The principal temple of Somnath is believed to have been built in gold by the moon god Soma, in silver by the sun god Ravi, in wood by Krishna and in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century. The present temple, built in 1951, is the seventh reconstruction on the original site.
Tales of its riches attracted a series of invasions, but each time the temple was invaded, it was restored to its original glory by devout Hindu worshipers. Commanding a breathtaking view from the tip of the Saurashtra peninsula, kissed by the waves of the Arabian coast, the temple has been constructed in the Chalukyan style with a shikhara nearly 50 m tall.
The temple’s imposing architecture includes intricate carvings, silver doors, an impressive Nandi idol and the central shivalinga. In the vast courtyard stand the massive mandapa (hall), as well as the main shrine, whose gently curved pyramidal forms tower over the whole complex.
Through a side door the sea is visible shimmering in the sunlight. Try slipping out to gaze at the roaring waves below, which though not safe for swimming, present an exhilarating spectacle. In view, you will find a tower called Deep Stambha erected on the embankment. On the top is a shape like a conch shell on its side, and in the tower is an arrow pointing directly to the south pole (interestingly, a line between here and the south pole crosses no land until Antarctica.)
The Kartik Purnima Fair is held here for four days beginning on Kartik Sud 14 according to the Hindu calendar, and attracts crowds in large numbers.