Dwarka market

Discovering Dwarka: Key Places Every Traveler Should Visit

Dwarka, a city steeped in myth and history, stands on the western shore of the Gujarat state, marking its significance as both a religious and historical site. Known as the dwelling place of Lord Krishna, it holds a prominent position within the Hindu religion, being a part of both Char Dham and Sapta Puri, and is highlighted as one of the key places to visit in Dwarka. The city not only captivates with its spiritual essence but also with the Dwarkadhish Temple, a beacon of devotion and one of Gujarat’s most visited landmarks.

This article will navigate through the mystical alleys of Dwarka, from delving into its legends to exploring archaeological wonders that give a glimpse of ancient Dwarka. Travelers can look forward to discovering the serene beauty of the Dwarkadhish Temple and the enigmatic Bet Dwarka Island, along with other compelling places to visit in this sacred city. The journey extends to celebrating vibrant festivals, uncovering opportunities for submarine-based underwater tourism, and relaxing on magnificent beaches, providing a comprehensive guide to experiencing Dwarka’s religious, cultural, and natural treasures.

The Legend of Dwarka

Dwarka’s legend is deeply entwined with the mythological narratives and historical accounts that mark its significance in Hindu culture. The city’s lore is as fascinating as its historical roots, offering a glimpse into its spiritual past and its role in ancient Indian epics.

  1. Mythological Origins and Historical Significance:
    • Believed to contain a submerged city created by Lord Krishna, Dwarka’s mythological significance is profound, with texts describing it as a divine creation.
    • Known as the first capital of Gujarat, it has been referred to by various names such as ‘Mokshapuri’, ‘Dwarkamati’, and ‘Dwarkavati’, indicating its esteemed status in ancient times.
    • The city’s mention in the epic Mahabharata and its association with Krishna after he defeated Kamsa, showcases its pivotal role in ancient Indian narratives.
  2. Krishna’s Influence and the City’s Evolution:
    • Krishna is said to have reclaimed 12 yojanas (approximately 96 square kilometers) of land from the sea to establish Dwarka, signifying his divine powers and the city’s miraculous origins.
    • Initially known as ‘Kaushathali’, the city flourished under the Yadavas, who migrated from Mathura, extending its domain and prosperity during their reign.
    • Serving as the administrative seat of Krishna’s kingdom, Dwarka became a center of governance and spirituality, with Krishna conducting state affairs while residing with his family in Bet Dwarka.
  3. Decline and Spiritual Legacy:
    • The curse of Gandhari on Krishna, leading to the self-destruction of his clan, and the subsequent submergence of the city post-Krishna’s death, mark the end of Dwarka’s splendid era.
    • Despite its physical decline, Dwarka remains one of the four main pilgrimage centers in Hinduism, revered as one of the seven Moksha Puris, symbolizing liberation and spiritual attainment.
    • The name ‘Dwarka’, meaning ‘door’ or ‘gate’ in Sanskrit, possibly indicates its historical significance as a gateway for foreign sailors, further highlighting its rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

This exploration into Dwarka’s legend not only reveals its mythological and historical significance but also underscores its enduring legacy as a spiritual beacon in Hindu culture, inviting travelers and devotees to delve into its sacred mysteries.

Archaeological Marvels of Ancient Dwarka

Discoveries in Dwarka and Bet Dwarka have shed light on the ancient city’s architectural and cultural magnificence, revealing a blend of mythological significance and historical reality:

  • Early Architectural Marvels:
    • The foundation of the Dwarkadhish Temple, believed to date back to 200 BCE, marks one of the earliest known structures dedicated to Lord Krishna.
    • Excavations in the Dwarkadhish Temple Complex in 1979 unearthed three temple remains, indicating a series of temples that existed before the current structure, with the present temple being the fifth in a succession of settlements dating from the 15th century B.C. to modern times.
  • Underwater Explorations:
    • Since 1983, marine archaeological explorations have consistently been conducted in the waters around Dwarka, Bet Dwarka, and Somnath, using advanced technologies like SDDE, SCUBA, and ‘Aquazepp’ underwater scooters for detailed investigations.
    • These explorations have revealed submerged stone building blocks, walls, pillars, bastions, and a variety of stone anchors, suggesting Dwarka’s significance as a major trading port with connections to Arabic areas from the 15th to 18th centuries.
    • A significant area of approximately 9,80,000 sq. m was explored off Samudranarayana Temple in Dwarka, uncovering stone structures but notably no associated pottery or objects, likely due to the strong currents in the area.
  • Archaeological Insights:
    • Bet Dwarka, an island off the coast of Dwarka city, emerged as a crucial site for understanding the Harappan period, with findings including a Late Indus seal depicting a 3-headed animal and earthen vessels inscribed in Indus-Brahmi script dating around 1500 B.C..
    • The city’s layout, believed to have been meticulously planned with six sectors, commercial and residential zones, and over 7,000,000 palaces crafted from precious stones, silver, and gold, highlights Dwarka’s ancient prosperity and architectural ingenuity.
    • The National Institute of Oceanography’s records, showing sea level fluctuations over the last 15,000 years, provide context for the city’s submersion and the subsequent underwater excavations that have attempted to trace the city’s cultural sequence over nearly 2000 years.

