At the westernmost point of India's Gujarat Peninsula lies Dwarka, an important spiritual site in India. It is said that the city once served as the royal residence of Lord Krishna. Not only are the city's connections to folklore fascinating, but its name has an interesting meaning. Since Dwar means "door" and Ka means "moksha or salvation," the name Dwarka can literally be translated as "gateway to moksha"
Since it is the only city in India that is a part of both Sapta Puri (seven sacred cities) and Char Dham (four holy locations), both of which are listed in Hinduism, many people, especially the locals, refer to it as Devbhoomi Dwarka. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, is also located in the city. Along with its many temples, the city is home to a number of beaches, which are a favourite among visitors.
So let us now explore together the top best tourist spots to be visited when planning for Dwarka visit and have a divine experience.
Vajranabh, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna, is said to have founded the Dwarkadhish temple (Jagat Mandir) more than 2500 years ago. The original temple has undergone numerous alterations, especially from the 16th and 19th centuries. The ornately carved walls of the structure enclose the sanctum of the temple, which houses the main deity Krishna.The temple is located on a small hill, which can be reached by climbing 50 steps. On the walls there are elaborate carvings of mythical creatures and legends.
The 52 yards of fabric that make up the 43-meter-high spire's flag flap in the gentle breeze coming from the Arabian Sea behind the temple. The temple has two entrances that are used for entry and egress (swarg and moksh). At the base of the temple, there is a bridge called Sudama Setu that crosses the Gomti Creek and leads to the beach. It is open from 7 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 7:30 pm.
The Dwarkadhish Temple is without a doubt one of the most significant and well-liked tourist attractions in Dwarka. The Lord Krishna-dedicated temple receives hundreds of visitors annually from various regions of India.
Intriguing legend surrounds the several locations of the temple of Lord Krishna and his Queen, Rukmini. Legend has it that the Sage Durvasa requested to be escorted to their home for dinner and asked Krishna and Rukmini to pull a chariot for him. Rukmini begged Lord Krishna for water as he prodded the ground with his foot. Then the River Ganges appeared. Rukmini quenched her thirst but didn't ask the sage if he wanted a drink of water. Durvasa was outraged that she would live apart from her spouse and condemned her.
The somewhat remote Rukmini Mata Temple honours the wife of Lord Krishna. Thought to be more than 2,500 years old, the temple may have undergone numerous renovations. The existing temple is said to have existed in the 12th century. Even while it has far more subdued architecture and sculptures than Dwarkadhish, it still inspires the same level of fervent devotion. The primary statue of Rukmini is preserved in the sanctum, while carvings of gods and goddesses adorn the exteriors. Naratharas (human figures) and gajatharas (animal figures) are carved into the panels at the platform's base (elephants).
The temple is just 2km away from the main Dwarkadhish temple, and is a must visit while visiting the main temple. Legends say that Rukmini was the incarnation of Devi Laxmi, predicting the symbol of purity and devotion towards her husband Lord Krishna who was incarnation of Vishnu.
Between Bet Dwarka and Gomati Dwarka stands the temple of Lord Shiva known as Nageshwar, one of India's 12 Jyotirlingas. The building has another name, Nagnath Temple. The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is said to be a place of liberation from all kinds of pollutants, according to the Shiva Purana. The centrepiece of this temple is an 80-foot-tall statue of the Lord facing south. For Hindu pilgrims, this temple has significance because it is the first of India's 12 Jyotirlingas. During the Maha Shivratri festival, the temple is the scene of a colossal celebration that draws pilgrims from all over the world.
A devotee of Shiva named Supriya was allegedly imprisoned here by the demon Daaruka. The monster was vanquished by Lord Shiva after Supriya prayed "Om Namaha Shivay." A Shivalinga appeared here, and people still offer prayers to it today.
Its importance is influenced by the fact that Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is regarded as the first of India's 12 Jyotirlingas. The temple is based on the Sayanam (sleeping) posture of the human body and was constructed according to Vaastu Shastra principles. During the Maha Shivaratri holiday, the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple hosts a massive event that draws throngs of worshippers from all over the world.
