Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dwarka – The Empire of Lord Krishna

Dwar stands for the door or gate and Ka stands for peace eternal—the whole Dwarka means door to transcend the terrestrial being and unity with Bramha or eternal truth. While in Dwarka, you may find the sense of Krishna conciousness at your heart. Dwarka is known more as Doarka to local people today. For better and effective communication with locals at Railway Station or bus stand, call it Doarka.

The ancient story is something like this: Pious Anarta incurred his father Saryati's wrath by protesting against his boasting. Anarta was driven out of the land and took refuge under the protective wing of Baikunthanath on the sea shore. In Satyayuga Brahma desired to measure his creation, the whole universe; but he was confused - where to start? In order to determine the starting point of measurement, he threw a kush towards the earth that dropped on the country ruled by Yadu, son of Yajati. Thus, the land became known as Kushasthali or Dwarabati. In Dwapara yuga, Sree Krishna,' being invited by Raibataka, the son of Anarta, founded the capital of Yadu Dynasty—Dwarkanagari here in Kushasthali.

Dwarka is the famous holy place of Hindus, one Puri of the famous Saptapuri (other six are: Baranasi, Hardwar, Ujjain, Mathura, Oudh and Kanchipuram). According to Mahabharata, killing Kangsa, Sree Krishna became the target of Jarasandha the dare devil King of Magadh. He was the father-in-law of Kangsa. However, suffering defeat successively for 18 times to Krishna, Jarasandha prepared to attack Krishna with help of Kalyabana. Despite being confident of his victory, Sree Krishna wanted to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, founded the city called Ananta city near Girnar. In course of time, he made friendship with the king of Kathiawad peninsula, Kushaditya and established the port city Kushasthali.

In 1960, an anchor of a ship weighing 250 kg from 1400 BC was found. Archaeologists found evidences of 120 ton ship's free movement to and from the port at that time. Archaeologists have even come to the conclusion that the porcelain pots found underground in 1979 to the north of Dwarka Temple belong to 1300 BC, i.e., Mahabharata era.

This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel

Sree Krishna renovated the old fort of 12 yojan area at the confluence of Gomoti and founded the new capital of Yadu dynasty. Sree Krishna also built up a huge dam and embankments around the fort to save it from the sea waves and created protection against flood. After Indraprastha, it flourished as the 2nd populated city in India during 36 years of reign of Sree Krishna. Being the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Sree Krishna left many memories and signs of his superhuman power at Dwarka. However, after the death of Sree Krishna, Arjuna left Dwarka for Indraprastha with his courtiers and friends and the sea swallowed the legendary Yadav capital. The lost world of Sree Krishna's era is still believed to be under the fathomless water.

A project has been undertaken to arrest the sea by erecting dam and retrieve the Golden Dwarkapuri. But there was a difference of opinion regarding the exact location of original Dwarkapuri. Experts and popular belief marked 11 locations out of which 4 locations deserve attention.

These 4 are: (1) Present Dwarka, 2) Bishwara, 40 km away from present Dwarka, (3) Madhabpur-Ged region, 56 km to the South East of Porbandar and (4) Kodinar.

The present Dwarka city had been founded by the King Gaikwad in the 19th century. Religion is the root of Karmayoga in Dwarka. However, Dwarka has developed into an industrial city today. The ashes of Gandhiji were also immersed at Dwarka. In memorium to that event, Gandhighat at the coastal beach had been founded.

What to see in Dwarka:

2 km from Railway Station on the bank of Gomoti stands the main attraction of Dwarka - Dwarkadhish or Ranachhodji's Temple. A war weary Sree Krishna left the theatre of bloody clashes and came to Dwarka. Hence the presiding deity is named after him to mark the occasion. The costly touch stone, bejewelled image is seated on silver throne—with the Panchajanya Sankha (counch), Sudarshan wheel, Kaunmdaki club, and budding lotus in the 4-arms of the Lord Krishna, depicting the protector of mortals. The original image is now in Dakore, the 2nd image was stolen and is now in Vet Dwarka. This image is the third image of Dwarkadhish.

170 ft high with monolithic pillars, on 72 columns the 7-storeyed chariot-like Temple was built with granite and sand-stone. The temple consists of the following segments: Garbhamandir, Bimanmandap and Natyamandap. On the peak there is a golden pitcher. The founder of this temple was King Jagat Singh Rathore in the 11th century and since then it had been more known as Jagat Mandir.

Some the stories about the temple:

Bajranava, the great grandson of Sree Krishna and son of Aniruddha founded Harigriha Temple in 600 BC. Of late the Harigriha has been converted to Sree Krishna temple.

In the 16th century the whole temple had been completed from start to finish in a night.