These archaeological endeavors not only highlight Dwarka’s historical and cultural significance but also underscore the city’s role in ancient trade networks and its architectural splendor, making it a focal point for both historical and religious tourism.

Dwarkadhish Temple: The Heart of Dwarka

The Dwarkadhish Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, stands as a beacon of spirituality and architectural grandeur in the heart of Dwarka. This temple, a pivotal pilgrimage site, encapsulates the essence of devotion and history, drawing visitors from across the globe to experience its sanctity and beauty.

Key Highlights of the Dwarkadhish Temple:

  • Architectural Splendor: The temple’s design is a remarkable blend of the Chalukya and Solanki architectural styles, reflecting the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the region. Its five-story structure, crowned with a majestic spire rising to a height of 78 meters (256 ft), dominates the Dwarka skyline, offering a glimpse into the ingenuity of ancient craftsmanship.
  • Spiritual Significance: At the core of the temple’s spiritual aura is the main deity, Lord Dwarkadhish, a black idol of Lord Krishna depicted in a unique tribhanga pose. This idol not only embodies the divine presence of Krishna but also symbolizes the deep-rooted spiritual lineage of the Dwarka city. The temple, being one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites, holds immense religious importance for Hindus, serving as a spiritual gateway for millions seeking enlightenment and blessings.
  • Vibrant Festivities: The Dwarkadhish Temple is renowned for its elaborate and vibrant festivals, with Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, being the highlight of its spiritual calendar. The temple premises come alive with devotees and pilgrims during this festival, showcasing the rich traditions and cultural fervor associated with Lord Krishna’s life. Other significant festivals celebrated with great enthusiasm include Annakut Utsav, Bhai Bij Darshan, and the Rath Yatra, each adding to the temple’s allure as a center of joyous religious activities.

Visitor Information:

  • Visiting Hours: The temple welcomes visitors between 6 am to 1 pm and then from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, offering ample opportunity for devotees and tourists alike to explore its architectural and spiritual magnificence.
  • Location and Accessibility: Situated in the Gujarat state of India, the temple is easily accessible from major cities, with Dwarka being well-connected by road, rail, and air. Its proximity to other notable temples and the Arabian Sea adds to its appeal as a holistic travel destination.

In conclusion, the Dwarkadhish Temple remains a cornerstone of Dwarka’s spiritual and cultural landscape, embodying the timeless legacy of Lord Krishna and serving as a testament to the city’s historical and religious significance.

The Mystical Bet Dwarka Island

Bet Dwarka Island, also recognized by its ancient name Shankhodhar, presents a blend of spiritual heritage and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Dwarka. This island, situated off the coast of Gujarat in the Arabian Sea, is deeply intertwined with the lore of Lord Krishna, believed to have been his original residence. The journey to this mystical island begins with a 30-minute ferry ride from Okha port, seamlessly connecting travelers to this serene destination.

Key Attractions and Activities:

  • Temples Galore: Bet Dwarka is home to several revered temples, including the Dwarkadhish Temple, Rukmini Temple, and Shank Narayan Temple. Each of these temples, with the Dwarkadhish Temple dating back to the 12th century, showcases the island’s rich religious and architectural legacy.
  • Archaeological and Conservation Efforts: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has undertaken significant efforts to preserve the island’s spiritual monuments, ensuring that the essence of its ancient culture remains intact for future generations.
  • Submarine Tourism and Marine Adventures: A highlight for adventure seekers is the submarine tourism initiative, offering an unprecedented opportunity to explore the marine life surrounding Bet Dwarka. This includes underwater explorations around the island and the submerged city of Dwarka, promising an unforgettable experience of the Arabian Sea’s underwater world.

