Dwarkadheesh Temple and the city under water: My Gujarat Dham Yatra
Being lifelong devotees of lord Krishna, it was only expected of my parents to finally fulfill their dream of going on a Chardham Yatra. But this year, my parents really just wanted our pilgrim to be a family and non-rushed affair so we settled on covering every destination year by year. After planning for months and getting everybody from my family together from every corner of north India, we finally undertook our trip to the holy city of Dwarka, the gateway to heaven.
My all-time dream has been to celebrate Janmashtami in the holy city of Lord Krishna, Dwarka. But because it is the peak vacation time, the elders agreed of skipping the peak celebrations time and we travelled to Gujarat in mid October. The city of Dwarka is often mentioned in Mahabharata and other legends associated with Lord Krishna but a lot of believers and non-believers are not aware that the original city cited in these legends is claimed to have been submerged.
Dwarka a city under water
The legend of Dwarka, the submerged city is as long as the Mahabharata and recent archaeological and diving research underwater has pointed towards the existence of such a flourishing city where Lord Krishna settled base centuries back.
The name, Dwarka, means gate/door to heaven as the word Dwarka comes from the Sanskrit term dwar. The Temples that are now visited by believers and non-believers throughout year are located on west in Gujarat. Legends even state that the modern day city of Dwarka is the seventh city to have been built in the iconic Dwarka's place. For centuries, the city survived invasions and amassed architectural and religious significance with its growing grandeur.
Dwarka from Ahmedabad
We flew to Ahmedabad and then took a private cab to Dwarka which is a good 450kms away from Ahmedabad. It was a long drive and we spent most of our first day on the trip travelling but now that I know what a gem of a state Gujarat is, I'd love to do it again!
After almost 15 hours of travelling, I was exhausted and so was the family so we checked in and had rest of the day relaxing. As Dwarka is a now a heritage city and has always had religious tourism, there is no shortage of Dwarka hotels for any range. But having our reservations made in advance really helped. We were served dinner post 8 PM and we savored every moment of it as the vegetarian and perfectly Gujarati meal is something I had never tasted before. The homely charm of the hotel and generous demeanor of the hostess made our stay even better. It was a small, home-like place so I didn't feel like a stranger in a strange city. Everything felt like home or a second home, with really warm and hospitable hosts and amazing room service. I wanted to stroll around the Dwarka beach post dinner so our family of seven was provided a private guide as it was late and we just enjoyed a nice walk ashore while the guide told us all about the development plans in progress and the grand legends of the city.
Dwarka ji Darshan
Visiting the Dwarkadhish Temple was the top priority of our visit so we got up early morning the next day and left to visit the Temple with our private guide. Since it is considered unholy to eat any grain while making a pilgrim, we gave our breakfasts a miss and entered the temple at around 7 AM. The limestone that was used to make the temple is still in top notch condition! It is not just the otherworldly association, the grand reputation of the temple and its revered place in Hindu religion and among Lord Krishna devotees but it is also the architectural beauty. The first construction was commissioned by Lord Krishna's grandson but several invasions left the temple in ruins. The temple that we visit now is the one constructed in the 16th century. Given that it was built more than 400-500 years back, the temple's beauty and opulence is remarkable.
Dwarka temple timings are from 6 AM to 1 PM and 5 PM to 9:30 PM. But we didn't want to rush our visit during the peak hours so we sought the early morning visit.
The Dwarkadheesh Temple is among the top Dwarka places to visit but the others we covered the same day post our sumptuous lunch back at our hotel were
Having had a private guide on our day two visits to all these temples really worked in our favor. Since religious tourism is quite prominent in the city, we sought all the help we could use for the perfect family trip and the pilgrim.
We were supposed to travel back to Ahmedabad during late noon of our Day 4 so we spent our morning enjoying a small visit to the Light House and Bhadkeshwar Mandir. Both of these beautiful sites are surrounded by the hauntingly beautiful Arabian Sea. Some friends back home told my parents about the Dwarka underwater Dwarka museum however as splendid as the idea sounds, there is not much truth to it. Certain archaeologists found some remains and ruins of the city but an underwater museum would perhaps take more discoveries and time.
My trip to Dwarka city ended with platoon of memories and a digital pile of photographs. Amidst all the beauty, I truly felt the truth of being while visiting the Dwarkadhish Temple and have come to appreciate every little blessing that I have been awarded with much more.
On our trip back to Ahmedabad, we boarded a train instead of a private cab to save some time and then spent two more days in the city enjoying its culture. Our trip to Ahmedabad coincided with the Navratri celebrations which made our visit so much more magnificent.
I never believed Gujarat to be this beautiful but now that my own eyes have seen the wonders unfold, I vouch for its beauty, culture, vibrancy and most of all, its food.
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