LORD KRISHNA'S ABODE
Gujarat has been a gateway of commerce and culture between the East and the West and is one of the oldest civilizations on the earth. Dwarka is one of four most scared pilgrimage centers (Chardham) of Hindu faith and is associated with Lord Krishna's life. The main giant ornate shrine is situated on the western most tip of saurastra. According to the epic Mahabharata, the city in due course was submerged by the sea. The submergence of Dwarka and the cause of submergence are of historical and oceanographic interest because of historic Dwarka is likely to throw light on the Dark Age of Indian history.
Ornate, exquisite and majestic, Dwarkadhish Temple (Jagat Mandir) is one of the most imposing five- storied structures of Hindu architecture in Gujarat on the confluence of river Gomti and Arabian sea. The five-storey high temple is built on seventy-two pillars. The temple spire is 78.3m high. From the temple dome waves an eighty-four foot long multicolored flag decorated with the symbols of the sun and moon. Lord Krishna's grandson, Vajranabha, is said to have built the original temple of Dwarkadhish over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna's residential place).
The sanctum of the temple is formed by the Jagat Mandir, or Nija Mandir, which dates back at least 2500 years. The Jagat Mandir has a tall tower and a hall of audience. There are two entrances to the temple. The main entrance (north entrance) is called "Moksha Dwara" (Door to Salvation). This entrance leads to the main market. The south entrance is called "Swarga Dwara" (Gate to Heaven). Outside this doorway are 56 steps that lead to the Gomati River.
The temple of Dwarkadheesh, also known as Jagat Mandir, is built on the north bank of the Gomti Creek. The temple dates back to 2,500 years. Architecturally the temple is constructed on the same plan and system as most of the Hindu sacred edifices of antiquity. Sixty columns support the roof of the audience hall of the Jagat Mandir. The main temple is five-story high with the lavishly carved conical spire rising to a height of 157 feet. There is the one-meter tall, four handed black idol of Ranchhodrai, the ruler of Dwarika. Amongst the large number of temples belonging to different periods in the history of Dwarka, the most popular with pilgrims is the temple of Rukmini, Lord Krishna's wife, who is considered an incarnation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty.
An interesting legend surrounds the idol installed at this temple. It is said that, taking pity on his old devotee Badana, who used to traverse the long distance from Dakor to Dwarka, God in the form of an idol went with him to Dakor. This enraged the priests at Dwarka, who chased Badana to retrieve the idol. Badana persuaded the priests to leave the deity in return of gold, where upon the priests agreed to withdraw. By a miracle, the idol became as light as the nose-ring, which was all that the poor widow could offer.
But the Lord didnot want to disappoint the priests. He therefore granted them a boon that they will find a replica in Dwarka on a particular day. Unable to resist their curiosity, the priests excavated at the suggested site a little too early, and found yet to grow idol, which is now enshrined at Dwarka.
The present shrine is not likely to be older than the Mughal period. The inscriptions on the pillars and other places do not appear to be older than the 15th century AD. There must have been an older shrine, which was probably destroyed by Mohmud Begada in 1473 AD. The present temple was probably constructed during the period of the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar.