Dwarka is an important city for pilgrimage. Dwarka is situated at the extreme west of the Saurashtra peninsula on the Arebian Sea. Dwarka lies 20.22’ north latitude and 69.05; east longitude and built on the bank of Gamut creek. Dwarka known as city of Gold.
Dwarka is derived from ‘Dwar’, a door and in ancient times its flourishing port was considered to be the gateway to the main land. As ‘Ka’ means ‘Brahma’ meaning, gateway to Moksha. It is called Dwarkamati and Dwarkavati. Being adopted home and capital to Shri Krishna after he gave up Mathura. It is held in such a high esteem as as place of Hindu Pilgrimage that it is considered to be one of the four principle holy places or chardham, it is also known as Mokshapuri.
The old city of Dwarka is said to be vanished in the sea following natural calamities, which is being excavated beneath the sea. The Archaeological survey of India has unearthed this 5000 years old city located between Okha and Bet Dwarka. A quote by Arjuna says in Mahabharata after his last visit to Dwarka, ‘The Sea which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of beautiful city.
Today’s Dwarka, like its ancient counterpart, stand poised on the edge of the Kutchh peninsula, facing facing the Arabian Sea. In times gone by, it was a seaport from where goods were borne to the Mediterranean world. The city was also the gateway to western India. It is clear that Dwarka was a popular with buildings constructed of stone and brick, even before the Christian era. Its archaeological remains point to a level of prosperity unusual at that time. Throughout the centuries, Dwarka has been visited by many persons whose names illuminate the pages of history. Among these were AdiSankracharya (c 780 to 820 AD), Ramanuja (12thcentuary AD) the great mystic Narsinh Mehta, Mira, the devout princess from Chitor, and the great saints Kabir and Nayak.
History of Dwarka
According to Hindu tradition still extant, the earliest known conqueror of Okhamandal was Shri Krishna, called also Ranchodji, the eight incaranation of Vishnu, who after his seventeenth battle with jarasangh, king of MagadhDesh, fled from Mathura, and eventually arrived with his army at Okhamandal which he subjected after a hard struggle with the Kalas. Shri Krishna established his capital at Dwarka on the bank of the Gomti Creek.
Dwarka was the kingdom of Lord Krishna. According to a legend, Shree Krishna came here from Mathura along with some Yadav families and establishes his own empire Dwarka, thousands of years ago. The entire city was revealed by marine excavations. The site is undoubtedly ancient but its association with Lord Krishna gives it a sanctity which draws millions of pilgrims. It is one of India’s seven oldest towns or saptapuris, where he reigned for decades as leaders of a growing clan.
On the eve of the great battle of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna set out from Dwarka to the site of the battle, to instruct Arjuna, the Pandava and these instructions from the text of the Bhagvad Gita. Famous for his divine compassion, Krishna was devoted to those whom he loved. When Sudama, the humble friend of his childhood, visited him hesitantly at Dwarka, he was received like a royal prince by Lord Krishna and his queen, the beautiful Rukmini. There are many other legends connected with Dwarka. It is said that when the Lord finally abandone his body, the city slipped into the sea and its waves closed over it for ever.
Places to visit in and nearDwarka
- JagatMandir: Dwarka is famous for the temple of Dwarkadhis, the ‘Lord of Dwarka’ also known as JagatMandir or temple of the world. It is supposed to have been constructed over 1400 years ago, although many claim that it is even older. It houses the image of Lord Krishna and is the beacon which draws pilgrims from all over India and abroad. Magnificently built on traditional lines, the temple has five floors and is profusely carved from base to pinnacle. The festival of Lord Krishna’s birth is celebrated there every year in the auspicious month of Shravan with great splendour and amidst great rejoicing. Navratriand other festivals celebrated there during the year recall special events in the Lord’s life. It is during these festivals, redolent as they are with mystic fervor and joy, that the true significance of Dwarka can be understand.
- The ShardaPeetha:This is one of the four Mathas established by Jagat Guru Sankracharya, all of which survive to this day. The Matha runs an educational society, an arts college and a Sanskrit Academy, which prepares scholars for doctorates in Sanskrit and Indology.
- Bet Dwarka: Also known as Bet Shankhoddar, Bet Dwarka is only 5 kms from Okha Junction in sea and Okha is 30 kms from Dwarka. It is said to be the place where Lord Krishna lived with his family when the ruled at Dwarka. It is also the place where Vishnu slew the demon Shankhasura. Visitors make it a point to visit the Krishna temple at this site which holds much of interest to be seen and experienced.
- NageswarMahadev: The puranas mention 12 Jyotirlingas or columns of light representing Lord Shiva, who manifested himself in that form in different parts of India. This shiva shrine near Dwarka is one of these and is there-fore accorded great respect.
How to Reach Dwarka:
Air: Nearest airport is Jamnagar (146 kms)
Rail: Connects Dwarka and Jamnagar (132 kms) away. Connecting Mumbai (945 kms), via Rajkot (270 kms) and Ahmedabad (453 kms). Dwarka lies on the metre gauge link between Viramgam and Okha.
Road:State transport buses and luxury coaches are available from differen parts of Gujarat.