Somnath jyotirlinga, considered as one of the first jyotirlingas, is located in Veraval, Kathiawar district of Gujrat at the confluence of 3 rivers, Kapila, Hirani, and Saraswati.
There is an interesting story about how the temple came into existence. According to Shiva Purana, the moon was married to 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Of them, the moon was fond of only one person known as Rohini.
Daksha Prajapati came to know about the pathetic condition of rest of his daughters and wanted to curse the moon for this and wanted to make him lose his radiance. Immediately, the moon took refuge in Lord Shiva and worshipped the sparsha lingam. Consequently, Lord Shiva protected his devotee, the moon and assumed the name Somachander and resided there forever.
According to Skanda Purana, the temple was first built 7,99,25,105 years ago and was first constructed by the moon with gold, later by Ravan with silver and Lord Shri Krishna with sandalwood.
In the course of time, the temple was destroyed by many foreign invaders like Mohammed Ghazni, Allauddin Khilji etc., In 1701, Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and built a mosque using the same bricks. Finally, after India’s independence, Sardar vallabhai Patel took many efforts to get the temple reconstructed.
The holy Shiv ling floats in the air without any support. The arrow pillar in this temple is said to be the center point between the north pole and south pole. The kalasha on Shivling weighs about 10 tonnes. Today, the temple is known for its power and one of the most visited temples of Lord Shiva in India. And it is even more preferred by devotees in the auspicious season of Shivratri.
Unlike many other Hindu temples, devotees from other religions are not permitted into this temple. They need to take special permission from the temple officials to enter the temple.
This temple enjoys the luxury of first preference by devotees as the first jyotirlinga on earth and the number of devotees visiting this temple is pretty high on festival days, Mondays and Mahashivratri especially. Many people believe that in order to visit this temple they need to do some good karma in the previous births. Whatever might be the beliefs, this temple has been a go-to destination for Shiva devotees worldwide.