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Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple: Abode of Lord Krishna

The Nathdwara Shrinathji temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is located in Nathdwara, approximately 48 Km to the north of Udaipur. The Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple of Rajasthan houses a statue of Lord Krishna, sculpted from a single piece of black marble. Nathdwara, means the gate of God. It is the most renowned pilgrimage in India. Nathdwara is located on the banks of Banas river. There is a beautiful black marble Deity of Lord Krishna, standing with his hand upraised lifting Govardhana Hill. The idol of Shrinathji, sculpted out of one piece of black marble was installed first at the Jatipura temple at Mathura (UP) by Jagatguru Sri Vallabhacharya. This temple is of the great importance as the royal kings of Udaipur pray at this temple and the Maharana is called as the Shriji among the people. There are many services that are rendered by the devotees for the deity that includes cutting vegetables, sweeping the temples, making garlands and even carrying wood.

The image of Shrinathji is worth seeing and feeling the celestial beauty of the God. Lord Shrinathji symbolizes a form of Lord Krishna, when he lifted the ‘Govardhana’ (a hill). Images of two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks and a parrot by the god’s head are imprinted on the idol. People of Vaishnava community come in large numbers to visit this holy pilgrimage. The servant of these temples wear the clothes of the era of the kings and queens and serve Lord krishna as the beloved prince. Due to this reasons this temple is as ‘Haveli’ which means the big mansions of the wealthy merchants. There are beautiful and large paintings of the elephants, horses, maidens and doorkeepers on all the doorways.

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple History

  • During the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the statue of Lord Krishna was moved from Vrindavan to enshrine it at a safe place. However, when the vehicle carrying the statue passed through the particular spot where the temple now is, its wheels got stuck in the mud. The priest accompanying the image interpreted it to be an indication from the Lord himself.
  • It was comprehended that the Lord did not wanted to move any further. Thereafter, the statue was placed in the Lord Krishna temple, Nathdwara along with proper Vedic rites and tradition. The Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple has three entrances, one (Surajpole) being exclusively for women.
  • One more story about this place is that, Sri Nathji once tore his garment while rushing back to the temple to be on time for darshan. From that day on it has been a custom to blow the conch and then wait several minutes before opening the altar doors. In that way Sri Nathji may return leisurely to his temple from wherever he may be sporting.
  • The servitors of Sri Nathji say that the Deity is the original form of Sri Krishna, known as Nikunja Nayaka, ‘the Lord of the Celestial Power.’ Since this form of Lord Krishna includes all others, his devotees see him both as Sri Radhanathji (the Lord of Radha) and as child Krishna. The Deity is, therefore, sometimes entertained with childish toys like spinning tops and silver animals and sometimes offered a herding stick meant for a cowherd boy.

Significance of the Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

  • The striking idol of Shrinathji gets the major attraction and is actually worth seeing. It receives millions of rupees as offering to the Lord. The Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple authorities possess approximately 500 cows and the milk of these cows, is used for the preparation of sweets and milk products.
  • Among these cows, there is one cow that is considered as Shrinathji’s cow. This cow is believed to have come from the lineage, which served the Lord from ages.
  • Every morning, the veena is played to awaken Srinathji. Classical songs are sung during other jhankis. Shrinathji is royally dressed and fed the purest and richest of foods. Even the water he drinks comes from the Yamuna. Srinathji wears the best of the dresses/jewellery, which are rarely repeated.

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple Timings

  • Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple is open all days of the week. One can visit the deity for 8 short periods in a day. These short periods are known as Ashtaya and include Mangala, Shrungar, Gwal, Rajbhog, Uthhapan, Bhog, Sandhaya Aarti and Shayan.
  • The timings of the Nathdwara Shrinathi Temple are from 5:30 AM to 12:30 PM in the morning and from 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM in the evening.
  • The Mangla Aarti is performed from 5:40 AM to 6:20 AM.
  • Shringar Aarti is performed from 7:15 AM to 7:45 AM.
  • From 9:15 AM to 9:30 AM the Gwal Aarti is performed.
  • There is a Rajbhog Aarti from 11:20 AM to 12:05 PM.
  • In the afternoon there is a Uthapan Aarti and Bhog from 3:40 PM to 4:00 PM and 4:30 PM to 4:50 PM respectively.
  • The Aarti Darshan is from 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM.

Poojas and Rituals at Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Mangla Darshan: During this Darshan aarti is offered to lord Shrinathji and it is the first darshan of the day. This darshan takes place before the sunrise.

Shringar Darshan: It is the second darshan of the day. In this Darshan, Shrinathji is dressed and different songs and bhajans are sung by the poets to praise the lord.

Gval Darshan: It is the time when Shrinathji takes cows to the field. During this darshan sweets are offered to Shrinathji.

Rajbhog Darshan: It is the fourth darshan of the day and it is the time when delicious food is served to Shrinathji. Along with this Darshan aarti is also performed.

Uthapan Darshan: This darshan is performed at the afternoon when Shrinathji wakes up from his sleep in the noon.

Bhog Darshan: During this darshan fruits and light meal is offered to Shrinathji.

Sandhya Aarti Darshan: This darshan is performed in the evening and it is the time when Shrinathji bring all cows back to their home.

Shayan Darshan: It is the last darshan of the day when Shrinathji go to sleep at the night.

Rules to Follow

There is no entry fee or other money charged to enter the Nathdwara Shrinathji temple. There is no VIP Darshan in the temple but there are different sign boards on the temple premises that one should follow. There are also different announcements that are made at periodic interval.

Festivals celebrated at Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Annakutta: Annakutta is a major festival that is celebrated in the temple with full gusto and fervor.  As a part of celebrations 2500 kilo hill rice is offered to the Lord. Then the temple gates are closed. In the evening the gates are opened and people start looting the rice prasad. Diwali is also an important festival here, because it is one day before the Annakutta festival.

Holi: Huge crowds gather from all over the state and beyond. Huge quantities of abil, gulal, and kesudo (white and pink powders and an orange dye) are used. The Lord wakes up early – around 5.30 AM. Shri Nathji plays holi with his temple servants at Rajbhog darshan. Polka dots of pink, orange, yellow and red begin to mark the Lord’s spotless white clothes. Depending on the skill of the priest, they can group these dots to create tie-dye designs, or use the colours in such a way so as to create lines of alternate colour. ShriNathji remains thus attired till he goes to bed. Garland and jewels may be added or removed according to the darshans.

Diwali: One of the major Hindu festivals, it is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over the evil, when Lord Rama defeated Ravana and rescued his wife Sita from his custody. It is predominantly a five-day festival, with a number of customs and rituals followed during each day. People prepare themselves for the festival weeks ahead, by decorating the temple premises. Many devotees visit the temple and there are special pujas that are held.

Janmashtami: Janmashtami, is the birthday of lord Krishna which is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. It is believed that lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of lord Krishna on the auspicious day of Janmashtami. The historical background of the birth of lord Krishna depicts the significance of this Hindu festival. Lord Krishna was born at midnight on the eighth day of Hindu lunar month, Shravana. It is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm among the people.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Air: The nearest airport from Udaipur is Dabok Airport which is about 24 km far away. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways connects Udaipur with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Mumbai.

By Rail: Udaipur is well connected by rail. Western Railways connects Mavli Junction on the meter gauge with direct trains from Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Khandwa. Mavli Junction is 38 km. and Chittorgarh is 110 Km from Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara.

By Road: Udaipur is also connected by road by State Government and Deluxe buses connects Nathdwara with all major tourist station of Rajasthan. City Bus station is 1.5 km from The Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara.

Where to stay

There are many facilities for the accommodation and various Dharmashalas.

Shri Damodar Dham: Rampura, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Dhiraj Dham: Eklingji, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Agrawal Cottage: Rampura, Nathdwara, Rajasthan

Besides there are many other Dharmashalas and hotels such as Bombaywala Dharam shala, Basanti Lal Dharmshala, Bhartiya Guest House, Bombay Cottage, Mandir Mandal, Champa Shambhu Lal Dharmshala, Delwara Wali Dharmshala, Dheeraj Dham, Hotel Hari Darshan, Gopal Niwas Hotel, Ganga Jamuna Hotel, Hotel Jay Shree, Kothari Atithishala, Hotel Krishna Darshan, Krishna Guest House, Khadayata Atithi Bhawan and many more.

Where to eat

Roadside food stalls famous for their yummy, scrumptious and delicious on-the-street food are flooded with people in between darshan timings. Be it vegetarian or non vegetarian, everyone’s hunger needs are looked after here. The thandai and the khaman are the specialties here.

