As a child, watching Mahabharata always made me want to visit the golden city of Dwarka – to witness the shiny royal palaces built in silver and loaded with gold and crystals! Little did I know back then that the Dwarka I dreamt of seeing, does exist but is submerged! Fortunately, this ancient kingdom of Lord Krishna still offers many reasons for us to visit and experience those spiritual vibes. It has a huge number of holy temples, historical sites ,and above all the natural beauty. Located on the banks of Gomti river and at the mouth of Gulf of Kutch, this city will enchant you instantly with its deep blue water, clear sunny sky and the mild sound of sea waves and temple bells!
One of the Char-dhaams (four abodes) for Vaishnavas, Dwarka is also one of the 7 most ancient religious cities of India (Sapta Puri). Its historical importance is another reason why Dwarka is flooded with tourists just as much as the pilgrims. This city in Gujarat doesn’t have its own airport but it is just 109 km from Porbandar airport; is 126 km from Jamnagar airport and 470 km from capital city Gandhinagar. This city is well connected by the railways as well. The nearest train station is Dwarka railway station. Likewise, it is quite convenient and affordable to rent a car for travelling in Gujarat. Also because the state has one of the best road networks in India. One can opt for a road-trip to Gujrat and visit amazing places like Rann of Kutch , Somnath temple, Gandhinagar, Rani ki Vav (Patan),Sabarmati Ashram, Gir,Diu Island while in the state – the list is endless.
Places of attraction
Dwarkadhish temple –
This historical temple dedicated to Lord Krishna – the ‘Dwarkadish’ (King of Dwarka) also known as ‘Jagat Mandir’ stands tall by the banks of Gomati river. The main shrine of the 5-storied temple is over 2000 years old. It is believed that the original temple was built by the grandson of Shri Krishna over the Lord’s place of residence(Hari-Griha).With its holiness, grandeur, intricate carvings and breathtaking location, this spiritual place has something to offer for everyone who visits. Located about 2.5 kms from Dwarka railway station, this temple can be reached by hiring local taxi/auto rickshaw for a minimal price. There are 2 entrances to the temple – North Gate [Moksha Dwar – Door to Salvation] and South Gate[Swarga Dwar – Door to heaven].The timings are 6.00 am to 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm.
Gomati Ghat –
As you walk out of Dwarkadhish temple from the south gate, there are 56 steps that lead to the Gomati Ghat. People take a dip at this Ghat for cleansing their soul. Even if you want to give it a miss, visit Gomati ghat for watching sunset by the river where it meets the sea and for a holistic view of Dwarkadhish Temple and Sudama bridge from a distance. From here, you can also take a walk to beautiful Dwarika beach.
Sudama Setu –
Setu(Bridge) in the name of Shri Krishna’s best friend – Sudama – over Gomti river is a beautiful sight. A few minutes’ walk from Dwarkadhish temple and you get an amazing view of Gomti River from here.
Beyt Dwarka –
Trip to Dwarka is certainly incomplete without a visit to Beyt (Bet – Island) Dwarka. The island hosts many temples like Shri Beyt Dwarkadheesha temple, Makardhwaj Hanuman Temple, Nilakantha Mahadev temple , Shree Narsinhaji temple. It is also home to the state’s main eco-tourism site. You can reach Bet Dwarka by ferry from Okha Jetty point which costs INR 20 per head and takes approximately 20 minutes. A private ferry can cost around 2000 – 3000 based on your bargaining skills. You can walk to the temple which is around 750 m from the jetty point. Alternatively you can opt to take eco-rickshaws in Beyt Dwarka. Make sure not to miss the last return ferry from Beyt Dwarka to avoid calling for a private ferry. Temple remains closed from 12 pm- 4 pm, so plan your ferry ride accordingly.
Dunny Point –
Gujrat’s main eco-tourism site is at Dunny Point of Beyt Dwarka. It is certainly not an exaggeration if anyone describes this place as a paradise. A shoreline so beautiful, untouched by commercialization lies at the other end of Beyt Dwarka Jetty point. You will need to hire an eco-rickshaw cum guide to reach the entry point for the secluded beach. Walk around 2km till Dunny point with the guide. Alternately, if you wish to spend a night , you can pre-plan a beach camp with the organizers . Staying in tents with no light, electricity and mobile network will you get the best opportunity to resonate with nature.
Other places to visit in Dwarka –
Nageshwar Shiva Temple, RukmaniDevi Temple, Bhadkeshwar Temple, Light house, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Gita Mandir, Hanuman Dandi temple,Somnath temple
Interesting facts about Dwarka:
- Dwarka is a sanskrit word which means “Gated city” .
- After carrying out underwater excavations at Dwarka and Bet Dwarka, according to Marine Archaeologist S.S.Rao, there is reasonable evidence to conclude that this submerged city is the ‘Dvaraka’ as described in the Mahabharata.
- Several artifacts have also been unearthed in excavations that seem to belong to the Harappan age.
How do you reach Dwarka?
By Air : The fastest way to reach from Mumbai is by air . Take a flight to Jamnagar or Porbandar Airport and then take a car to Dwarka.
By Train : The cheapest way to reach from Mumbai is by train. It takes around 17 hours to cover the rail distance of 966 km.
By Road : The most fun way to reach Dwarka from Mumbai is by road. As it is around 930 km and would take you around 15 hours non-stop, probably you can take a halt at Vadodara and continue for Dwarka on the next day. In contrast, plan a Gujrat road trip from Vadodara to include Bhavnagar, Diu Island, Somnath, Porbandar, Dwarka, Bhuj and Kutch. Refer Gujarat-road-trip for a quick glance at a possible road trip plan.
What is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Dwarka is from October to February. The otherwise hot days get milder and the weather becomes pleasant. Temperatures soar from March until mid-June and then the rainy season follows until September. Nevertheless, you can visit the town during the off-season to miss the crowd!