India is the land of Spirituality. Every corner of it is filled with stories thathave some spiritual significance. One such corner is the city of Dwarka. Dwarka, which literally means the Gate to heaven, is a pilgrimage townlocated at the coastal region in the state of Gujarat. This is the sameplace where Shri Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, decided toestablish his kingdom. Jarasandh, the king of Magadh and father-in-law of Kansa, Krishna’s maternal uncle whom he had killed, had attacked Mathura where Krishna earlier lived with his family. Due to severalattacks by Jarasandh, Krishna decided to shift his capital from Mathura to Dwarka.
Dwarka, today holds immense importance among Hindus as apilgrimage site. However, Dwarka is not just a pilgrimage site but also holds significance due to its archeological mystery.
The lost city of Dwarka
Thirty six years after the Great Mahabharata War, a curse by Gandhari, the mother of Kauravas, ended the Yaduvanshi clan of Krishna. After Krishna left the material world, his capital Dwarka had submerged in the Arabian sea marking the end of the Dwapar Yuga. Thereafter, the Kingdom of Dwarka got lost in the midst of the sea.
The Discovery of Dwarka
In the 1970s, a Marine scientist had discovered the lost city of Dwarka, 120 feet beneath the sea surface in the gulf of cambay/khambhat of the western coast of India. Oceanographic experts had suggested that the City got submerged due to rise in sea levels. The artefacts that were found during the excavation were 7500-9000 years old. There is still more excavation and investigation needed to unbridle the age-old mystery of Dwarka and unlock a new dawn of human civilization.
Places to visit in Dwarka
Coming back to the present day land of Dwarka, there are several places that one must visit when they travel to Dwarka. Dwarka, today, is one of the Char dhams’ of Hinduism and is also home to one of the mutt established by Adi Shankaracharya as his quest to reestablish the ethos of Sanatana Dharma. Let’s take a look at them briefly.
1. Dwarkadheesh temple:
One of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites, Dwarkadheesh is dedicated to the King of Dwarka, who is none other than Krishna. The Dwarkadheesh temple is a part of the Char dhams of Hinduism. The temple is said to have been built by Vajranabha, the great-grandson of Shri Krishna. The temple is said to be located at the Hari griha (Krishna’s residence). Over the period of time, the temple has been rebuilt and renovated several times.
Situated at the southern tip of Gujarat, The temple stands at the meeting point of Gomti river and the Arabian sea. Surrounded by Barren plains the temple can be seen from far. Structure wise, the temple is 250 feet long with solanki style architecture. The walls of the temple are delicately carved with stories from the Hindu scriptures. Each shrine of the temple is dedicated to the family members of Krishna. An interesting thing about the temple is its huge flag that stands on a 25 feet long flagstand. The flag is changed 5 times a day, thrice in the morning and twice in the evening. The Dwarkadheesh temple has two gates or dwars; The Moksha and Swarg dwar. Each devotee has to climb 56 stairs and to enter the gate of heaven and they exit through the Gate of heaven. The temple opens in the morning at 6:30 AM to 1:00 PM and then again in the evening from 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM.
2. Sharda Peeth
The Dwarka sharda peeth is one amongst the four holy sites established by Saint Adi Shankaracharya to preserve and propagate Sanatana Dharma and Advaita Vedanta, the doctrine of non-dualism. The Sharda peeth, also known as Kalika Matha is located adjacent to the Dwarkadheesh temple. The cardinal peetham was established as the learning centres that intended to propagate and protect the ethos of Hindu Dharma, culture and religion. The atmosphere of the centre is serene and sacred. This is the right for anyone who is looking for peace of mind and solace. An interesting fact about this mutt is the collection of remains of old dwarka that was submerged in the sea. Also, the mutt has preserved bomb-shells that were thrown during the 1965 war by the Pakistan army. However, the air raids could not do any harm to the glory of Dwarka. The timings to visit Sharda peeth is from 7 AM to 9:30 PM.
3. Sudama Setu
Named after Sudama, Krishna’s friend from Vrindavan with whom he had spent his childhood. The bridge connects the Dwarkadheesh temple of Dwarka to the Panch kui located in the south-east Island across the Gomti river. The Panchkui tirth is located on the island in the South-east of Dwarka. The island has five sweetwater wells called Panchkui. The story of Panchkui is associated with the five Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata. Until the construction of Sudama setu in 2016, the The Gomti river was crossed by boats. Through the bridge, one can see mesmerising views of Dwarkadheesh temple, Gomti river and the Arabian sea. Tourists can also avail camel rides on the bridge. The Entry for the Bridge for the adults is Rs 10 and for kids, it is Rs 5 The bridge can be accessed from 7 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 7:30 PM.
