The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India is one of the twelve Jyotirlings (lingas of light) symbols of the God Shiva. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God". The Somnath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time.
It has been said that The Moon God Chandra, being arrogant about his beauty, was cursed by his father-in-law Daksha to wane. The Moon then prayed to Lord Shiva at the Prabhas tirth who then removed the curse partially, thus causing the periodic waning of moon.
It's been said that Somnath Temple was first built with gold by Moon God, with silver by Ravana, with sandalwood by Lord Krishna, and with stone by Bhimdeva (Solanki Ruler of Gujarat).
The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the Christian era. The second temple, built by the Maitraka kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649. In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone.
The raid in 1024 was last major campaign of Mahmud Ghazni, and took him across the Thar Desert. During his campaign, Mahmud was challenged by Ghogha Rana, who at the ripe age of 90, sacrificed his own clan fighting against this iconoclast.. The temple and citadel were ransacked, and more than 50,000 defenders were massacred; Mahmud personally hammered the temple's gilded lingam to pieces and the stone fragments were carted back to Ghazni, where they were incorporated into the steps of the city's new Jamiah Masjid (Friday mosque).
The fourth temple was built by the Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhima of Gujarat (Anhilwara) between 1026 and 1042.
The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal who built the temple of stone. The temple was razed in 1297 when the Sultanate of Delhi conquered Gujarat, and again in 1394. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple again in 1706.
The present temple is the seventh temple built on the original site (A mosque present at that site was shifted few miles away). Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, then Home Minister & the first Deputy Prime Minister of India took a pledge on November 13, 1947 for its reconstruction. It was completed on December 1, 1995 and President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma dedicated it in the service of the nation. The present temple was built by the Shree Somnath Trust which looks after the entire complex of Shree Somnath and its environs.
The Present temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasada, is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the skill of the Sompuras, Gujarat's master masons.
The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in between from Somnath seashore to Antarctica. Such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the ARROW-PILLAR erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple.
In 1951 Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, who performed the Jyotirling-Pratishthapan ceremony of the new Temple said, "The Somnath Temple signifies that the power of creation is always greater than the power of destruction"