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!


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