Somnath, the First Jyotirlinga

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The present Somnath temple is elegant, reflecting the past glory of Somnath. This is the first Jyotirlinga to visit if you are having traditional Dwadash Jyotirlinga circiut.

(This is the second article about Somnath, the first of the Dwadash Jyotirlinga. Traditionaly Dwadash Jyotirlinga pilgrimage begins with Somnath temple)The present Somnath temple is elegant reflecting the past glory of Somnath. Built in Kailsah Mahameruprasad style, it was constructed under the guidance of Prabhashankar Sompura It has  Garbhagriha, Sabhamandap and Nrityamandap with a 150 feet high Shikhar. The Kalash at the top of the Shikhar weighs 10 tons and the Dhwajdand is 27 feet tall and 1 foot in circumference. The temple has large central hall with entrances on three sides, each protected by a lofty porch. The temple carvings and the sculptures speak about the great artistic endeavor of craftsmen. The sense of space and light is glorious. The main gate is east faced.

Sanctum:

The sanctum of the temple is spacious. The shivalinga is huge and one can see the priests performing different pujas. The doors are silver framed with golden ceilings.

Somnath Temple Complex and darshan protocol::

The entrance is from Shri Digvijay Dwar(built in the memory of Jamsaheb of Jamnagar).In Hindu tradition there is small temple of Ganesh and Hanuman after the entrance.

The main temple starts with sabhamandap. Here is an idol of Ganeshji and Hanumanji followed by Nandi. Then comes the Garbhagriha where one can have darshan of the jyotirlinga. Tripurasundari idol on the right side of sanctum and Ambika Mataji idol on the left side are offered prayers after the jyotirlinga.

Only the temple trust appointed priests (pujaris) are allowed in the garbhagriha and they only perform puja.. Even the trustees or VVIPs cannot visit this area.

South Pole indicator:

The Abadhit Samudra Marg Tirsthambh(South pole indicator) indicates the unobstructed sea route to the south pole. This is an example of the great knowledge Indians had in ancient period. It is in temple complex.

Sound & Light Show:

Light & Sound show in the complex is a great attraction for the devotees. Regular dail shows are held between 8 pm and 9 pm. The show narrates the story of Somnath Jyotirlinga temple. The sound effect of the show mingling with the celestial music of roaring waves is ever changing magical mix.

Kartik Purnima show

It is said that the moon here is the most bright. The full moon day has its own charm.On every Kartik Purnima(15th day of the Hindu calendar new year) many devotees come here to view thousand moons riding the Arabian sea waves.

Different Pujas in Somnath Temple:

Somnath, the first revered Jyotirlinga also has an importance for various yagna related rituals. There are different pujas performed in temple.

The rates for daily pujas are: Homatmaka Atirudra-Rs.15 lacs, Homatmaka Maharudra-Rs.1.25 lacs, Homatmaka Laghurudra-Rs.25,000, Savalaksha Bilva Puja-Rs.11,000,Reshmi Dhwajarohan-Rs.7500,

Pathatmaka Maharudra-Rs.5000,Dashansh Home-Rs.5000,Kalsarpayoga Vidhi-Rs.3100,Shivpuran Path-Rs.3100,Rajopchar Puja-Rs.1100,Mahadudh Abhishek-Rs.1100,Markandey(Birthday) Puja-Rs.1100,Mahapuja-Rs.1100,Laghurudra-Rs.1100,Santan Gopal Mantra-Rs.750,Deepmala-Rs.750,Rajbhog Thal-Rs.750,Samput Chandipath-Rs.200,Bilva Puja(101)-Rs.200,Samput Maha Mahamrityunjay Jaap(1000)-Rs.150,Shodapashopchar Puja-Rs.125,Mahamrityunjay Jaap(1000)-Rs.125,Navgrah Jaap(1000)-Rs.100,Rudrabhishek-Rs.100,Gangajal Abhishek-Rs.100,Brahmin Bhojan-Rs.75,Panchopchar Puja-Rs.50,Avartan-Rs.50,Savalaksha Samput Mahamrityunjay Jaap-Rs.18,750,Savalaksha Mahamrityunjay Jaap-Rs.15,625.The temple trust also accepts amount of different pujas for 5 years.

Puja Sankalp:

No devotee can perform puja here. This is not the case in all Jyotirlingas. The task is performed by priests on behalf of devotees. The trust employs more than 1000 brahmins for the task. Once a devotee pays the amount for a certain puja, he gets receipt and on the basis of it, priest performs puja. Since priests are trust employee, there is no system of dakshina.

Temple Timings and Arti:

Somnath Temple daily opens at 6 am for the devotees for darshan and closes at 9 pm. Artis are performed three times at 7 am, 12 noon and 7 pm.

Arti is a 20 minute spiritual symphony of music, a star attraction of Somnath Jyotirlinga.

For the security reasons, nothing is allowed inside the temple. Even coconuts for puja rituals are not allowed. However, there are adequate locker arrangements to keeps mobiles and other valuables.

Dhwajarohan at Somnath Temple:

Reshmi Dhwajarohan at Somnath Temple is a great event for a devotee as anyone can perform this. A devotee has to pay money for Dhwajarohan. The temple authorities provide saffron colored Dhwaja, which has on it embossed symbols of nandi and Trishul. The devotee performs puja of the dhwaja  near garbhagriha. After that ritual, a temple employee takes dhwaja to the top of the temple and unfurls it.

Somnath Trust Managament:

We can say that Somnath Trust Management is the best amongst dwadash jyotirlinga circuit temples. The trust at present has undertaken several development activities which include the plan to develop various places and expand tourist facilities. At present Keshubhai Patel, former chief minister of Gujarat is the chairman of Shri Somnath Trust.

Somnath Museum and Prabhas Patan:

Somnath is located in a village called Prabhas Patan having population of about 12,000. Somnath Museum is just 100 meters away from the Somnath temple. Here one can see the ruins of ancient Somnath temple and the water brought from around the world for pranpratishtha  ritual. The authorities have preserved it nicely.

Prabhs Khestra-Land of Lord Shri Krishna’s dehtyag:

Somnath or Prabhas kshetra is also an important place for Vaishnavites. Lord Shri Krishna established his capital in Dwarka, which was known for its richness. It was golden era during Lord Krishna’s regime in Dwarka. Yadavas became arrogant and allowed Dwarka’s glory to wane. Lord Krishna ended his earthy journey in Prabhash Kshetra (Somnath) along with his elder brother Balaram who is believed to be  avtar of Sheshnag. This is the place where Shri Krishna was hit by an arrow of a poacher named Jara. The place is known as Bhalka Tirth. After being hit by the arrow, Lord Shri Krishna arrived at the holy confluence of Hiran, Kapila and Saraswati and their meeting the ocean. He performed his divine dehtyag leela at the sacred and peaceful banks of river Hiran.

—————————————————————–Vipul K Shukla

(The writer, a Ahmedabad based Public Relations consultant is a regular visitor to the holy shrine of Somnath. He last visited the shrine in May, 2009.)

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