Renowned for its mythological significance and shrines, Dwarka is closely associated with Lord Krishna and was his capital. Located in Saurashtra peninsula of Gujarat, Dwarka is part of the Char Dham pilgrimage and also one of the seven ancient cities (Sapta Puris).
Dwarka, also known as Dwaravati, is derived from the words ‘dwara’, meaning door and ‘ka’ refers to ‘Brahma’. Hence, Dwarka means the gateway to Brahma or Moksha.
After leaving Mathura, Lord Krishna established his kingdom at Dwarka on the banks of Gomti River. Vishwakarma, the celestial architecture, built the city at the request of Lord Krishna. As per legend, after the death of Lord Krishna, the city of Dwarka submerged under the sea. It is said that the city was rebuilt six times and the present city is the seventh one to be built.
Excavation worked carried by the Archeological Survey of India has revealed the existence of a two millennia old city. Excavation work carried between 1983 and 1990 have revealed that a township was built in six sectors. A fortified wall, extending more than half a mile has also been unearthed.
The present day Dwarka is a prominent pilgrimage and boasts of several shrines. Among the temples, the 2000-year-old Dwarkadheesh temple is the most notable one. According to legend,
Mirabai, Lord Krishna’s devotee, merged herself with Lord Krishna in the temple.
Besides its temples, the city is also popular for its beaches. Scuba diving to see the underwater remains of Dwarka is a prominent activity at Dwarka.
Dwarka is also a shoppers’ delight. Patola silk sarees, Bandhni fabrics, embroidered handicraft items, embellished footwear and local souvenirs are worth a buy.
After fleeing Mathura, Lord Krishna decided to build a new capital on the coast of Saurashtra, which is the present day Okha and established his kingdom on Beyt Dwarka. Dwarka was a well planned city and divided into six sectors.
The city had around 700,000 palaces of gold and silver. However after the death of Lord Krishna, Dwarka got submerged by the sea.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several accommodation options in Dwarka. One can find many budget and mid-range hotels. Some hotels also offer guided tours of archaeological marvels.
WHERE TO EAT
Being a temple town, restaurants generally serve vegetarian cuisine. Majority of the restaurant serves Gujarati, South Indian and North Indian dishes. Gujarati thali is popular and you should try Khamman Dhokla and sweet buttermilk.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Dwarka is an all season destination; however the months of October to March are ideal for the visit.
WHAT TO SEE
Dwarkadeesh Temple: Also known as Jagat temple, the temple is built in Chalukya style. The 2000-year-old temple was built by the great grandson of Lord Krishna, King Vajranabha. The temple has two main entrances — the entrance facing north is called Moksha Dwar (door to salvation) while the south facing one is called Swarga Dwar (door to heaven). Devotees are also required to take a dip in the Gomti River before entering the temple. One also gets to see a four-armed statue of Lord Vishnu in the form of Trivikrama.
Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Also called Nagnath temple, it is situated on the outskirts of Dwarka. It is located between Gomti Dwarka and Beyt Dwarka Island. The Shivlinga in the temple faces south. The giant statue of Lord Shiva is another attraction of the temple.
Gita Mandir: Built by the industrialist family of Birlas in 1970, the marble temple displays various chapters of Bhagvad Gita.
Gomti Sangam Ghat: Visitors have to climb down 56 steps from the Swarga Dwar to reach the ghat. Devotees consider it as sacred and do take a bath to wash off their sins. The point where Gomti River merges with the ocean is called Gomit Sangam.
Rukmini Hrid: It is a collection of seven ponds and it is considered that a dip in the Rukmini Hrid can help in attaining moksha.
Rukshamanee Mandir: The temple is dedicated to the beloved wife of Lord Krishna, Devi Rukmani.
Byet Dwarka: It is believed to be the residence of Lord Krishna and his family. It is place from where Lord Krishna ruled his kingdom. One gets to see a 500-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, which was built by Sri Vallabhacharya. The island is also popular for its beach, water sport activities and marine life.
NEAR TO DWARKA
Gir National Park: Sasan-Gir National Park, better known as Gir National Park, is the last remaining refuge of Asiatic lions in India. Spread over 1,412 sq km park in Junagadh district of Gujarat, the national park was the erstwhile game preserve of the Nawab of Junagadh.
Junagadh: Junagadh means ‘Old Fort’ and it is the seventh largest city in Gujarat. It was a princely state during colonial times.
Kirti Mandir: It is a memorial dedicated to the father of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. The memorial is next to the three storied blue haveli where the Mahatma was born.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Dwarka is as given below. The best time to visit Dwarka is also specified.