GOG MAHARAJ MANDIR, SEMBHAR
The snake has always been worshipped as a Hindu deity. In Sembhar village of Vadgam, 45 kms from Palanpur, there is a temple of a snake (called Gog Maharaj), which is about 2000 years old.
A long time ago, on the basis of a miraculous Rajasthani folk-tale, a temple was constructed near a stream.
As legend goes, a Patel traveling in a bullock cart found a snake idol flowing down the River Saraswati. He had a vision and was asked to consecrate the idol at the place where he found it. Devotees came from far and wide for darshan of the snake deity. There was also a small Dharmashala (caravanserai) set up. But it was difficult for devotees to visit the temple during the monsoon, and gradually the number of visitors started declining. In the course of time, the temple lost its glory.
In these circumstances, for the benefit of the devotees, a new temple was constructed on a spot a little above the stream. Devotees again started coming in large numbers and regularly offered coconuts to the deity. Many devotees got together to upgrade and beautify the temple - the people from Chansol village in Mehsana district even formed a trust and collected a sizable amount of funds towards this noble cause. In a short span of time, a majestic new temple was constructed beside the old Gog Maharaj temple, and today, it is widely recognized as an extraordinary specimen of art and architecture.
One is awestruck by the new temple, as the pillars, the dome and all other parts of the temple have figures of the Snake God set artistically in layers. There are lakhs of stone carvings of the god. One has to see the temple to experience the impact of its beauty.
The huge number of coconuts tied to a tree near the temple bear proof to the popularity of this temple and the faith of its devotees. Many take vows before the Snake God and have claimed to have witnessed miracles.
On the occasion of Pancham, hundreds of pilgrims come to this temple