Dwarka, the legendary capital of Lord Krishna and the Yadava kingdom, holds an eternal appeal in the minds of devout Hindus and archeologists alike. Located in one of the western-most towns of India, the Dwrkadeesh Temple is one of the best-known Hindu temples of India. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims get to this temple each year with the faith that Lord Krishna will bless them with good health and prosperity and grant them spiritual elevation.
The Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the Char Dhams – four sacred temples dedicated to God Vishnu or his incarnation, Lord Krishna – Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram and Puri. All Hindus strive to undertake pilgrimages to these four holy temples during their lifetime. The Dwarkadhish Temple is also one of the most important shrines among the 108 Divya Desams. The Diya Desams are holy temples dedicated to Vishnu or Krishna mentioned by Tamil poet seers called the Azhvars in their songs.
The Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka city of Gujarat is often referred to as Jagat Mandir or as the universal shrine. Indeed, the peace and serenity of the shrine and the town itself is one of its greatest attractions. It is also called the Trilok Sundar or the most beautiful shrine in the three world of Hindu mythology.
Location and Accessibility
The Dwarkadhish temple is located in the town of Dwarka, on the banks of the Gomati River, in the district of Jamnagar in Gujarat. Dwarka is the administrative headquarters of Jamnagar’s Okhamandal Taluka and is a picturesque town to the western end of the country overlooking the Arabian Sea.
- Jamnagar City – 137 kilometres
- Rajkot – 217 kilometres
- Ahmedabad – 378 kilometres
How to get to Dwarkadhish Temple?
Rail Connectivity – Nearest Railway station is the Dwarka Station on the Ahmedabad-Okha line.
Air Connectivity – Nearest airport is the Govardhanpur Airport in Jamnagar.
Road Connectivity – Dwarka is on the state highway connecting the town with Jamnagar and Okha. State transport buses and luxury coaches connect the town to various parts of Gujarat.
According to the ancient Hindu text, the Mahabharata, the city of Dwarka was set up by Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Krishna was born to Vasudeva and Devaki and took over as the head of the Yadava council, thus becoming the ruler of Dwarka. It is believed that the original temple was built by Lord Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha and underwent extensive additions and renovations after the Hindu seer and religious leader Adi Shankaracharya visited it in the 8th century. According to other legends, the current city of Dwarka was the capital of Lord Krishna’s Yadava empire, and Bet Dwarka, further out into the sea was his residence and palace. Some also say that the original city of Dwarka now remains submerged in the sea and the new city and temple have been built in its place.
Taking a completely historic perspective, archeologists believe that human settlement in Dwarka dates back to pre-historic times. Copper coins dating back to 574 AD have been found here. It seems clear that Dwarka had been a thriving port in ancient India conducting maritime trade with many countries like Greece and Persia.
The limestone structure of the Dwarkadhish temple in Gujarat is an imposing structure topped by a 78.3-metre high spire. The exterior is done up with intricately carved sculptures and motifs from Hindu mythology and depicting scenes of Krishna’s life. The interior is, in contrast, quite simple and peaceful. There are two main entrances to the temple. The one to the south is called Swarga Dwara – entrance to heaven. Pilgrims usually enter the temple through this gate. The one to the north is called Moksha Dwara – gateway to salvation. This gate leads to the 56 steps of the Gomati River’s bank. The five storied temple structure is an imposing and beautifully crafted one. Most of the additions and renovations to this temple were undertaken in the 16th and 19th centuries.
The black stone idol of Dwarkadhish is beautiful and is said to inspire peace and calm. Apart from the main deity’s shrine, there are a number of smaller shrines dedicated to a number of gods. There is also a seat that belonged to Adi Shankaracharya that is worshipped here.
A trip to the Dwarkadhish temple is considered incomplete without a visit to two nearby temples – the Bet Dwarka Temple and the temple of Rukmini, Krishna’s consort and queen.
Bet Dwarka – To get to Bet Dwarka, you may need to take a train/bus from Dwarka to Okha port and thereafter take a ferry to a small island where a majestic Krishna temple will greet you. This island was once home to Krishna’s palace and residence.
Rukmini Temple – A visit to Rukmini’s temple, about 2 kilometers from Dwarka is believed to be necessary to complete the pilgrimage to the Dwarkadhish Temple. Sri Krishna’s chief queen (patrani), Rukmini is believed to have lived here.
For Hindus of India, particularly the Vaishnavas or worshippers of Vishnu, Dwarka is one of the most important pilgrim centers. A pilgrimage to the Dwarkadhish Temple is believed to grant the devotee all the virtue of having performed the Ashwamedha sacrifice.
The temple of Dwarkadhish is famous for its flag worship. The flag or Dhwaja is considered to be of paramount importance in the temple and is changed four times a day. The flag, stitched out of 52 yards of cloth, is a spiritual icon and bears the images of the sun and the moon – symbols of the universe and Divine presence. Having been allotted a time by the temple administration, devotees making a trip to the Dwarkadhish temple, buy a new flag for hoisting. The new flag is carried on the devotees head amidst much chanting and cheering. This flag is then hoisted with appropriate rituals.
A trip to Dwarka is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimages undertaken by a Hindu. It is a center for Vaishnav worship and people throng to the Dwarkadhish temple from all parts of the country.
|Dwarkadhish Temple Daily Time-Table|
|6:00 AM||Temple Opens|
|6:30 AM||Mangala Aarti|
|8:00 AM to 9.15 AM||Abhishek|
|9.45 AM to 10:00 AM||Snan Bhog|
|10:00 AM to 10:30 AM||Shrinagar Darshan|
|10:30 AM to 10:45 AM||Aarti Bhog|
|10:45 AM||Aarti Darshan|
|10:55 AM||Gwala Darshan|
|11:05 AM to 11:25 AM||Madhyanh Bhog|
|12:00 PM to 12:25 PM||Raj Bhog|
|1:00 PM||Temple Closes|
|5:00 PM||Temple Reopens|
|05:30 PM to 05:45 PM||Utthapan Bhog|
|07:30 PM to 07:45 PM||Sandhya Bhog|
|7:45 PM||Aarti Darshan|
|08:05 PM to 08:25 PM||Shayan Bhog|
|8:30 PM||Shayan Aarti|
|08:35 PM to 09:00 PM||Darshan|
|09:00 PM to 09:20 PM||Shringar Darshan|
|09:20 PM to 09:40 PM||Stuti Darshan|
|9:40 PM||Temple Closes|
Please Note: Devotees are not allowed to carry mobile phones or cameras into the temple.
Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna in early September, is the biggest festival celebrated at the temple.