Dwarka - A tete a tete with the city
Earlier known as : Kushasthali
Location : Western India, Westernmost Gujarat
Founded in : Ages back by Lord Sri Krishna
Best time to visit : August to September
Places to see : Dwarkadeesh Temple, Dunny Point Rukmini Temple
Souvenirs : Bandhni work of art, embroidery articles, knick knack articles.
Dwarka - The Tale of the city
The city is a very important pilgrim spot. Associated with the life of Lord Krishna, it is said that after slaying Kansa, Lord Krishna left Mathura and went to Saurasthra with the entire Yadava clan and founded a town named Swarnadwarika. This was because Krishna made Ugrasen, Kansa’s father the king of Mathura. This angered Kansa’s father in law and he attacked Mathura 17 times. Therefore, for the safety of the people, Krishna and the Yadavas decided to move the capital from Mathura to Dvaraka.Lord Krishna’s successor Vajranabh, was his great grandson. He is believed to have built the present temple of Dwarka. It is called Trilok Sundar. It is believed that the temple was built in one night under the direction of Vajranabh. Legend says that Lord Krishna requested that the city of Dwaraka be engulfed by the sea after his death and that the city is under the sea until today. It is said that five settlements have been engulfed and Dwaraka is the sixth. It is believed that after Lord Krishna passed away, Arjuna went to Dwarka to bring Krishna’s grandsons and the Yadava wives to Hastinapur safely. When Arjuna left Dwarka, the sea engulfed it. The Vishnu Purana of the Indian Legend also says this.
Dwarka - Down the Ages
Situated in the westernmost part of the State of Gujarat Dwarka, the city of Lord Krishna is built on the right bank of the Gamut creek. This city with its winding streets is cluttered with lot of temples and is vibrant with the saffron clad pilgrims who come here for a “darshan” of the deity. The drums reverberate round the city and Dwarka, or the Golden city is lively during the Hindu festivals. The festival of Shivrathri is very enthusiastically celebrated as it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The festival of Janmashtami is also celebrated with lot of pomp and glory.
The archeological excavations reveal that Dwarka is supported by 60 columns and has a rising, exquisitely carved spire on top. Today Dwarka is a famous pilgrim spot with a many devotees thronging the city every day.
Dwarka - A Rendezvous
Dwarka is one of the four sacred towns of pilgrimage, one of the Char Dham. It is respected as the place where Lord Vishnu killed Shankhasura, the demon. According to the Indian Puranas, there are twelve Jyotirlinga that represent Lord Shiva in the country. Dwarka is one of the pilgrim spots in the Nageshwar Mahadev Mandir. A rendezvous with the city also reveals a temple for Krishna’s wife Rukmini .The city was built by Vishwakarma on the banks of the Gomati river. Dwarka, or Dvaramati, had six sectors, which were well organized. There were residential and commercial zones, wide roads, palaces and many public utilities. There was a “Sudharma Sabha” to have public meetings. There was a nice harbor at the sea. There were also 700,000 gold palaces studded with silver and other stones, beautiful gardens and lakes too.
Dwarka - Travel Kitty
Dwarka, or the Yadava city, has narrow lanes, which lead to the temples. They are lined with vendors selling various items like local crafts, seashells, photos of deities etc. The travel kitty here is in the main city where there are lot of ethnic items. Tourists can obtain a variety of shopping articles outside the temple premises. These objects give a Gujarati tinge to the travel kitty. There are patola silk sarees, bandhni works of art, ghagra cholis made of sequins, embroidery threads and other mirror pieces. Besides, the tourist could also add the various knick-knacks to the travel kitty.
Dwarka - Joie de vivre in the city
The city with its temple and spires and the richly carved architecture with the history of Lord Krishna behind it makes it a city to be reckoned with in the list of tourist spots in Gujarat. The temples, the ambience and the atmosphere here is filled with an air of positivity, which gives the people an urge to come back to this place again. The joie de vivre in this place is in living every breath here with joy and pomp. One can find the following places here:
Dwarkadheesh Temple : Also known as Jagat Mandir, this temple has Shri Krishna as its presiding deity. This deity is known as Dwarkadhish. It is a huge structure with a magnificent archticteral history behind it. The plinth area of 1800 square feet and 60 pillars to support, the temple is constructed out of granite and sandstone. This temple is a popular and loved spot in Dwarka.