It is said that Lord Krishna lived in the temple bearing his name when he first arrived on the little island off the coast of Dwarka, which is reachable via Okha and was Lord Krishna's residence while he was king of Dwarka. The temple is credited with being founded by Guru Vallabhacharya. In addition to the main temple, there are several temples in the complex dedicated to Hanuman, Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi Narayan, Jambavati, Devi, and other deities.
The majority of visitors to the Dwarka temple in Gujarat come to unwind on the beach and partake in other water activities, such taking a boat ride to observe dolphins. The island is a popular tourist site as well as having significance in Hindu mythology.
Shankhodhar, is another name for Beyt Dwarka. It is said that Lord Krishna received this gift from his friend Sudama, and the word "beyt" in its name signifies "gift." In the proverbial "Mahabharata," Beyt Dwarka was known as "Antardvipa," and Yadava clan members had to take a boat to get there. Underwater research and excavations have revealed the existence of villages that date to the Harappan civilisation and the Mauryan era. Later, the region was governed by the Gaekwad clan from the state of Baroda.
A 43-meter tower known as the Dwarka Lighthouse can be seen around two kilometres from the centre of Dwarka. The Dwarka Lighthouse is not only a great place to see the sun set, but it also has a beautiful architectural style. The previous oil-lamp Dwarka Lighthouse, which had been first introduced in 1866, was replaced with the current light-bulb version between 1960 and 1962.
The lighthouse also had an encircling radar with sound and tactile alerts for locating fog by 1988. In addition, the Dwarka lighthouse offers a view of the Suryamukhi Ganesha Temple. However, visitors are not permitted inside the lighthouse.
The distance between the Dwarka lighthouse and the main town is three and a half kilometres. The lighthouse is the westernmost tip of the Saurashtra Coast. In 1964, an RCC baffle wall was designed in order to combine sound horn equipment and vibrators to act as fog signals.
The residents of Dwarka City can clearly see the lighthouse's bright flashes in the evenings, and it is still a well-known landmark for mariners. This building's stunning architecture, which is only visible to visitors from 4 to 6 pm, is breathtaking. The summit of the lighthouse offers an incredible panoramic 360-degree view of Dwarka City and the Arabian Sea.
On the Dwarka-Okha Highway, 12 kilometres from Dwarka (Gujarat), is Shivrajpur Beach, which just received Blue Flag beach accreditation. Shivrajpur Beach, one of Gujarat's most well-known beaches, is the ideal place to spend the weekend with family and children. You might get a chance to view dolphins or other exotic animals if you're lucky. Shivrajpur Beach is currently drawing tourists from all around India because to its blue flag accreditation. The state government is also enhancing the beach by constructing a multitude of facilities nearby. Choose from a variety of daring activities with your friends and family, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, island tours, sea bathing, or simply unwind by the still water and watch the sun set.
Before you enter the beach, make careful to read the Beach Information Board, which has all the dos and don'ts. There are several spots with wet and dry garbage cans on the beach. The waters are calm and shallow in comparison to neighbouring beaches. So remember to pack your swimwear. If you forget to bring your own, you may rent a swimsuit from one of the businesses near the beach for a little charge of Rs. 50 for adults and a tiny deposit that will be returned after you return the swimsuits.
You would be missing out if you travelled to Dwarka without viewing this lovely beach, which symbolises tranquilly unlike any other place. Okhamadhi Beach, which is barely 25 kilometres from Dwarka, is connected by the Somnath Dwarka Highway. The Turtle Breeding Center built there is the reason for this beach's fame. Not to mention the magnificent, alluring sunset, which you will always remember.
A beach in Saurashtra is regarded as a hidden gem because of its fine sand, which is mostly made of broken seashells. Because of how clear the water is, you can even see the azure ocean throughout the day. There is perpetual peace in the air. Views that will take your breath away are available.
Because there are fewer people there, the area could feel like yours almost entirely. It is worthwhile to visit the coast and beach. The area is completely unknown and is rarely visited by a huge population, thus parking has never been an issue there. The beach has plenty of parking and is easily accessible on foot.
