Sitting on the western tip of India and meeting the sea, Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the largest temples in the ancient holy city of Dwarka. It is located where River Gomti meets the Arabian Sea and one can see the temple from many miles due to its large structure and the vast empty stretch of lands that surrounds the temple.
The temple is active all day long where daily activities will be happening from the early morning hours to late evening hours.
The history of the temple goes back to many centuries where people believed that the temple is constructed by Vajranabh, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna and this is where the Hari Griha or the home of Krishna once stood making Dwarka a holy land.
The current structure of Dwarkadhish temple is an amalgamation of changes and construction for over a few centuries from the 8th to the current year where changes and renovation works have been done.
The giant temple stands tall for over 80m which is equivalent to the current 25 storey building. And on top of the building is 25ft long flagstaff.
The tall tower over the main sanctum is built in Nagara Style and there are 7 visible stories which are constructed keeping in mind 7 ancient cities in India. The 7 cities that are depicted here include Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kashi, Avantika, Kanchipuram, and Dwarka. If you notice this, the whole of India is represented here and this is an intriguing factor.
Mandapa of the temple is carved out of a single stone and it stands on over 72 pillars. It has 4 stories that represent the Char Dhams of Vaishnava Temples, Dwarka being one of the 4 Dhams of the western corner of India.
Style of Architecture
The temple has been constructed in general Solanki style which was a prevalent style of architecture in Gujarat. As per archaeologists, the main temple is said to be constructed around 12-13th CE while the Sabah Mandap is said to be constructed around 15-16th CE.
Dwarkadhish temple is home to one of the 4 Shankaracharya Peetas or Shardha Peetas. Shardha Peetas are part of temples that are dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya and in the evenings one can hear students chanting Sanskrit Shlokas from Vedas.
Dwarkadhish Temple is big and full of small temples however, at the inner sanctum or Girbha Gruha, the idol of Lord Krishna as four-armed Vishnu where the experts call this as Trivikram.
The temple of Dwarkadhish here is also known as Jagat Mandir.
The idol or Murti of Dwarkadhish is 2.25ft high and is carved out of Black Stone. The current murti is the third one. The first Murti is now at Beyt Dwarka which was bought here to protect it from foreign invaders, the first Murti was believed to be worshipped by Rukmini herself.
The second murti is at Dakor. The story goes that there was a little girl who was a devotee of Sri Krishna who used to travel from Dakor to Dwarka. Pleased by her devotion, Sri Krishna decided to go along with her and priests suspected that the girl had stolen the idol and when they approached the little girl, she paid them with gold coins and now the second idol sits at Dakor.
Priests suspected that there is another idol at Savitri Taalav and when they dug the place in a hurry an incomplete idol came out. This is the current image of Sri Krishna that is being worshipped.
The idol of Sri Krishna faces the western direction which suggests that he might be looking at the sea where his city has been submerged.
Other temples are located at the Dwarkadhish temple complex.
As Dwarkadhish temple is a collection of the temple, one can notice smaller temples here such as
Kusheshwar Mahadev Temple – A shiva temple
Kashi Visvanath Shivalingam
Gayatri Devi Temple
Aniruddha and Pradyumna Temple
Rishi Durvasa Temple
Amba Ji Temple
Radha Krishna Temple
Gates of Dwarkadhish temple
Dwarkadhish Temple has 2 entrances, they are titled Moksha Dwara and Swarga Dwara. From the Swarga dwara, 56 steps lead down to Gomti Ghat and stories suggest that 56 steps represent 56 crore yadavas.
As mentioned before, the temple is busy all day long where they follow a strict routine. During the day, there will be aarti, darshans, and bhogs. The activities mean, devotees converse with the deity and offer food.
Throughout the day, the Shringar of the deity is changed and every time the shringar is changed, the backdrop of the deity is changed where the deity is put on with amazing jewellery.
Flag Hoisting Ceremony
One of the striking features of the Dwarkadish temple is its flags. And every time you look, a different colored flag will be visible as it is changed 3 times in morning hours and twice evening hours.
There is a waiting list of 2 years for a person to sponsor flags.
The flags itself hold great importance here. The family sponsoring the flag should feed all the Brahmanas in Dwarka and they bring the flag singing and dancing to the temple premises. The flag is then offered to the deity where a person from the Brahmin community goes up and changes the flag.
The flag that is sponsored comes with a lot of rules where it should measure 52 yards. 52 smaller flags are attached to the large flag representing 52 sub-casts of yadavas. Another theory says 52 represents the 52 doors that Dwarka once had.
The flag can be of any color except black and the flag should have a sun and a moon emblem on it.