Dwarka – The Swarna Nagari

Dwarka – The City Of God

Located on the western coast of Gujarat, is the city of Dwarka, which is a part of Jamnagar District. It is one of the oldest cities of India. The name Dwarka has been derives from dvar, which means door in sanskrit. It is considered as one of the Char Dham – the four most sacred places in India by the Hindus. The other three dhams are Rameshwaram, Puri and Badrinath. The Vaishnavas have great respect for the city.

The Dwarakadhish Temple

King Vajra, Krishna’s great grandson built the temple but it was rebuilt during the 6th and 7th century. The temple has five storeys. Sand and limestone has been used for its construction. It has two gateways – the Swarg dwar from which the pilgrims enter and the Moksha Dwar, which is used by the pilgrims to exit the temple. The confluence of the River Gomati into the sea can be viewed from the temple. The shrines for Devaki, Vasudeva, Subhadra, Balaramavand Revati, Jambavati Devi, Rukmini Devi an Satyabhama are also located in Dwarka. The Chalukya style of art can be seen in the Dwarkadheesh temple. This temple id dedicated to Lord Krishna while there are other shrines also, such as Vasudeva, Devaki, Revathy, Subhadra and Balarama etc. The deity of Lord Krishna is in black and it looks splendid. There are rich carvings and designs in the temple.
It is mandatory for each devotee to take a dip in the Gomti River. The temple is decorated beautifully on the occasion of Janmashtmi. The Kingdom of Dwarka has also been mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Harivansha, Skanda Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana. It is believed that Dwarka was earlier situated near the current city but it was deserted and gradually it submerged into the sea. Vishwakarma built the city of Dwarka after being ordered by Lord Krishna. The city has a hall by the name ’Sudharma Sabha’, where public meetings are held. There are 70000 palaces in Dwarka, which are made of silver and gold and are decorated with precious stones. It is believed that each wife of Lord Krishna had a palace of her own. There are beautiful gardens and lakes in the city. Around the year 3138 BC, 36 years after the end of the Mahabharata War, Lord Krishna left the earth for Vaikuntha, and the Yadava leaders fought among themselves and got killed. Arjuna went to Dwarka so that he could bring the Yadava wives and Lord Krishna’s grandsons to Hastinapur. After he left, the city of Dwarka got submerged into the sea.

Bet Dwarka

Bet Dwarka is a coastal site which is of great significance to Hindus and it has various temples devoted to Lord Krishna. Archeologists’ findings suggest that a lot of overseas trade used to be carried out from here in the ancient times.

How to Reach

  • By Air – The Jamnagar Airport is the nearest Airport to Dwarka and it is 137 Kms from Dwarka. One can hire a taxi from Jamnagar to Dwarka.
  • By Rail – Dwarka Railway station is well-connected to all major cities in India.
  • By Road – Dwarka is well-connected to all major cities in India through the Gujarat State Road Transport buses.

Climate of Dwarka

Dwarka enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. In the winters, it is cool and pleasant. It gets very hot during the summers. Dwarka gets medium rainfall during the monsoon season. The best time to go to Dwarka is from October – June.

Aadi Jyotirling Shri Somnath Mahadev Temple

Aadi Jyotirling Shree Somnath Mahadev Temple

Located on the western coast of Gujarat in the Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra near Veraval, is the Somnath Mahadev Temple. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of God Shiva. The name Somnath literally means protector of the moon. Sine this temple has been attacked by Muslim invaders more tan sixteen times, it is often referred to as “the Shrine Eternal”.

Climate

Somnath has a temperate climate almost throughout the year. The summers are hot with the maximum temperature going up to 42 °C. Winters are pleasant and cool. Somnath gets heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. The best time to visit Somnath is from October-March.

History of Somnath Temple

According to the Shiv Mahapuran, Brahma had an argument with Vishnu regarding supremacy of creation. Lord Shiva pricked the three worlds as a giant pillar of light – the jyotirlinga. Both Brahma and Vishnu went to search for the end of the light. Brahma wrongly said that he had found the end and Vishnu admitted his defeat. At this point, Shiva placed a curse on Brahma that he would not be worshipped during any ceremonies while Vishnu would always be worshipped. Since then the Jyotirlinga is the ultimate unparsed reality and Lord Shiva appears out of it partly. Formerly it was believed that there were 64 jyotirlingas and 12 out of them are said to be very auspicious and sacred.
The 12 jyotirlinga are Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Somnath and Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain and Omkareshwar in MP, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Viswanath at Varanasi in UP, Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Bhimashankar, Grishneshwar at Aurangabad and Triambakeshwar in Maharastra, Jharkhand, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Deogarh in Deoghar.

Significance of Somnath Temple

According to some ancient Indian traditions, the Moon had married 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati, but he neglected 26 of them and liked only one – Rohini. An angry Daksha put a curse on the Moon and the Moon’s power of light got lost. The Moon took advice from Prajapita Brahma, and in order to get released from his father-in-law’s curse, the Moon went to Prabhas Teerth and built a Shivlinga there. He worshipped Lord Shiva and tried to please him. Lord Shiva was impressed and blessed the Moon. The Moon got relieved partially. Since then, Lord Shiva has rested in that Lingam and therefore it is called Jyotirlingam. Pauranic traditions also believe that the Moon also built a golden temple and a silver temple was built by Ravana. Lord Krishna then built the Somnath Mahadev Temple with Sandalwood.

Damage suffered by the Temple

There is a second temple, which is believed to have been built by Yadava Kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat and they replaced the first temple around 649 CE. The Arab governor of Sind, Junayad tried to destroy the temple in 725 CE and so a third temple was constructed in red sandstone by Nagabhata II, the Gurjara Pratihara King. Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the temple in 1024 and it was rebuilt by Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara, Gujrat and Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa, with wood during 1026-1042. Allauddin Khilji destroyed the temple in 1296 and Mahipala Dev, the Chudasama King of Saurashtra rebuilt it in the year 1308. Mahipala’s son Khengar installed the Lingam later. The Sultans of Gujarat, Muzaffar Shah I destroyed the temple in 1375 and Mahmud Begda destroyed the temple in 1451. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb also destroyed the temple in 1701 and constructed on Mosque with the columns from the temple. A little later, in the year 1783, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, the Peshwa of Pune, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur and Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior built the temple again, adjacent to the mosque.

Restoration of the Temple

After independence, the restoration work of the temple was taken up by the Nehru Government under the guidance of the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies – K. M. Munshi. The mosque was shifted from its site and planted few miles away. The Installation ceremony of the temple was performed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad in the year 1951. Shree Somnath Trust is responsible for the maintenance of the temple.
The Somnath Mahadev Temple is a work of art displaying the Chalukya style of architecture and it really is an eternal shrine.

How to reach Somnath

  • By Road – Somnath is connected to various cities through the State transport buses.
  • By Air – Koshed is the nearest airport and it is 55 Kms away, however one can also go to Somnath via Diu Airport, which is 90 Kms away from Somnath. International visitors come to Ahmadabad or Mumbai and hire a taxi from there.
  •  By Rail – Veraval is the nearest railway station to Somnath and it 5 Kms from Somnath. Veraval is connected to major cities like Vadodara, Mumbai and Ahmadabad.