It’s having sunk in the sea in its very gold age – a fate that is sometimes justified as punishment to hubris of its people has earned Dwarka the title of ‘Atlantis of the East’. The city has the honor of being ruled by Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Though for God’s own city and having earned the title of one of Chaar Dhams (four most important pilgrimage places for Hindus, the other three are Badrinath Jagannath Puri and Rameswaram) after Shankarachrya’s visit to it as well as one of the Saptapuri (seven most important religious cities for Hindus) the first impression it might create will probably not be very good one.
Located on the western shore of the Okhamandal Peninsula on the right bank of the Gomti River, it is a small city with a population of about 40000 only.
When to visit Dwarka?
Winter that is October to February is the ideal time to visit Dwarka as the climate remains pleasant. The summers can be too hot while the rains can be too heavy making them far from the ideal time to visit the city.
You might, however, be willing to make the exception to be in Dwarka at the time of Lord Krishna’s birth, that is, Janmashtami. This festival is marked by several all night long celebrations as bhajans and sermons are part of the festivities. At midnight there is a reenactment of Krishna’s childhood period in the form of cultural Garba and Raas dances. The local boys would create a pyramid and a young boy in the costume of Krishna will climb up this pyramid to strike a pot holding butter reenacting one of the mischievous acts of Lord Krishna.
How to reach Dwarka?
Porbandar Airport is the nearest one. One of the reasons why you might be inclined to use the option is to be in Porbandar – the birthplace of Mahatama Gandhi. After landing here you might hire a cab or use public transportation to reach Dwarka. Dwarka also has its railway station and is well connected to major cities of the country by roadways.
Locally you must at least once try traveling on a chhakda, a rickshaw run on a motorcycle engine – the vehicle that one sees in all kinds of colors on the streets of Dwarka.
What to buy in Dwarka?
Most popular souvenirs you can buy in Dwarka include image of Dwarkadish (another name of Lord Krishna), peacock feathers, corals, toys, Indra Jal, conch shells, chakrashila (small round corals that sometimes even float in water), Gopi Chandan (the soil from Gopi Talaav) Dwarka Shila, Gomti Chakra etc.
What to eat in Dwarka?
While in Dwarka, you must at least once try Gujarati thali that has several spicey dishes like e dhokla, bakarwadi, etc. and sweet delights like Puran Poli, basundi, etc. This heavenly meal must go along with some buttermilk.
Where to stay in Dwarka?
Dwarka has several accommodation options catering to people with all sizes of pockets and preferences. One of the advantages of choosing a more luxurious hotel is that they offer amazing views of Gomati, Dwarkadesh mandir or the Arabian Sea depending on their location. We stayed at VITS Dwarka, a simple hotel with all basic amenities.
Dwarka is considered to be the first capital of Gujrat. It was established as the capital of Saurashtra. When Yadvas migrated to this place from Mathura, it was called Kaushathali and was over time Christine’s as Dwarka
The mythology tells us that Lord Krishna settled here fleeing Jarasandha, the king of Magadh, to avoid unknown war. A friendly population here took him as their King as it was he who had delivered them from Kansas, their cruel ruler, and son of Ugarsena, who had first established the kingdom here. It is said that Lord Krishna ran his administration from Bet Dwarka. Some archeological investigations have discovered some drowned ruins (probably drowned because of erosion) proving that the myth is not without some truth – according to the myth, Krishna is also said to have reclaimed 12 yojanas or 96 square kilometers (37 sq mi) of land were originally reclaimed by Lord Krishna from the sea to create Dwarka.
The main temple has suffered a lot at the hands of Muslim invaders and the temple was destroyed and had to be rebuilt several times.
What to see in Dwarka?
1.Chhappan Sidhi ghat (Gomati Ghat)
Near the glorious Dwarkadhish temple is Gomati Ghat which is our first stop. The ‘chappan’ or 56 refers to the numbers of steps we must climb up to the swarg dwar after a dip in the river to purify ourselves. River Gomti is believed by Hindus to be the daughter of the sage Vashishtha. You might also float oil lamps or feed flour balls to the fish. The ghat is full of small shrines dedicated to gods like Samudra (God of the Sea), Saraswati, Lakshmi, etc.
Some important temples in the ghat area include the Samudra Narayana (Sangam Narayana) temple, which is at Gomati Sangam Ghat – the point of the confluence of the Gomti River with the sea, the Chakra Narayana temple where there is a stone with an imprint of a chakra as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu’s weapon, and the Gomati temple, which has an idol of the goddess Gomati which, so the legend goes, was brought to earth by the sage Vasishta, Lakshminarayan Temple etc.
There are several other activities you can do at the Gomati river which is one of the best ways to enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the river. You can go boat riding – for a fare of mere twenty rupees between 9 AM to 4 PM. You can also go to camel riding. Plan your activities according to your schedule