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  Home > Holiday Ideas > Pilgrimage India > Dwarka - Krishna's Holy City

Dwarka - Krishna's Holy City

 
Legends abound on Dwarka Dham and one has it that so auspicious was the location of Dwarka that Krishna is believed to have moved here for the well-being of all the Yadavas, leaving Magadha far behind after he killed his uncle, the tyrant Kansa, son-in-law of Jarasandha, father-in-law of Kansa who had attacked Mathura at least 17 times.
Dwarka, Krishna's Holy City, Gujarat
Krishna's participation as a charioteer of Arjuna in the great Mahabharata war also had its origins in Dwarka Puri. When Arjuna and Duryodhan went to seek Krishna's participation in the Great War, they found him sleeping, Duryodhan being the first one to come took his seat on a chair near Krishna's head while Arjuna settled himself by Krishna's feet. When the Lord woke up, he saw Arjuna first and asked him the purpose of his visit, Duryodhan got incensed with Krishna for asking Arjuna first when he himself was the first one to come but was pacified when told that Krishna saw Arjuna first when he woke up and as regards his participation he refused to pick up arms in the war but instead offered his army and himself as a charioteer. Duryodhan took the army and Arjuna the charioteer and we got Krishna's instructions to Arjuna before the war began in the form of the Bhagavad Gita.
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A mythical town about which we had heard only in bed-time stories, Dwarka- the holy abode of the cow-herd Krishna became a reality following an excavation by the marine archaeologists. Since then, the town has become and important center of Hindu pilgrimage and an important part of the Chardham Yatra. In Puranic times, Dwarka was known as Kushasthali. It acquired importance when Krishna decided to settle down there with his family and clan after slaying Kansa, his maternal uncle. He named the place Swarnadwarika and continued to stay there till his final departure to his heavenly abode(Vaikunth) after which the town got submerged under the sea. Even today, Krishna's city's still lies under the sea and excavations have revealed that the sea swallowed five settlements, the present-day Dwarka being the sixth in line.

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, Dwarkavati and  Mokshapuri.

Places of Interest
Dwarka Temple, Gujarat

The Dwarkadhish Temple: Also known as the Jagat Mandir, the Dwarkadhish Temple is the most important temple in Dwarka. Said to have been built by Vajranabh, the successor and great grandson of Lord Krishna, the temple also known as Jagat Mandir is believed to be over 2500 years ago. The Dwarkadhish Temple located on the confluence of river Gomti and Arabian Sea is an imposing five- storied structure supported by 60 columns. The temple spire is 78.3m high while the temple dome waves an eighty-four foot long multicolored flag decorated with the symbols of the sun and moon. 

The temple has a tall tower and a hall of audience part from the sanctum sanctorum which house  an image of Krishna. There are two entrances to the temple. Visitors enter through the Swarga Dwar (the southern entrance) and exit through the Moksha Dwar (the north entrance). Outside this doorway are 56 steps that lead to the Gomati River.

Gomati Ghat, Dwarka, Gujarat

Gomati Ghat Temples: Gomati, the descended Ganges, meets the sea at Chakra-tirtha Ghat. To take bath where the Gomati meets the ocean is said to offer liberation. The temple is located almost at the spot where the Gomati meets the ocean. The Gomatiji Temple has an image of the Gomati River in it, said to have been brought down from heaven by Vasistha Muni.

Other temples located within the complex are the Samudra Narayana Temple Sangam Narayana - an imposing temple at the confluence of the Gomati and the sea; Panchanada Tirtha which consists of five sweet-water wells surrounded by seawater; Chakra Narayana, where Lord Vishnu was manifested as a stone marked with a chakra on the seashore.

Places Nearby
Rukmini Devi Temple, Dwarka

Rukmini Devi Temple: This small temple, located 1.5km north of the town is dedicated to Rukmini , the wife of Krishna. The temple walls are decorated with beautiful paintings depicting her pastimes with Krishna. There is an interesting story as to why the temple of Krishna's consort is away from his own temple.

The story goes that the short-tempered Durvasa Muni was invited by Lord Krishna and Rukmini to dinner. When a person is invited to dinner, etiquette dictates that the host should not eat until the guest has been satisfied. On the way to dinner, Rukmini became thirsty and asked Krishna for help. When Durvasa Rishi was not looking, Krishna put his foot in the ground and the Ganges waters flowed forth from the earth. As Rukmini was drinking the water, however, Durvasa turned and saw her drinking without his permission. He became angry and cursed her to live apart from Lord Krishna. That is why Krishna's temple is in the town while hers is located outside the town. It is widely believed among the devotees that the pilgrimage is incomplete if a devotee doesn't go to offer prayers at Rukmini Temple even if he worshiped the Lord at Dwarkadheesh Temple. This temple is said to date back to the 12th century.

