1 Prabhas Patan : Somanath Mahalay
In the south-west corner of Saurashtra, on the sea shore there is a small port and a gulf, called Veral. The land there is very fertile and beautiful. The natural beauty of this place is also uncommon. Playing on the golden sand stretching up to miles, the bright rays of moon on each Purnima (full moon night) unveils uncompromising beauty on tide water. The land of southern part of the gulf has sunken in the ocean in some distance, on this sunken land is situated the ancient city of Prabhas Patan. There is a vast fort here, inside of which lies a field that stretches up to nearly two miles. The fort is built of the giant stones. There is a twenty-five feet wide and so deep trench around the fort that can be filled with sea water any time. There are several towers and huge gates in the fort. Outside of the fort, the ruins of the ancient city are scattered up to miles. The ruins of ancient palaces, innumerable of broken statues are telling a story an unforgettable and devastating event of the forgotten time. The fence of the fort that lies towards the sea, touching of that and in the south-west corner of the city, on the sunken high platform, there are the ruins of the famous temple of Maha Kaleshwar. The remnant of the temple and the broken towers are the proofs of the unique architecture and grandiose of the temple.
About thousand years ago, the famous mansion of Somantha was situated here, its otherworldly splendor was renowned from Vadrikashram to Setubandh Rameshwaram and from Kumari Kanya to the end of Bangal.
Pilgrims from all corners of India used to come to this sacred land and to catch a glimpse of lord Somantha. Several kings and queens, royal persons, riches, great business man used to stay here for months and offer numerous wealth, gems, villages, lands, at feet of Somanath. Because of this the splendor of Somanath became indescribable and incomparable.
In those days in India there was more devotion of Saivism than Vaishnavism.
In the construction of Somanath mansion, both the North and South Indian architectural works were sculpted. This mansion was spread in specious expanse. From distance the structure of mansion seemed to be like a silver mountain. The entire mansion was built of high quality marble. On the heavy pillars of the palace, the diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc. were used to make such mosaics that eyes were not tired to see its splendor. The pillars were covered with gold leaves on place to place. On such six hundred pillars, the pavilion of the mansion was standing. In this pavilion, more than ten thousand devotees could see lord Somanath. There was a jyotirlinga of Somanath in the adytum of the pavilion.
Gems and diamonds were inlaid on the roof and walls of the adytum. Because of it even after burning a simple ghee lamp, there was such flicker that eyes were dazzled.
In this adytum, even in day time sun light could not enter. Several very large ghee lambs were kept lighting up there day and night and several incenses were kept burning there, because of this fragrance the earth around mansion was fragrant up to two -two miles. Sitting around on the smooth and tidy floor of the pavilion several high class beautiful women dressed in expensive clothes and jewelry, full of youth and virtue, bowing in devotion used to sing hymns of lord Somanath for hours. During daily worshiping, five hundred Brahmans used to read Vedas together, three hundred well-versed singers used to sing hymn and same number of beautiful devadasi used to dance for gods and their devotees. Jyotirlinga was bathed in one hundred of silver picture of gangajal, which was brought daily from Hardwar which was more than one thousand km away. After bath, anointing with fragrant oils was done and dressing was the last. Jyotirlinga of Somanath was 8 hands tall, so entire process of bathing, anointing and dressing was done by climbing on golden ladder. After completing bating etc. Arati was done. During Arati ,shankh, chaughadiyan , ghant etc. were resounded. This Arati was heard up to 4 to 5 miles.
A large amount of materials was spent in all these works, but this had made no difference in the store house of mansion of Somanath. More than ten thousand villages were offered to Somanath by several kings and emperors.
The Keshariy flag on the highest top of the palace used to attract the attention of travelers from miles. The golden pitchers of the top of the palace used to glitter like suns.
There were innumerable small and big temples, houses, palaces and public places around the palace of Somanath which were spread over miles. And because of which the beauty of the palace of Somanath had increased. For the defense of the palace there was very strong rampart around the palace that was made of black stones. Place to place there were turrets located in this rampart.
When water was filled in the trench of the palace, the scene used to appear like an island in a sea.
There were cities, markets, houses inside the rampart where innumerable business men, sculptors, artists, servants lived and worked. There were many ponds, wells, lakes, gardens etc. inside the rampart.
The palace of Somanath was guarded turn by turn on behalf of different kings of the country. Besides these one thousand soldiers were appointed on behalf of the palace, who carefully guarded the wealth of the palace and the citizens of the palace.
Every years very large fairs were held in the palace on poornima of shrawan , on shivaratri and on the day of solar and lunar eclipses. The travelers from beyond Himalaya to travelers from Lanka used to come in these fairs. Nearly five to seven hundred thousand people gathered in these fairs. During these festivals seven hundred barbers of the palace could not take rest even for a moment. The kings of distant lands after passing through all hardships of their long journeys when reached at the palace of Somanath, used to believe their lives had been successful. It was a belief throughout India that without seeing lord Somanath life is useless.
After travelling hundreds of miles on foot, many crowned kings and knights, to full fill their wishes used to come there. Because of all these reasons in those days Patan city had become the main trade center in India.