Dwarka is a city and a municipality in Jamnagar district in the state of Gujarat, India. Dwarka is rated as one of the seven most ancient cities in the country. The legendary city of Dvaraka in Hindu mythology was the dwelling place of Krishna. It is believed that, due to damage and destruction by the sea, Dvaraka has submerged six times and modern Dwarka is the 7th city to be built in the area
The temple has five storey tower which was built by Sambha, who is the grandson of Lord Shri Krishna. The city was built by Vishwakarma who is a celestial architect. The temple was made of limestone and sand. There is a flag hoisted in the temple tower everyday which waves in air beautifully welcoming the pilgrims. The structure of the temple is so complicated. Even in Tsunami or Earthquake the temple was not destroyed. There are two gateways namely Swarga Dwar where pilgrims enter and Moksha Dwar where pilgrims exit. From the temple one can view the Sangamam of River Gomati flowing towards the sea. There are shrines for Vasudeva, Devaki, Balarama and Revathy, Subhadra, Rukmini Devi, Jambavathi Devi and Sathybhama Devi. There is a special temple for Rukmini Devi on the way to Bet Dwaraka. Bet Dwaraka can be reached through boat. It is also the temple which is like Palace where Lord Shri Krishna had ruled. It is the same idol of Lord Dwarakanath kept in Bet Dwaraka. The temple looks like a Palace and has many Shrines for Lakshmi Narayana, Trivikrama, Jambavathi Devi, Sathybhama Devi and Rukmini Devi.
The city derives its name from word "Dwar" meaning door in Sanskrit. Dwarka is one of the holiest cities in Hinduism and one of the 4 main "dhams" along with Badrinath, Puri, Rameshwaram.
The Jagatmandir temple which houses the Dwarkadhish, a form of Krishna.
Nageshwar Jyotirling, one of the 12 holy shrines of Lord Shiva, is located near Dwarka.
Dwarka is also the site of Dwaraka Pītha (also known as Kālikā Pītha), one of the four cardinal mathas established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the others being those at Sringeri, Puri and Jyotirmath.
Dvaraka is mentioned in the Mahabharata, the Harivansha, the Bhagavata Purana, the Skanda Purana, and the Vishnu Purana.
Sri Krishna renounced war in Mathura for the greater good (and hence the name Ranchodrai) and founded (and settled in) Dvaraka. Sri Krishna killed Kansa (his maternal uncle) and made Ugrasen (his maternal grandfather) the king of Mathura. Enraged, the father-in-law of Kansa, Jarasandha (king of Magadha) with his friend Kalayavan attacked Mathura 17 times. For the safety of the people, Krishna and Yadavas decided to move the capital from Mathura to Dvaraka.
Land was reclaimed from the sea near the western shores of Saurashtra. A city was planned and built here. Dvaraka was a planned city, on the banks of Gomati River. This city was also known as Dvaramati, Dvaravati and Kushsthali. It had well organized six sectors, residential and commercial zones, wide roads, plazas, palaces and many public utilities. A hall called "Sudharma Sabha" was built to hold public meetings. The city also boasted a good harbour.
After Krishna left for the heavenly abode, and the major Yadava heads were killed in disputes among themselves; Arjuna went to Dvaraka to bring Krishna's grandsons and the Yadava wives to Hastinapur. After Arjuna left Dvaraka, it was submerged in the sea. Following is the account given by Arjuna, in Mahabharata:
"The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of the beautiful city. The sea covered up everything in the city. I saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the city. Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory."
The Vishnu Purana states that "On the same day that Krishna departed from the earth the powerful dark-bodied Kali Age descended. The oceans rose and submerged the whole of Dvaraka."
Adi Sankara had visited Dwarakdish Shrine and had established a Mutt. The Lord here is dressed in Kalyana Kolam where he appears to be a Royal Wedding costume. The place is so sacred as Lord Shri Krishna himself had resided and his successors had built the temple. It is one of the 108 Divya desam.
Recent archeological findings
The recent underwater studies conducted by the ASI (Archeological Survey of India) reveals the existence of city dated to the 2nd millennium BC.
The search for the lost city was going on since 1930's. The Marine Archaeology Unit (MAU) of the National Institute of Oceanography, took part in this search in 1983. This search was carried out in the coastal waters of Dwarka in Gujarat.
Explorations between 1983 and 1990 revealed the well-fortified township of Dvaraka, that extended more than half a mile from the shore. The township was built in six sectors along the banks of a river. The foundation of boulders on which the city's walls were erected proves that the land was reclaimed from the sea.
Dvaraka extended up to Bet Dwaraka (Sankhodhara) in the north and Okhamadhi in the south. Eastward it extended up to Pindara. The general layout of the city of Dvaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered by MAU.
A team of archeologists have carried out onshore and inter-tidal zone explorations and a few trial trenches were laid to trace a proper cultural sequence. The most potential sites, where a large number of antiquities were recovered are Bet Dwarka-I, II, VI, and IX.
The findings of Bet Dwarka may be divided into two broad periods: Protohistoric period which includes seal, two inscriptions, a copper fishhook and late Harappan pottery (circa 1700-1400 BC) and the Historical period consisting of coins and pottery. Onshore and inter-tidal zone explorations have indicated some kind of shoreline shifting around the Bet Dwarka island as a few sites get submerged during high tide.
Offshore explorations near present Bet Dwarka brought to light a number of stone anchors of different types that include triangular, grapnel and ring stones. They are made out of locally available rocks and their period may also be similar to those found at Dwarka and other places. Recently, Roman antiquities including sherds of amphorae and a lead ingot and lead anchors were found. There is also an indication of a shipwreck of Roman period in Bet Dwarka waters.
The proposal for the Dvaraka museum, submitted by the MAU, involves laying a submarine acrylic tube through which visitors can view through glass windows the ruins of the city.
The State Government of Gujrat and the Travel & Tourism Department of Gujrat are working on this proposal (for over two decades). When completed, it will be the first museum to be built under the sea.