- 1 Dwarkadhish Temple
Dwarkadhish Temple Video
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The Dwarkadhish Temple is situated in the city of Dwarka in Gujarat. The holy city of Dwarka is located on the western tip of Saurashtra right on the banks of river Gomati. It is historically considered as the capital of Lord Krishna. The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu must visit in India. It is a sacred Vaishnavite pilgrimage town. The 2500 years old Temple is also known as The Jagat Mandir. Lord Krishna is worshiped in the temple as the “Dwarkadhish” or “King of Dwarka”.
Dwarka is composed of two words – “Dwar” meaning the Gate and “Ka” meaning Brahma or Moksh. The City is the adopted home of Lord Krishna when he left Vrindavan in Mathura. The city of Dwarka was known as “Swarn Nagari” or the “City of Gold”. The common belief is that after Lord Krishna died, the Yadavas who ruled entire Saurashtra fought between themselves and perished. The city eventually submerged under the sea except the Temples.
As per scriptures, the ancient city of Dwarka was a well-planned city. The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple is a five-storied temple built on 72 limestone pillars. The Dwarkadhish Temple is divided into three parts – the Prakashgarh (Nijmandir), Sabahgrah and the Shikhar. The total height of the Shikhar is 157 feet. There are two Shikhars present in the Temple – the Nij Shikhar and the Ladwa Shikhar. The Nij shikhar is five storied and houses the main deity, Lord Krishna. There are no arches in the structure. There are two main gates to the Dwarkadhish Temple – The Moksha Dwaar (Pilgrims enter the Temple through this gate) and the Swarg Dwaar (Gate to Heaven).
Dwarkadhish Temple History
- According to the Archeological Survey of India, the main shrine of the building is 2000 to 2200 years old. The common faith is that the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple was built by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Lord Krishna in 400 BC. Vajranabha constructed an umbrella type monument in the memory of Lord Krishna in the East of Harimandir which still exists.
- The first renovation was done around 100 BC as mentioned in the Brahmi script on the first floor of the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple.
- Shri Adi Shankaracharya visited the temple in 800 BC and renovated it. He established the shrine of Adyashakti on the fourth floor of the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple.
- The Temple was attacked and destroyed by Muhammad Shah in 1241 AD. It is believed that five Brahmins fought with them and were killed. The shrines dedicated to them have been built near the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple.
- The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple was enlarged and reconstructed in the 15th – 16th century by several local merchants and rulers.
- In 1965, the Pakistan Navy tried to attack the temple but failed to do so.
- The origins of the city of Dwarka are a legend itself. Lord Krishna’s uncle Kansa was the tyrannical ruler of Mathura who was under the influence of his father-in-law Jarasandha. He terrorized and tortured the people of Mathura. Kansa was eventually killed by Krishna. On hearing Kansa’s death, Jarasandha was furious and invaded Mathura several times but was unsuccessful in annexing it. However, the Yadava clan suffered huge losses and Lord Krishna decided to move them elsewhere.
- There are two versions of how Krishna came upon forming Dwarka as a city. One version states that Lord Krishna flew on the Garuda and reached the Saurashtra peninsula to form city there. As per the other version, Lord Krishna invoked Vishwakarma (Lord of Construction) and asked him to build a new city. Vishwakarma implied that the city can only be built if the Samudra Devta (God of Sea) gives some land. Lord Krishna worshiped the Sea God who eventually gave him 12 Yojanas of land. Vishwakarma built the city of Dwarka for Lord Krishna.
- According to a legend, during the cremation of Lord Krishna at Dwarka, Balram and Subhadra overcome with grief took the half-burnt body of Krishna and ran into the ocean. At the same time, King Indradyumna in Puri on the eastern coast had a dream which propelled him to visit the ocean in search of the remains of Lord Krishna. He built the gigantic temple dedicated to Lord Krishna (The Jagannath temple) and consecrated the three wooden idols of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra. It is believed that he placed the ashes of Lord Krishna in the hollow chamber inside the wooden deity.
- Another interesting legend associated with the city is that of the Gopi Lake. It is believed that after leaving Mathura, Lord Krishna never went back. The Gopis of Mathura traveled and came to Dwarka to meet Krishna. After several Ras Leelas with Lord Krishna, they offered their lives to the land and hence the name of the lake “Gopi Talav”.