Beyt Dwarka

Beyt Dwarka: Beyt Dwarka is said to be have been the residence of Lord Krishna and his family when he ruled Dwarka. It is also the place where Lord Vishnu is said to have slew the demon Shankhasura hence the other epithet of the town--Bet Shankhoddar. Beyt Dwarka is the abode of 20 Vishnu temples, 23 Shiv temples, including well known Dhingeshvara, Nilkantheshwar, Abhaya, Dhara Shakti peeths along with other 14 Devi temples, 9 Hanuman temples including well known Hanuman Dandi & 84 Choryashi Dhuni.  Bet Dwarka is 5 km from Okha Junction in sea and Okha is 30 km from Dwarka. It takes 2 hours if you travel by road and 1 hour by a jetty or launch service.

Nageswara Mahadeva Temple: Located 10 km from Dwarka, Nageswara Mahadeva Temple is the site of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva. The Jyotirlinga is housed in an underground sanctum. It is held that Lord Shiva had killed the demon Daruk who was troubling all the people of the area on this very spot.

Gopi-Tallava: Gopi-Tallava is the pond where Lord Krishna met the gopis when they came to see him at Dwarka. The sacred clay from Gopi-tallava known as gopi-candana  is used by devotees of Krishna to make the tilak marks on their bodies. It is 20 km north of Dwarka on the way to Bet Dwarka.

Bhalka Tirth: Bhalka Tirth is the spot where Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and struck by an arrow while sleeping in a deerskin. It is said Lord Krishna was cremated at Dehotsarga at Triveni Ghat.

The Sharada Peetha: This is one of the four mathas established by Jagat-guru Shankaracharya, 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.

Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Somnath Temple: One of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva, the Somanth Temple is said to have been build over several centuries by different rulers. It was first build by Soma, the Moon God after been relieved from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati by the blessings of Bhagvan Somnath; it was then rebuilt by Ravana in silver followed by Krishna in wood and in stone by Bhimdev. The present temple is built in the Kailas Mahameru Prasad style and consists of Garbhgriha, Sabhamandap and Nrityamandap with a 150 feet high Shikhar. The Kalash at the top of the Shikhar weighs 10 tons and the Dhwajdand is 27 feet tall and 1 foot in circumference. The Somnath Temple was desecrated at least six times by the Muslim invaders and relics of the old Somnath shrine have been preserved in a museum housed in a temple.
Read More on Somnath Temple

Dwarka: Fairs and Festivals
The Janmashtami festival celebrated in the month of August/September see a large number of people making  a beeline towards the temples.

Stay Options

Built by Reliance Industries Limited, Kokila Dhiraj Dham is at a walk-able distance to the Jagat Mandir. For details contact: +91-2892-236746, 236748, 236749, and 236750. Pilgrims can also stay at various dharmshalas and hotels in Dwarka. Bila Dharamshala, Bhadkeshwar Road (0234249); Brahmakshatriya Samaj Vadi, Gomati Road (234949) are other good options to stay. Check hotels in Dwarka.


How to reach

By Air: Jamnagar is the nearest airport and is about 150 km away. Visitors can travel to Dwarka from Jamnagar either by road, rail or bus.

By Rail: Dwarka lies on the meter gauge railway line that runs from Viramgam to Okha. By rail, Dwarka is 378 km from Ahmedabad, 217 km from Rajkot and 137 km from Jamnagar.

By Road: An excellent State Highway links Dwarka to other parts of state. State Transport Buses ply to Dwarka from various places. Dwarka is 75 Km from Porbandar; 144 from Jamnagar; 230 from Somnath; 232 from Rajkot and 757 from Ahmedabad. Check Driving Directions from Ahmedabad to Dwarka


About Dwarka: Dwarka Information & Fact File
Altitude Sea level
Temp
Summer 42 (Max) & 30 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 30 (Max) & 12 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go October – March
Monsoon July - September
Summer April - June
Winter December – January
Clothes Cottons in summer and light woolens in winter
Nearest Airport Jamnagar, 145 km
Nearest Railway Station Dwarka is on the western railway line
Bus Station Dwarka
Hospital & Doctor

Two health centers are with emergency facilities are available

Places to see Dwarkadheesh Temple, Rukmini Devi temple, Gomati Ghat temples, Bhalka Tirth…
   
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