 8 : Somnath Beach


Dear friends,

You heartily, devotedly visit Somnath Temple and then come out of the complex compound. As you leave the main gate of the entry, you will be heading to Somnath Beach. Somnath Beach is on the right side, hardly five minutes from the Somnath Temple compound gate.

Today the Somnath beach is not very cozy but good enough to pass time. Tourists take pleasure of splashes in the vicinity of sea-shore. But no one ventures farther into the sea waters. Though visible official warnings are not found along the sea-shore, Somnath Beach is not ideal for bathing or swimming.

On the Somnath beach, there are stalls of coconut-sellers. There are camel-rides and horse-rides. People usually throng around here. Just relax on the beach and watch the roaring waves! If you love fun, enjoy a camel ride. Or sip fresh coconut water.

If you like privacy, walk eastwards on the beach and go bit far away from these stalls. You will get privacy. Enjoy a stroll or sit and meditate without worldly interference! Inhale the beauty and serenity of the sea, the sky and the breeze. You will become one with divinity.

For the last few years, Somnath Beach is getting dirtier year after year. Tourists throw waste the way they like, the vendors also compete with them. The waste thrown by coconut sellers make the beach very dirty. Can’t they be provided with waste collection containers? Can’t we redefine the scene and redefine tourism on Somnath Beach?

Till recent years, the Somnath beach openly extended almost upto the Somnath Temple. And one could take a long walk on the beach going close to the temple. Even from a distant point on the beach, the Somnath Temple was in full view. It offered ample space for beach photography, with the magnificent Temple in the distant background. Alas! Today that view is lost. For security reasons, high rocky barricades are placed across the beach. These rocky stones obstruct most of the beach near the temple. The aesthetic view of the beach is sacrificed. Isn’t that a deadly jolt to tourism?

O Somnath lover! Doesn’t your heart bleed when you read this? Would you accept such a view of Somnath Beach? We endorse that the security of Somnath Temple is of paramount importance. More than a historical and religious place, Somnath Temple is our national pride. But still there should be some better ways to tackle the issue. There is a dire need for redefining Gujarat tourism. Here where the role of ‘Gujarat Tourism Redefined’ comes into picture. Will Gujarat Tourism and Indian Tourism take some steps to restore the image of Somnath Beach and Somnath Temple? Let us wait.

If you love photography, be on the beach early in the morning. If it’s summer, be there by 5 30; if its winter be there by 7 am. Find your best spots. And start your work when the tourists are few and no one to disturb you.

Inhale the Divine Khushboo Somnath ki! Enjoy Khushboo Gujarat ki!

Jay Somnath!

Jay Somnath!


Monday, 3 March 2014

Somnath Trip – 7 : Somnath Temple – More information


Dear friends,

I described Somnath Temple in my last letter. Neev and Geet enjoyed reading that description of Somnath Mandir.

Shall we get more information on Somnath Temple?

In my last letter, I narrated the South Pole Arrow Pillar on Vallabh Ghat of Somnath Temple. The arrow points towards South Pole which is nearly 9900 kms away. No appreciable land mass is found between Somnath Temple and South Pole for such a long distance. You are right, Neha, that Somnath is a geographically significant location. Let me add that Somnath Temple is a strategically located religious shrine of India.

You MUST remember- When you visit Somnath Temple, you should also plan for Old Somnath temple (Ahalyabai Mandir), the archaeological museum and the spectacular ‘Sound and Light show’ also known as ‘Jay Somnath’.

Somnath Temple complex is spread over a large area. Heavily guarded entrance greets you and leads you to security check up. You successfully come out of the security cabin and step into the vast compound. Somnath Temple Complex compound is vast. Really very vast. You can do photography here, thank God! With the magnificent Somnath Temple in the background, you can take excellent shots in the compound.

Our American friend Robert had bitter experience at Somnath Temple premises. That was due to his misunderstanding about the rules for carrying camera cell phone. 

You can carry mobile phone, cameras and personal belongings in the Somnath Temple Complex Compound. But you cannot carry anything in the main Temple premises. There is strict security check-up at Digvijay Dwaar. You must leave everything out before entering the Digvijay Dwar. No shoes, no purse, no belt, no mobile or camera, nothing can be carried inside. There is a Locker Room where you can keep your costly items. However, it is advisable to leave all costly possessions at hotel and visit Temple without carrying anything.

As you enter the Somnath Temple Complex Compound, the old Somnath Mahadev Temple is located in a right corner. Old Somnath Mahadev Temple was renovated by the Queen of Indore, Ahalyabai Holkar (Ahilyabai Holkar) in 1783. Hence it is known as Ahalyabai (Ahilyabai) Shiva mandir. You may also visit Vinayak temple (Ganesh temple) and Hanuman temple nearby.

Friends! Many tourists overlook the archaeological museum and they miss out a lot. The Archaeological Museum displays the interesting articles found from the ruins of the ancient Somnath Temple. These historical relics of the ancient Somnath temple include statues, carvings, engraved articles and pieces of pottery articles. Some of them are believed to be nearly 900 to 1000 years old. The work of Department of Archaeology of Government of India is appreciable.

Evening Aarati (7 pm) is a heart-throbbing experience at Somnath Temple. The Temple lits up with lamps and the whole complex begins to glitter with powerful flood lights. The entire Somnath Temple Complex begins to vibrate, as the Aarati ceremony starts with Shankh-Dhvani and beating of huge drums. Devotees occupy proper places well in advance so that they can have satisfactory Darshan! The temple is filled with tourists at Aarati time. Aarati ceremony goes on for nearly 25 minutes. Aarati ceremony can be viewed live on a giant screen in the garden, outside Temple. Hundreds of devotees watch it sitting in the garden.

‘Sound and Light show’ can be one of the most memorable programmes of your Somnath Trip. ‘Sound and Light show’ at Somnath Temple is named as ‘Jay Somnath’. Produced with superb technology, and presented with impeccable perfection, ‘Sound and Light show’ narrates the history of Somnath very impressively. The tourists enjoy the flow of the story. ‘Sound and Light show’ indeed entertains and enlightens the tourists.

There is only one ‘Sound and Light show’ every day at eight pm. The show is not held in rainy season. ‘Jay Somnath’ Sound and Light Show at Somnath Temple is one hour show (8 pm – 9 pm). Tickets for the show can be bought in advance from the Temple. There is heavy rush in the evening, so it better to buy your ticket during day time from the Temple. ‘Sound and Light show’ is held in open auditorium in the Temple premises, off the Vallabh Ghat, behind the main Temple. The stepped open-air auditorium is very vast, but the tickets are not numbered. You may sit anywhere on ‘first-comes-first-served’ basis. As soon as the evening Aarati is over, tourists start forming queues at the place. So the early birds occupy the places of their choice!

Since ‘Sound and Light Show’ is held on the main Somnath Temple premises, you are NOT allowed to carry anything.

Inhale the Divine Khushboo Somnath ki! Enjoy Khushboo Gujarat ki!

Jay Somnath!


Friday, 28 February 2014

Somnath Trip – 6 : Somnath Temple – Magnificence Redefined


Dear friends,

Somnath Temple has mesmerized you!

Somnath Temple is the centre of tourist attractions in Somnath. The ancient and auspicious Somnath Temple is the temple of Lord Shiva. Somnath is a compound word made from two words- SOM and NATH. ‘Som’ means Moon and ‘Nath’ means God. Somnath means God of Moon. Here Mahadev (Bhagwan Shiva) was worshipped by Moon, hence the name Somnath Mahadev. It is also referred to as Someshwar Mahadev in history.

Somnath is a ‘Jyotirling’ or ‘Jyotirlinga’ (Jyoti + Linga). The word Jyotirlinga stands for ‘Radiant Shiva’. Jyotirlinga is said to be the manifestation of Shiva in a radiant form. Somnath is one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlinga shrines in India. In fact, Somnath Temple is well-known as the ‘aadi’ Jyotirlinga. ‘Aadi’ refers to the first and foremost. Somnath is the first among twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of our country. Your friend Meet has pointed out that the references to Somnath are found in ancient Indian scriptures. Rigveda, the oldest Veda, has also mentioned ‘Someshwar Dev’.

Somnath Temple has witnessed the vicissitudes of thousands of years. It was originally built by Som Dev (the Moon god) to please and worship Bhagwan Shiva. Somnath Temple was attacked and destroyed several times by outsiders, invaders, a couple of intolerant Muslim rulers. But no one could destroy the spirit of the culture and the pride of this great nation. Every time the Somnath Temple was rebuilt with the power of creation, with enhanced grandeur.

The present day Somnath Temple is the result of the vision and efforts of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel, who was the first deputy Prime Minister of India.

As you know, friends, Somnath Temple stands on the western shore of Gujarat (India), proudly proclaiming the spirit of creation of our culture and the indomitable power of India. Arabian Sea touches the feet of the grand structure of Somnath Temple. You can see a huge ‘Dhvaj Pataka’ (Flag) atop a 27-feet high flagpost.

The magnificence of Somnath Temple is unparalleled. Somnath Temple is meticulously designed and built on the basis of Chalukya sculpture style by the Sompuras, the master craftsmen of Gujarat. Somnath Temple is termed as ‘Maha Meru Praasad Mandir’. It is a unique temple of its style built in last 800 years in India.

The imposing structure of Somnath Mandir rises high above to a ‘shikhar’ which is 150 feet high. Atop the ‘shikhar’ of Somnath Mandir is a massive ‘Kalash’ of stone, which weighs a hefty ten tonne! Divinity of the Universe descends on to the ‘Shikhar’ of Somnath Mandir, therefrom, onto the devotees and tourists gathered over that sacrosanct place!

Let us go inside the temple. The Somnath Mandir has an impressive Garbha Gruha, a spacious Sabha Mandap and a Nritya Mandap. You will notice, friends, that the columns are carefully carved and meticulously decorated to the finest details. The dome above is awe strikingly gorgeous. Parts of interiors are covered with glittering silver or gold layers.

You devotedly take blessings of Nandi and train your eyes. The Great God Mahadev is there. In front of you is the Aadi Jyotirlinga, the radiant Somnath Shivaliga. How blessed you are!

Darshan done? Now you come out to the sprawling gardens of Somnath Temple. Walking through the garden, you may move over to the Vallabh Ghat. Vallabh Ghat offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. There is a Telescope Centre. On a nominal charge, you can view a distant temple. Take a couple of steps to reach the South Pole Arrow column. The arrow points towards the South Pole. Somnath Temple is the last piece of land. Will you believe? No land mass exists between Somnath Temple and the South Pole. Water, water! Everywhere water!

Vallabh Ghat of Somnath Temple also serves the purpose of a ‘Sunset Point’. View the sun setting in the evening, or spend time liberally in watching the roaring waves. Or sit on a bench and watch the grand Somnath Mandir silently

Your Somnath trip is incomplete without 'darshan' of 'Aarati' of Somnath Mahadev.

The Somnath Temple raises your heart-throbs at Aarati time. Aarati is the Puja and prayer of God. At Somnath Temple, Aarati Ceremony takes place three times- morning at seven, noon twelve and then at seven evening. 

Don’t be surprised if the vibrations of Aarati may lift you up, into the next orbit of spirituality! 

All best wishes.


Friday, 21 February 2014

Somnath Trip – 5 : Bhalka Tirth Trip in Somnath


Dear friends,

I am happy to read mail from Vishal. He is actively discussing scope of tourism in Gujarat with his friends.

Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth trip (Trip A) may be taken morning or evening. But trip to Bhalka Tirth (Trip B) should be taken before tide time. It is better to start around 3 30 pm. This will help you have the ‘darshan’ of the sea Shivalinga at Shashi Bhushan Mahadev/ Bhid Bhanjan Ganeshaji Temple. If you are late, the Shivalingas may submerge in the sea waters; you may or may not have the glimpses of the Shivalinga during tides.

Trip to Bhalka Tirth may be initiated from Somnath Temple. Bhalka tirth is located 5 kms from Somnath Temple, on the old Somnath-Veraval Road. But, friends, please note that the new Somnath-Veraval road/bypass is being constructed presently.

On way to Bhalka Tirth from Somnath, you will come across boat-building centre in the creek of the sea. You will notice innumerable boats, with colourful flags. Tourists love doing photo-shoot here. 

Going ahead towards Bhalka, on the left side in a narrow lane, you may first visit Shashi Bhushan Mahadev/ Bhid Bhanjan Ganeshaji Temple. The temple was built in ancient times on the sea shore. Devotees believe that if you pray here, all your wishes are granted. They say Ganeshaji solves all your problems, hence the name Bhid Bhanjan Ganeshaji. Friends! You go behind the temple on the sea shore and you will have the ‘darshan’ of the sea Shivalingas. You may have glimpses of Shivalingas only before tide starts. Tide waters may submerge the Shivalingas.

Shashi Bushan Mahadev has ancient history. Perhaps your friend Preeti might have told you about it. It is said that a hunter named Jara mistakenly shot his arrow from this place and it hit Bhagwan  Shri Krishna who was resting under a tree, one km away at Bhalka.

Shashi Bhushan Mahadev/ Bhid Bhanjan Ganeshaji Temple can be observed, with a binocular, from Vallabh Ghat on the premises of the main Somnath Temple. Vallabh Ghat is in the backyards of Somnath Temple.

Bhalka Tirth dates back to the Mahabharat age. When the war of Mahabharat was over, Bhagwan Shri Krishna was gloomy with all devastation. He left Dwarika (Dwaraka) and came to Somnath. He was resting under a Peepal tree at Bhalka. Jara, a hunter, mistook his leg to be a deer and shot an arrow. The arrow hit Lord Krishna in the sole of his foot. At this place stands the Bhalka Tirth Temple today. It has an extraordinarily charming idol of Bhagwan Shri Krishna. Inside the Bhalka temple, there is the old tree below which is the idol of Yogeshwara Shri Krishna, with enchanting expressions on his face. Jara is seated beside him, bowing and repenting. Shri Krishna is preaching the hunter that all that happened was directed by God’s will. A captivating smile and compassion oozing from the eyes enhance the radiance of Shri Krishna’s face. Spend a couple of minutes with closed eyes and you will experience bliss inexpressible!

Remember- photography inside the Bhalka temple is not allowed. But you step out of the temple and shoot in the premises.

A huge Shiva Statue at Prajapita Brahmakumari centre and an ancient mosque also draw the attention of tourists. You may finish Bhalka Tirth trip (trip B) in about one and a half hour and return to Somnath Temple.

Next time more of Somnath tourist attractions.

Jay Somnath!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Somnath Trip – 4 : Nij Dham Prasthan Trip in Somnath


Dear friends,

As I mentioned in the last mail, the Somnath tourist places can be conveniently visited in two trips. Let us discuss the first trip- Trip A to Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth.

You may start this trip from Somnath Temple. Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth complex is about 2 kms from Somnath Temple.

Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth, also known as Golok Dham or Dehotsarga, is a very holy place and is picturesque. The vast premises of Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth complex contain Bhagawan Shri Krishna Charan Paduka, Gita Mandir, Balaram Dauji Sheshanag Cave and Lakshmi Narayan Temple.

Nij Dham Prasthan is the place where Lord Krishna breathed his last in the human form and left for his heavenly abode. As your friend Neha has rightly narrated, Bhagwan Shri Krishna was shot at mistakenly by a hunter (named Jara) at BhalkaTirth. From Bhalka Tirth, Shri Krishna came to Somnath and ended his Avataar (human incarnation) at Nij Dham Prasthan (Golok Dham or Dehotsarga). Devotees pray here to Bhagwan Shri Krishna and worship His Charan Paaduka (foot prints) in the centre of the premises.

Gita Mandir is a beautiful temple devoted to Lord Krishna and Gita Mataji. There is a charming idol of Shri Krishna with a flute on his lips and a cow beside him. Gita Mandir has  marble pillars on which are inscribed the Shlokas (holy stanzas) of Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, the holy scripture. Bhagvad Gita is an ancient Indian Scripture which is a part of Prasthantrayi (three holy books of Hinduism). Bhagvad Gita contains the sermon Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna on the battlefield at the time of Mahabharat war. There are eighteen chapters in Bhagvad Gita. All these 18 chapters are written on the 18 marble pillars of Gita Mandir.

Next to Gita Mandir is an ancient cave known as Balram Dauji’s Gufa (cave). This is the place where Balram (Bhagvan Shri Krishna’s elder brother) left for his heavenly abode. He left his body as Sheshanag, so the cave is also known as Sheshanag Cave.

Laksmi Narayan (Lakshminarayan) Temple has the idols of Bhagwan Laksminarayan (a form of Lord Vishnu) and Lakshmi Mataji. Bhagvan Vishnu is worshipped as the conservator of the world. His wife, Lakhmi Mataji, is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.

Mahaprabhuji Bethak is located near Lakshmi Narayan Temple, behind Charan Paduka of Bhagwan Shri Krishna in the Nij Dham Prasthan. Here Vallabhacharya, the proponent of Pushti Marga of Vaishanv Sampradaya, had given discourses while he toured all over India to propagate Vaishnavism in the sixteen century. Accoding to the Vaishnav sect, there are 84 Mahaprabhuji Bethak in India.

Photography/Videography is allowed at Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth complex. The Tirth complex is situated on the banks of the river Hirana. It is a picturesque place in natural surroundings. Be there in the morning before nine or after four in the eve for better photography. You will have plenty of opportunities to shoot at different points with different backgrounds and different angles. One may happily spend two hours at Nij Dham Prasthan Complex.

After visiting Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth, you may visit Triveni Ghat on way back to Somnath Temple. Triveni Ghat is hardly half-a-kilomentre from Somnath Temple. Triveni Ghat is the holy confluence of three rivers – Hirana, Kapila and Gupta Saraswati. The devotees offer prayers for their forefathers here and do rituals for the peace of the deceased relatives. Triveni Ghat offers some good views and could be developed well as a tourist attraction in Somnath. Unfortunately it is much neglected by the authorities. The place is often so dirty that a tourist hardly can spend fifteen minutes!!

Tourists may also visit Parshuram Mandir, Jaleshwar mahadev, Shankaracharya Ashram and some other religious places in this trip.

One may return to Somnath Temple after this trip. Thus, Nij Dham Prasthan Tirth trip (Trip A) can be ended at Somnath Temple from where it was started.

We will continue our Somnath trip, right?

With good wishes,