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Tourist Places To Visit In Dwarka
Dwarka is considered as 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 Dwarkadeesh Temple, here are the 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.