Khambhaliya is a small town without even a proper bus stand and offers only queer eating options. Yet again, we missed our meals and were relying on fruits intake. Bus arrived and we were back to our quest for chasing Sun towards the West… lost again as it dusked in the usual fashion…. Bus kept running West in the midst of dark shadows of night…
* Khambhaliya to Dwarka: 80 km, 69 INR, 2 hours & 30 minutes.
On the way to Bet Island
Finally we landed on the shores of Dwarka which was flickered with the undulating sound of waves blended harmoniously with the chants in the temples. Getting an accommodation was a hassle free job and getting food was also easier. Soon after taking the dinner, we headed towards the shore which has a concrete promenade along the coastline till the light house. Ghats on the bank of Gomti River which flows behind the temple are another inspiring site of Dwarka. Walking along the riverside will take you to the tip where a temple overlooks the ocean and river meets the sea. In the evening, we strolled along the coastline of Dwarka which was adorned with the dim light emitting from the light house. There is certainly something about awe-inspiring settings of holy sites where spiritual vibrations become more perceptible to human senses… that’s what stand these apart… With our limited sensory system, it would be unreasonable to consider Nirvana but one can definitely get a strong hunch of something profound…something spiritual and something imperceptible…..
Temple on the edge of sea
One of the four holy pilgrimage sites for Hindus, Dwarka often feels like the end of earth with temples overlooking the Arabian Sea on the western tip of Gujarat. Once the capital of Lord Krishna's Kingdom, Dwarka is closely linked with many legends from Lord Krishna's life. It is believed that Krishna dwelled the rest of his earthy life in Dwarka after fleeing from Mathura. During excavations around Dwarka, archaeologist found the submerged port city and structures from 15th century B.C.E indicating the existence of a sunken city.
Dwarka beach and Light house
Wallowed in the random thoughts gilded with the silence of ocean, we retreated back to our hotel room… Chitchatted over the plan for next day before slumbering…. Why do we sleep in the night?
…. Do we miss anything which prevails during dark hours?
Good morning Dwarka
Ghat side of Gomti River
Tide ebbed and it was morning… We visited Dwarkadhish temple as the first thing in the morning even before sun comes up from the other side of the land. The Dwarkadhish temple, also known as Jagat Mandir stands on the highest level of habitation on the northern side of Gomati creek. The temple complex contains nine subsidiary shrines. Among them Veni Madhav temple, Ambika temple, Madhav Temple and Shardapitha Math of Shri Shankaracharya are prominent. All these temples are enclosed within a common boundary wall.
Dwarkadhish Temple Dwarka
The Dwarkadhish temple consists of Garbhagriha, Antarala, Mandapa and ardhamandapa. The Mandapa is open on all sides and rises to five storeys and has 60 pillars to support them. The temple has a high conical shikhara with a height of about 50 meter (165 feet) while the pyramidal roof of Mandapa is adorned with a series of tiny bell shaped domes. On plan temple measures 27.35*21.3 meter (90*70 feet). The exterior facade and the Shikhara of temple are profusely carved but internally it is plain. A shrine of Shakti-Mata is located on the fourth storey of the temple. The temple complex has two main gates for entrance. The one on the southern side is known as "Swargadwar" which is accessible by 56 steps or "Chhappan Sidhi" from Gomati creek, whereas the northern gate is known as "Mokshadwar". The present Dwakadhish temple is datable to circa 15th century A.D.
** Tourists are not allowed to carry camera inside the temple complex**
Gopi Talav Dwarka
Dwarka is known for temples and all of those are scattered around peninsula. It will be taxing to navigate these temples by public transport and will be heavy on your pocket if you hire a private taxi. The best way to explore all the highlights is through Dwarka Darshan.
Statue of Lord Shiva at Nageshwar Temple
Dwarka Darshan bus was also the most convenient way to visit Okha port and Bet Island so we preferred to take this bus. Nageshwar jyotirlinga, which is one of the 12 jyotirlinga shrines, was the first stop of the tour. The tall statue of Lord Shiva dominates the temple complex and catches attention of its visitors as well as of pigeons. Later we arrived at Gopi Talao which is mentioned in Hindu Mythology and legends. Adjoining the shrine lie the spacious natural pond whose soil turned into yellow clay which is now being taken by Pilgrims as Gopi Chandan and considered auspicious.
Dry Fishes at Okha Port
Finally Bus reached to the Okha Port which is literally the end of earth on Saurashtra peninsula. Okha port is primary engaged into fishing thus quite stinky with pungent smell of dry fishes. Okha port is primarily visited by the pilgrims for their trip to Dwarka Bet which is on an Island well connected with ferry services.
Okha Port to Bet Island: Frequent ferry service (30 minutes, 10 INR per person)
Jetties at Bet Dwarka Island
Came to Okha with notions of finding a serene port and open sea but it was repulsive due to fish smell. We embarked on the ferry to reach the other shores which were at least breathable. Bet Island is known for the highly revered temple of Lord Krishna and also believed as a very place where Lord Krishna met his childhood friend Sudama. Besides religious importance, Bet Dwarka is also rich in archaeology and traces back to Harappan civilization. On shore and off shore archeological exploration around the Island indicates the existence of the sites those were submerged due to shoreline shifting.
Seagulls and Passenger Jetty
However in the present time Bet Islands seem more of a group of villages engaged into fishing with some dilapidated buildings spread around the Island. With so much restlessness around, Understanding the underlying message of the Island can be tricky job for a discerning visitor. Okha and bet Islands might seem like a disorganized colony of fishermen but it’s just not… there is a lot hidden beneath the entropy… Australian Seagulls chasing the ferries traversing between the islands is another distraction for the travelers…Seagull perhaps tries to catch the seeds pilgrims throw for bird feeding…. Altruism on your trip to God’s land…. Or is it self-delusion?….
Rukmini Temple Dwarka
Our initial plan was to stay longer at Okha port and finding a leeway to Positra beach which falls under Marine National Park. Pradeep Sir’s allergy with the fish smell made us to retreat from Okha and we took the same tourist bus which finally stopped at Rukmini Temple. Rukmini temple is just 2 km away from Dwarka town and dedicated to Krishna’s wife Rukmini. An architectural master piece, Rukmini Temple is intricately carved thus inscribed as nationally protected monument.
Dwarkadhish Temple from the river side
We were back to Dwarka and were weighing options for visiting Positra beach which was not connected with public transport. Finally dropped the idea…had lunch and went for another stroll behind the main temple on the Ghat Side of River Gomati… During low tide, one can actually cross over the river and reach the much secluded side of Dwarka… We took the same trail which we did the last night… Walked along the concrete promenade towards the light house… Sea was there the way it was before.. Stirred yet stable… moon, stars ebbed away along with the darkness…
Day at Dwarka Beachline
Good bye Dwarka… On the bus stand waiting for the next bus to Porbandar….Dwarka to Porbandar is well connected with frequent busses (Once in hour) but there are not many direct busses to other cities of Saurashtra such as Junagadh.
Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order