4. Gomti Ghat
One of the most significant tributaries of Ganga is Gomti. It is said that the river Gomti descends directly from the heavens and is also known as the descending Ganga. The Gomti river starts from the Himalayas and completes its journey by merging with the Arabian sea on the Chakratirtha Ghat in Dwarka. Before the Chakratirtha ghat, the Gomti River flows past the Gomti Ghat which is yet another famous visiting spot in Dwarka. The Gomti Ghat is situated near the Dwarkadheesh temple, one has to walk 56 steps down the swarg dwar of the temple to reach the Ghat. Legend has it that a person can get rid of his Mortal sins by taking a dip in the river-with this thought, devotees every year come here to take a dip in the Gomti kund.
5. Rukmini Devi Temple
Dedicated to Rukmini, the chief consort of Sri Krishna, the Rukmini temple is one of the oldest temples in Dwarka. The Rukmini temple was built 2500 years ago, however, over the years it has been reconstructed and renovated several times. The present temple is built similar to the Dwarkadheesh temple with its walls engraved with sculptures of Gods and Goddesses. The temple is 2 km away from the Dwarkadheesh temple. There is a story behind why the two temples are built at a distance. It is said that sage Durvasa had cursed Rulmini that she would get separated from her husband. Hence, the two temples were built at a distance. The timings of visiting the temple are from 7:30 AM to 8 PM.
6. Beyt Dwarka Temple
Also known as the Shankhdhar, Beyt Dwarka is an Important pilgrimage destination near Okha in Gujarat. The Beyt Dwarka island is in the Gulf of Kutch, 30 km from the mainland Dwarka. It is believed that the Beyt Dwarka was the residence of Krishna where he lived along with his family. After his death, a part of Beyt Dwarka had submerged in the water.
The Beyt Dwarka temple is the main destination in Beyt Dwarka. The temple is built on the place where once the residence of Sri Krishna existed. The temple is simple and is devoid of any usual ornamentation. Some parts of the temple are in ruins. Some other important temples in Beyt Dwarka are Sri Krishna temple, Shrines of Sri Krishna’s queens, Radha temple, Denali temple, Amba Mata temple, Keshwavraj temple near Shankh Sarovar. Other than this, there are also Hanuman dancing Temple, Jain temples, Haji Kirmani Dargah, Sidi Baba peer Dargah. Beyt Dwarka can be reached by boat ferry from Okha.
7. Dwarka Beach
Apart from a Pilgrimage town, Dwarka is also home to beaches located near the Rukmani River. One of the most beautiful features is its crystal clear blue water which is home to a diverse marine fauna that includes dolphins, octopus and starfish.
The Dwarka city is 2 km away from the Dwarka beach. Tourists can come here to witness captivating and picturesque sunsets while indulging in activities like swimming and camel riding.
8. Shivrajpur Beach
With the accrediting of a blue flag beach, Th Shivrajpur beach is yet another gem of Dwarka. The Shivrajpur beach is known for its white sand and crystal clear water. It runs on Solar energy and is convenient for disabled people. You can also find sea-gulls and dolphins and can indulge in activities like scuba diving, island tours, sea bathing and sunset watching. The timings of the beach are from 8 AM to 7 PM and the cost of 30 rs per person. Note that The cost of Scuba diving is 2400 Rs per person.
9. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
One of the Jyotirlingas that is known for resolving disease related to toxins and poisons. Shiva is the god of snakes (Nag) and hence he is called Nageshwar. One of the special features of Nageshwar temple is its lingam which is in Tri-mukhi Rudraksha roop and is made of Dwarka shila which has small chakras. The Nageshwar mahadev is worshipped along with his wife Goddess Parvati. The Nageshwar temple is near the Gopi talav, a lake that is associated with the tales of Gopis, dearmost friends of Radharani, who sacrificed themselves to merge with the soil of Dwarka.
How to reach Dwarka?
Dwarka for a very long time has been a pilgrimage site. Due to its spiritual importance, thousands of devotees arrive at Dwarka every year. Over the years, it has developed an efficient road and railway network. However, there is still no Airport in the town. The nearest Airport is at Jamnagar which is 137 km away. Flights from Ahmedabad and Mumbai arrive at the Jamnagar Airport.
The Railways at Dwarka are connected to almost every State of India. Okha rail-route is an important railhead that connects to Dwarka. Another way is through Roadways, as Dwarka is well connected with roads with private and public buses running on them. Tourists can even avail private cars to reach Dwarka.
Dwarka, as the name suggests, is a Gate to one of the most enthralling and spiritually fulfilling trips. While the beaches will allow you to add some fun to your trip while the temples will add spiritual impact in your lives. So make sure that you include Dwarka for your next travel plan. Till then keep up with your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit Dwarka?
The best time to visit Dwarka is from October to February. One can also visit during the Janmashtami festival to witness the grandeur with which the town celebrates the birth of their King- Krishna.
How is the weather of Dwarka?
The weather of Dwarka has sunny skies and a bit of cold weather. Since it is on the coastal line, it has a humid climate due to the sea.