Visitor Essentials:

  • Best Time to Visit: The ideal time to explore Bet Dwarka is from October to March, when the weather is cooler and more conducive to outdoor activities.
  • Accommodations: Catering to a range of preferences and budgets, the island hosts several guesthouses and hotels, ensuring a comfortable stay for visitors.
  • Local Experiences: Beyond the spiritual and historical exploration, guests can engage in boat rides, fishing, and browsing local markets for unique handicrafts and souvenirs, adding a touch of local flavor to their visit.

In essence, Bet Dwarka offers a rich tapestry of cultural, spiritual, and natural attractions. From ancient temples that whisper tales of divinity to the modern allure of submarine explorations, the island promises a diverse and enriching experience for every traveler.

Festivals Celebrated in Dwarka

Dwarka, a city that resonates with the spiritual vibrations of Lord Krishna, celebrates a variety of festivals throughout the year, each marking a significant event in the Hindu calendar and the life of Lord Krishna. These festivals not only attract pilgrims from across the globe but also offer a deep dive into the rich cultural tapestry of Dwarka.

  • Monthly Celebrations at Dwarkadhish Temple:
    • Kartik: Celebrated on the 1st, 2nd, and 5th days of the Hindu month, marking the beginning of the festive season in Dwarka.
    • Magsar: Observance during Dhanur Mas, aligning with the sun’s transition through Sagittarius.
    • Posh: Featuring Makr Sankranti on the 14th of January, celebrating the sun’s move to Capricorn.
    • Maha: Vasant Panchmi is celebrated, with special Darshan at the Jagat Mandir.
    • Phagun: Holi, Dhuleti, and the Phagun festival bring colors to the streets of Dwarka.
    • Chitra: Rama Navmi, the birthday of Lord Shri Ram, is celebrated with great devotion.
    • Vaishakh: AKSHAY-TRUTIYA, where the deity is adorned in flowers, symbolizing renewal and prosperity.
    • Jayestha (Jeth): Bhima Ekadashi observed with fasting and prayers.
    • Shravan: Janmashtami, the highlight, celebrating Lord Krishna’s birthday with unmatched fervor.
    • Bhadra Pada (Bhadarvo): Vaman Jayanti, offering special Darshan to devotees.
    • Aashwin (Asho): Dussehra, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.
  • Major Festivals in Dwarka:
    • Janmashtami: A major event, marking the birth of Lord Krishna, is celebrated with elaborate rituals, devotional singing, and dramatic re-enactments of Lord Krishna’s life.
    • Holi and Diwali: These pan-Indian festivals find a special place in Dwarka, with Holi bringing the vibrant colors and Diwali lighting up the city with lamps and fireworks, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness.
    • Dussehra: Commemorating Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, Dussehra in Dwarka is marked by the burning of effigies and cultural programs.
  • Other Notable Celebrations:
    • Annakut Utsav: A grand offering of food to Lord Krishna, symbolizing gratitude and bounty.
    • Rath Yatra: A chariot procession that allows the deities to visit their devotees outside the temple premises, embodying the journey of life and the presence of the divine in every aspect of existence .
    • Bhai-duj and Labh Panchami: These festivals celebrate the bond between siblings and the fifth day of Diwali, respectively, highlighting the social and familial aspects of the cultural fabric in Dwarka .

Each festival in Dwarka opens a window to the city’s profound spiritual essence and the timeless narratives of Hindu mythology, offering visitors an immersive experience into the heart of India’s religious traditions.

Submarine-based Underwater Tourism

Dwarka, renowned for its spiritual significance and archaeological wonders, is set to introduce a groundbreaking attraction that combines adventure with exploration. The Gujarat government, in collaboration with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), is launching the country’s first submarine tourism project, aimed at enriching the visitor experience in Dwarka with an unparalleled underwater journey.