Neelam Dining Hall: Near Bank of Baroda, Gandhi Road, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Maharaja Dining Hall: Eklingji, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Hotel Shrinath Inn:  Near Private Bus Stand, NH-8, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Hotel Vaikunth:  Tehsil Link Road, Kankroli, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Shri Gopal Krishan Dining Hall: Under Moti Mahal Tower, Nathdwara Ho, Nathdwara

Nearby Temples

Dwarkadheesh Temple: Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the prominent tourist attractions of Nathdwara located in the Kankroli Village. This temple also famous as ‘Kankroli Temple’. Hindu deity Krishna is the sole deity of this beautiful temple. Here the red stone idol of the deity is praise with full devotion and dedication. Dwarkadhish Temple is at the shore of Rajsamand Lake. Nearby Nav Chauki Dam (Kankroli Dam) is also a great place for bird watching.

Charbhuja Temple: Shri Charbhuja temple was constructed near the Gomti river in 1444 A.D. Temple is also known for its unmatched architecture with magnificent mirror work inside the temple. White marble, lime mortar and mirror is used as the construction material for this temple. It’s gold inside shutters and silver outside shutter attracts with stone elephant which are placed on both side of the entrance in the temple.Charbhuja Temple organises a fair every year on Jhaljhoolni Gyaras. It falls on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad i.e. during the months of August-September. The day is celebrated on a grand scale in the temple. The idol of the Lord is taken out for a grand procession.

Vitthalnathji: Shri Vitthalnathji was found in the Ganges river by and ascetic who presented Him to Shri Vallabhacharya. Shri Vitthalnathji is a small golden-colored Svarupa with His hands resting on his hips. He is joined by one Svamini. She always resides on His left. Shri Gusainji explains their divine nature.

MadanMohanji Temple at Nathdwara: Shri Madan Mohan, a small golden colored form of shri Krishna playing the flute is accompanied by his Svamini, (Shri Radha). Shri Madan Mohan appeared during the course of a soma sacrifice that Shri Yajnar narayan Bhatt, Shri Vallabhacharya’s great, great, great-grandfather performed. Shri Madan Mohan currently resided in Kama Rajasthan. Shri Gusainji explains his form and lila. Many visitors and devotees visit this place and this temple is crowded at special occassions.

Akshardham

Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple (Gandhinagar) in Gujarat

India is a major tourist destination owing to its rich culture and heritage. From exotic beaches to wild jungles and golden deserts, there’s lot to explore once you travel to this sub-continent. And each part of India is different from the other. For example, when you visit Gujarat, you will definitely explore the great historical places and the religious destinations. Gujarat lies on the western side of the sub-continent and one of the most prominent places of worship in this state can be referred to the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple. It is a specimen of traditional stone work, ancient wisdom and the best of contemporary technology that speaks volumes about the cultural heritage of India. It is a magnificent shrine that is located in the heart of Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

This beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan and inspired by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The Akshardham shrine is actually a miracle created by the sacrifice of thousands of artists and volunteers. In fact, there are more than 2 million visitors who visit this shrine every year. In fact, most of the people who travel to Gujarat make it a point to pay a visit to this famous place of worship. And when you visit this temple, you are not just a tourist or a traveler but you will be an artist who will discover the art of sculpting oneself from within.

akshardham 2

Akshardham History

  • The internationally famous Swaminarayan Akshardham temple was established on 2nd November 1992. The credit for laying the foundation of this place of worship goes to the Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).
  • Akshardham temple describes the concept of Man-making. The devotee’s belief that only an individual can shape his own life and become sensible in the true sense. To project this belief, architecture along with literature, music and hi-tech equipment have been used with extreme care and passion to make it distinct. The success of the shrine lies in the fact that it turns an individual into a Man.
  • The monument symbolizes tremendous human effort that has gone into its formation. Another aspect being that the leader has inspired many devotees through his teachings. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has created a rare mixture that comprises of the monument and the selflessness of the Guru and the disciples which draw people from every corner of the world.
  • The creation of this incredible Akshardham temple is a remarkable event in the history of India.