Significance of Dwarkadhish Temple
- The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the Char Dham Temples one must visit during their lifetime. It was visited by the famous 8th-century philosopher Shri Adi Shankaracharya. It is also considered to be one of the Sapta Puris (ancient cities) in India, the other being Ayodhya, Mathura, Kanchipuram, Ujjain, Banaras, and Haridwar.
- The City of Dwarka is mentioned repeatedly in epics like the Mahabharata, Puranas like the Skandapuran, Vishnupuran, and Harivamsha and in the holy Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
- The Dwarkadhish is the 108th Divya Desam of Lord Vishnu in India mentioned in the Divya Prabandha sacred texts.
- It is believed that the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple was built over the original place of Hari – Graha, the home of Lord Krishna.
- The city of Dwarka is said to exist from time immemorial. During the times of Lord Krishna, the city was called, “The City of Gold” or “Swarna Nagari”. Several scriptures in Mahabharata mention the castle of Lord Krishna to be built in Gold where the Pandavas played and spent their childhood. Archeologists have unearthed copper coins, boulders, pillars and pottery samples from the underwater excavations in Dwarka. They have formulated that a well-established city existed at the place in the 2nd Millennium BC. Several explorations between 1983 and 1990 have concluded that the ancient town was built in six sectors and extended for about a mile from the shore. Offshore investigations have found evidence of stone slabs, ports and other construction materials dating back to 15th Century BC which supports the fact of an Ancient city’s existence around the times of Lord Krishna. The Layout of the Dwarka City mentioned in ancient manuscripts matches that of the city unearthed by The Marine Archaeology Unit of India.
- The Dhwajaji – The Mast Flag atop the main Temple is unique and sacred. It is known to be Aadhi Bhoutik in nature. The Dhwaja or the Flag is made of 52 yards of cloth. 52 small flags are woven individually in each yard of cloth used for the main Flag. Each Yard symbolizes the entrances to the ancient city of Dwarka. According to scriptures, the administration of Dwarka was run by 56 administrators, 4 of them being Lord Krishna, Balram, Pradyuma, and Anirudhji. These 4 are still worshiped in temples that are untouched by the Sea. However, for the rest of the 52 people, the flag acts as a remembrance. The colors of the Dhwajaji are changed every day.
- In the Temple premises of the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple, a small temple called Kusheshwar Mahadev Temple is present. The Pilgrimage is considered as incomplete without visiting this temple. Legend says that there was a demon named Kush who lived in a place called Kushasthali. People prayed to Lord Krishna to save them. Lord Krishna fought and crushed the demon until he was buried completely into the ground. Krishna then set up a temple of his family God, Lord Mahadev over the place. The Shiva Linga is located 20 feet below the ground.
- The Dwarka Mutt is one of the four mutts established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the others being Sringeri, Jagannath Puri, and Jyotirmath. The Mutt is called Shanti Peeth.
- It is considered sacred to take a dip at the Gomati Ghat situated just behind the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple. It is believed that your sins can be washed away after genuine worship at this place.
Dwarkadhish Temple Timings
- Dwarkadhish Temple opens at 6:30 am and closes at 9:30 pm. The Darshan is closed from 1 pm to 5 pm in the afternoon.
- The Mangal Aarti starts at 6:30 AM followed by Mangal Darshan from 7 AM to 8 AM.
- The Shringar Aarti takes place at 10:30 AM.
- The Sandhya Aarti takes place at 7:30 PM to 7:45 PM.
It is highly recommended to wear formal and decent dresses to visit the Dwarkadhish Temple. Shorts and miniskirts are to be avoided.
Festivals celebrated at Dwarkadhish Temple
- Janmashtami – The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated in a very grand and spiritual way. Thousands of pilgrims from across the world visit the Dwarkadhish Temple to get his blessings on this auspicious day. The day is marked by a series of Poojas and rituals that start right from Mangal Aarti in the morning to the Parna Rom that happens the next day. The idol is ceremoniously decorated and Abhishekams are performed throughout the day with Tulsi and Chandan.
- Annakut Utsav – This festival is celebrated on the first day of the Kartik month. A variety of milk preparations and sweets are placed before the God and worshiped.
- Tulsi Vivah – This day signifies the marriage of Lord Vishnu with Tulsi Devi. The festival is celebrated from the 11th day of the Kartik month for 4 days.
- Holi – The festival of colors is believed to be the favorite festival of Lord Krishna. Therefore, this day is celebrated with great pomp and joy.
