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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Dwarka?

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The beautiful city of Dwarka uniquely blends different strands of history and mythology to create its aura of surreal spirituality and a fascinating sense of the past. The history of Dwarka is as fascinating and complex as a piece of literature, sometimes imaginative and sometimes couched in raw fact.


  • Mythology and the Hindu religion

    Dwarka famously finds mention in the Indian epic Mahabharata, along with the other important Hindu texts such as the Vishnu Purana, Bhagvada Purana and Skanda Purana. The city has been known for being the site of Lord Krishna’s kingdom for his Yadu clan, a prosperous city with over 700,000 palaces embellished with gold and gemstones. In fact, the avatar of Lord Krishna as a ruler is commonly known as Dwarkadhish, which translates as the “lord of Dwarka”. The city is said to have been built in one day on Krishna’s orders with the aid of heavenly powers.

    The Mahabharata records as to how after the death of Lord Krishna in 3138 BCE, the Yadus killed each other in a drunken fight and as a result of a curse, the entire city of Dwarka submerged under sea.

    The area around Okha and the surviving land of Dwarka was then ruled by a number of rulers, prominent being the Rathod kingdom and their ruler, King Veraval and the Gaikwads.

    It’s tryst with Adi Shankaracharya is also well known, the saint who granted Dwarka its Char Dham status and put it squarely on the pilgrim map.

  • Historic Revelations

    Till 1961, Dwarka was a part of Maharashtra, before the state was split and the political state of Gujarat was created. In 2001, the famous politician, Murli Manohar Joshi carried out a marine expedition in the region known as the Gulf of Khambhat, where remains of the ancient city of Dwarka were found. What was once believed to be a myth became a historically validated fact and added a ring of truth to the entire past of Dwarka. Special scuba diving tours are now available to explore the hidden and submerged truths of the city, especially around Beyt Dwarka, the original location of the submerged city.

  • Dwarka Today

  • The entire tourism and economy of Dwarka revolves around the cult of Krishna Bhakti, evident in the warm hospitality of the locals here. Though Gujarati is the main language here, Hindi is also widely spoken, and a little bit of English, making it easy for visitors from all across the country to come and visit. The Dwarkadhish Temple, also known as the Jagad Mandir, has become the mainstay of tourist activity here, where pilgrims and travel enthusiasts flock to in great numbers, especially during the festival of Krishna Janmashtami. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Dwarka. Popular for its coastal surroundings and unique location, you’ll be enchanted and mystified with the various legends that speak of Dwarka’s origin, its naming and its place in the heart of pilgrims today - easily evident through the number of footfalls it sees every year.

Seems like quite a lesson in history, doesn’t it? It won’t feel like a boring tale when you’re actually experiencing its many mysteries and wonders, seeing and absorbing for your own selves. So pack your bags and head out to be a part of the glorious history of Dwarka!

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