Must Visit Places

Information on Dwaraka :

Dwaraka is located on the extreme western end of Kathiawar peninsula, where the River Gomti meets the Arabian Sea. Dwaraka is one of the four most important holy places of the Hindus and attracts tourists from all over the world. The Lord Krishna also established his capital at Dwaraka after he left Mathura. The importance, foundation, planning and glory of Dwaraka as the golden city is described in various Hindu epics like Mahabharata, Harivamsha, Sijupdlavadha, Bhagvad Gita, Skand Purana, Vishnu Purana and Mahabharat. The architecture of the old Dwaraka city was majestic and wonderful.

History of Dwaraka :

The city of Dwaraka has a very large and old traditional history. Dwaraka was the capital of the western coast of Saurashtra. Dwaraka was a large, well-fortified and the prosperous city due to the sea trade which prevailed in this city. This region was full of flowering and fruit-bearing trees. Due to fear of the attack by Jarasangh and Kaalayvan on Mathura, Shri Krishna and Yadavas left Mathura and arrived at the coast of Saurashtra. They decided to build their capital in the coastal region and invoke the Vishwakarma, the deity of construction. However, Vishwakarma said that the task can be completed only if Samudradev, the Lord of the sea provide some land. Shri Krishna worshipped Samudradev, who pleased by the prayers decided to give them the land measuring 12 yojans from the sea near the western shores of Saurashtra and thus the Lord Vishwakarma laid the foundation of Dwaraka. Lord Krishna later set up his capital at Dwaraka, on the banks of river Gomti. This beautiful city was also known as Dwaramati, Dwarawati and Kushsthali. It was a well-planned city and had well organized six sectors, residential and commercial zones, wide roads, palaces and many public utilities. A hall called "Sudharma Sabha" was built to hold public meetings. The city was one of the busiest ports during the Mahabharata period. After the end of the war of Mahabharata, Shri Krishna lived for 36 years at Dwaraka. It was also the land of the Ekalavya and the saint Dronacharya. According to the legends, the Dwaraka city met a sudden end due to the fury of the sea. According to some other legends, immediately after the death of the Lord Krishna, Dwaraka disappeared into the sea. Attempts are being still made to rediscover the lost Dwaraka from the sea. In the early eighties, an important archaeological site was found at Dwaraka.

Tourist Attractions in Dwaraka :

The main tourist attraction in Dwaraka is the Dwarkadhish temple also known as Jagat Mandir. Besides this there are various other temples in Dwaraka.

Dwarkadhish Temple/Jagat Mandir :

Dwaraka is known all over the world for the Dwarkadhish temple, the Lord of Dwarka. This temple is also known as the Jagat Mandir or the temple of the world. This temple was constructed over 1400 years ago and houses the image of Lord Krishna. This temple is one of the most famous pilgrimage place for the Hindus and attracts pilgrims from all over the world. This temple is magnificently built on the traditional lines and has five floors supported by 60 columns. The temple is profusely carved from the base to the pinnacle. The temple is built of sandstone. The interior is simple while the exterior is covered with elaborate carvings. Some of the major festivals of Janmashtami and Navratri are celebrated with great enthusiasm and rejoicing in the Dwarka. After visiting the main temple, some of the devotees visit the Shankhoddhar Beyt or Beyt Dwaraka.

Beyt Dwaraka :

A pilgrimage to Dwaraka is not complete until a visit has been made to the Beyt Dwaraka. It is a Hindu temple on the island off the coast. The temple dates from the 19th century and contains a series of shrines and images of Krishna and his 56 consorts. The archaeological excavations have revealed Harappa artefacts dating from the 2nd millennium BC.

Nageshwar Jyothirlinga Temple :

: Located on the route between Dwarka city and Beyt Dwarka Island on the coast of Saurashtra in Gujarat is this important Lord Shiva Temple. It is enshrined by one of the 12 swayambhu (self-existent) jyothirlingas in the world, in an underground sanctum. A 25 m tall statue of a sitting Lord Shiva and a large garden with a pond are major attractions of this rather serene place. Some archaeological excavations claim five earlier cities at the site.

Rukmini Devi Temple :

Rukmini temple is located 2 kms away from Dwarkas Jagat Mandir. Maybe 2500 years old. The exterior of the Rukmini Temple is richly carved. It has a panel of sculpted naratharas (human figures) and a panel of sculpted gajatharas (elephants) at the base. The traditional spire of the main shrine contrasts strongly with the hemispherical dome of the pavilion. The garbhagriha (inner sanctum) has a recessed seat on which the present image of Rukmini, wife of Lord Krishna, was consecrated. The usual sculptures of god and goddesses, along with male and female figures, are seen on the exterior of the shrine.

