Somnath, the temple town, consists of a few streets leading away from its phoenix like temple. The rugged sea below gives it a lonely, wistful charm. The pilgrim trade is constant, but merchants are relaxed, perhaps in deference to the shadows cast by the awe-inspiring temple. Somnath is mainly known for the legendary shore temple of Somnath, which is dedicated to the Lord Shiva.
This legendary shore temple of Somnath is one of the twelve most sacred shrines dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The temple contains the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. According to the legends, the Somnath temple is very old and was originally built in gold by the Somraj, the Moon God. Later, it was rebuilt by Ravana, in silver; then by Krishna in wood and Bhim Dev in stone. Mahmud of Ghazni, upon hearing the description of the richness of the Somnath temple by Al Biruni, an Arab traveller, visited this temple in 1024 AD. At that time, this temple had about 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and 300 barbers to shave off the heads of pilgrims. After a two day’s battle, Mahmud destroyed the temple and carried away jewels and gold to his homeland. In all, the Somnath temple was rebuilt and destroyed eight times. This temple was finally rebuilt in 1950 with the support of Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. The current temple was built as per the traditional designs on the original site by the sea and is a serene, symmetrical and sinuous structure. Today, this majestic temple is a replica of the earlier temple.
Rudreshvara Temple – Rudreshvara Temple is a ruined temple located near the Somnath temple. Bhalka Tirth – Bhalka Tirth is situated halfway between Veraval and Somnath. At this place, Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and wounded by an arrow. Veraval also has a boat building yard, a must see as you would be able to see the wooden boats being made here.