Significance of the Akshardham Temple

  • The inauguration ritual of the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple coincided with the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj and was conducted by Pramukh Swami Maharaj only.
  • Akshardham Temple at Gandhinagar is minutely carved coupled with a striking monument of 6000 tons of pink sandstone soaked with religious stillness.
  • This whole structure was built without using steel in order to increase the maximum longevity of the architecture.
  • There is a 7 feet gold leafed idol of Lord Swaminarayan and his holy ruins. In addition, there are three exhibitions on Indian culture with light and sound shows.
  • Akshardham temple is built at a height of 108 feet and is 240 feet in length, 131 feet in breadth. In addition, the porch around the monument measures 1751 feet (534 meters) in length alone.
  • It is only after investing 13 laborious years that the architecture of this beautiful temple was completed. In addition, it is the skilled artisans of Bansipahadpur who had done the minute carvings of the auspicious shrine.
  • One of the significant factors about this shrine is that it has its own research centre known as, Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH). This center aims at using knowledge of the past, concentrating on the present pattern and masterminding conceivable answers for the future.
  • The research facility is equipped with an extensive library, study stations, and archives. However, it is only open to enlisted scholars who receive the benefits.
  • The first floor of the temple comprises of a museum, which has a collection and a gallery of over 500 ‘parahansas’. Some other items which are displayed here are the letter to the guru of Swaminarayan Ramanand, an art object from an old tree from Chapaya, the shawl used by Swaminarayan and an image of the Lord seated on a horse.
  • The galleries present on the external side serve as the venue for the artistic exhibition and also paves a way for Chez Intervasion shows, audio-visuals, multi-media and the works of Lord Swaminarayan from the Hindu epics.
  • The temple has three permanent exhibition halls inside the complex, which was started with the aim of educating masses on issues regarding religion and BAPS movement.
  • The garden surrounding the sanctum sanctorum is known as Sahajanand Van or the first hall and represents a unique intermingling of reflective garden and children’s park.
  • The second hall or the Sat-Chit-Anand of this place of worship holds the exhibition in a 14-screen multimedia representation. Besides it also contains the ‘Tunnel of Mirrors’ that stands for a glass mosaic and a dancing musical fountain.
  • The third hall of this holy place has many fiberglass models that represent various memos from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Upanishads. An audio-animatronics show portraying various messages from Mahabharata and an exhibition of ‘Harmony of world religions’ are some of the major attractions of this exhibition.
  • Photography and making videos are strictly prohibited in this temple.
  • It was on September 24, 2002, that two armed terrorists attacked this temple killing 33 people and around 70 individuals were injured. The Indian National Security Guard killed both the terrorists and the temple opened after 14 days of the attack.

Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Timings

  • Akshardham Temple remains open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M.
  • Mondays remain closed.
  • The night lighting shows takes place on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Exhibitions start at 10 A.M. and ends at 6:00 P.M.

Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Food Timings

  • Visitors are not allowed to carry any food inside the temple premises.
  • Premvati Refreshments at Sahajanand Van provides fresh vegetarian food and snacks to tourists. A tourist can relish the unique taste of the traditional Gujarati dishes here and one can also book meals in advance.
  • The restaurant is open from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M.

Festivals celebrated at the Akshardham Temple

  • Annakut Utsav is celebrated with great pomp in this temple. It is observed soon after Diwali and Annakut which refers to a huge amount of food comprising fruits, salads, pulses and juices are offered to the Lord. Around 2550 food items are offered to the deity. This food is later distributed among the pilgrims.
  • Diwali or the festival of lights is another festival that fetches pilgrims from across the nation. The temple is illuminated with lights which pave the way for a spectacular sight.

Poojas and Rituals at Akshardham Temple

  • The Aarti takes place twice daily especially during the morning and the evening.
  • The deity is bathed with holy water and is offered food thereafter.
  • There are special poojas that are organized during special occasions like the birthday of Lord Swaminarayan, Annakut Utsav etc.

How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air– For people looking to travel to flight, the nearest airport to reach this temple is situated in Ahmedabad. This is well connected to every major city in India and in order to reach the temple, you need to hire a taxi from the Ahmedabad airport.
  • By Train– A devotee can reach this temple by train as well. This auspicious place of worship is located at a distance of 2 km from Gandhinagar railway station and 31 km from Ahmedabad railway station.
  • By Road– Akshardham is located at the heart of one of the greenest cities in the world –Gandhinagar that is situated on National Highway 8c. Hence, Akshardham is easily accessible from every location like 25 km from Ahmedabad, 150 km from Vadodara, 230 km from Udaipur, 190 km from Mt Abu and 604 km from Jaipur. There are many special buses and cars that are provided by the tourism department, government authorities and private services.

