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Tourist Places To Visit In Dwarka
Dwarka is considered one of the seven holiest cities for Hindus and is one of the seven most ancient cities of the world. It derives its name from the Sanskrit word dvar meaning door or gate and is part of the four dhams in India, the others being Badrinath, Puri and Rameswaram. This port town was once the kingdom of Shri Krishna and today stands testimony to that heritage. From Bet Dwarka to the Dwarkadish Temple, from Dwarka Beach to the Lighthouse, here are the many tourist places to visit in Dwarka.
Associated with Lord Krishna, a Hindu god, Dwarka has been a historical tourist destination for overseas as well as Indian travelers. Its importance is derived from the India epic Mahabharata and in its beautiful glorious past with palaces, ponds and gardens which were submerged immediately after the time of Lord Krishna. It is therefore an obvious choice of research and study by not just archeologists but also historians, scientists and architects.
This exquisitely beautiful temple is approximately 1400 years old, five storey high and is made up of sand and limestone. It houses the idol of Lord Krishna and a flag is hosted five times every day. Given its heritage the temple has two gateways – Swarga Dwar, from where pilgrims enter the temple and the Moksha Dwar from where they exit. Also visible from the temple is the awe inspiring view of the river Gomati’s confluence into the sea.
The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated here amidst great pomp and splendor during the auspicious month of Shravan, and Navratri too is celebrated with great rejoicing. Magnificently built and tastefully carved out, this temple is a must visit if one wants to experience the richness and tradition of the Hindu culture.
The timing for Mangla aarti is 7.00 am everyday and the temple is open till 12.30 pm. As far as the evening timings are concerned, tourists can enter anytime between 5pm to 9.30 pm after which the temple gates are closed.
Approximately 35 kilometers from Dwarka, Bet Dwarka also called Bet Shankhodar is a nearby place with historical importance. Legends have it that the Hindu God Vishnu killed the demon Shankhasura thereby saving humanity. Also it is believed that it was the residence of Lord Krishna and his family when he reigned over Dwarka. The temple of Krishna is astonishingly elegant and is a photographer’s delight. Visit this place for its history and tradition. Morning timings for entry are from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and evening timings are from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
Jagat guru Shankaracharya established four mathas, of which this is the oldest and was established around 2500 years ago. All of these Mathas survive to this day and Sharda peeth runs a spectacular arts academy and a Sanskrit college which is a preferred destination for Hindus looking for quality education in Sanskrit. The sharda peeth offers doctorates to deserving scholars pursuing Indology and many of these are foreigners settled in Dwarka for Sanskrit studies.
Rukmini was the first and prime wife of Lord Krishna, the one who fell head over heels in love with him after hearing his stories, and wrote him a letter to come get her before her brother married her off. Not one to decline the plea of a lover, Krishna set out to find her, kidnap her and bring her with him to Dwarka, as his wife. The Rukimini temple is dedicated to this fierce princess who chose love, plotted her own kidnap and became a great queen. She is considered to be Laxmi's incarnation on earth.
This temple is almost 800 years old and is a carved masterpiece in itself. With its human figurines, elephant processions and grandiose etched on walls, the Rukmini Temple is a rare place where not Krishna, but his first wife is worshipped.
Dwarka sits by the sea and also has Gomti River flowing through it. Some scriptures hint at Gomti being the Ganga from Heaven, one that King Bhagirath managed to get flowing from Brahma's abode to Shiva's matted bun, and down on earth. The Gomti Ghat is a beautiful bank by the said river, holy and revered by each Hindu. The Gomti Sangam Ghat is another place where Gomti drains into the sea. People take a dip here, perform rituals and pray to rid themselves of sins. Many temples and shrines also dot Gomti Ghat, including those dedicated to goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, Shiva, Krishna and even Varun Dev.
The Somnath Temple, one of the oldest and most valuable temples in Indian history has a gory past to say the least. It was plundered and destroyed many a times, and rebuilt every time someone broke it. One of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the temple is dedicated to 'Somnath' version of Lord Shiva, the one who is the master of the moon. Somnath is located in Prabhas Kshetra, not far from where Lord Krishna breathed his last. This temple is also the fabled place from where Arjun kidnapped Krishna's sister Subhadra, to save her from marrying Duryodhan.
Avid architectural fans and dedicated Shiv bhakts find themselves at Somnath regularly, but this temple is at least a one-visit spot for everybody.
Dwarka is a port. Hence a lighthouse is a must, isn’t it?
The Dwarka Lighthouse is one of the most attractive tourist spots here. As high as 43 m, it was built back in the year 1962. You can climb up to the top to enjoy a 360 degree view of the Arabian sea as well as Dwarka city on the other side. People usually club this visit with a trip to Bhadkeshwar Temple nearby. For tourists, the lighthouse is open only from 4 pm to 6pm every day.
Dwarka Beach is your go-to place to enjoy a calm vibe and relax. Evenings and early mornings, as well as sunrises and sunsets are beautiful here. Since the beach is not too far from the city, you can easily reach here by booking a cab. In fact, it is also easily walked to from major temples and tourist spots. Winter time is the perfect season to visit this beach.
Lord Krishna had a friend in his gurukul. He went by the name of Sudama. Years later when Krishna became the king of Dwarka and Sudama couldn’t even afford food for his children, his wife compelled him to go ask his friend for help. That is when Sudama came to meet Krishna in Dwarka after decades. The suspension bridge here hence is named after Sudama, who never could openly ask his friend for help, and returned empty handed, only to find that his hut had transformed into a palace and his family was living in comfort — thanks to his god friend.
The Sudama Setu on River Gomti connects Jagat Temple to Pnachkui teerth and is worth walking across.
Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple
A temple of Lord Shiva, Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple is more than 5000 years old, which makes it as old as Mahabharat. The shivling here manifested by itself from the Arabian Sea and has been worshipped ever since. The scenic beauty of this temple on the shore of the sea adds to the touristy charm. You can also visit the lighthouse nearby. Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple is open from 6 am to 7 pm daily.
Samudra Narayan Temple
Perched on Gomati Samgam Ghat, the Samudra Narayan Temple worships Gomti Devi, the goddess of this river. Legend has it, that Gomti river was brought down from the heavens by Vashisht, the great sage. He did so to bathe Lord Ram after his victory over Ravan. This temple opens at 6.15 am each morning and closes by 9 pm.
The ISKCON Temple of Dwarka was founded by H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj to propagate the love of Shri Krishna. It is also the hub of Krishna devotees. The temple, like many others of ISKCON, has the typical pristine architecture with inscriptions on walls detailing Shri Krishna’s life and times. The outside of the temple showcases Hindu mythology through elements in design.
The Gita Mandir in Dwarka was built by Birla, a renowned business family of India. Founded back in 1970, this temple was made to conserve and spread the teachings of Bhagwad Gita, the ancient Indian scripture that is a religious as well as a spiritual guiding light of the subcontinent. You can visit Gita Mandir any time between 6 am and 6 pm. It is located quite close to Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple.
Dwarka’s Sunset Point is a beautiful place. If you are in the mood to kick back and relax, then visit this point. The scenery of the sea and the horizon steals your breath, especially when it is sunset or sunrise time. Gaze at the sun taking a dive into the water and sit back until the sky turns from blue to orange to black. As Dwarka is scorching in summer and wet during monsoon, it is best to visit Sunset Point in winter.