There aren't many forts and monuments in Somnath to boast of, but the one site that will attract your attention when on a tour of Somnath is the Junagadh Gate. It is, in fact, one of the prominent tourist attractions in Somnath. It is believed that it was through the Junagadh Gate that Mahmud of 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 historical significance.
The Junagadh Gate was not spared of Mahmud’s wrath either. He broke parts of the gate when he was out to demolish the magnificent Shaivite temple. As a result, when visitors enter the temple town of Somnath through the city of Veraval (the nearest railhead to Somnath), they have to enter it through the Junagadh Gate. This is an ancient triple gate dating back over 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 and 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 fort's walls, have been pulled down, but of the little that remains, the Junagadh Gate is striking. The intricate carvings on the Junagadh Gate are indeed quite remarkable.
Onlookers should find time to stand and admire the carvings of the Junagadh Gate even though the whole of it needs renovation.
Tourist Attractions Near Junagadh Gate
Triveni Sangam Ghat
At around 4 km from Junagadh lies the famous Triveni Sangam Ghat. It marks the confluence of three holy rivers - Kapila, Hiran, and Saraswati. At this confluence, all three meet the Arabian Sea. People believe that if you bathe in these sacred waters, you will be free from the cycle of birth and death and attain moksha (salvation). November to February will be the best time to visit here as the weather is pleasant, cool and calm for sightseeing. Or, you can visit in January to experience the Magh Mela.
Visit Bhalka Tirtha, located 40 km from Junagadh. It is one of the most beautiful temples in Somnath and is also called Mahaprabhuji's Bethak. On its premises, there is a tulsi tree planted in Lord Krishna’s honor. Banyan trees are planted in the courtyard, which looks spectacular as the sandstone building in the backdrop. Inside the temple, an idol of Lord Krishna is installed in a semi-reclining posture. November to February is the ideal time to visit Bhalka Tirtha or during Janmashtami (Lord Krishna’s birthday).
Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden
Located about 53 km from Junagadh Gate, this zoological garden is also called Sakkarbaug Zoo or Junagadh Zoo. Opened in 1863, it is spread over 200 hectares and is home to Asiatic Lions. They are an endangered species that are provided a home and looked after. The main aim of this zoo is to strengthen national efforts in conserving biodiversity, particularly the fauna.
Mai Puri Masjid
Situated a km from Junagadh Gate, Mai Puri Masjid is one of the best places in Somnath. Earlier, it used to be a Hindu temple dedicated to Surya Dev (the Sun God), but when Mahmud of Ghazni took the city under his control, he converted it into a mosque. Besides, the masjid has stunning architecture in blue and white tiles. There are several tombs here, which makes it an important place for the Muslim community.
If you want to explore more of Junagadh or its nearby places, book Gujarat tour packages with Indian Holiday. Our packages are customizable and equipped with meals, stays, sightseeing tours, and private guided tours. 24*7 assistance and hassle-free tour planning with travel experts will give you peace of mind while you enjoy your holiday.