Dwarka is as old as the history of India. It was the seat of Sri Krishna after He quit Mathura, His maternal home, to come and reign here. Since it has been held as holy for a long time it has gradually accumulated, over the years, a large number of religious monuments and institutions that today make it one of the most revered spots in Hinduism.
The main Dham temple houses Ranchchodji, another name for Lord Krishna who time and often fled from the battlefield under unfavorable circumstances to return again another day and win. “Ran” means “War” while “Chod” means “Running away”. There is also a temple to Lord Krishna’s wife Rukmini, who is believed to be an incarnation of Lakshmi.
Also resident near Dwarka is the Jyotirlinga temple of Nageshwar.
Adi Shankaracharya, one of the most learned and sanctified personalities in Hinduism, built one of his four maths here. It is still an institution where Hindu scriptures are studied and their inherent meanings deciphered.
Dwarka is so entwined with legends and myths that the pilgrim is overcome with religious fervor upon setting foot on its sacred soil.
When to go
Dwaraka is the site of an important festival on Janmashtami which falls in August/September.
Places of Interest
Dwarkadish Temple (Jagat Mandir)
-The ancient Dwarkadish temple, has often been renovated, and the carvings outside date from around the 16th century, the walls to about 12th century. A highlight of the temple is the 19th century shikara tower. The multi-pillared sabha mandapa leads to a 60 pillared sanctum sanctoruim dated by scriptures 2500 years. Incredibly detailed sculpture decorates the entire temple.
– Dating to the 12th-13th century, the Rukmini temple has beautiful carvings, specially on the pillars of the Sabha Mandapa. The temple was built in honour of Rani Rukmani, princess of Vidharba, who was to be married to Sishupala, but eloped with Lord Krishna.
Nageshwar Mandir – Nageshwar Mandir is a Mahadev temple, with one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in an underground chamber. Vasai has an ancient Sun temple. Ved Bhuvan is an institution teaching Vedic scriptures and philosophies. Shankaracharya, set up a Hindu monastry here in the 8th-9th century. Shardapith Math is another Hindu monastry complex with a museum. The Hanuman kund is a stepped tank. Gopi Talav Teerth is another tank associated with Lord Krishna and the Mahabharata. The Lighthouse has great views of the sea.
– 30 kms from Dwarka, the tip of the western coast of India, Okha developed as major port under the Gaekwad rulers of Baroda. It is a fishing port. There is a govt guest house at Okha facing the sea.
– Offshore from Okha, the island of Bet Dwarka is associated with Lord Krishna. The main temple here, built in the 19th century, has several shrines and images of Lord Krishna and his 56 consorts. There are several other temples on the island. Excavations have revealed some Harappan period artifacts. There are some nice beaches and coral formations to the north and east of the island. Numerous dharamshalas and guest houses offer accommodations at the island. Another important Krishna temple is the Rachodji temple at Dakore.
Getting there and Around
– Nearest airport is Jamnagar, from where flights for Mumbai can be taken. Luxury coaches are available from Dwarka to other important cities of Gujarat.
– Dwarka is a station on the Ahmedabad-Okha broad-gauge railway line, about 137 km from Jamnagar, 217 km from Rajkot and 378 km from Ahmedabad.
– A state highway with Jamnagar and Okha also connects it.
Toran Tourist Bungalow, a state run enterprise and a number of Dharamshalas provide reasonable, neat and clean accommodation at Dwarka.
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