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The City of Dwarka

Published: 4th Mar, 2024

The City of Dwarka

Context

PM Narendra Modi recently performed underwater prayers at ‘DwarkaNagari’, believed to be the kingdom of Lord Krishna. Since the start of the 20th century, several attempts have been made by scholars to establish the location of Dwarka as mentioned in the Mahabharata.

About the City

  • 'Dwarka', which translates to a 'gate' in Sanskrit, has been the gateway to India, which acted as an important centre of trade between India and West Asia.
  • The city of Dwarka, one of the SaptPuris of Hinduism, was said to have been reclaimed from the sea by Lord Krishna after he shifted from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh to Dwarkain Gujarat.
  • Dwarka, according to legends, was submerged under the Arabian Sea as Lord Krishna departed from the world, marking the beginning of the Kali Yuga.

Dwarkadhish Temple

  • At present, devotees are mainly drawn to Dwarka for the Dwarkadhish Temple.
  • The temple is believed to have been established more than 2500 years ago by Lord Krishna’s great-grandson, Vajranabh.
  • The ancient temple has been renovated several times, especially leaving imprints of the 16th and 19th centuries.

What does archaeological evidence say?

  • While the mythical narrative about Lord Krishna and Dwarka is rooted in the Puranas, archaeological evidence, over the years, points to several structures and a sudden submersion of a city.
  • Period:Offshore excavations have revealed remnants of a city-state dating back to 2000 BC.
  • The quest to uncover Dwarka's sunken secrets started in the 1930s by HiranandShastri, followed by the first extensive excavation being carried out in 1963.
  • Subsequent excavations unveiled a plethora of ancient artefacts and the submerged remnants of the ancient Dwarka.
  • Several ancient habitational sites were discovered in the coastal area of Bet Dwarkaisland.
    • Notably, the island of Bet Dwarka is located some 30 kilometres northeast of the Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat.
  • However, the material examination and carbon dating of the man-made objects recovered from the seabed in Dwarka, reveals urnam structures from pre-Harappan times, which bolsters the argument for Dwarka's historical reality.
  • Thermoluminescence dates surface explorations suggest that the earliest habitation on the island commenced in the mid-second millennium BC.

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