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Dwarka ( ), also spelled Dvarka, Dwaraka, and Dvaraka, is a city and a municipality located in the Jamnagar district of Gujaratmarker state in Indiamarker. Dwarka (Dvaraka in Sanskrit - used in this article when referring to the city in a historical context), also known as Dwarawati in Sanskrit literature is rated as one of the seven most ancient cities in the country. The legendary city of Dvaraka was the dwelling place of Lord Krishna. It is believed that due to damage and destruction by the sea, Dvaraka has submerged six times and modern day Dwarka is the 7th such city to be built in the area.

Geography

The modern city of Dwarka is located in the Jamnagar District of Gujaratmarker. It is located close to where the gomti merges into the Gulf of Kutchmarker. The city lies in the westernmost part of Indiamarker.

Dwarka is located at the geographical coordinates of . It is a relatively flat region at sea-level, having an average elevation of 0 metres (0 feet).

Demographics

As of the 2001 Indian census, Dwarka had a population of 33,614. Males constitute 53% of the population, and females constitute 47%. Dwarka has an average literacy rate of 64%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; the male literacy rate is 72%, and the female literacy rate is 55%. In Dwarka, there are many families with young children, as 13% of the population is under six years of age.

The Dwarakadhish temple

Swarg Dwar
The temple has a five storey tower which was built by Sambha, who is the grandson of Lord Sri Krishna. The city is believed to be built by Vishwakarma, who is a celestial architect in Hinduism. The temple is made of limestone and sand. There is a flag hoisted in the temple tower five times each day, which waves in the air beautifully welcoming the pilgrims. The structure of the temple is quite complicated. There are two gateways: Swarga Dwar, where pilgrims enter, and Moksha Dwar, where pilgrims exit. From the temple one can view the Sangam (confluence) of River Gomati flowing towards the sea. In Dwaraka, there are also shrines for Vasudeva, Devaki, Balarama and Revati, Subhadra, Rukmini Devi, Jambavati Devi and Satyabhama Devi.

There is a special temple for Rukmini Devi on the way to Bet Dwarka temple. Bet Dwaraka can be reached by boat. It is also the temple which is like the palace where Lord Shri Krishna had ruled. A similar idol of Lord Dwarakanath is also kept in Bet Dwaraka. The temple looks like a palace and has many Shrines for Lakshmi Narayana, Trivikrama, Jambavati Devi, Satyabhama Devi and Rukmini Devi.

Holy City

The city derives its name from word dvar meaning door or gate in the Sanskrit language. Dwarka is considered to be one of the holiest cities in Hinduism and one of the 4 main "dhams" along with Badrinathmarker, Purimarker, Rameswarammarker. The city is especially respected by Vaishnavas.

The Jagatmandir temple which houses the Dwarkadhish, a form of Krishna is also located in Dwaraka.

Nageshwar Jyotirling, one of the 12 holy shrines of Lord Shiva, is located near Dwaraka.

Dwarka is also the site of Dwaraka Pītha (also known as Sharada Pītha), one of the four cardinal mathas established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the others being those at Sringerimarker, Purimarker and Jyotirmathmarker.

Sri Dwaraknath Mahatyam

Sri Dwarakanath

Sri DwarakaNath Temple
Temple Name: Sri Dwarakanath Temple
Alias Name:
God Name: Kalyana Narayanan
Goddess Name: Kalyana Nachiyaar, Rukmini Devi
Pushkarni: Gomati Pushkarni
Vimanam: HemaKoota Vimanam
Location: Jamnagar
State and Country: Gujaratmarker, Indiamarker
Adi Sankara had visited Dwarakdish Shrine and had established the Dwarka peeth. 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.

Prasadam

Prasadams vary from time to time at Dwarakadish temple. They are sugar candy, Kher, Dry Fruits, Paan, Delicious and Nutritious Food, Fruits, Meals and Saffron Sharbath.

Darshan, Sevas and Festivals

There are many Darshan and Sevas for Lord Dwaraknath. The dress is changed accordingly. The Darshan are
  • Mangala
  • Shringar
  • Gval
  • Rajbhoj
  • Uthapan
  • Bhog
  • Sandhya Aarati
  • Shayan
  • Hindola


Dwarka Kingdom



Dwarka is mentioned in the Mahabharata, the Harivansha, the Bhagavata Purana, the Skanda Purana, and the Vishnu Purana. It is said that this Dwarka was located near the site of the current city of Dwarka, but was eventually deserted and submerged into the sea.

Founding

Sri Krishna renounced war in Mathuramarker for the greater good of the people living in the region (and was hence known by the name Ranchodrai') and founded the city of Dwarka. Sri Krishna had previously killed Kansa (an oppressive king who ruled the city, and his maternal uncle) and made Ugrasen (Kansa's father and 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 the Yadavas decided to move the capital from Mathura to Dvaraka.