Hotels in Gujarat: Where to stay

Gujarat welcomes people of all religion and culture with equal warmth and hospitality. No matter what your budget is, you can be rest assured to find a suitable room in Gujarat with equal ease and comfort. While individuals traveling alone can opt for dormitories, pilgrims visiting this auspicious shrine can look for hotels. And if you are ready to splurge on luxury, then choose to spend your nights with five-star accommodations. These high-end hotels also offer complimentary breakfast as well. And some of the hotels also have their own private restaurants for their dwellers. These hotels are equipped with all the modern facilities to meet the needs of a contemporary traveler. Also, one can enjoy good discounts coupled with an attractive price if you book a room in advance.

Where to eat

Gujarati food is loved and cherished by people from all parts of India. A typical Gujarati Thali comprises of rice, chapatti, dal, vegetables, pickle, curd and papad. The food in this style is prepared by following a proper hygiene and fewer spices. Some of the special snacks that are exclusive to Gujarat include dhokla, khandvi; and sweets like basundi which are famous for its taste.

A traveler can either opt to try the local cuisine from various food joints that are spread around the city or can look for fine dining options. The food is moderately priced and is mostly vegetarian in nature. However, there are few nonvegetarian eateries as well that offers international flavors too.

Nearby Temples

  • The Adalaj Trimandir– This temple has been built with an area of 40, 175 sq ft with the temple podium being 20,895 sq ft. There is a beautiful fountain at the center of the lush green field. The Satsang Hall is of 31,861 sq ft and the shrine is equipped with an informative museum and mini-theatre on Gnani Purush Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, around whom the Trimandir is built. Idols from Jainism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism are present within this temple. The center of the temple houses idol of Lord Shree Simandhar Swami, which measures 155 inches, and is made entirely of marble.
  • The Mahudi Jain Temple– Mahudi Tirth is a famous Jain temple and the place was earlier called as Madhumanti or Madhupuri. The main idol of Bhagwan Pradaprabhu was established in 1974 by Acharya Dev Sri Buddisagarsurisvar. He had also installed the idol of Sri Ghantakarna Mahavir on 1980 Vikram era. The Prasad is also known as ‘Sukhadi’ and consists of jaggery, wheat flour, and pure ghee. The pilgrims need to eat the Prasad within the temple premises and are prohibited from carrying it outside. It is open from 5.A.M. to 9 P.M.
  • The Vaishno Devi Temple– Being modeled on the Vaishno Devi temple located at Srinagar, this holy place is situated on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway in Gujarat. Thousands of devotees visit this place during Navaratri and offers fruits, rice, coconut and clothes to the deity.
  • The Vardayni Mata Temple– This is another popular temple that is located in Rupal village of Gandhinagar district in Gujarat. The temple is located in the middle of the village. The Ghee Festival of Palli is very famous and stands at 28 spots in the village. Every stand has tons of Pure Ghee or Clarified Butter kept ready to pour on the “Palli” (Ratha). This ghee is donated by pilgrims who visit this holy place throughout the year.
  • Sri Kotyark Khadayata Temple– Khadayata refers to the business community among the Hindus and this temple sees countless pilgrims visiting the shrine all around the year. It is another destination that tourists can visit with joy and delight.
Nava Dwaraka Tour Dwarkadhish Temple

Dwarkadhish Temple

Dwarkadhish Temple

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 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 the 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 6:30am and closes at 9:30pm. The Darshan is closed from 1pm to 5pm 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.

Dress Code

It is highly recommended to wear formal and decent dresses to visit the Temple. Shorts and miniskirts are to be avoided.

Festivals

  • Janmashtami – The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated in a very grand and spiritual way. Thousands of pilgrims from across the world visit the 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 The Dwarkadhish Temple are Dussehra, Deepavali, Ram Navami, Basant Panchami and Makar Sankranthi.

Poojas and Rituals

The daily rituals that are performed at the 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: 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.

Nearby Places

  • 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.
Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple Video

The majestic Somnath Temple, also known as “The Shrine Eternal” is located at Prabhas Pattan near Veraval port in Saurashtra, Gujarat. No pilgrimage is complete without visiting this magnificent shrine built in honor of Lord Shiva. The word Somnath literally translates to “Lord of the Soma”, Soma being the Moon God. It is one of the oldest temples of India finding mentions in Rig Veda, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Shreemad Bhagavad Geeta. It is believed to be the first Jyotirlinga among the 12 Holy Jyotirlingas.

The temple is divided into three main areas – the  Garbhagraha, the Sabhamandapam and the Nrityamandapam. The Shikhar of the temple is 150 feet high. The Kalasam or the Kalash weighs 10 tonnes. The flag pole at the top is 8.2 mt long. The temple reflects the skills of the Sompura Salats, Gujarat’s famed stone masons.

Somnath Temple History 

  • According to the legend, Chandra was cursed to decrease in size every day by his father-in-law Daksha because he showed more affection to his wife Rohini and ignored his other 26 wives who were all daughters of Daksha. After paying penance to Lord Shiva at the site, he was granted a boon by Shiva that he would grow for 15 days and then lose one Kala (shade) every day and decrease in size for 15 days. As a result, Someshwar Kund was established to honour Shiva for removing the curse.
  • As per the historians, the time of construction for the first temple at Somnath is unknown. However, it is recorded that the second temple was built at the site around 649 CE by the Seuna kings of Vallabhi better known as the Yadavas of Devagiri. They ruled parts of present-day Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Al-Junayd, the Governer of Sindh destroyed the temple in around 725 CE during invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The King Nagabhata ll is said to have constructed the third temple in 815 CE.
  • In 1024, the Somnath Temple was again attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni. The reconstruction was done by King Bhoja of Malwa and King Bhimdev I of Patan.
  • The temple again became the target of destruction by Alauddin Khilji’s forces. The temple was built again by King Mahipala, the then king of Saurashtra in 1308.
  • Repeated assaults on the temple were made in 1375 and 1451 by Muzaffar Shah I of the Gujarat Sultanate and Mahmud Begada, the Sultan of Gujarat respectively.
  • The temple also faced the ire of Aurangzeb in 1665. The temple was rebuilt in 1783 by the combined effort of the Peshwas, Bhonsles, Queen Ahilyabai of Indore and Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior.
  • The present temple is said to be built in the Chalukya style or the  “Kailash Mahameru Prasad” style. The masonry work was done by Sompura Salats.
  • According to the legends, the grandeur of the temple can be assessed by the fact that the inner temple or the Garbhashay was initially studded with gems. These were looted in the repeated invasions.The Sandalwood water for Abhishekam was brought from Haridwar. Flowers for Poojas were brought from Kashmir.
  • Three silver gates originally belonging to the Somnath temple were brought back to India from Lahore after defeating Muhammad Shah by the Maratha king Mahadaji Shinde. After unsuccessful attempts to re-install them in the Somnath temple, they were then gifted to two temples in Ujjain – the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga and Gopal Mandir where they can still be seen.
  • Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough, ordered the British army in Afghanistan to bring back the Sandalwood gates taken by Mahmud of Ghazni. On arrival, in 1843, they were found to be fake. They are currently stored in the Agra Fort.

Significance of Somnath temple

  • The Somnath Temple is believed to be the Primary or the First Jyotirlinga among the 12 Jyotirlingas in Hindu mythology. Lord Shiva is said to have appeared in a fiery column of light from this Linga. The Linga is also believed to be Swayanbhu (self – born) in nature and is worshiped by millions of people in India and around the world.
  • An inscription in Sanskrit found in the Banastambha also known as the “Arrow Pillar”, Abadhit Samudra Marg and Tirstambh indicates that there is no land in a straight line between the seashore until Antarctica.
  • It is called the “Shrine eternal” because it was destroyed six times in history but still every time, was rebuilt in glory. The Consecration ceremony for the present structure was held under Dr. Rajendra Prasad with the words ” The Somnath Temple signifies that the power of creation is always greater than the power of destruction.”
  • The temple was built in gold first by the Moon God (Chandra). When it was demolished, it was rebuilt in silver by Ravana. After that had been razed down, the temple was built in wood by Lord Krishna. Eventually, Bhimdev reconstructed the temple with stone.
  • Syamantak Mani, the Philosopher’s stone associated with Lord Krishna is hidden inside Shiva Linga in the temple. This stone is supposed to be magical with the ability to produce gold. It is believed that it is responsible for creating a magnetic field around itself which keeps the Linga floating above the ground.
  • The Linga is made of iron, and the roof of the sanctum is made of loadstone. Builder of the shrine assured that the magnetic force exerted by the loadstone kept the Linga floating in the air.
  • It is believed that you can wash away your sins by taking a dip in the holy water of the Someshwar Kund. This Kund was built in honour of Lord Shiva after he removed the curse on Chandra.
  • Prabhas Pattan has been a pilgrimage since ancient times because this is the holy site of Sangam or confluence of three great mythological rivers – the Saraswati, the Hiranya and the Kapila.
  • It is also believed that Prabhas Pattan is the site where Lord Krishna was struck by an arrow while resting under a tree. He started his final journey in life from here.