Lord Krishna had a buddy at his gurukul. He went by the name of Sudama. Years later, after Krishna was made king of Dwarka, Sudama's wife forced him to go ask a friend for help because he could not even afford to feed his kids. Sudama eventually arrived in Dwarka to see Krishna at that time after many years of trying. The suspension bridge is named in honour of Sudama, who was unable to ask his friend for help outright and who went empty-handed only to return and find that his family was content and that his kind friend had turned their hut into a palace. The Sudama Setu on the River Gomti connects Jagat Temple and Pnachkui Teerth, and it is worthwhile to cross.
This suspension bridge is a crucial part of the island's tourism promotion. The Sudhama Setu traverses a historic Lakshmi Narayana temple as well as five Pandava wells on its journey. Additionally nearby is the well-known Dwarkadhish temple. Camels rides are a popular attraction in this area.
A Hindu temple named Samudra Narayan Temple is situated 3 kilometres from Dwarka Railway Station at Gomti Sangam Ghat in the revered town of Dwarka. It is a must-see temple in Dwarka and is a part of the Dwarka packages. Behind the Dwarkadhish Temple is where it is located.
The Samudra Narayan Temple, which honours Goddess Gomti, is situated where the Arabian Sea and the River Gomti converge. In accordance with legend, Rishi Vasishtha brought River Gomti to Rama during his battle with Ravana from heaven. After cleaning Rama, Goddess Gomti arrived here on the ghat and submerged herself in the Arabian Sea. Beautiful statues of Mother Asta Bhavani, Mira Bai, Lord Varuna, Samudra Deva, and Goddess Gomti can also be found in the temple. Numerous ritual sacrifices are performed in the temple's hallowed kund, or tank.
Around this shrine are five wells with pleasant water, collectively known as Panchanada Tirtha. Near the temple is the Manoratha Dwar meditation cave. The sea waves frequently break against the temple's walls, which is its most noticeable feature. The nearby Chakra Narayana Temple has a stone with an inscription that depicts Lord Vishnu as a sudarshan chakra.
On the very edge of Dwarka, a Shaivite temple that is pure pleasure and rapture was built. The Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple is located on a mountaintop on the Arabian Sea, much to the west of Dwarka, near to the Geeta Temple and the Rukshamanee Temple. There are only a very few adjectives that can adequately capture the ethereal splendour of the Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple.
About 5,000 years ago, a Shivalinga-now known as Shri Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Mandir-was found in the Arabian Sea. This temple briefly melds with the river during the Shivling's abhishekam in the months of June and July. On the day of Shivratri, a sizable fair is held to celebrate Maha Shivratri, the temple's most well-known event.
Due to a well-built walkway that ascends the hills from the sea and stairs that go directly to the temple, accessing Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Shrine is rarely a difficulty. The surroundings of the temple and the path leading up to it frequently experience ocean waves due to its off-shore location. Instead than creating much of a barrier, this actually makes everything look even more beautiful.
The city of Dwarka homes the famous Gomati Ghat that is home to a number of temples, including the Gomati Mataji shrine. The Gomati Ghat bath is a glorious honour. Since this ghat was renovated, pilgrims have access to greater amenities and safety.
On the banks of the Gomti River, where devotees have gathered for at least a century, there is a Shiva temple, as well as smaller temples to Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, and Sudama, Krishna's buddy. One can also hire a boat and cross the river to get a full glimpse of Dwarka.
Gomti Ghat is situated at the mouth of the river. It's said that bathing in these waters may cleanse the soul. In contrast to the solemnity of this belief, the lads performing somersaults and plunging into the waves while people take pictures of them create an upbeat atmosphere. Bearded men selling seashell jewellery by the water, adorned camels, and tea carts all add to the atmosphere.
Along the banks, there are numerous shrines dedicated to Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Samudra (God of the Sea). As people come here to perform rituals, bathe, and pray to atone for their sins it is always a busy ghat. A number of temples and shrines, including those dedicated to the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, Shiva, Krishna, and even Varun Dev, are also present at Gomti Ghat.