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
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.