Somnath Temple Timings

  • The general Darshan starts from 6:00 AM and ends at 10 PM.
  • The Aarti at the main shrine happens at 7 AM, 12 Noon and 7 PM.
  • A Light and Sound show titled “Jay Somnath” is performed daily between 8 PM and 9 PM. this show is subject to good weather conditions and may be cancelled on rainy days.
  • Items such as Belts, Mobile phones, Cameras and Shoes are not allowed inside the temple. Free stalls are available for shoes. Lockers are available for storing Cameras and Phones at the entrance of the temple.
  • Wheelchair facilities for disabled and senior citizens are available at the gate of the temple, and Lift facilities are available inside the temple.
  • Online darshan facilities are available. Please visit the site www.somnath.org for details.

Somnath Temple Dress code

It is advised by the Somnath Temple management that dresses such as mini-skirts, revealing tops, shorts, etc. should be avoided. Smoking is not allowed inside and around the temple premises.

Festivals celebrated at Somnath Temple

  • Shravan month – Shravan Maas falls on the fifth month of the Hindu calendar, starting late July and ending by the third week of August
  • Shivratri – It is celebrated as a day when Lord Shiva marries Goddess Parvati. It usually occurs in late February to early March.
  • Golokdham Utsav  – It signifies the birth of Lord Krishna, more popularly known as Janmashtami.
  • Kartik Purnima Fair for five days
  • Somnath Sthapana Divas

Poojas and Rituals at Somnath Temple

About 30 main types of Poojas and Abhishekams are performed at the Somnath Temple. Below are the main poojas performed at the shrine:

  • Homatmak Atirudra – This yagna is considered to be the most powerful and the most sacred yagna out of all the Mahayagnas. It is believed that conducting this Yagna washes away your sins and brings peace and prosperity. Atirudra consists of eleven recitations of Maha Rudra. One Maharudram is completed every day, hence the Atirudra yagna is completed in eleven days.
  • Homatmak Maharudra – This Pooja involves 56 highly learned Vedic Pandits reciting Rudras in one place. Recitations of Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharva Veda is done in front of the deities of the temple.
  • Homatmak Lagurudra – This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the evil effects of planets in the horoscope.
  • Savalaksha Samput Mahamrityunjaya Jaap – This Abhishek is done to increase longevity and immortality of the person.

Other Poojas and Abhishekams include Savalaksha Bilva Pooja, Kalsarpa yog Nivaran Vidhi, Shivpuran Path, Mahadugdh Abhishek, Gangajal Abhishek and Navagraha Jaap.

How to reach the Somnath Temple

  • By Road – Somnath is well connected by State Transport buses to major cities in Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Junagadh, Dwarka and Chorwad.
  • By Train – The nearest railway station is Somnath (0.5 km). Regular train service is available from all major cities in Gujarat.
  • By Air – The nearest airport is Diu, which is 85 km away.

Where to stay at Somnath Temple

  • Rooms operated by the Somnath Temple management are available at nominal rates. Accommodations can be booked in the Sagar Darshan Atithi Gruh, Lilavati Atithi Bhavan, Maheshwari Atithi Bhavan by visiting the website www.somnath.org
  • Private hotels are abundant near the Somnath Temple complex. Make sure that you carry a valid Identity proof for booking a room

Where to eat at Somnath Temple

  • All the Guesthouses managed by the Somnath Temple trust hosts a Restaurant, which serves various cuisines like Gujarati, Punjabi and Chinese.
  • Small eateries are abundant around the temple complex.

Nearby temples

  • Bhalka Tirth – It is located at about 5 km from the Prabhas – Veraval highway. At this location, the arrow fired by the poacher Jara hit Sri Krishna, who was resting under a Peepal tree. The Lord Sri Krishna then walked and reached the banks of River Hiran from where his last journey started.
  • Shree Golokdham Tirth or Shree Neejdham Prastham Tirth – It is located on the banks of River Hiran, 1.5 km away from the Somnath Temple. The footprint of Lord Krishna is carved here to mark the site of Neejdham Prasthan Leela.  Baldev,  the elder brother of  Lord Krishna also took his last journey from here in his original serpent form.