- See Dwarka for the modern city. Not to be confused with the historical Dvaravati kingdom of Thailand.
Dvārakā (also known as Dvāravatī, both names meaning "the many-gated [city]" in Sanskrit; sometimes transcribed as Dwaraka and Dwaravati respectively) is a city described in the Mahabharata, as a capital of the Anarta Kingdom.
Dvārakā in the Mahabharata
- Pandu's sons lived in Dwaraka during their exile to woods. Their servants headed by Indrasena lived there for one year (the 13th year) (4,72)
- A desert is mentioned to be present on the way from Indraprastha to Dwaraka (14-53,55)
- Bala Rama mentioned about a sacrificial fire of Dwaraka, before he set for his pilgrimage over Sarasvati River (9,35)
- One should proceed with subdued senses and regulated diet to Dwaravati, where by bathing in Pindaraka, one obtaineth the fruit of the gift of gold in abundance (3,82)
- King Nriga in consequence of a single fault of his, had to dwell for a long time at Dwaravati and Krishna became the cause of his rescue from that miserable plight.(13,72)
- Sage Durvasa resided at Dwaravati for a long time (13,160)
- Arjuna visited Dwaravati during his military campaign after the Kurukshetra War (14,83)
||This article may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, controversies or matters relative to the article subject as a whole. (April 2013)|
On May 19, 2001, India's science and technology minister Murli Manohar Joshi announced the finding of ruins in the Gulf of Khambhat. The ruins, known as the Gulf of Khambhat Cultural Complex (GKCC), are located on the seabed of a nine-kilometer stretch off the coast of Gujarat province at a depth of about 40 m. The site was discovered by a team from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in December 2000 and investigated for six months with acoustic techniques.
A follow up investigation was conducted by the same institute in November 2001, which included dredging to recover artifacts. A round of further underwater explorations was made in the Gulf of Khambhat site by the NIOT team from 2003 to 2004, and the samples obtained of what was presumed to be pottery were sent to laboratories in Oxford, UK and Hannover, Germany, as well as several institutions within India, to be dated. In a 2003 paper A.S. Gaur and Sundaresh of National Institute of Oceanography concluded "The present excavation has thrown a light on the cultural sequence of Bet Dwarka Island. Around the 17th century B.C. Late Harappan people had established their settlement and they perhaps migrated from Nageshwar which is close by. They have exploited marine resources such as fish and conch shells. It appears that Late Harappans of Bet Dwarka island had interaction with the Saurashtra Harappans and they might be visiting ports on the coast of the northern Saurashtra region. The scanty habitational deposit suggests that the site was abandoned after a couple of centuries. The island was again inhabited during the 8th century B.C. on the southeastern coast of the island."
Inconclusive findings however, raised the possibility that the extremely old samples, as argued for many other artifacts recovered from the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay), are not man-made artifacts or potsherds, but rather geofacts and related objects of natural origin.
Michael Witzel argues that the "ruins" are either natural rock formations or the result of faulty remote sensing equipment and that the "artifacts" recovered are either geofacts or foreign objects introduced to the site by the very strong tidal currents in the Gulf of Cambay. The side scan sonar equipment used to image the bottom of the Gulf may have been faulty, and the claimed supporting evidence is purely circumstantial.
One of the main controversies is a piece of wood that was carbon dated to around 7500 BCE, a date which is used in arguments for a very early date for a city here. Dr. D.P. Agrawal, chairman of the Paleoclimate Group and founder of Carbon-14 testing facilities in India stated in an article in Frontline Magazine that the piece was dated twice, at separate laboratories. The NGRI in Hyderabad returned a date of 7190 BC and the BSIP in Hannover returned a date of 7545-7490 BC. Some archeologists, Agrawal in particular, contend that the discovery of an ancient piece of wood does not imply the discovery of an ancient civilization. Agrawal argues that the wood piece is a common find, given that 20,000 years ago the Arabian Sea was 100 meters lower than its current level, and that the gradual sea level rise submerged entire forests.
- Witzel, Michael, 2006, Rama’s realm: Indocentric rewritings of early South Asian archaeology and history in Fagan, G. G., ed., Archaeological Fantasies. Routledge Taylor, and Francis Group, New York ISBN 0-415-30593-4
- Bavadam, Lyla. "Questionable claims: Archaeologists debunk the claim that underwater structures in the Gulf of Khambat point to the existence of a pre-Harappan civilisation." Frontline 2–15 March 2002. .
- Kathiroli, S. "Recent Marine Archaeological Finds in Khambhat, Gujarat." Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology 2004: 141-149. Online.