Characteristics of the City

The city was built by Vishwakarma on the order of Lord Krishna. Land was reclaimed from the sea near the western shores of Saurashtramarker. A city was planned and built here. Dwarka was a planned city, on the banks of Gomati River. This city was also known as Dvaramati, Dvaravati and Kushsthali. It had six well-organized 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 having the possession of a good sea harbour. The city had 700,000 palaces made of gold, silver and other precious stones. Each one of Lord Krishna's 16108 wives had her own palace. Besides this, the city had beautiful gardens filled with flowers of all seasons and beautiful lakes.

Submersion into the Sea

After Krishna left the earth for Vaikunta,about 36 years after the Mahabharat War (3138 BC), and the major Yadava leaders were killed in disputes among themselves, Arjuna went to Dwarka to bring Krishna's grandsons and the Yadava wives to Hastinapurmarker, to safety. After Arjuna left Dwarka, it was submerged into the sea. Following is the account given by Arjuna, found in the Mahabharata:

The Vishnu Purana also mentions the submersion of Dwarka, stating

Recent archeological findings



On May 19, 2001, India's science and technology minister Murli Manohar Joshi announced the finding of ruins in the Gulf of Khambhat. The ruins, known as the Gulf of Khambhat Cultural Complex (GKCC), are located on the seabed of a nine-kilometer stretch off the coast of Gujarat province at a depth of about 40 m. The site was discovered by a team from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in December 2000 and investigated for six months with acoustic techniques. However, many marine geologists were skeptical of the interpretations of the NIOT scientists.

A follow up investigation was conducted by the same institute in November 2001, which included dredging to recover artifacts. A round of further underwater explorations was made in the Gulf of Khambhat site by the NIOT team from 2003 to 2004, and the samples obtained of what was presumed to be pottery were sent to laboratories in Oxford, UK and Hanover, Germany, as well as several institutions within India, to be dated. Inconclusive findings however, raised the possibility that the extremely old samples, as argued for many other artifacts recovered from the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay), are not man-made artifacts or potsherds, but rather geofacts and related objects of natural origin.

According to archaeologists, the "ruins" are either natural rock formations and result of faulty remote sensing equipment and the "artifacts" recovered are either geofacts or foreign objects introduced to the site by the very strong tidal currents in the Gulf of Cambay. The side scan sonar equipment used to image the bottom of the Gulf may have been faulty, and the claimed supporting evidence is purely circumstantial. . Interpretations of the objects and seismic data differ sharply between archaeologists and lay commentators. The consensus among scientific archaeologists is that there is no evidence supporting claims of submerged Neolithic ruins and artifacts. In sharp contrast, amateur commentators, including Graham Hancock, Vedic mystics, and Hindu nationalists, argue that the evidence clearly indicates the presence of submerged Neolithic cities at the bottom of the Bay of Cambay.

Bet Dwarka

Bet Dwarka is famous for its temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and is of great importance in the ancient Hindu tradition. It and other coastal sites have ample antiquities, mainly potsherds, suggesting maritime trade and commerce with the Mediterranean countries around the Christian era. This flourishing harbor and religious capital is believed to have submerged under the sea after the death of Krishna.

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 the sectors, Bet Dwarka-I, II, VI, and IX.

The findings of Bet Dwarka may be divided into two broad periods: Protohistoric period which includes a small seal of conch shell engraved with a three-headed animal motif, 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 shreds 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 archaeological explorations at Bet Dwarka Island have brought to light a large number of data on India’s external overseas trade and commerce with western countries. Recent findings at the Bet Dwarka have shown evidence of Indo-Roman trade. India had an active maritime trade with Rome from the fourth century BCE to 4th century CE. These findings would concentrate on the time period from the first century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The discovery of the amphoras in Bet Dwarka is significant in view of the maritime history of India in concerned. There are remains of seven amphoras from which a black encrustation can be seen. This ware was mainly used for exporting wine and olive oil from the Roman Empire; it is most likely that these were wine amphoras. The discovery of a large quantity of amphora sherds suggests that Bet Dwarka had international trade contact during the early centuries of the Christian era. The findings present the possibility of a shipwreck in this area associated with Roman trade, though it is unlikely that the remains of the hull of the wreck survive. Thus the presence of Roman amphoras show that Roman ships reached Bet Dwarka waters earlier than has been previously noted. These same archaeological findings along with anchors have indicated the existence of several ports, jetties and anchoring points along the west coast of Indian. Though there are no remains of an ancient jetty at Bet Dwarka, the presence of stone anchors in the intertidal one indicates that the high tide was effectively used for anchoring the boats. The presence of a large number and variety of stone anchors in Bet Dwarka suggests that this was one of important ports in ancient times. The location of Bet Dwarka was favorable for safe anchorage in the past since it was protected from high waves and storms.

The proposal for the Dwarka 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 Gujarat and the Travel & Tourism Department of Gujarat are working on this proposal (for over two decades). When completed, it will be the first museum to be built under the sea.

Compositions

Mirabai, Surdas had composed lot of songs on Dwarakdish. The Alwars like Tirumalisai Alvar, Nammalvar, Periyalvar, Andal, Thondaradippodi Alvar, Tirumangai Alvar have sung in praise of Dwarakanath in Tamil.

Places of interest



References

Further reading



External links




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