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Story of the Origin of Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple

Somnath Temple is one of the most important temples dedicated to Shiva and is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples. Somnath Temple is located near Veraval in Gujarat and story of its origin is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. The puranic name of the place where Somnath Temple is situated was Prabhas Kshetra

Legend has it that Daksha, the master of civilization, had married twenty seven of his daughters – the Nakshatras, lunar asterisms, to moon-god, Chandra. But Chandra ignored the 26 Nakshatrams and was enamored by only one among them the beautiful Rohini.

The other daughters complained to Daksha about Chandra’s partisan behavior and this angered Daskha who cursed Chandra that your body of which you are so proud will fade away.

Soon the body of Chandra started fading away and he approached Lord Vishnu who asked him to do penance at Prabhas Kshetra to Lord Shiva who is the supreme physician and the keeper of the sacred herb Soma.

Chandra then did intense Tapas and performed several harsh austerities at Prabhas Kshetra. Shiva relented and appeared before Chandra who asked for a solution to escape from the curse.

Lord Shiva helped Chandra in regaining his lost luster and glory with the herb Soma. But Daksha cursed him again and he took the help of Lord Shiva and this continued for a long period. Finally, Shiva asked Chandra to take refuge in his lock of hair on his head where he will find enough soma to rejuvenate him periodically.

Thus the curse of Daksha causes the moon to wane and Lord Shiva rejuvenates him to wax again.

Devas who were happy with Shiva finding a solution to Chandra’s problem asked him to stay at Prabhas Kshetra and bless His devotees. Shiva agreed to stay at the place and it came to be known as Somnath and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.