It was around September 2017 when I last visited Gujarat and I was simply zapped by the beauty of Champaner UNESCO World heritage site.( To know more about Champaner you can check my Champaner Series Blog.) The beauty of the ancient Mosques,Temples and stepwells stirred the wanderer spirit and nudged me to search for more such ancient sites in Gujarat and hence the quest to explore ended with plan to visit Dwarka-Somnath-Diu-Sasan Gir. Once the plan was fixed I called up my friend Pooja and Nikhil who too wanted to come along and from my side my wife and daughter joined in and we were a team of 5 people all set to go As usual the programs are more of impromptu kind thus railway bookings in such situations are always a herculean task and this time too we ended up with RAC tickets. Gujarat trains waiting list are quite slow in moment hence even on the day of journey our tickets were not confirmed and upon that we were hit by another bomb when Nikhil called in to say that he cannot make it as some urgent work has turned up at his office. I take these kind of things in my stride because for a regular traveler these kind of situations are more of Deja Vu experience and like a seasoned traveler we have to work around all these obstacles, hence I requested Nikhil to meet us in Diu and this way he too can travel and only miss out on Dwarka.
We took Saurashtra Mail which leaves at 21.35 from Mumbai Central and the train reached Dwarka in the afternoon at 4 pm ( Official time is 2:30 pm , our train was late)
After getting down from the station we took autoriksha to our hotel. During the auto journey to hotel I fixed up with my auto guy to take us for local sightseeing; Within an hour we were all ready and all set to explore local Dwarka today.
Dwarka is one of the Chardham, other three being Puri ,Badrinath and Rameshwar. Dwarka is also one of the Sapta Puri meaning that it is one of the seven most ancient cities of India. Dwarka is situated on the coastal strip of Gujarat.There are so many tales connected with this city which we will keep narrating in the due course of my blog. For a start let us begin with the connection of Dwarka and the name given to lord Krishna "Ranchod Das" Jarasandha, the king of Magadha, had married his daughters Asti and Prapti to Kamsa, Krishna's maternal Uncle. After Krishna killed his Uncle Kamsa, Jarashandh was furious with him because his daughters were widowed due to Krishna. He decided to teach Krishna and the Yadavas a lesson. Since the Yadavas were concentrated in and around Mathura, he decided to battle them and destroy the race forever. These repeated attacks on Mathura forced Lord Krishna to move out of Mathura and settle at a new place. But to build a whole new city was not a joke but it was here that Vishwakarma the chief architect of gods in those days came to the rescue of Lord Krishna because when he was questioned as to how long it would take to construct a new city he smiled and replied that the city has already been built under water and can be raised above the sea water anytime on their approval. Infact behind this whole tale the was a name given to Lord Krishna i.e."Ranchod Das" meaning the one who ran away from the battle. Ran-Battle Chod-leave or run.( But one must remember here that lord Krishna didnt leave because he was a coward but because he was to save the subjects of his kingdom from the wrath of Jarasandha.
Dwarka town is full of temples, you find temples at every nook and corner. "itne resturants nahi milege jitne mandir honge". As far as our journey was concerned we started our sightseeing the Laxmi narayan Mandir. It was a simple temple with not much to talk about. We had a darshan here and moved on to our next temple i.e Gayatri Sakhtipeeth Temple. Talking about Gayatri Sakhtipeeth, this temple is just next to the sea and is probably the only temple of Gayatri Mata in Dwarka. One Dharamshala next to the temple could be seem. I presume its associated with this temple to facilitate the religious pilgrims who come there. More than the temple I liked the beauty of the settings around it.
The sea,the sitting area created across the temple, which of course is not the part of the temple looked very beautiful.
Taking advantage of the ambiance we all took turns to indulge in photography.
Standing next to the temple one can also see Lighthouse which look very attractive with the combination of sea, stones and the sun. From here on we moved toward the Gita mandir Gita Mandir is situated towards the Western Ghats of Dwarka, close to the Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Mandir. This temple was built by the industrialist family of Birlas in 1970. The temple is constructed using marble, which adds to the beauty of the temple. This shrine was built to protect the rich scripture, teachings and values of the religious book of Hindus, the 'Bhagavad Gita'.Besides, the walls of the temple are carved with the hymns of Bhagavad Gita. We were informed by the priest that the temple ceiling is designed is a special way so that every voice heard in the hall is echoed.( I felt it was more due to emptiness of the hall). (Sorry don't have the pictures of this temple due to some malfunction with my camera here)
The sun was almost on the verge of setting so we rushed toward the Bhadkeshwar temple , as I didn't want to miss the beauty of the setting sun on the horizon of the Arabian sea. Bhadkeshwar Mahadev temple as the name suggest was Shiva temple which is little away from the land mass joined by the cemented path built from land to the temple. The Badkeshwar darshan timing are from sunrise to sunset. The best time to visit Bhadkeshwar is around sunset when you get enchanted by the golden sheet of sea bed and the towering temple in that backdrop.This spot is so beautiful that you can indeed have panoramic view of the coastline with small boats blinking in the view on far horizon.
Our first day at Dwarka was drawing to close and with heavy heart we had to bid adieu to the magical sea,Gentle breeze and those exotic birds but not before hogging few Panipuris, Bhuta and yummy Kesar pista Kulfi and finally boarded autoriksha to our Hotel. Tommorrow we shall be visiting Nageshwer Jyotiling (Click here to read the next part), one of the famous Jyotiling out of the 12 jyotilings spread across the length and breath of our country India. To know more check my next blog on Nageshwar Jyotiling temple. 1. Do your train booking well in advance. 2. Autorikshas are available from outside the station. some are big and can accommodate more than 5 people. 3.Autorikshas are not metered so do collect some info in advance as to the fare charged. 4. We paid Rs 300 for local city sightseeing.(year 2018)