Krishna's great devotee Meerabai left Chittor (1546) and came to Dwarka and merged in Sree Krishna.

The gods and goddesses of Hindu Purana are all present in the assembly of Gods in the temple. Enter the temple by Swargadwar (gate of heaven) and exit by Mokshadwar (gate of liberty of soul).

This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel

Mother Debaki's idol is being worshipped in front of the original temple. At the outset of entrance above resides Siddhidata Ganesh. further on the right is Kushewar Shiva. On the left Pradyumna made of black stone, Satyanarayan, Ambaji, Purushottomji, Aniruddhaji, Sage Durbasha, Jambobati, Sree Radhika, Lakshmi-Narayan, Gopal, Snake Incarnation, Baladevji, Satyavama, Lakshmi or Rukmini are in their own respective temples. Centering the temple complex developed the market and establishments and the city. The temple is open only to Hindus.
Temple remain open from 6-00 to 12-30 & 17-00 to 21-30. At 7-00 in the morning the rituals of the temple starts with Mangalarati. The costume of the deity undergoes changes at regular interval. Janmasthami, Basanta Panchomi, Dol Purnima (full moon) festival are held in grandeur and with great fanfare. At noon and in the evening you will get blessed food offered to God (Annaprasad) at the temple. Receive your coupon for the purpose from Dwarkadhish food store.

There is one Krishna Temple in the island of encircled Gomoti river flowing down the Dwarkadhish Temple. Going out of the south gate down below 56 flights of steps you have to reach Gomoti Devi's Temple, Below this temple flows the Gomoti river. The Ganga came flowing down from the Heaven on the invitation of the great sages in the name of Gomoti. From here Gomoti meets Arabian Sea, the name of the holy confluence is Gomoti-Narayan Sangam.

On the right side of the confluence in the temple, made of wood is 4-armed wooden deity of Sangam Narayan. From Sangam 32 miles area along banks of the Gomoti on either sides are called Chakratirtha. The wheel marked white Porus-type stone, called Dwarabati Shila, is still available at Chakratirtha.

On 7 Jan, 1963, a 156 ft high light house was built there. Every afternoon the door of the light house remains open for visitors for one hour. Going past the light house to north is Sunset Point. On the other side is Panchanad Tirtha - 5 wells of drinking water in the name of five Pandavas. Every well differs in taste of its water from the others. A little towards the south yhere is Lakshmi-Narayan Temple

On way to Okha 2 km from Dwarkadhish is 12th century Rukmini Temple. Devi Rukmini, the darling of Krishna in white marble is worshipped in the temple. The pictures and paintings from the episodes of Puranas are beautiful. The sunset view from the decorated temple on Arabian Sea is a life time experience. From Rukmini Devi Temple, on your way back to city yon will see Bhadrakali Temple.

Dwarka is called as Vishnu Tirtha or, the holy pilgrim but Yadavs also worship the 4-armed Goddess Mahakali till date. It is one major Pith among the 51 holy Piths. Durga Puja is also held at the temple with great fanfare. The Temple of Siddheswar Mahadeva is also there.

As per legend, the Rishitirtha of Siddheswar or Gnankunda and the Shiva Linga had been founded by Brahma himself. There is Brahmakumari Iswariya Vishavidyalaya here; beside there is Kabir Ashrama.

One more attraction in Dwarka is its Ved Bhawan—with 1250 priceless ancient manuscripts; 9 of which said to be the Lord Vishwakarma's creation!

Bharakeswar is on the coast. The coastal shore is beautifully visible from here. Chandra-Mouliswar Shiva is the presiding deity at the core of the temple. The deity form was found at the confluence of Gomati, Ganga and Arabian Sea by the Acharya Jagatguru Sankaracharya himself. Later the deities of Sarada Saraswati and Sree Krishna's eight wives were installed by the Acharya. In addition, there are 1200 Salgramshilas, 1300 Shiva Lingas, metal forms of 75 Sankaracharyas. The stone image of Adi Sankaracharya is also there. Sarada Math in Dwarka is one of the four Maths founded by Jagatguru Sankaracharya (788-820 AD).

This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel

On the way to Okha from Dwarka ar a distance of 17 km, Nageswar Mahadev Tirtha (some says in Maharashtra), one of the 12 Jotirlingas is situated. A little ahead, a new temple has been founded by Gulshankumar Charitable Trust.

Further towards Okha is Gopi Talao. Gopinees from Vrindavan first reached here on their mission to visit Sree Krishna. Devotees collect holy soil of Talao, known as Gopi Chandan. The Temple of Meerabai is also worth visiting there. Mithapur, another worth seeing site, is also on this route. Mithapur is much known for its Tata Salt Factory. Tata has built a model township for their employees. Drinking water is supplied from Mithapur to Okha.

