Char Dham means the four abodes, as defined by the great saint Adi Shankaracharya, for the Vaishnavite pilgrimage. The Hindus believe that visiting these four abodes, namely Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram in their lifetime, will provide ‘Moksha’ or freedom for the soul. As such, the Char Dham Yatra is a favourite among many Hindu families, especially the elderly and retired folks.
There is no specific order to be followed for the Char Dham Yatra, and you may choose to visit in any order as per your convenience. Interestingly, they are situated in the South (Rameswaram), North (Badrinath), West (Dwaraka), and Puri (East). Here, we focus on one of the four, namely Dwaraka.
Importance of Dwaraka
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Dwaraka is known as the city of Lord Krishna. The word ‘Dwar’ means gate and the city name stands for the gated city. It is situated in the state of Gujarat and is one of the prime tourist attractions of the region. In fact, this city is considered a pilgrimage by Hindus, Jains as well as Buddhists. It is said that in earlier days of the Mahabharata, it was called Kushasthali, the place of the Yadavas. It is believed that it is Krishna who gave the name of Dwaraka to this city.
During it’s time Dwaraka was a beautiful city with blooming gardens with birds and bees, lakes with swans, and lots of palaces for Lord Krishna and his many wives. The city was said to have been built by Vishwakarma. Dwaraka is situated at the confluence of the Gomti River and the Arabian Sea.
Dwaraka is said to have been submerged in the sea and destroyed in the Dwapar Yuga. There are suggestions that Dwaraka was submerged about six times and rebuilt and that this city is the 7thsuch existence. The Dwarakadish temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is the main attraction of this city. The temple has a long history dating back to 2500 years. It is a magnificent shrine built in Chalukya style architecture and houses a black idol of Krishna.
There are many other shrines in and around the area. The other major temples in Dwaraka are the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple, Rukmini temple, and Gita temple. The other places that can be visited are Gomti ghat, Dwaraka lighthouse and Gopi Talav.
Dwaraka can be visited throughout the year. However, the best season to visit is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant. In summer, you can expect a bit of humidity so go prepared with light, comfortable clothes. Stay hydrated and drink lots of liquids.
Dwaraka is linked by rail, road and air with the rest of the country, with the nearest airport being Jamnagar. Being a tourist city it is also dotted with many hotels and lodges, that can be pre-booked for a comfortable stay.
First, you need to visit the Dwarakadish temple, which is situated in the heart of the city and the Darshan timings are 6.30 hrs to 13.00 hrs in the morning and 17.00 hrs to 21.30 hrs in the evening. Plan for long queues for Darshan. The temple does not have any steps or any other obstacles and is senior citizen friendly. The temple authorities may be contacted in case of any specific issue, for having Darshan. For seeing this beautiful temple, you would easily need about one and half hours, and it is better to hire a guide, who can acquaint you with the details of the place and the architecture. Post temple tour and Darshan, Prasad can also be bought, if required. There is also a Sudama bridge near the temple that can be visited.
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