Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the four major pilgrimages of the Hindus. Located at Dwarka in Gujarat, the temple is connected by regular buses from various towns and cities in Gujarat. The nearest airport is located at Jamnagar that lies at a distance of 146 kms from Dwarka. The city of Dwarka is regarded as the 'Gateway to Moksha (Salvation)'. The term 'Dwarkadish' refers to Lord Krishna, who is regarded as the "Lord of Dwarka".
In the main shrine, the central altar embraces the idol of Lord Dwarkadheesh. The image is presented in the form of four-armed Vishnu (Lord Krishna is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu) known as Trivikrama. Apart from this main idol, there are idols of Baldevaji (Balrama), Pradyumna and Aniruddha (grandsons of Lord Krishna) too. There is a small shrine dedicated to Kuseswara Mahadeva (Shiva) also. Besides these, there are shrines dedicated to Devaki (mother of Lord Krishna), Veni-madhava (Lord Vishnu), Radhika, Jambuvati, Satyabhama, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Lakshmi-Narayan in the temple complex.
In the temple, worship or puja is conducted by Aboti Brahmins (a particular caste of Brahmins, who have been performing pooja for centuries). Every day, Arti is performed at regular intervals and 'abhishek' (bathing ceremony) is done. The Lord is decked in new clothes, jewels and flowers. Janmashtami is the major festival that is celebrated at Dwarkadhish Temple. At the time of festival, the entire temple is festooned with lights. Every year, the temple witness millions of devotees and pilgrims, who come to seek salvation, with the blessings of the Lord.
Legend behind the Idol
There is a legend behind the idol of Lord Dwarkadhish in the temple. Badana, an old devotee, used to come daily from Dakor to Dwarka, in order to have a glimpse of the Lord Dwarkadhish. The Lord was really appeased with her and one day, he went along with Badana to Dakor, in the form of idol. The priests at Dwarka temple got angry at Badana, who took the idol according to them. The enraged priests chased Badana to get back the idol. Badana convinced the priests to leave the idol instead of gold.
The priests agreed upon the condition and to their surprise, the idol happened to be as light as one nose-ring. This miracle was done by the Lord himself, as he knew Badana had only a nose-ring to offer. However, the Lord didn't disappoint the priests and said that they would find a replica on a particular day. The priests could not resist their inquisitiveness and excavated the recommended site quite early. They found one yet to grow idol that is presently enshrined at Dwarka.
Around 5000 years ago, Dwarka is believed to have been built by Lord Krishna himself. As per the 'Harivansh' (an appendix to the Mahabharata), Dwarka was positioned on the bank of Gomati River. This holy city is said to have been the abode of Lord Krishna, for more or less 100 years, during his lifetime. Dwarka is assumed to have been immersed in the sea, when the Lord returned to his divine world.
In the early eighties, archeological department revealed that the entire coast of western India sank by nearly 40 feet around 1500 B.C. The present temple is expected not to be older than the Mughal period. The inscriptions on the pillars date back to the 15th century. Necessarily, the ancient temple had been there, but it was possibly destroyed by Mohmud Begada in 1473 AD. The current structure must have been erected during the period of Mughal Emperor, Akbar.
The majestic five-storied structure of Dwarkadhish Temple stands high on the confluence of Gomati River and Arabian Sea. Built with the support of 72 pillars, Dwarkadhish Mandir presents a sight to behold. Elevated to the height of 78.3 meters, the spire of temple dominates the skyline of Dwarka. An eighty-four foot long multicolored flag, adorned with the symbols of the sun and moon, waves from the dome of temple. It is said that originally the temple was built over the 'Hari-Griha' (Lord Krishna's residential place) by Vajranabha, the grandson of Lord Krishna.
Dating back to 2500 years, Jagat Mandir (Nija Mandir) makes the sanctum sanctorum of Dwarkadheesh Temple. It comprises a soaring tower and a hall of audience. The audience hall is comprised of both, ancient and existing sculptures. The temple can be entered by two doorways. The main doorway (north entrance) is known as "Moksha Dwara" (Door to Salvation), whereas the southern doorway is called as "Swarga Dwara" (Gate to Heaven). The outer side of this doorway has 56 steps that take to the Gomati River.
Location : Dwarka, Gujarat
Built in : 15th century
Dedicated to : Lord Krishna
Significance : One of the four pilgrimages of the Hindus