India is a land of varied religious beliefs and cultures. Likewise there are many places of religious importance in the country which are visited by devotees from all over the country. It is said that in the Hindu faith, a person can attain eternal liberation when he/she visits all the four Dhams or the Divine Abodes. The Hindu scriptures also say that one should visit the seven Sacred Cities in one’s lifetime to attain Moksha.
Dwarka is considered to be one of the Seven Sacred Cities and also one of the four Divine Abodes. This legendary city was the dwelling place of Lord Krishna after he killed his Uncle Kansa and came here with his family and the rest of the Yadava clan. One of the folklore says that the city has been submerged in the sea six times and the present day town is the seventh city to be built.
Lord Vishwakarma, who is the architect of the Gods, has built this city. From the scriptures and excavations that have been found, it is assumed that Dwarka was a planned city which had numerous palaces and other amenities of public use. The modern town of Dwarka is located in the Jamnagar district of the Gujarat state in India and is on the confluence of the River Gomati and the Gulf of Kutch. It is in this city that the River Gomati merges into the sea. Dwarka is also the western extreme of the country.
This city is not visited by many international tourists as it is situated in the farthest corner of the country. But Dwarka is very famous among the Hindus and therefore numerous followers of the religion come here and try to attain salvation from the cycle of life and death. As it is a pilgrim place, hence the town is dotted with temples of Krishna, Rukmini, Shiva and other Gods.
But the most prominent attractions in the city could be classified as:
Dwarkadheesh Temple (Jagat Mandir): One of the most significant places of worship in Dwarka is the Dwarkadheesh Temple which has Lord Krishna as the presiding deity. It is also called the Jagat Mandir and is said to be built in one day by Vishwakarma.
This temple is constructed in limestone and sand and is one of the most visited places by the tourists. It has a plinth area of 188 square feet and the temple is supported by 60 pillars made out of limestone and granite. The temple has its entrance from the north and this gate is called the Moksha dwar and the exit is from the southern side which is named as the Swarg Dwaar implying that it leads to heaven. This door leads to the banks of River Gomati which merges in the sea here.
Rukmini Devi temple: This temple is dedicated to Rukmi9ni Devi, the consort of Lord Krishna. It is a 12th century masterpiece which has beautiful paintings and intricately carved walls. One of the legend states that the venerable Sage Durvasa had cursed Rukmini saying that she will be separated from Lord Krishna and that is why her temple is on the outer periphery of the town, while lord Krishna resides inside. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions.
Bet Dwarka: The visit to Dwarka will remain half done if one doesn’t visit the Bet Dwarka which is an island at a distance of 30 kilometers off the Port of Okha. It is separated by a 4-kilometer strip of sea. There are temples of Vishnu, Radha, Laxmi, Satyabhama and devaki on this beautiful island. It also has a nearly untouched beach which is not visited by many but is a treasure in terms of water plants and avian population.
Somnath Temple: Somnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is a place of religious importance. Devotees from far and wide visit this temple while they are in Dwarka.
Thus, a person seeking salvation from the cycle of life and death should really visit this place and attain the ultimate experience of the Abode of the Gods.