Rukmini temple : This dates back to the 12th and 13th century. This has beautiful carvings especially on the great room inside, the “Sabha Mandapa”. It is said that the temple was built in memory of the Rani Rukmini who was the Vidharbha princess and was later married to Lord Krishna. This small temple lies around one kilometer from the main town. This architectural masterpiece has temple walls that are decorated with beautiful paintings that show Rukmini’s pastimes with Lord Krishna.
The story goes that one day, Lord Krishna invited Sage Durvasa for dinner. While he was on his way to dinner, Rukmini got thirsty and Lord Krishna gave her the Ganges waters when Sage Durvasa was not looking. Durvasa saw this, got angry, and cursed that she would live apart from Lord Krishna. This is the reason Lord Krishna’s temple is inside the town and Rukmini’s temple is outside the town.
Nageshwar Mandir : This is a temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is revered a great deal as it is the spot for one of the 12 jyotirlingas to be present. It is there in an underground chamber.
This is also one of the four seats of the Shankaracharya, the guru of Hinduism. There is research work that is carried out at the seat, which is known as Sharad Peetha.
Gomati Ghat temples : The River Gomati, meets the sea at Chakra tirtha ghat. Hindus believe that if you have bath here, you will get liberated. The Gomati River is visible from the back entrance of the Dwarkadish temple. The temple is situated where the ocean meets the Gomati River.
Samudra Narayan temple : Also known as the Sangam Narayana this magnificent temple is found at the confluence of the River Gomati and the sea. This is where we find five sweet water wells surrounded by seawater. This is called the Panchananda Tirtha.
Chakra Narayana : Chakra Narayana is a place where Lord Vishnu was seen as a stone marked with a chakra.
Gomatiji Temple : This has an image of the Gomati River in it. It is believed that the river was brought down from heaven by Vashista Muni.
Somnath temple : This was built by Soma the Moon God. This magnificent monument is a duplicate of the earlier construction. The original temple was built by the Moon God. It was destroyed and Lord Krishna rebuilt it in the wood. When this was pulled own, Bhimdev made it in stone. There is a museum, which stores the ruins of the old Somnath Temple. There is a Sun temple in Somnath. Somnath houses one of the 12 jyotirlingas or the Shiva temples in India.
Dunny Point : This is the first site, which is eco friendly. It helps in enhancing the environmental protection and enhances nature reserves. It encourages protection of natural resources and ensures that greenery is a way of life.
Okha : There is a ferry ride that takes a tourist from Dwarka to the island of Bet near Okha.
Porbandar : This lies to the south of Dwarka. This is a beautiful scenic spot and is an old seaport, which is associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Kirti Mandir is a monument, which has a little room where the Mahatma took birth. There is also a library , a spinning hall, a children’s’ nursery and a small prayer hall. Porbandar with its lovely beach and beach villas is a picture of beauty and has had maritime activities with Arabia, Africa and Persia.
Ponds and Islands :
Gopi tallava : This is a pond where Lord Krishna met the gopis. The gopis came to see Lord Krishna at Dwarka. The clay from Gopi tallava is known as gopi chandana. Devotees use it to put tilak marks on the bodies.
Bhalka Tirth : This is the place where Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and was struck by an arrow. This happened while sleeping on a deerskin. Lord Krishna was cremated at Dehotsarga at Triveni Ghat.
Beyf Dwaraka : This is an island around 30kms from Dwaraka. The island is separated by a strip of sea, which is about 4 kms wide. The channel can be crossed by a diesel boat. Here there are Vishnu temples, and temples for Radha, Lakshmi, Satyabhama,Jambuvanti, and Devaki.
Dwarka - Entertainment factor
Dwarka, with all its tales of Lord Krishna is replete with legends and tales of yore. A visit to this city fills one with a lot of faith, trust and belief. Yet this religious place of worship is not devoid of entertainment. Some of the major fairs and festivals held here satisfy this aspect of life. The fairs held here are:
Janmasthami Fair : This is celebrated in the month of August and September. It is a major festival in Dwarka. Most of the legends of Lord Krishna feature this city and is a major pilgrim spot for the Hindus.
A tourist coming to Dwaraka is thus satiated with a lot of belief, pomp, glory and pride.
As we leave the city, we think, “Pride does not have to come before a fall. One rises with pride in Dwaraka.”