Submarine Tourism in Dwarka: An Overview

  • Capacity and Design: Each submarine will accommodate 30 passengers, featuring two rows of seating designed to provide window views for all passengers. The submarine, weighing around 35 tonnes, ensures a comfortable and immersive viewing experience of the underwater world.
  • Pilot and Crew: To ensure safety and a smooth experience, each submarine journey will be led by two experienced pilots, supported by a professional crew. This ensures not only the safety of the passengers but also an informative journey, as the crew can share insights about the marine life and underwater landscapes encountered during the dive.
  • Operational Timeline: Targeted to be operational before Diwali 2024, this initiative is not just a tourist attraction but a significant step towards enhancing Dwarka’s appeal as a major travel destination. An official announcement regarding the project is expected at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit on January 10, 2024, marking a significant milestone in Gujarat’s tourism sector.

Exploring Underwater Marvels

  • Underwater Experience: The submarine will take passengers 100 meters below the sea, offering a unique opportunity to witness the rich underwater marine life. This experience is designed to captivate both adults and children alike, providing a glimpse into the vibrant ecosystems that thrive beneath the sea’s surface.
  • Tour Route: Starting from Dwarka, the submarine tour promises an unforgettable adventure, exploring the marine life around the island. This initiative not only adds a new dimension to Dwarka’s tourist attractions but also highlights the region’s natural beauty and biodiversity.

Impact on Tourism and Economy

  • Boosting Local Economy: The introduction of submarine tourism is expected to generate more employment, investment, and tourism in the region. By attracting tourists to the religious and historical sites of Dwarka and offering them an additional, unique attraction, the project aims to enhance the overall visitor experience while contributing to the local economy.
  • Promoting Gujarat’s Tourism: The main objective of this innovative project is to promote tourism in Gujarat, particularly focusing on providing more facilities for tourists visiting religious places. By integrating technological advancements with tourism, Gujarat is set to offer a unique blend of spiritual, cultural, and adventurous experiences to visitors from around the world.

The Magnificent Beaches of Dwarka

Dwarka’s coastline is adorned with beaches that offer a mix of tranquility, spirituality, and adventure. Here’s a closer look at some of the magnificent beaches that make Dwarka a must-visit destination:

  • Dwarka Beach:
    • Location: Just 2 km from the heart of Dwarka city.
    • Features: Known for its clear water, white sand, and the presence of colorful coral reefs. A peaceful retreat with a religious significance for the Hindu population.
    • Attractions: The nearby lighthouse offers a panoramic view, and the beach is surrounded by several significant temples. Sunset views are highly recommended for an unforgettable experience.
  • Gomti Ghat:
    • Location: Situated at the confluence of the Gomti river and the Arabian Sea, offering a unique combination of riverfront and beachside beauty.
    • Activities: Ideal for relaxation, swimming, and sunbathing. The area is dotted with small temples, ghats, and stalls selling local delicacies, offering a glimpse into the local culture and spirituality.
  • Bet Dwarka Beach:
    • Location: Located on an island, 34 km from Dwarka, known for its historical and mythological significance.
    • Activities: Offers a range of activities from marine excursions, dolphin spotting, to beach camping. The 500-year-old Shri Krishna temple is a must-visit for those seeking spiritual solace.

Each of these beaches presents a unique aspect of Dwarka’s natural beauty and cultural heritage, making them essential stops on any traveler’s itinerary. Whether one is looking for a serene place to meditate and relax, interested in exploring the vibrant marine life, or eager to delve into the historical and spiritual narratives that these beaches embody, Dwarka’s shores have something for everyone.

How to Reach and Best Times to Visit Dwarka

Planning a trip to Dwarka is an exciting venture, especially considering the best times to visit and the various modes of transportation available. Here’s a quick guide to help travelers make the most of their journey to this spiritual city:

Best Times to Visit Dwarka:

  • Peak Season: November to February, with temperatures ranging from 12-28 degrees Celsius, offering cool and pleasant weather for exploration.
  • Moderate Season: March to June, where the temperature lies between 15-34 degrees Celsius, suitable for those who don’t mind a bit warmer climate.
  • Off-Season: July to October, experiencing temperatures from 19-30 degrees Celsius. This period sees fewer tourists, making it ideal for those seeking solitude at the spiritual sites.

How to Reach Dwarka:

By Air:

  • Nearest Airport: Jamnagar Airport, approximately 137 km away. Flight duration from Jamnagar to Dwarka is around 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Accessibility: Regular flights connect Jamnagar with major cities. From the airport, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Dwarka.

By Rail:

  • Dwarka Railway Station: Well-connected to major cities like Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Mumbai, and Goa. The railway station is just 1 km away from the Dwarkadhish temple, making it convenient for visitors.
  • Connectivity: Frequent trains run to and from Dwarka, ensuring easy access from different parts of the country.

By Road:

  • Bus Services: Both the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and private operators run regular buses to Dwarka from various cities in Gujarat and neighboring states.
  • Road Network: Dwarka is accessible by road from major cities in Gujarat and neighboring states, with national highways NH8A, NH51, and NH947 facilitating a smooth journey.

Festivals to Plan Your Visit Around:

  • Janmashtami Festival: Celebrated grandly in August and September, marking an eventful time to experience the city’s vibrant culture and spirituality.

This concise guide aims to assist travelers in planning an efficient and enjoyable trip to Dwarka, ensuring they can fully immerse themselves in the spiritual and cultural richness of this ancient city.

Accommodations and Culinary Experiences in Dwarka

For those planning a visit to Dwarka, finding the perfect place to stay and savor the local cuisine is essential for a complete experience. Dwarka offers a range of accommodations from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious hotels, each providing a unique glimpse into the city’s hospitality. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose:


  • Budget-Friendly Options:
    • Hotel Bhavani Dwarka and Hotel Shree Darshan offer rooms with basic amenities like air conditioning, a TV, and a private bathroom, with prices starting from INR 1,200 and INR 1,000 per night, respectively.
    • Hotel Dwarkadhish Deluxe, another budget option, provides similar amenities with room rates starting from INR 1,500 per night.
  • Mid-Range to Luxury Stays:
    • Hotel Dwarkadhish, located near the Dwarkadhish Temple, offers rooms with views of the Arabian Sea. As a 3-star hotel, it provides a comfortable stay for those looking for something a bit more upscale.
    • For a 4-star experience, Hotel Sea View is also close to the temple, offering modern amenities for a relaxing stay.
    • The Fern Dwarka, a 5-star option, caters to those seeking luxury with spacious rooms, a spa, and a fitness center, ensuring a lavish experience.

Culinary Experiences:

Dwarka’s dining scene offers a variety of flavors, from traditional Gujarati thalis to seafood and multi-cuisine options. Here’s where you can indulge:

  • Local Gujarati Cuisine:
    • The local Gujarati thali, a must-try dish, is available at several restaurants including Hotel Shree Darshan and Hotel Sagar, with the price for a thali around INR 250.
    • Hotel Gomti serves Gujarati, North Indian, and South Indian cuisine, with meals priced around INR 250, providing a taste of regional flavors.
  • Seafood and Multi-Cuisine:
    • Hotel Sagar offers a wide range of seafood options for those looking to try local marine delicacies.
    • For a more diverse palate, Hotel River View has a restaurant that serves North Indian, South Indian, and Chinese cuisine, with the price for a meal around INR 300.
  • Dining with a View:
    • The seafront restaurant, Gomti, is known not just for its delicious food but also for the beautiful views of the Arabian Sea it offers, making it a perfect spot for a memorable dining experience.

This guide aims to assist travelers in making informed choices about their stay and dining options in Dwarka, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable visit.


How long does it typically take to visit the main attractions in Dwarka? To experience the essence of Dwarka, including the main temple, the Triveni Sangam, and the Geeta Mandir, you should plan for a 3-4 day trip. This duration is generally sufficient to complete a tour of both Dwarka and Somnath.

Can you explain the enigma surrounding the city of Dwarka? The city of Dwarka is shrouded in mystery, with two predominant theories about its fate. One theory suggests that natural disasters like earthquakes or tsunamis caused the city to be submerged underwater. Advocates of this view believe that such geological disturbances could have resulted in the sinking of the land, leading to Dwarka’s disappearance beneath the sea.

What makes Dwarka a unique destination for visitors? Dwarka is renowned as a significant Hindu pilgrimage site, home to several revered temples such as the Rukmini Devi Temple, Gomti Ghat, and Bet Dwarka. Additionally, visitors can find a lighthouse marking the extreme western tip of Dwarka, adding to the city’s unique offerings.

Is Dwarka a place worth visiting for tourists? Absolutely, Dwarka is a vibrant destination with much to offer. Among the most beloved attractions are the Dwarkadhish Temple, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, and ISKCON Dwarka. These sites are just a few examples of the exciting activities and spiritual experiences that make Dwarka well worth the visit.