Gita Mandir :

A marvellous and spectacular shrine on the western part of the city, the Gita Mandir tries to project the values of the sacred book Bhagavad Gita. This marble structure is a marvel in terms of artistic expressions and at the same time it imparts a saintly feeling to all those delve in to its holy premises. Built in the year 1970 by the leading business tycoons, the Birlas, the temple stand proudly as a standing ovation to the richness and elegance to the much revered scripture, Gita. Highly carved walls and embellished ceilings of the temple are inscribed with the prominent hymns of Bhagavad Gita. Another alluring feature of the temple is that any voice heard in hall will be echoed, which spells out a distinct feeling.

Gomati Ghat Temples :

On the banks of river Gomti, there is a Shiva temple, as well as smaller shrines of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and Krishnas friend Sudama around the ghat, where pilgrims have worshipped for at least 100 years. One can also hire a boat and move across the river to get a panoramic view of Dwarka.

Gopi Talav :

The stories of Lord Krishnas childhood abound with youthful pranks and romance have a connection with this lake. As a young boy he used to dance the raas with the Gopis (young female inhabitants) in Vrindavana (or Vruj). When he moved to Dwarka, the Gopis could not bear the separation and came to visit him. They united with their Krishna at the Gopi talav, 20 km north of Dwarka on the night of Sharad Purnima (full moon) and once again danced the raas with him.

Legend says that, unable to part from Krishna, the Gopis offered their lives to the soil of this land and merged with their beloved. It is said that they turned into yellow clay, known as Gopi Chandan. Even today the soil of the Gopi talav is extremely smooth and yellow in colour.

Museum of Shardapith Math :

Located within the premises of the Dwarka Temple, Sharda Matha or Peetha (religious seat) is the first amongst the four cardinal mathas. It is also known as the Kalika Matha, and as per the tradition initiated by Adi Shankara, is in charge of the Sama Veda. The wall paintings illustrate incidents from the life of Shankaracharya, while carvings on the inner surface of the dome depict Shiva in various stances.

Dandiwala Hanuman Temple :

One of the rare features of this temple is the idol of Hanumans son Makardwaja. It is said that the celibate Lord Hanuman impregnated a fish with a drop of his perspiration, which conceived and gave birth to a son as strong as Lord Hanuman. Legend also says that during the famous war of Lanka, Ravana kidnapped and kept both Lord Ram and Laxman in Patal (the world underneath the earth). Hanuman chose this place to enter Patal and had to fight Makardhwaja, who was guarding it. This is where they met and recognized each other as father and son. Hanuman Jayanti evokes a large celebration here.

Ghumli :

In the Barda Hills, you can visit Ghumlis famous temples such as the magnificent Navlakha Temple from the Solanki dynasty and the Vikia Vav, perhaps one of the largest stepwells in Gujarat. You can trek in the Wildlife Sanctuary, though spotting wildlife is, as usual, often difficult. These hills are also home to the Maldhari, Bharvad, Rabari and Gadhvi tribal communities. The main entrance is from the Porbandar side of the hills, but there are also entries from Jamnagar District, either from Kapudi naka, taking a car up to Kileshwar Temple and hiking down, or from Abhapara Hill.

ISKCON Gate and Temple :

At the entrance of Dwarka City, one comes across the ISKCON gate. Across the gate is the ISKCON temple located on the Devi Bhavan Road. It is a Gita Mandir carrying the idols of Lord Krishna with Radha, with a view of the Dwarkadheesh temple from its roof. There is also a small guest house there with 20 beautiful rooms. The special feature of this temple is that it is made entirely of stone, the first of its kind in the history of ISKCON.

Kachoriyu Talav :

This is a temple of Shri Rama. It carries sculptures of Garuda (eagle), Shankha (conch shell), Chakra (sharp circular weapon), along with the idol of Lord Hanuman at the entrance. The pond situated near the temple is called Kachoriyu Talav.

Shrine of Meerabai :

The shrine of Meerabai is located in town, about 150 m from the main Dwarkadheesh Temple, across the vegetable market. If you have a hard time identifying it, ask a local to guide you. Its a small shrine, within a residential area. It carries a painting of Meerabai and an idol of Lord Krishna. Besides its association with Shri Krishna and devotees such as Surdas, Kabir, Nanak, Narsingh Mehta, Adi Shankaracharya and Ramunuj, the prominence of Dwarka is also attributed to the spiritual love of Meerabai.

Lighthouse :

Situated on the shore of the Arabian sea, one can visit the light house between 4pm and 6pm with the permission of the attendant. Even today it is a landmark for sailors, offers a beautiful panoramic view and is a restful place to pilgrims.

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