Saturday, February 13, 2010


Dwarka is an important city for Hindu Pilgrimage. It was the fabled capital city of Lord Krishna. The land for the city was reclaimed from the sea near the western shores of Saurashtra. Dwarka was a planned city built on the banks of river Gomati. The beautiful city was also known by various other names like Dwaramati, Dwarawati and Kushsthali.
Literary texts like the Mahabharata, Harivamsha and Purana contain traditions about the foundation of Dwaraka, its planning and glory. Before the legendary city of Dwaraka was discovered some scholars were of the view that the Mahabharata being only a myth it would be futile to look for the remains of Dwaraka and that too in the sea. Others held that the Kurukshetra battle was a family feud exaggerated into a war.Excavations done by Dr. S.R. Rao at Dwaraka prove that the descriptions as found in these texts are not to be discarded as fanciful but are to be treated as based on actualities as seen by their authors. The architecture of the old Dwaraka of Krishna is majestic and wonderful. The great poet Premanand has in his Sudamacarit described its splendid beauty and majesty. Dwaraka is mentioned as Golden City in Mahabharata, Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana and Harivamsha.Interesting descriptions about its construction are found in Purana.
The importance of the discovery of Dwaraka lies not merely in providing archaeological evidence needed for corroborating the traditional account of the submergence of Dwaraka but also indirectly fixing the date of the Mahabharata which is a landmark in Indian history. The Thermoluminiscence date of the pottery from Bet Dwaraka which is also connected with the Krishna legend is 3520 years Before Present. Identical pottery is found in the submerged city of Dwaraka. Thus the results have proved that the account in Mahabharata as to the existence of a beautiful capital city of Dwaraka of Sri Krishna was not a mere figment of imagination but it did exist.
Dwaraka was a city-state extending upto Bet Dwaraka (Sankhodhara) in the north and Okhamadhi in the south. Eastward it extended upto Pindara. The 30 to 40 meter-high hill on the eastern flank of Sankhodhara may be the Raivataka referred to in the Mahabharata. The general layout of the city of Dwaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered. Four enclosures are laid bare; each one had one or two gateways. The port Aramda on way to Bet Dwaraka was the first gateway in the outer fortifications. The bastions flanking gateways of submerged Dwaraka resemble those of Kusinagara and Sravasti carved on the Gateways of Sanchi Stupa.
Over 200 experts from 84 countries, who gathered under the aegis of UNESCO in Paris recently to examine a draft convention on the issue, unanimously agreed that underwater cultural heritage was in urgent need of protection from destruction and pillaging.In Dwaraka, Krishna is supposed to have built a mighty kingdom on a site selected for him by Vishnu’s learned ‘vahan’, Garud. The city he built is supposed to have extended over 104 kms. It was well fortified and surrounded by a moat, spanned by bridges, which were removed in the event of attack by an enemy.Archaeological excavations have unearthed artifacts that prove that modern Dwaraka is the sixth settlement of the name on this site. The earlier cities have been, at various times, swallowed by the sea. The waves of the sea still lap the shores of this famous town, lending scenic beauty to this important pilgrimage destination.The Dwarkadhish temple, dedicated to Sri Krishna, is the focal point of all pilgrimages. Parts of it date from the 12th-13th century and others from the 16th, but the Jag Mandir, its sanctum sanctorum, is supposed to be 2,500 years old. The hall in front is richly carved and supported by 60 massive pillars, each one hewn out of a single stone slab. Many of the sculptures date from the Maurya, Gupta and Chalukya periods. Some of the subjects are of Jaina and Buddhist origin. The temple is 157 feet high.
Dwaraka - world's first underwater heritage museum
Old shipwrecks-like that of the Titanic-which have been lying buried under the sea with their precious treasure along with the submerged city of Dwarka off the Gujarat coast, for centuries, could soon vie for the status of an underwater world cultural heritage site. Over 200 experts from 84 countries, who gathered under the aegis of UNESCO in Paris recently to examine a draft convention on the issue, unanimously agreed that underwater cultural heritage was in urgent need of protection from destruction and pillaging. The submerged city of Dwarka is believed to be an important site having both historical and cultural value for Bharat. Legend has it that the remains-the wall of a city is clearly visible while the rest is yet to be discovered-are in fact, that of the ancient city of Dwarka mentioned in stories of Lord Krishna.
The proposed underwater museum at Dwaraka, the first of its kind in the world, and a marine archaeology museum will throw more light on the Indus Valley civilisation and enable researchers to peep into the history of the lost city of the Mahabharata era.
The Marine Archaeology Centre and the National Institute of Oceanography have jointly submitted a proposal with technical details for the preservation of the site to the Gujarat government. As per the proposal, marine acrylic tubes would be laid through which visitors could pass and view the remains of the historic city from windows. Acrylic walls could also be made which could be accessed by boats. Dwaraka, the submerged city in the Arabian Sea, off the Gujarat coast, is well connected with the other parts of the country.
The entire nation and even foreign countries are anxiously waiting for the preservation of the submerged city, which is not only of historical importance, but also of emotional interest since its founder was Lord Krishna.