The road journey from Bhuj to Dwarka was on cards for Day 4 of my Gujarat tour. Just be seated on the co-driver seat until I take my chances on what I saw that day. Speeding by, there were vast stretches of cotton fields and from a distance appeared like balls of snow sprinkled atop plants. I have never seen a cotton field in full bloom before! It was amazing yet hard to believe what we wear grows on plants.
Before long, the cotton fields were replaced with parched, dry rocky landscape and amid that, I spotted the lotus field consisting of the flower that blooms in the cradle of adversity. This is among the rarest flowers which nowadays can only be seen in the kid’s books and political party campaign pamphlets(We know which party, right?).
Then, we crossed Jamnagar, there we saw the World’s largest refinery complex with an aggregate refining capacity of 1.24 million barrels of oil per day(1 barrel equals 159 litres). That is a tremendous amount of oil!!
There was a stream of excitement that ran through me after seeing the train from the window seat. Wow! I shouted for joy and yelled, “Harsh, look outside” “look outside” in a single breath. Now I realized, the one who shouted must have been the small child of my early days, not me of course 😉
The windmills on both the side of the road were like an icing on the cake on which we were drolling since morning. It felt like why don’t we have such things in Delhi (btw, I know the reasons, just in case the Einstein inside you wanted to explain) 😀
Timings: The visiting hours of the temple are 6:30 am to 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
According to Hindu tradition, there are 4 religious spots in our country that are of the highest value – Badrinath in the north (Uttrakhand), Rameshwaram in the south (Tamil Nadu), Dwarka in the west (Gujarat) and Jagannath Puri in the east (Odisha).
Finally, we were inside the Dwarka Nagri(Kingdom). Our Hotel was hardly at a distance of half a kilometer from Dwarkadhish Temple and the walk to the temple was a beautiful one.
Depositing our camera and mobile phones in a locker and we passed through the security check and then joined the crowd of devotees. I soon got my first glimpse of the remarkable temple, still in its pristine state. The exquisitely tall frame with conical spire and intricate sculptural detailing were beyond comprehension. Wonder, What kind of people they were who designed such great architecture in the 16th century.
And after struggling through the crowd, here I was, facing the Lord, not knowing what to do next. It was the four-armed idol of Lord Dwarkadhish carved out of shiny black stone with elaborate embellishment. The sight was captivating and I found myself doing a parikrama (circumambulation) of the temple more than three times just for another glimpse of the deity, giving a long, lingering look each time.
I strongly recommend visiting the place near Aarti hours. This time might give you a chance to slip into a parallel world which otherwise exists only in the heavenly dreams. Just beware of some pundits who might coax you into offering donations by chanting some prayers.
I took a quick tour of the place and was served with Makhan Misri Prasad (butter and rock sugar). I hope you didn’t take it as someone’s name 😉 When I stepped outside the premises and looked up at the temple spire, I find a huge multicolored flag, triangular in shape, adorned with the symbol of the sun and moon, believed to indicate that Krishna would be there till Sun and moon exist on earth.
It was time to do the sightseeing in Dwarka. The first stop was at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas as mentioned in the Shiv Purana. I could see the huge statue of Lord Shiva in white from at least 2 km away.
Next stop was at Gopi Talav which was 4 km from the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple. The place was very calm and serene. It is believed that the Gopis of Vrindavan met Krishna one last time here in Dwarka and danced in complete divinity. After the last Raas Leela, all the Gopis offered their lives to the soil of this land and they turned into yellow clay, known as Gopi Chandan.
Another peculiar thing about the place was loads of small stone lying one over another by the people while offering prayers.
While coming back to the car, I heard the sound of Aarti with heavy drum beats and thereby couldn’t help visiting Har Siddhi Mataji Temple located nearby.
Timings: Morning- 9.00am-1.00pm and Evening- 3pm-6pm
Bet Dwarka, according to Mythology, is the residential place of Lord Krishna during his ruling years at Dwarka Kindom. The place derived its name from the ‘bet’ or ‘gift’ that Lord Krishna received at this place from his friend Sudama.
We landed on the Okha port, bought ferry tickets(Rs 20 pax) that took us to the main temple. Just a few minutes into the flight and all of a sudden, from nowhere, in the middle of the sea, a huge folk of a seagulls started accompanying our ferry, apparently in search of food.
The idol inside the temple had the striking resemblance with the idol at Dwarkadhish Temple. I took a quick tour of all the small temples inside the premises. Few pundits were trying to get the donation from the devotees by narrating some heartfelt stories. A word of prudence here!
People who have some wishes to be fulfilled, tie a thread on a scared tree, taking a vow that if their wish is fulfilled they will come back to untie it. Interesting, right?
The sun was going down to the horizon leaving a trail of orange tinge in the sky and the silhouette of ferries in the sea against the backdrop of setting sun created a picture-perfect scene.
Soon after, we stepped into the Twilight Zone and the blazing orange Sun turned into the muted darkness.
Our driver uncle also made us visit Rukmani and Bhadkeshwar temple. After the whole day of temple sightseeing, we dozed off to get up early and witness the morning aarti at Dwarkadhish temple.
While I was trying to sleep, a thought came to my curious mind and I started searching for the Dwarka city that got submerged long ago.
After attending the morning Aarti, I took few flights of steps leading to the river at Gomti Ghat. Sun was making his way into the sky and everybody else following him sincerely, be it birds, hawkers, devotees and the cameramen 😉
This is the place where Gomati meets the Arabian Sea and this is the Gomati Ghat…
The sight was so serene and composed that I couldn’t stop myself from taking a pleasant walk along the riverside. The decorated camels, tea stalls, and the hawkers selling seashells and pearl by the water add to the ambiance. Undoubtedly, nature had bestowed Gujarat with impressive and variety of wonders.
Along the Gomti Ghat, located a newly constructed bridge- Sudama Setu. We took a ticket(10 pax) for going across the bridge which was an architectural marvel. While walking through the Sudama Setu, I found one vantage point from where one can see the Gomti river in its last lap before it merged into the mighty sea. The View was breathtakingly beautiful.
On the other side of the bridge, on the river bank, there laid the rows of benches to enjoy the beautiful view of Gomti Ghat. One can also take Camel rides and visit the Dwarka beach which is nearby.
I am a young 28-year-old woman and I never expected myself to go on such a pilgrimage but it turned out to be fun and educational and I probably would do it again! Our culture is so rich in history and every place is a living testimony to the bygone era. This is our duty to preserve our heritage in a best possible way. So, I would request all the devotees and the pundits to maintain and preserve the religious sentiments for the generations to come.
TIPS and FACTS
Best time to visit: Winter season(December to March) is considered the best time to visit Dwarka as the weather remains cool and pleasant.
Respect the religious sentiments: You don’t need to be a devotee or even a follower of the Hindu religion to visit these places. All you need to do is respect the religion and devotion of the pilgrims. They will accept you with warmth and love.
Never miss a Sunset: Gujarat is a western state and the sunset creates a beautiful view at every destination. It is something that you must not miss.
Attend the Aarti: Don’t miss the morning or evening aarti at the Dwarkadhish temple. Timings are listed above.
Beware of pundits: Inside or outside the temples, people claiming to be priests may tell foreign tourists that they need to hand over their passports to enter the temple. This is absolutely misleading! There are no restrictions on foreigners entering the temple. The only restriction is the usual shoes and electronic equipment.
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