Exploring the Holy City of Dwarka

For pilgrims and the religiously inclined, there can be no place better than Dwarka, as the city is steeped in Hindu culture and mythology. Well known through history for the frequent floods that it experiences.

According to legends and epics, Dwarka is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Located in Gujarat in the district of Jamnagar, Dwarka has been venerated for centuries by Hindus. It is believed to have been submerged under the sea seven times in the last two millennia and rebuilt every time.

It is one of the seven holiest cities for Hindus; it not only the birthplace of Lord Krishna, but also one of the Holy Maths established by the saint Adi Shankara for the protection of Hinduism against the various other religions cropping up, such as Jainism and Buddhism.

A Peek Into the History of Dwarka

Archeological experts have dated the city to the year 400 B.C. It is said that the original temple structure was built by Lord Krishna’s grandson around this period. According to references from various accounts belonging to different families and royal accounts, it can be safely said that there have been plenty of attempts to destroy the temple by invaders, but dedicated people have sacrificed their lives and saved the deities. In 1986, marine archeologists dated the original city of Dwarka, which is now underwater at a depth of 40 m, to the 15th century B.C.

All About the Present Temple

The current surviving temple is made of limestone and sand, and it is said to have been built in the 16th century. There are two entry/exit points to the main temple structure, which are called ‘Swarga Dwar’ and ‘Moksha Dwar’. The former one is used for entering the temple and latter for exiting the temple. There are some 14 small temples between the Swarga Dwar and the Moksha Dwar.

The temple is being administered by the Government of Gujarat along with representatives from traditional ‘Pujari’ families, Sankaracharya, the public and the local civic body. The local district collector serves as the President of the Samithi that oversees the administration of the temple, its accounts, poojas, festivals and events. In the year 1963, it was proclaimed as a National Protected Monument, and renovations are undertaken under the aegis of the Archeological Society of India.

As one of the holiest cities and one of the seven holy places, every Hindu should visit Dwarka at least once in a life time, Dwarka is a traveler’s dream destination. There are plenty of other tourist attractions in and around Dwarka, even if you are not very religious. Dwarka, however, attracts a lot of Shivaites and Vaishnavaites alike.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012