The city of Dwarka is located at the extreme western end of India on the tip of the Kathiawar peninsula on the shores of Arabian Sea. It is the capital established by Lord Sri Krishna when he fled from Mathura. According to legends, the original Dwarka has sunk in the sea and underwater explorations have often been carried out to locate this lost city. The present Dwarka stands as a representative of that city. It is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations of Hinduism and is one of the four holy cities (char dham) of India.
Location : State/District
Dwarka is located in the Jamnagar district in the state of Gujarat in western India.The latitude of Dwarka is 22° 14' 21" N while its longitude is 68° 58' 4" E.
Dwarka is one of the most important pilgrim centers of Hinduism. It forms a part of four city circuit which a Hindu should visit.
Popular Hindu Pilgrim Center
Being a religious spot, Dwarka attracts families and devotees. People who are interested in understanding Indian culture also visit Dwarka.
Hot wet climate with strong influence of the monsoon winds prevail in the city of Dwarka. Summer lasts from March till June and is very hot. The sun shines brightly during this time. the rainy season extends from June to September. Moderate amount of rainfall is received and the general climate is very humid though the nights can get quite cold. Winter lasts from November to February. The weather is bright and cold. This is the best time to visit Dwarka.
No special documents are necessary for Indian citizens to visit Dwarka. However, foreigners should have valid passport with Indian visa in order to visit the city.
Places to Visit
The most important attraction of Dwarka is the Dwarkadheesh temple. This temple has a history dating back to 2500 years. The top rises in a beautiful five storey spire that is supported by 60 intricately carved columns. Inside there is the deity of Lord Krishna known as Dwarkadheesh or Lord of Dwarka. This is a single black idol which is richly garbed. The entry of non Hindus in the temple is restricted. In addition, there are a number of smaller temples within the complex. These include temples dedicated to persons in the life of Lord Krishna like wives Sathyabhama, Jambavathi and Rukmini, mother Devaki, father Basudeva, sister Subhadra and brother Balaram and his wife Revathi. Ornate carvings decorate the walls of the temple.
The Rukmini Devi temple is another important attraction in Dwarka. Nit is devoted to the chief wife of Lord Krishna – Rukmini. It has beautiful carvings on the walls.
The Nageswar temple is located in the suburbs of Dwarka. It is devoted to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve major Shiva temples (jyotirlingas) in the country. A huge statue of Lord Shiva can be seen afar and the linga is worshipped inside. It attracts a vast number of tourists especially during the festival of Shivaratri.
The Gopi Talav is another place to visit in Dwarka. This is a small pond where Lord Krishna used to play with Gopis.
The ISCKON temple is located at the gates of the city of Dwarka. It is a Gita mandir where Shri Krishna is worshipped with his consort Radha. You can obtain a good view of the Dwarkadheesh temple from the roof of this temple.
There is also the Bhadkeshwar Mahadev mandir located about a kilometer away from the Dwarkadheesh temple. It is located right in the midst of the sea and the view is beautiful.
Though Dwarka is primarily known as a pilgrim center, it has a beautiful sea beach as well. The best place to enjoy the view of the horizon is from the area around the lighthouse. You can enjoy the beautiful vista of the sea and sand from this point in peaceful silence. Sea water has curved out a huge cave behind the light house. It is also possible to see the fishermen bringing their daily catch here.
Worshipping at the various temples are the most common activities that people engage in Dwarka. In addition, there are a number of other things that you can try. Foremost among these activities is a boat ride along the river Gomati which flows along the city. The ride offers a panoramic view of a number of temples along the shores of the river.
Several activities of religious significance in Hinduism are often carried out at Dwarka. It is a common sight to see people feeding the cows as a good deed. A number of recreational activities are available at the Dwarka beach. You can enjoy camel rides and horse rides on the sand as you watch the sunset.
The most important place that one should visit near Dwarka is Beyt Dwarka which is located 30 kms away. Regular steamers ply from the port of Okha to take devotees to this island. Lord Krishna is said to have met his friend and devotee Sudama at this place. A beautiful temple is present at Beyt Dwarka. In addition, there is a Hanuman temple which is also quite popular. The boat ride to Beyt Dwarka is attended by a huge flock of sea gulls and it is the practice of the passengers to feed puffed rice to them.
Another interesting place is the hamlet of Ghumli which is located on the foot of the Badra hills. This is the ancient capital of the Jethwa dynasty and has a number of beautifully carved temples including the oldest sun temple of Gujarat.
Finally, you can also visit Porbandar which is located at a distance of 105 kms from Dwarka. This bustling city is best known for the ancestral home of Mahatma Gandhi called the Kirtimandir. It is possible to see where Gandhi was born and where he spent his formative years.
Food and Accommodation
Dwarka is a strictly vegetarian place and non vegetarian fare is not available in the city. Alcohol is also prohibited in the city. However, you can get very good authentic vegetarian Indian and especially Gujarati food. Both north Indian and south Indian food are available. The food tends to be somewhat spicy. Drinking milk is popular and a variety of milk products are available. The Sharanam restaurant has good food. Blue Coriander, Golden Dragon etc serve Chinese food as well as sandwiches and soup.
The number of hotels has increased vastly in Dwarka. There are guest houses and ashrams where it is possible to stay at very low cost. Govardhan Green Resorts, Guruprerna and City Palace are good quality hotels with the tariff around Rs 2000. Budget hotels like Radhika, Meera, Ganga, Gokul etc offer clean accommodation and prices range from Rs 700 to Rs 1500 per night.
Safety and Security
The level of safety and security is quite high in Dwarka. The area around the temple remains full of people with a bustling market area which is safe even late in the evening. However it must be remembered that Dwarka is first and foremost a pilgrim center. Show of disrespect to the temples or the faith of Hinduism is not tolerated here.