The Sacred City of Dwarka, a city in Gujarat’s Dwarka district is situated on Okhamandal peninsula’s western shore and along the banks of River Gomti. Dwarka is one of the most significant Hindu pilgrimage destinations and is said to be the ancient and legendary capital of Lord Krishna’s kingdom.An ancient city that holds a lot of rich history, myths, values and a popular site for the archeologists to dig deeper into the past of Hindu Civilization itself, it holds an enormous significance even today. Such as:
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1. The Dwarkadhish temple
The Dwarkadhish temple, also known as the Jagat Mandir and occasionally spelled Dwarakadheesh, is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Krishna, who is worshiped here by the name Dwarkadhish, or ‘King of Dwarka’. The temple is located at Dwarka, Gujarat- a state of India. The main shrine of the 5-storied building, supported by 72 pillars, is known as Jagat Mandir or Nija Mandir, archaeological findings suggest it to be 2,200 – 2,000 years old. Temple was enlarged in the 15th- 16th century. The Dwarkadhish Temple is a Pushtimarg temple, hence it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Vallabhacharya and Vitheleshnath.According to tradition, the original temple was believed to have been built by Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha, over the
The Dwarkadhish Temple is a Pushtimarg temple, hence it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Vallabhacharya and Vitheleshnath.According to tradition, the original temple was believed to have been built by Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha, over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna’s residential place).
2. The Rukmini Devi Temple
The Rukmini Devi Temple is a temple in Dwarka, 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) away from Dwarka, India. It is dedicated to Rukmini, Krishna’s chief queen. The temple is said to be 2,500 years old but in its present form, it is inferred to belong to the 12th century.It is said that at the request of sage Durvasa (who was renowned for his short temper and bestowing curses) Krishna and Rukmini pulled a chariot taking sage Durvasa to their house for dinner.
On the way, when Rukmini asked for water to quench her thirst, Krishna drew Ganges water, by prodding the ground with his toe, for her to drink. Rukmini quenched her thirst with the Ganges water. But Durvasa felt insulted as Rukmini did not have the courtesy to offer him water to drink. He, therefore, cursed her that she would live separately from her husband. This is the reason to be believed for justifying of separate dwelling temples, far away from each other, for Rukmini and her husband Krishna.
3. Char Dham
Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are immensely respected by Hindus. It comprises Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameswaram. It is considered highly sacred by Hindus to visit the char Dham during one’s lifetime. The Char Dham defined by Adi Shankaracharya consists of four Vaishnavite pilgrimages. Dwarka is one of the four great ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage sites.
4. Sapta Puri
The Sapta Puri are seven holy pilgrimage centers in India. The ‘Tirthas’ (pilgrimage centers) are Ayodhya (Rama), Mathura (Krishna), Haridwar (Vishnu), Varanasi (Shiva), Kanchipuram (Parvati), Ujjain (Shiva) and Dwarka (Krishna).The Sapta Puri are places of birth of religious and spiritual masters, places where Gods have descended as avatars (incarnations) such as Ayodhya where Rama was born, and places considered as Nitya tirthas, naturally endowed, with spiritual powers since ages such as Varanasi and Haridwar.
5. Gomti Ghat
Gomti River flows past the Gomati Ghat Dwarka and that makes the Ghat a real holy place and River Gomati is the tributary of Holy Ganges, the most sacred river for all Hindus. The river originates in the Himalayan ranges of Nepal and flows down across many Indian states with Gujarat being one of those. In Lord Krishna’s legendary city Dwarka, Gomati Ghat is an important haunt for all devout pilgrims. It is also referred to as Gomati Sangam Ghat as the river flows past the Gomati Ghat and soon afterward meets the Arabian Sea at the Chakratirtha Ghat.One has gone down a flight of 56 steps from Dwarkadheesh temple’s Swarga Dwar in order to reach the Gomati Ghat which is located 20mins away from Dwarka city center.
According to stories River, Gomati is the daughter of Sage Vashishtha and her waters are powerful enough to purge one’s mortal sins. Thu, pilgrims make it a point to bathe in River Gomti and they usually take their holy dip into the Gomati Kund, the point of confluence of River Gomti and the sea. Gomti Kund is located very close to the Gomati Sangam Ghat of Dwarka. Also, River Gomti is believed to be the ‘descending Ganges’, a river that descends straight down from heaven which is why it is a river that can wash away every sin as per Hindu mythology.
6. Bet Dwarka
Also known as, Shankhodhar, Bet Dwarka is an inhabited island situated at 3 km off the coast of Okha, Gujarat, India. It is considered a part of the ancient city in Indian epic literature ‘Dvārakā’, the abode of Sri Krishna, which is found in Mahabharata and Skanda Purana. Gujarati scholar Umashankar Joshi suggested that Antardvipa in Sabha Parva of Mahabharata can be identified as Bet Dwarka as Yadava of Dwarka said to travel to it by boats. Considered to be the original residence of Krishna, Bet Dwarka was the old port during the ancient times of Krishna before the Okha port was developed in Dwarka.
The temple built here is credited to the religious Guru Vallabhacharya of the “Pushtimarg Sampradaya”. Rice is the traditional offering here to the deity as it is believed that Sudama offered rice to his childhood friend Krishna. There are also smaller shrines on Bet Dwarka which are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Hanuman, and Devi. According to a legend, Vishnu killed the demon Shankhasura on this island. There are temples of Vishnu in the incarnation of Matsya, or fish. Other shrines here are of Rukmini, Trivikrama, Devaki, Radha, Lakshmi, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Lakshmi Narayan, and many other gods.
7. A Scuba Diving Site
The underwater ancient city off the coast of Bet Dwarka has been proposed to be developed as a scuba diving site. This project is a joint initiative of Adventure Sports Ltd (ASL) and the Government of Gujarat, with an investment of Rupees 13 crores. This is believed to be the first effort anywhere in the world to exploit a submerged city for tourism. Water and beach sports are also being promoted by the state government, and there are proposals to further promote aero and submarine sports.
8. Seven Cities on the Site of Dvārakā
Krishna lived for the rest of his life in this newly-built city. Nonetheless, after being accidentally shot by an arrow whilst meditating under a tree in a forest at Bhalka Tirtha, Krishna departed from this world. After Krishna’s death, the city he founded was swallowed up by a massive flood, thus returning it to the ocean. It is said that over the centuries, a number of civilizations built their cities in the area where the city of Dvārakā once stood. The present city of Dwarka is believed to be the seventh one that was built there.
9. A Lighthouse
At the Dwarka Point on the Dwarka peninsula, there is a lighthouse which provides a panoramic view of the city. It is a fixed light situated 21 m above the sea level, and the light is visible at a distance of 16 km. The lighthouse tower is 12 m in height and is 107 m away from the high water level in the sea. The radio beacon provided on this lighthouse tower is powered by a solar photovoltaic module.
10. The Sacred City of Lord Krishna
Dwarka in the ancient times was known as Anarta which had been Lord Krishna’s terrestrial empire. The city had been the capital city of the Yadava clan which ruled over the place for many years. The most important chiefs of Yadava clan inhabiting Dwarka included Lord Krishna, who was the king of Dwarka, According to the most popular legendary tale, Lord Krishna migrated to Kusasthali, (the name by which Dwarka was known in the ancient times) in order to evade the continual harassing raids done on Mathura by Jarasandha; Kansa’s father in law. Jarasandha wanted to avenge the death of Kansa, the wicked cruel uncle of Krishna whom the Lord had killed and thus was attacking Mathura time and again.
Legends say Kusasthali had been Lord Krishna’s ancestral native on his maternal side. The city is said to have been set up a Yadava ancestor of Lord Krishna; Raivata after he got defeated the battle with Punyajanas and lost his kingdom to the latter. After the defeat, Raivata fled to Mathura in order to keep himself and his clan members safe. Later on, he returned to establish the city of Kusasthali or Dwarka. This tale indicates that Lord Krishna’s shifting to Dwarka from Mathura took place in reverse order.
When he came back to Dwarka along with his clan of Yadavas, he ordered Lord Vishwakarma to build a city for his kingdom. Answering his order, Lord Vishwakarma told that the city can be built only if Lord Samudradevi offered them some land.
Lord Krishna then prayed to Samudradeva who responding to the prayer providing them with land up to 12 Yojna and soon after the celestial constructor Vishwakarma built the city of Dwarka in a short span of only 2 days. The city was called ‘Suvarna Dwarka’ because it was all clad in gold, emeralds, and jewels which were used to construct the houses in Lord Krishna’s ‘Suvarna Dwarka’. It is believed that Lord Krishna’s original residence was at Bet Dwarka from he administered the entire Dwarka kingdom. Legend further adds that after Lord Krishna departed from his mortal body, the city went under the sea with Samudradeva taking back what he had given once upon a time.