Excavations to Find Submerged Dwaraka


Sri Krsna's Dwarkadish Temple
Oleograph, c. 1910

Jan 13, DWARKA, GUJARAT (ANI) — Millions of Lord Krishna devotees may be able to look at remains of Dwarka, the place where Lord Krishna is believed to have resided as a King, as a team of Archaeological Survey of India and Indian Navy personnel is excavating deep into the ocean, along the shore and land of Gujarat's holy town.

The underwater wing of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and an Indian Navy team has joined hands for this special operation, which was launched on January 1 at a site opposite to the famous Dwarkadhish Temple to unearth the historical evidence of its submergence. The decision to dig at the site was taken after carrying out an extensive research of the nearby areas by the underwater wing of the ASI. Officials say the findings will help to provide timeline of Dwarka.

"The underwater wing of the Archaeological Survey of India is working in Dwarka in order to find the archaeological remains of Dwarka and to scientifically date it. So, we can build up a firm chronology based on the material evidence as well as the scientific dating," said Alok Tripathi, Superintending Archaeologist of underwater archaeological wing, ASI.

Temple authorities have welcomed the step taken by the submarine wing of the ASI and said the findings should be preserved in a museum within Dwarka. "We want that the remains which will be excavated should be preserved in a museum built in Dwarka itself. In this way, people will come to know of the history of Dwarka, where Lord Krishna actually resided," said Adhin, a priest. It is the first time that the ASI has undertaken digging work on such a magnitude. Till date, the National Institute of Oceanography (Goa) had carried an extensive research in to Dwarka but only undersea excavations.

Though no artifacts have been recovered from the excavation so far, a number of semicircular and rectangular stone blocks and structures were recovered during an off-shore exploration of the town in 1982. Hindus regard Dwarka as one of the four prime pilgrim centers.

It is situated in the extreme west of Gujarat is in the Saurashtra peninsula on the Arabian Sea. It lies on 20°22' north latitude and 69°05' east longitude. The city is built on the right bank of Gamut creek.

Dwarka features in most of the legends surrounding Lord Krishna. It is from here that the grown Lord Krishna is believed to have ruled his kingdom.

It is sanctified as the place where Lord Vishnu slew the demon Shankhasura. The Puranas mention the 12 Jyotirlingas or columns of light representing Lord Shiva which manifested in different parts of the country. One of these is located in Dwarka and is known as the Nageshwar Mahadev.

The temple of Dwarkadheesh, also known as Jagat Mandir, is built on the north bank of the Gomti Creek. he Jagat Mandir or Nij Mandir forms the sanctum of the Dwarkadish temple and dates back to 2500 years.

Legend has it that before vanishing into atmosphere, Lord Krishna asked his devotees to leave Swarnadwarika so that the sea could engulf it. Until this day, Lord Krishna's city lies buried under the sea. Excavations have revealed that the sea swallowed five settlements, the present-day Dwarka being the sixth in line.

It is said that Lord Krishna, after slaying Kansa, left his abode at Mathura and traveled with the entire Yadava community to the coast of Saurashtra where he founded a town and named it Swarnadwarika.

Vajranabh, Lord Krishna's successor and great grandson, is believed to have built the present temple Dwarkanath, also called Trilok Sundar.

Architecturally, the temple is constructed on the same plan and system as most of the Hindu sacred edifices of antiquity.

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