- Akshaya Tritiya – The third day of the Vaisakh month is celebrated as the Akshaya Tritiya. The day marks the beginning of summer season. The Idol of Lord Krishna is dressed with flowers and Chandan instead of the usual dress. The festivities end on the 11th day of the month called Bhima Ekadashi.
- Rath Yatra – On the 2nd of the Ashadh month (June – July), the representation of Lord Krishna is kept in a chariot and is taken around the city. Several legends are associated with the Rath Yatra. It is believed that the day marked the departure of Krishna and Balram to Mathura on c chariot sent by Kamsa. It is also celebrated as the day Krishna decides to become the Sarathi (Driver) of Arjuna’s chariot in Mahabharatha.
Some of the other important festivals celebrated at Dwarkadhish Temple are Dussehra, Deepavali, Ram Navami, Basant Panchami and Makar Sankranthi.
Poojas and Rituals at Dwarkadhish Temple
The daily rituals that are performed at the Dwarkadhish Temple are listed below:
- Mangal Aarti – It starts at 7:00 AM. The cleaning (brushing and face wash) of the Lord happens during this time.
- Abhishek Snan – The Lord is given a holy bath daily before the darshan. The Abhishekam is usually performed behind closed doors, but the ritual is open to public viewing only on Janmashtami and Jalayatra day.
- Shringar Aarti – The God is adorned with a Golden color cloth and archanai is done with Basil and Chandan. During the Aarti, the Golden Chhadi is kept near the door of the shrine. The Flute is handed over to the Dwarkadhish.
- Uthapan – At 5 PM, the God is awakened by offering Chandan and Tulsi. The chanting of Vishnu Sahasranamam takes place accompanied by the offering of a petal of Tulsi for each name of Vishnu.
- Several Bhogs like Mangal Bhog, Makhan Bhog. Snan Bhog, Shringar Bhog, Raj Bhog, Banta Bhog, Sandhya Bhog, Shayan Bhog and Ratri Banta Bhog are also offered throughout the day.
- Several Sevas can be offered by the devotees to the God such as Mangal Bhog, Palna, Shayan Bhog, Paan Seva, Milk Seva, Vegetable Seva, Flower Seva, Fruit Seva and Misri Seva at nominal rates.
How to reach Dwarkadhish Temple: Road, Rail, and Air
- By Air – The nearest airport is Jamnagar, 137 km away.
- By Rail – Regular trains are available from major cities like Jamnagar, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, and Kochi.
- By Road – Direct State Buses are available from Jamnagar, Gandhinagar, Porbandar, Rajkot, and Ahmedabad.
Where to stay
There are many Government run Guest Houses in the city. Some of them are Circuit House, Gayathri Athithi Grah and Birla Dharmshala.
Several Dharmshalas are operated by the Temple Trust like Kokila Niraj Dham, Patelwadi Dharamshala, and Jay Ranchhod Dharmashala.
Several private hotels are available to stay in the bustling city of Dwarka.
Where to eat
Several hotels and restaurants are available near the Temple premises as well as in the city. The Cuisine offered is mainly vegetarian.
- Shri Nageshwar Temple – The Nageshwar Temple also known as The Nagnath Temple is located 12 km away from the Dwarkadhish Temple. It is an important Saivite pilgrimage site as it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The temple is unique as the Shiva Lingam faces south and the Nandi faces east.
- The Rukshamanee Mandir – It is located 2 km away from The Dwarkadhish Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Devi Rukmini, wife of Lord Krishna. The idol of Devi Rukmini can be seen having a “Chaturbhuj” or four hands, each holding a Shanka, Chakra, Gada, and the Padma. This symbolizes that Devi Rukmini was a reincarnation of Goddess Mahalakshmi.
- Beyt Dwarka – The Island is located 30 km from Dwarka. It houses a 500-year-old temple built by Sri Vallabhacharya. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The white pristine beaches at the Island are very popular for water sports and picnics.
- Gomati Sangam Ghat – This Sangam Ghat can be reached by descending 56 steps built behind the Swarga Dwar of the Dwarkadhish Temple. This place signifies the confluence of River Gomati with the ocean. One can visit several smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Krishna and his friend Sudama.
- The Gita Mandir – The Temple was built by the Birla family in 1970. This temple is dedicated to the teachings of The Bhagavad Gita. The hymns from the Bhagavad Gita are carved onto the walls of the Temple.