The literal meaning of Dwarka is ‘gateway to heaven’ and for some tourists visiting this lovely city, this holds very true. This rocky coast on the western shore of the Okhamandal Peninsula nurtures major Hindu beliefs. More than half of ancient Dwarka is under water today and the remaining part known as Bet Dwarka or Shankhdhar is an island at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch. Dwarka holds much importance in Hindu culture as it is said to be the place where Lord Krishna grew up. The ride from Port Okha to Bet Dwarka is exhilarating and a wonderful experience; and the sea gulls make it extremely special. To admire the aerial view of the coast, you can head up to the lighthouse on the peninsula. Another historic site is the the Gopi Talav. It is where all the tales of Krishna’s Raas Leela with Gopikas have originated and a visit here opens up a bundle of such stories. The Hanuman Mandir and Nageshwar Mandir are other prominent temples of Hindu importance and a must-visit. Don't forget to indulge in a full platter at Chappan Bhog for the finest of Gujarati cuisine. Dwarka comes to life during Janmashtami when people celebrate Lord Krishna with great splendour. Garba and Raas dances are performed and devotees indulge in exuberant merry making. The chants of ‘Jai Kanhaiya Laal Ki’ and plunges in the Gomti river will give you a spiritual high. Hotel City Palace is possibly the best choice if you're to stay the night.
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Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
Bet Dwarka and Nageshwar TempleThe next morning we visited two remaining religious spots of our trip - Bhent Dwarka or Bet Dwarka and Nageshwar. Bet Dwarka, according to Mythology, is the place where Krishna met his best friend Sudama after a really long time. It is located in the middle of an island and can only be reached by a ferry or a fisherman’s boat. We took a boat and it was so much fun on that 20 minute ride. The entire ride we were escorted by a huge group of seagulls. They reminded me so much of the animated movie Nemo. They kept flying with our boat all the way through. It was a beautiful sight. Our last stop on this pilgrimage was the Nageshwar temple. It is another Jyotirlinga, a Shiva temple and it was built in the same grand manner as the Somnath temple. We visited it for a short period of time but it was beautifully adorned with silver all over and chants of Shiv mantras were all around us in that temple. It had a very serene ambience.