How to reach Dwarka:

Daily 9005 Saurashtra Mail leaves Mumbai Central at 20-25 to reach Ahmedabad at 5-20, Viramgam at 6-58, Rajkot at 10-40, Hapa at 12-55, Jamnagar at 13-05, Dwarka at 16-25, Okha at 17-15.

Every Sunday 9266 Uttaranchal Express leaves Dehradun at 6-00 reaches Okha on Monday at 18-00 via New Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Ahmedabad-Dwarka;

Sunday 8401 Puri-Okha Express leaves Puri at 8-45 runs via Vishakhapatnam/ Jalgaon/ Ahmedabad/ Dwarka;

On Wednesdays and Fridays, 6338 Ernakulam-Okha Express leaves Ernakulam at 18-20 reaches Okha on Fridays and Sundays at 18-00 via Margaon-Ahmedabad-Dwarka.

5636 Guwahati-Okha Express leaves Guwahati at 9-30 on Monday, reaches Okha at 6-35 on Thursday via NJP/ Katihar/Patna/Agra Fort/Godhra/Vadodara/Rajkot

5046 Express leaves Gorakhpur on Thursday at 4-00 reaches Okha at 6-35 on Saturday via FaijabauV Lucknow/Agra/Gwalior/Ahmedabad
Viramgam-Okha Fast Pass at 10-40, 14-25 from Viramgam reaches Dwarka at 23-45/4-05 and Okha at 0-45/5-05.

Dwarka is 2455 km from Kolkata, 1007 km from Mumbai. Nearest Airport is at Jamnagar.

From Somnath or Porbandar by bus go to Lord Krishna's kingdom Dwarka. The distance from Porbandar is 128 km, Somnath 250, Rajkot 217, Hapa 142, Jamnagar 137, Ahmedabad 365 km.

Buses come to Dwarka from different cities of the state and buses run from Dwarka to Ahmedabad at 7-00, 21-00; Dakore at 7-00; Mahesana (via Nathdwar) at 20-00; Somnath 6-15,7-00,10-15,13-30,15-45,22-00; Junagadh 8-00,11-00, 14-00; Porbandar 9-30, 14-15, 15-30 and hourly services to Okha.

Accommodation at Dwarka:

There is a shortage of drinking water at, Dwarka, rain water helps meet scarcity to some extent. Many hotels still make use of saline water. There are also dearth of western style hotels in Dwarka.

Dwarka Pin code: 361336, STD 02892,

Hotel Meera, Station Rd, Hotel Radhika, R2, Hotel Guru-Prerana, Ph: 234512, . Gokul Guest house, Holiday Managers Ph:22485829; Brishma Guest house, On way to temple around Teenbati there are a few ordinary hotels for lodging , Trimurti Guest house, Sri Vrindaban Guest house, Muralidluir Guest house, Chetna Guest house, Banshidlwr Lodge, Braja Bluiwan, Mahalaxmi Lodge, Janutna Lodge, Uiiam Guest house, Dwarapuri Guest house .

Railway retiring rooms are also good place to stay.
Hotel Gayatri Ph:234228, Hotel Sundar Palace Ph:234372Hotel Debang, Ph: 234071, Hotel Swastik, Hotel Rajdhani, Hotel Arti are other hotels here in Dwarka.

On the beach Panchayat Aram Griha, PWD Rest house-are good for staying. For Aram Griha Booking write to: District Development Officer, Jamnagar; for Rest house write to: Deputy Engineer, PWD, Khambalia, Jamnagar.

TCGL's Toran Ph: 234013

Dharamshalas at Dwarka:

On the beach there are Gayatri, Shaktipith, Atithi Niwas, Birla Dharamshala; near Gomoti—Bhadrakali Gelia, Rameram, Bikener, Vishwakarma, ShriRam, Patel Bhawan; near bus stand - Gokul Bluiwan, Janak Bluiwan, Vishwalia; near temple - Bangur Dharamshala, Rashbehari, Sugar Bhawan, Jairanachodji, Chandak; near Railway Station Toiadri Ashrama. Near Totadri, on the Station Road, Bharat Sevashram Sangha's Guest House Ph: 234157.

For your food at Dwarka:

Atithi Bhawan, Natraj, Tulsi, Guruprerana, Kanta Lodge, Lohana, Aradhana, Jamuna are decent.

Conducted Tour at Dwarka :

Dwarka, Bhet Dwarka, Nageswar and Gopitala are in the package of Nagar Panchayat bus from 8-00 to 13-00 & 14-00 to 19-00. Booking can be done from their office near Bangur Dharamshala on Bhadrakali Road.

This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel

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