Dwarka literally feels like the end of earth. This remote pilgrimage town at the extreme western tip of the Kathiawar peninsula is one of the four most holy Hindu sites in India. Krishna is said to have set up his capital here after fleeing from Mathura. It’s a well-organised town, busy with pilgrims and farmers. Men wear white clothes and red turbans, and both men and women are weighed down with gold nugget-like jewellery. It gets packed with pilgrims at festival times. Archaeological excavations have revealed five earlier cities lying just off the coast – submerged as the sea encroached.
The town swells to breaking point during Janmashtami in August/September to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday. Do plan your trip during this time to indulge in the festivities.
Apart from soaking in the culture of the city, here are some places that you can visit.
Dwarkadhish mandir is located at the heart of this small city. There are a lot of places around Dwarka which can be covered in a single day. There are local taxies available which would help you to visit these places. The major ones covered are:
1. Nageshwar Temple – This is also one of the prominent Jyotirlingas and it is at around 8 kms from Dwarka.
2. Gopi Talav – This is the place where Lord Krishna used to play with his Gopikas. There is a small pond where, it is said that Lord Krishna used to play with the Gopika Strees (Gopika Women).
3. Bet Dwarka – This is the place where Krishna lived. Krishna used to reside here and this is the place where Lord Krishna met his friend Sudama and blessed him. There is a Peetha (seat) where Lord Krishna met Sudama. The temple also has the main Dwarkadish diety which was believed to have been made by Krishna’s chief Queen Rukmini and in which Meera Bai merged and disappeared from the material world. There are boats available from Okha Jetty from where people are ferried to the Island which is approximately 30 Kms from Dwarka.
4. Hanuman Mandir – This is also in Bet Dwarka where Hanuman fought with his son Makaradhwaja. To cover this place, it is adviced to start as early as 7:00 in the morning as this is a lonely place and a rickshaw has to be hired to visit this place.
5. Rukmini Mandir – This temple is situated 8 kms from Dwarka. This is in the outskirts of the city and this is a secluded temple. There is an interesting story of Rukmini being cursed by sage Durvasa because of which the temple is situated outside the city and its because of this curse only that the water in Dwarka city is salty.
6. The Light House – Light House is a famous place on the sea-coast of Dwarka. One can enjoy complete silence sitting at the sea coast. Behind the Light House, there is a huge cave below the coast, naturally created by the striking of sea water. One can watch fishermen catching fishes in the midst of Ocean in complete silence. There is also a small Ganesh temple behind the Light House.
All these places are in an approximate radius of 80 kms from Dwarka and the taxies normally charge Rs. 600 (for half day) for this. This cost does not cover the boat charges or other entry charges and taxes applicable.
There are few other temples like Gayatri Shakti Peeth, Geeta Mandir, Siddeshwar Mahadev, Bhadrakali Temple, Bhadkeshwar Temple. One can hire an auto for Rs. 20-30 per seat to visit these places which are within 2-3 km radius. Bhadkeshwar Temple is a “must see” as this place is mostly surrounded by sea.
Panchtirth is on the other side of Gomti river. There are 5 small (2 feet X 3 feet) wells within a range of 500 metres. Water of each well has a different taste. Water is not salty though there is sea surrouding this area.