Somnath celebrates a large fair on the day of the full moon of Kartik Purnima in November / December. Maha Shivratri in the month of March is also a major festival here. The Somnath Fair held on Vishuwat Sanskranti day is celebrated in the Shiva Temple at Masi, Almora. It is a famous fair of Pali Pachhaun, here aren’t very many Forts and Monuments in Somnath to boast of but the one that is sure to attract your attention when on a Tour to Somnath is the Junagadh Gate. It is in fact one of the foremost Tourist Attractions in Somnath. It is believed that it was through the Junagadh Gate that Mahmud Ghazni entered this shore town to loot the magnificent Somnath Temple and raze it to the ground. The gate thus has a fair amount of historic significance.
The Junagadh Gate was not spared of his wrath either, he broke parts of it is as well when he was out to demolish the magnificent Shaivite temple. When visitors enter the temple town of Somnath through Veraval, which in fact is the nearest rail head to Somnath, they have to enter it through the Junagadh Gate. This triple gate is an ancient structure that dates back to more than a thousand centuries.
Just a Km from the Junagadh Gate is Mai Puri. Currently a mosque, Mai Puri was formerly a Sun Temple and is also believed to be quite old. Veraval is merely 6 km from Somnath. It was previously a fortified port town. Belonging to the royal family of Junagadh, it was home to quite a few impressive structures. Most of them including the walls of the fort have been pulled down but of the little that remains the Junagadh Gate is certainly very striking. The intricate carvings on the Junagadh Gate are indeed quite remarkable.
Another legend connected to Somnath is that the Moon God (Chandra or Soma) was married to the 27 daughters of King Daksha. He used to favour only one queen Rohini, out of other 26 wives. All this enraged King Daksha. Further, Moon God or Soma became arrogant of his radiant beauty so Daksha cursed him that he would lose his beautyand radiance and wane into darkness. Repentant Soma then prayed to Lord Shiva for deliverance from this curse at the Jyotirlinga, after which he was blessed by Lord Shiva to regain his radiance every time it was lost. Likewise the Moon would wane, but then grow and shine again, in an eternal cycle. As Lord Shiva protected Soma, he came to be known as Somnath. Then Somnath temple is originally believed to be built by Soma or Moon God in respect and as a tribute to the benevolence of Shiva.
According to Mahabharata, Somnath was the scene of massacre of the Yadava race and of the subsequent death of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. Patan, a port on the old site, is now overshadowed by the adjacent port of Veraval.
The Somnath temple was sacked by the Muslim invader Mahmud of Ghazna and then reconstructed in 1169. Then the temple was destroyed again during the final Muslim invasions of the late 13th century. Somnath temple was subsequently rebuilt and destroyed several times and then was again reconstructed in 1951.
How to Reach
By Road: Nearest Bus stop is Somnath, Private Luxury buses also available
By Rail: Nearest Railway Station is Veraval
By Air: Nearest Airport is Diu (approx. 100km).