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All about the famous Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka, Gujarat

Situated on the western tip of India and in contact with the sea, Dwarkadhish temple is one of the largest temples in the ancient holy city of Dwarka. It is situated where the Gomti River meets the Arabian Sea and the temple can be seen from many miles away due to its large structure and the vast expanse of empty land surrounding it.

The temple is active throughout the day, where daily activities go on from early morning to late afternoon.

History

The history of the temple goes back many centuries, where people believed that the temple was built by Vajranabh, the great grandson of Lord Krishna and that this is where the Hari Griha or Krishna’s home once stood making Dwarka a sacred land.

The present structure of the Dwarkadhish temple is an amalgamation of changes and constructions over several centuries, from the 8th to the present, where changes and renovation works have been carried out.

The giant temple is more than 80 meters high, which is equivalent to a present day 25-storey building. And at the top of the building is a 25-foot-long flagpole.

The tall tower above the main shrine is built in Nagara style and there are 7 visible floors which are built keeping in mind 7 ancient cities of India. The 7 cities depicted here are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kashi, Avantika, Kanchipuram and Dwarka. If you notice, the whole of India is represented here and this is an intriguing factor.

The mandapa of the temple is carved out of a single stone and is supported by more than 72 pillars. It has 4 stories representing the Char Dhams of the Vaishnava temples, Dwarka being one of the 4 Dhams of the western corner of India.

The temple has been built in general Solanki style, which was a predominant architectural style in Gujarat. According to archaeologists, the main temple was built between 12-13 CE, while the Sabah Mandap was built between 15-16 CE.

During excavations, it is revealed that this is the fourth temple and the oldest temple must have been about 2000 years old.

Dwarkadhish temple houses one of the 4 Shankaracharya Peetas or Shardha Peetas. The Shardha Peetas are part of the temples dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya and in the evenings students can be heard chanting Sanskrit Shlokas from the Vedas.

Dwarkadhish group of temples

Dwarkadhish Temple is large and full of small temples, however, in the inner sanctum or Girbha Gruha, the idol of Lord Krishna as four-armed Vishnu where experts call this as Trivikram.

Dwarkadhish temple here is also known as Jagat Mandir.

The idol or Murti of Dwarkadhish is 2.25 feet high and is carved in black stone. The present murti is the third one. The first Murti is now in Beyt Dwarka which was bought here to protect it from foreign invaders, it is believed that the first Murti was worshipped by Rukmini herself.

The second murti is in Dakor. The story goes that there was a girl who was a devotee of Sri Krishna who used to travel from Dakor to Dwarka. Pleased by her devotion, Sri Krishna decided to go with her and the priests suspected that the girl had stolen the idol and when they approached the girl, she paid them with gold coins and now the second idol is at Dakor.

The priests suspected that there was another idol at Savitri Taalav and when they excavated the place in haste an incomplete idol came out. This is the present image of Sri Krishna being worshipped.

The idol of Sri Krishna is facing west, suggesting that it may be facing the sea where its city has been submerged.

In the Dwarkadhish temple complex there are other temples.

As the Dwarkadhish temple is a temple collection, one may notice smaller temples here such as

Kusheshwar Mahadev Temple – A Shiva temple.

Kashi Visvanath Shivalingam

Aniruddha and Pradyumna Temple

Dwarkadhish temple gates

The Dwarkadhish temple has two entrances, titled Moksha Dwara and Swarga Dwara. From the Swarga Dwara, 56 steps lead to the Gomti Ghat and stories suggest that 56 steps represent 56 crore yadavas.

As mentioned above, the temple is busy throughout the day, where a strict routine is followed. During the day, there are aarti, darshans and bhogs. These activities mean that devotees converse with the deity and offer food.

Throughout the day, the Shringar of the deity is changed and every time the shringar is changed, the backdrop of the deity is changed, where the deity is put with amazing jewellery.

One of the most striking features of Dwarkadish temple is its flags. And every time you look, a different colored flag will be visible as it is changed 3 times in the morning hours and twice in the evening hours.

There is a 2 year waiting list to be able to sponsor flags.

The flags themselves are of great importance here. The family sponsoring the flag must feed all the Dwarka brahmanas and they carry the flag singing and dancing to the temple compound. The flag is then offered to the deity, where a person from the Brahmanical community comes up and changes the flag.

The flag that is sponsored comes with a bunch of rulers in which it must measure 52 yards. 52 smaller flags are attached to the large flag representing 52 sub-cases of yadavas. Another theory says that 52 represents the 52 gates that Dwarka had.

The flag may be of any color except black, and must have a sun emblem and a moon emblem.

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