Hotels in India »  Pilgrimage Tours India » Gujarat – Dwarka

Dwarka in Gujarat is deeply interfaced with Hindu mythology and can only be appreciated by those who are well versed in the traditions. Excavations have established that, consistent with legends, modern day Dwarka is the sixth settlement of the same name, its predecessors having been swallowed by the sea.

The most important spot on the Saurashtra coast at the point where the Gomti river meets the great Arabian Sea lies Dwarka. Known in almost every home throughout the length and breadth of India it was here, according to legend, that Lord Krishna ruled.

Today, Dwarka is still an important pilgrimage centre. According to legend, Lord Krishna, after slaying the mighty Kansa, left his abode at Mathura and traveled with the entire Yadav community of Mathura to the coast of Saurashtra where he founded his kingdom. It is said that the gods sent various gifts. Indra presented an assembly hall called Sudharama, Varun gifted horses that could run as fast as the wind, Kuber gave immense wealth to fill the coffers of Dwarkadhish very aptly known then as Swarandwarika – Golden Dwarka.

The historic connection with Lord Krishna finds as its focus the Dwarkadhish temple—one of the most impressive Hindu shrines in the state. Its sanctum, the Jag Mandir, is said to be 2,500 years old. Its richly carved facing hall is supported by as many as 60 columns and the temple rises five storeys high, the tip of its exquisitely carved conical spire stabbing the sky at 157 feet.

With its rich religious association it is natural that Dwarka should have a multitude of temples, large and small, many associated with Puranic legends. One of the most popular with pilgrims is the temple of Rukmini, Lord Krishna’s wife believed to be an incarnation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Then there is the township of Bet Dwarka 32 kilometres from Dwarka known today as Shankoddar island. This island is supposed to be the place where Lord Krishna and his family lived. Pilgrims are ferried to and fro to the island in boats manned by boatmen who claim a long lineage. Near the island is the ancient Gopi Lake and further ahead lies Dwarikavan or the forest of Dwarka. In the forest is located the famous Naagnath (Shiva) temple. It is recorded in the Puranas (ancient texts) that 12 jyotirlingas or columns of light representing Lord Shiva manifested themselves in different parts of the country. The jyotirlinga enshrined in the temple of Naagnath is known as Nageshwar Mahadev and attracts thousands of pilgrims all throughout the year.

In addition to its temples, its legends and its fame as the town founded by Lord Krishna, Dwarka is also sanctified as the seat of Adi Shankaracharya who established the four seats (mathas) in four different directions in the country. Research work in Sanskrit is carried on at the Shankaracharya’s seat known as Sharad Peetha.

The name Dwarika means ‘gateway’ and, historically, Dwarka the gateway to the rich coastal hinterland of Saurashtra. Trading ships from Assyria, Italy, Iran and Arabia once called at Dwarka. Today, trucks trundle towards Dwarka to carry away salt and soda ash and fertilizers from the Tata Chemical factory. But pilgrims care little about modernity in Dwarka. For them what matters is the past of Dwarka with its colourful legends and splendid temples with a wealth of anecdotes threading them to ancient times. Together, the temples, the legends, the history of Dwarka—the township of Lord Krishna—provide a golden link with eternity.


Bhalka Tirth: the spot where Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and struck by a arrow hile sleeping in a deerskin. It is said Lord Krishna was cremated at Dehotsarga at Triveni Ghat.

Closeby lies somnath with its shrine built by Soma, the Moon God. The Majestic monument as it stands today is a recent replication of the earlier construction. It is said that the original temple built by the Moon God was of gold. After it was razed to the ground it was rebuilt by Ravana in silver. When the silver temple was knocked down it was reconstructed in wood by Krishna and when this was pulled down an edifice of stone was erected by Bhimdev. Relics of the old Somnath shrine have been preserved in a museum housed in a temple. An interesting Sun Temple is also located in Somnath. Somnath is also one of the 12 jyotirlingas or Shiva shrines in India.

In the green depths of the Gir forest—the last abode of the majestic Asiatic lion—there is an enchanting spot called Tulshyam. There is a temple dedicated to Bhim and his mother Kunti along with hot springs.

At Champaner, 48 kilometres from Vadodara, rises the legendary hill of Pavagadh. The literal meaning of Pavagadh is Quarter of a Hill so called because, according to legend, this hill was once a portion of the Himalayan mountain which Hanuman the monkey god carried to Lanka to save Laxman. The city of Champaner also boasts of the Jami Masjid—one of the finest mosques in Gujarat.

Palitana at the foot of the Shatrunjaya Hill (place of victory) has 863 magnificent marble spired temples rising in serried steps from its base to the very top. The temples were built over a span of 900 years through successive generations of pilgrims. It is one of the most scared sites for Jains. Another Jain centre is Girnar Hill which overlooks Junagadh. Like Palitana it is studded with temples. Ten thousand steps form part of the 600 metre climb to the top where lies the temple of Amba Mata where newly weds pray for marital happiness.

Modhera, 105 kilometres from Ahmedabad, stands an exquisite temple dedicated to the sun. The Modhera sun Temple built in 1026-1027 has been designed to allow the first rays of the sun to shine at the time of the equinoxes on the image of Surya, the Sun God. Though partially ruined, the temple retains its earlier glory.

Dakor is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. The striking image of Lord Krishna in the temple of Ranchondrai is believed to belong to the golden period of Dwarka. It is said that a devotee brought this image from Dwarka and installed it in Dakor. On a silvery night of the full moon (sharad purnima) in October-November, a fair which attracts thousands of pilgrims is held in the temple compound.

At Shamlaji stands an exquisitely sculpted Vaishnava temple. More than 800 years old, the archaeologically noteworthy temple hosts a colourful fair on the full moon day in November-December.

Lord Krishna and Rukmini got married, it is believed, at the temple of Madhavpur. On the ninth day of the bright half in March-April, a large fair replete with colourful folk ceremonies recreate the joyous event to celebrate the marriage of the divine couple.

Amongst the most popular places of pilgrimage in Gujarat is ambaji dedicated to the worship of Shakti.



By Air: Bhavnagar, the nearest airport lies at a distance of 60 kilometres from Palitana.

By Rail: A metre gauge line connects palitana to Sihor, and then on to Ahmedabad, a total distance of 275 kilometres.

By Road: State Transport buses, private buses and taxis and conducted tours connect Palitana to Bhavnagar and other important places in Gujarat.

Where to Stay: Toran Hotel, Sumru, Hotel Shravak and a number of dharamshalas provide comfortable accommodation.


By Air: The nearest airport is at Keshod, 49 kilometres away.

By Rail: The nearest railhead is Veraval, a mere 5 kilometres away.

By Road: State Transport buses, private buses and taxis ply to and from Somnath from other towns.


By Road: Tulshishyam entails a 170 kilometre drive from Junagadh.

Where to Stay: There is a comfortable Toran Bungalow at Tulsishyam.


By Air: Vadodara, 48 kilometres away, is the nearest airport.

By Rail: Vadodara, 100 kilometres from Ahmedabad, is well connected by rail to other centres.

By Bus: State Transport buses and private buses and taxis run between Vadodara and Champaner and other places.

Where to Stay: The Hotel Chmpaner provides accommodation to those who wish to make an overnight halt at Champaner. Vadodara serves as a good base with a range of accommodation from which to choose.


Modhera is 105 kilometres from Ahmedabad.

By Air: The most convenient airport is at Ahmedabad.

By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Mehsana, 35 kilometres from Modhera. Buses ply from here to Modhera.

By Road: Direct State Transport buses, conducted tours, private buses and taxis run from Ahmedabad to Modhera.


By Air: Jamnagar, 145 kilometres away, is the nearest airport.

By Rail: Dwarka is on the Western Railway line.

By Road: State Transport buses, private buses and taxis and conducted tours run to Dwarka.

Where to Stay: Toran Tourist Bungalow—a state run enterprise, and a number of Dharamshalas provide reasonable, neat and clean accommodation at Dwarka.


By Air: Baroda, 80 kilometres away, is the nearest airport. Ahmedabad is 90 kilometres from Dakor.

By Rail: Dakor is accessible by rail.

By Road: State transport buses, private buses and taxis and conducted tours connect Dakor to other centres.

Where to Stay: Dharamshalas and Government Guest Houses provide fairly comfortable


By Air: Ahmedabad is the nearest airport.

By Rail: A railway line links Shamlaji to other centres.

By Road: State Transport buses, private buses and taxis and conducted tours run from other centres to Shamlaji.


By Air: Porbhander, 60 kilometres away or Keshod, 40 kilometres from junagadh are convenient airports.

By Rail: Madavpur can easily be reached from the Porbander railway station.

By Road: State Transport buses, private buses and taxis, conducted tours connect Madhavpur to other centres.

Where to Stay: Both Chorwad and Porbander are convenient bases for visiting Madhavpur.


Am baji is 200 kilometres from Ahmedabad. State Transport buses, private buses and conducted tours can be taken to Ambaji.

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