Dwarka, on the west coast of Gujarat
on the shore of the Arabian Sea, features in most of
the legends surrounding Lord Krishna. It is from here
that the grown Lord Krishna is supposed to have ruled
his kingdom. Dwarka is a significant pilgrimage site
for the Hindus.
Dwarka is sanctified as the place where Lord Vishnu
slew the demon Shankhasura. The Puranas mention the
12 Jyotirlingas or columns of light representing Lord
Shiva which manifested in different parts of the country.
One of these is located in Dwarka and is known as the
Nageshwar Mahadev. The Jagat Mandir or Nij Mandir forms
the sanctum of the Dwarkadish temple and dates back
to 2500 years. Jagat Mandir has its own hall of audience
and a conical spire. The roof of the hall is supported
by 60 columns and the main temple rises five storeys
high. The spire rises to a height of 157 feet and is
richly carved. One of the most popular temples in Dwarka
is that of Rukmini, Krishna's wife, considered an incarnation
of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty.
The Sharad Peetha, one of the four Maths established
by Jagatguru Shankaracharya, is also situated here.
Gujarat has been a gateway of commerce and culture between
the East and the West and is one of the oldest civilizations
on the earth. Dwarka is one of four most scared pilgrimage
centers (Chardham) of Hindu faith and is associated
with Lord Krishna's life. The main giant ornate shrine
is situated on the western most tip of saurastra. According
to the epic Mahabharata, the city in due course was
submerged by the sea. The submergence of Dwarka and
the cause of submergence are of historical and oceanographic
interest because of historic Dwarka is likely to throw
light on the Dark Age of Indian history.
Ornate, exquisite and majestic, Dwarkadhish Temple
(Jagat Mandir) is one of the most imposing five- storied
structures of Hindu architecture in Gujarat on the confluence
of river Gomti and Arabian sea. The five-storey high
temple is built on seventy-two pillars. The temple spire
is 78.3m high. From the temple dome waves an eighty-four
foot long multicolored flag decorated with the symbols
of the sun and moon. Lord Krishna's grandson, Vajranabha,
is said to have built the original temple of Dwarkadhish
over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna's residential place).
The sanctum of the temple is formed by the Jagat Mandir,
or Nija Mandir, which dates back at least 2500 years.
The Jagat Mandir has a tall tower and a hall of audience.
There are two entrances to the temple. The main entrance
(north entrance) is called "Moksha Dwara"
(Door to Salvation). This entrance leads to the main
market. The south entrance is called "Swarga Dwara"
(Gate to Heaven). Outside this doorway are 56 steps
that lead to the Gomati River.