Gomathi Tirtham & Dwaraka temple from West
Dwarka is considered to be one of the holy cities in India by Hindus. It is the desire of all religious minded Hindus, particularly Vishnavites to visit Dwaraka at lest once in lifetime to have a darshan of Lord Krishna. Dwaraka is also one of the 108 Divya desams (sacred places) of Lord Vishnu and is situated at the Western most part of Gujarat peninsula in North India. Dwar in Sanskrit is door and Dwaraka means gateway to heaven. It is also the place of one of the four important maths established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The most prominent saint-poets of Vaishnavism, Perialwar, Andal, Thirumangai Alwar, Thirumezesi Alwar and Nammalwar have performed Mangalasanam by their hymns in praise of Krishna in Tamil. In the north, saints Surdas and Mirabai have sung Bhajans and hymns in praise of the Lord among numerous others.
The temple at Dwaraka is several thousands years old and is believed to have been built by Krishna’s grandson, Vijranabha with the help of Vishvakarma the celestial architect. The temple had undergone several renovations and in its present form has a seven storied shrine with a tower of 43 meters tall. The tower stands right on the sanctum sanctorum and is visible from the train miles before the arrival of Dwaraka railway station. The colorful flag on the top of the tower, an elongated triangle in shape is full of life and flutters in the sea breeze all the time as if welcoming the devotees happily. The flag is changed four times a day with new ones offered by charitable devotees. The shrine attracts a large number of pilgrims from all over the country and abroad. The presiding deity is Krishna or Dwarakanath and the Goddess is Rukmani Thayar or Kalyana Nachiar. Dwaraka had been a flourishing port city and a gate way to the outer world for trade and commerce and even today one finds the sweeping flash light of its light house at nights ascertaining its glory to the world.
The intricate architectural design of the seven storey temple with arches, pillars and the tower are very impressive and awesome. The shrine, tower and flag are so beautifully matched with each other they form an everlasting impression in the minds of people who visit the temple. At the centre of an elevated basement that is reached by a flight of steps, stands the shrine of Krishna. The bright interior with the Lord in standing posture and richly decorated adornments is a feast for the hungry eyes waiting for this vision or darshan. Different types of decorations with adornments are done to the deity during the day, each one a class by itself, excelling the other in beauty. One forgets oneself completely before him in meditation and even forgets to ask for what all one wants in life.
There are separate shrines for Krishna’s divine brother, Balarama on his right and Pradyumna and Aniruddha, son and grandson of the Lord respectively on his left in the temple. The temple is situated on the banks of the river Gomathi where it merges with the sea.
Sri Rukmani’s Temple at Dwarka
Thayar Rukmani, the most celebrated divine spouse of Krishna’s numerous wives has a separate temple dedicated to her. The temple for Rukmani is at a distance of 2 km from the main temple on the way to Bet Dwaraka. Though smaller in size, it is similar in structure to the main temple in grace and beauty. There is an interesting story behind this temple which is narrated by the temple priest to the devotees. The Legend has it that once the all powerful and easily provakable maharishi Durvasar agreed to visit Krishna and Rukmani on the condition that they should draw his chariot for which the divine couple agreed. During the journey theThayar got thirsty at one time and Krihsna created a sprout of water to quench her thirst. Maharishi Durvasar on seeing her drinking water got enraged for ignoring the tradition of helping the guest before oneself and cursed her to get separated from the Lord. Hence Rukmani had to stay away from her Lord at a different location in Dwaraka.
Bet Dwaraka is island Dwaraka, which is separated from the main land by the sea. The sea is calm and quiet like a big lake without waves here. Bet Dwaraka is reached by motor boats operated by private service and takes about 10 minutes to cross the seawaters. A number of boats are available for ferrying the pilgrims and the boatmen charge Rs.5 per head for a single way. On reaching Bet Dwaraka the temple is approachable by a short walk in a crowded street full of gifts and curios shops on either side. The temple is like an old palace with big halls wherein Lord Krishna offers darashan with Sanku and Chakram in his hands. The temple priest performs pooja in an unusual costume, wearing a sari, a religious tradition followed here. It is at this place Kuchelar, a boyhood friend of Krishna and the poorest of poor householder with 27 children met him and shared the rice flakes (aval) sent by Kuchelar’s wife. Kuchelar was embarrassed to ask Krishna his close friend, to help him get over from hunger and poverty, the very purpose for which he came all the way to meet Krishna. Knowing his predicament, Krishna bestowed everything to make him wealthy and happy with his family, which Kuchelar came to know only after he reached his home.
There are a number of other shrines in Bet Dwaraka and the one notable shrine is that of Sri Hanuman and his son, Makardwaja. This is perhaps the only place in the country where both Hanuman and Makardwaja are seen together at a shrine.
Our yatra to Dwaraka, fulfilled our long awaited mission and commitment in life, but after the visit, the desire to come back once again prevails more than before!
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishan, Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare