India > Temples > Dwaraka
Dwaraka was the legendary kingdom of Krishna, and therefore one of the four holiest tirtha sthanas or dhams (centers of pilgrimage) in India. The site for the beautiful town was chosen by the dark-skinned god, designed by the divine architect, Vishwakrma, and constructed by labourers sent to the earth from both heaven and hell, Krishna ruled there till his death, when a curse on him brought about the city’s destruction as well.
Years after the great war that was waged by the Pandava princes and Krishna against their cousins, the Kauravas (as recounted in the Mahabharata), a hunter mistook a slumbering Krishna for deer and killed him with his arrow. Then came the deluge and Dwaraka disappeared beneath the waves. But the land was so holy that it could not remain lost forever. Archaeologists have found that new towns have been built upon the same site at least five times.
The small town which comes alive every year during Janmashtami, Krishna's birthday, is the location of his Dwarakanath temple. It was supposedly built by one of his renowned devotee, Mira Bai, a Rajput princess, gave herself up to the god, disappearing one night in the sanctum sanctorum. The only trace left of her was her saree hanging upon the image of her beloved Hari.
A ferry ride from Dwaraka to the island of Bet, near Okha makes a pleasant outing.
The Nageshwar Mahadev and the Gopi Talav tirth are two other sites of religious significance near Dwaraka. Nageshwar is 17 km and Gopi Talav is 23 km from here.