There are two 'Patan's in Gujarat: orte is the north Gujarat's Anhilpur Patan that had been its capital for 500 years. The other Patan is Prabhas Patan, Somnath. Mahabharat mentions two places, Dwarka and Prabhas, and the latter is also described as place of pilglimage. It is also known as 'Chandra Tirth', for according to the Puranas, Chandra (Moon God) had performed his penance here to remove the curse he had acquired. This Temple has been built seven times. It was first made of silver, then of sandalwood by Lord Krishna, and in historical times it was made from wood and later on of stone. That it was built and destroyed and again built and destroyed many times by Muhammad of Ghazni and later by Alauddin Khilji are stories quite well known.
Then Bhimdev again rebuilt this temple. King Bhoja of Malwa and Gujarat ruler Kumarpal also extended its area. However, in 1297 AD Allauddin Khilji's commander-in-chief Afzal Khan destroyed the structure. Then the Chudasama king Mahipal rebuilt it. Thereafter, the temple was destroyed by the first Muslim ruler of Gujarat Muzzafar Shah - I in 1390, by Muhammad Begda in 1490, Muzzafar - II in 1530, and Aurangzeb in 1701. AD. As the non-Hindu rulers attacked and destroyed the temple, its guardian Hindu rulers were sacrificed one after the other and still managed to rebuilt their seat of faith once more. In 1783, Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar built another Somnath temple next to the old one with its old prestige intact. After the Independence, Sardar Patel freed Junagadh and made a visit to Somanth. He was highly shaken up by the condition of the temple and resolved to renovate it at the earliest. The resolve was realized in 1950 when the new President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad laid the foundation of the new
temple project and the temple once again began to throb with all former glory.
If ancient descriptions are to be believed, this temple was a gigantic palace like structure. It had innumerable ringing bells hanging on long chains made of pure gold, the aromatic incenses used to burn in lamps that were studded with gems, and its pillars as well as the main gates were all decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. A large number of expert dancers perform to please and delight Lord Shiva, the Ultimate Dancer i.e. Nataraja. Next to the temple were schools for Vedic studies and sheds for cows. For the followers of Lord Shiva, Somnath temple is the most ancient, prosperous and sacred important center of worship. Today we can see only the place where it must have stood, for we find the evidence of temples built here one after the other. In 1951, the new temple was constructed and the remains of the old temple are now preserved in a museum for public view. Of the most sacred twelve Jyotirlingas that the Shaivites worship, Somnath temple holds a pride of place, being the first among them all.
As in Dwarka, the sea waves also kiss the base of the Somnath and lend it grandeur of natural beauty. It is a great experience to sit on the last steps of the temple and gaze at the roaring sea below. Also, we find that the 'Deep Stambha' erected on that embankment is a remarkable structure. It has a top that looks like a reclining conch. Its face is towards the temple and the tail is pointing at the sea. It has been so placed that on its southern tip it would point only at the sea without crossing any land in a straight line. The town is situated outside the temple land. There are other temples in this town too.
Near to Somnath is another place named Bhalakatirth, where Lord Krishna is said have received the fatal wound from the alTOWof a hunter, and then he came to the Dehotsargatirth to breathe His last. This quiet and beautiful place generates quite unprecedented feelings in our hearts. From Prabhas to Mangrol the entire stretch is full of beautiful sea beaches that would gladden the hearts of the tourists.