Dwarkadhish Temple

Coordinates: 22°14′16.39″N 68°58′3.22″E / 22.2378861°N 68.9675611°E / 22.2378861; 68.9675611
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Dwarkadheesh Temple
The temple shikharas with the entrance in front
FestivalsKrishna Janmashtami
Dwarkadhish Temple is located in Gujarat
Dwarkadhish Temple
Location in Gujarat
Geographic coordinates22°14′16.39″N 68°58′3.22″E / 22.2378861°N 68.9675611°E / 22.2378861; 68.9675611
StyleMāru-Gurjara architecture
Completed15th–16th century (present architecture)

The Dwarkadhish temple, also known as the Jagat Mandir and occasionally spelled Dwarakadheesh, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Krishna, who is worshiped here by the name Dwarkadhish (Dvārakādhīśa), or 'King of Dwarka'. The temple is located at Dwarka city of Gujarat, India, which is one of the destinations of Char Dham, a Hindu pilgrimage circuit. The main shrine of the five-storied building, supported by 72 pillars, is known as Jagat Mandir or Nija Mandir. Archaeological findings suggest the original temple was built in 200 BCE at the earliest.[1][2][3] The temple was rebuilt and enlarged in the 15th–16th century.[4][5]

The original structure was destroyed by Mahmud Begada in 1473.

The temple became part of the Char Dham pilgrimage considered sacred by Hindus in India. Adi Shankara, the 8th century Hindu theologian and philosopher, visited the shrine. The other three being comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath and Puri. Even today a memorial within the temple is dedicated to his visit. Dwarakadheesh is the 98th Divya Desam of Vishnu on the subcontinent, glorified in the Divya Prabandha sacred texts.[6] The temple is at an elevation of 12.19 metres (40.0 ft) above mean sea-level. It faces west. The temple layout consists of a garbhagriha (Nijamandira or Harigraha) and an antarala (an antechamber).[7] However, the existing temple is dated to 16th century.


Stairs leading up to the main entrance of the temple

As per Hindu legend, Dwarka was built on a piece of land by Krishna that was reclaimed from the sea. According to the Mahabharata, the sage Durvasa once visited Krishna and his wife Rukmini. The sage wished that the pair took him to their palace, demanding that they pull his chariot like horses. The pair agreed and started to carry the sage, even as the latter struck Rukmini when she fell.[8] After some distance, according to local tradition, Rukmini got tired and she requested some water from Krishna. Krishna dug a hole with his powers that brought in river Ganga to the place. Durvasa was furious and cursed Rukmini to remain in the place. The temple where Rukmini's shrine is found, is believed to be the place where she stood.[9] In the epic, finding no fault with the divine couple, Durvasa blessed Krishna with invincibility everywhere except the soles of his feet, and declared that Rukmini would be the foremost of the deity's spouses and would be his eternal companion in the next world as well.[10]


The town of Dwarka in Gujarat has a history that dates back centuries, and mentioned in the Mahabharata epic as the Dwaraka Kingdom. Situated on the banks of river Gomti, the town is described in legend as the capital of Krishna. Evidence such as a stone block with script, the way the stones were dressed showing that dowels had been used, and an examination of anchors found on the site suggest that the harbour site dates only to historical times, with some of the underwater structure being late Medieval. Coastal erosion was probably the cause of the destruction of what was an ancient port.[11]

in the fifteenth century the Raja of Dwarka was a Vadhel named Bhim who also ruled the local Vagher pirates. Once a maulana named Mahmud Samarqandi was undergoing a sea voyage when storm caused his vessel to go towards the coast of Dwarka. There the ship was attacked by Vagher pirates who plundered the ship, kidnapped his women, and left Mahmud and his sons adrift. Mahmud Samarqandi brought this matter to Sultan Mahmud at his court in Mustafabad. Thus the sultan decide to capture Dwarka and in 1473 began marching towards the city. The Raja of Dwarka Bhim and his Rajputs fled the city to the island fortress of Bet, allowing Mahmud Begada to plunder Dwarka, destroy buildings and the Dwarkadhish temple and destroy its idol.[12][13][14][15] However according to a Rangarajan, citing a Gujarati article by Jayantilal Thaker, the Veghars "did their utmost to defend" the temple.[16]

The current image of Dvārakādhīśa was installed by Aniruddhaśrama Śaṅkarācārya in 1559.[17]


View of the five floors

The temple covers area of 27-metre by 21-metre with east–west length of 29-metre and north–south width of 23 metres. The temple is constructed of limestone and has intricate carvings.

It is a five storied edifice built over 72 pillars (sandstone temple with 60 pillars is also mentioned).[18][19][20] There are two important entrances to the temple, one is the main entry door which is called the Moksha Dvara (meaning "Door to Salvation") and the exit door which is known as the Svarga Dvara (meaning: "Gate to Heaven").[20] Outside this doorway are 56 steps that leads to the Gomati River.[21]

Carvings around the platform

The temple spire rises to a height of 78 metres (256 ft).[20] A flag, hoisted over the spire, shows the sun and moon, which is believed to indicate that Krishna would be there until the sun and moon exist on Earth.[22][20] The flag, triangular in shape, is 50 feet (15 m) in length. This flag is changed four times a day with a new one and Hindus pay a huge sum of money to hoist it by purchasing a new flag. The money received on this account is credited to the trust fund of the temple to meet the operation and maintenance expenses of the temple.[6]

Religious importance[edit]

Dwarkadhish Temple near Gomti river, Dwarka

Since this site is associated with the ancient city of Dvārakā and the Vedic era Krishna of Mahabharata, it is an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus. It is one of three main pilgrimage sites related to "Krishna" circuit, namely 48 kos parikrama of Kurukshetra in Haryana state, Braj Parikarma in Mathura of Uttar Pradesh state and Dwarka Parikrama (Dwarkadish Yatra) at Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat state.

Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism established by Adi Shankara, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer.[23] The four monasteries are located across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadhish Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Shaivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair.[24] The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their lifetime.[25] Traditionally the trip starts are the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circumambulation in Hindu temples.[25]

The temple is open from 6.00 am to 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm. The Krishna Janmashtami festival, or Gokulashtami, the birthday of Krishna was commissioned by Vallaba (1473-1531).[26]

According to a legend, Meera Bai, the famed Rajput princess who was also a poetess-saint and a staunch devotee of Krishna, merged with the deity at this temple.[19] It is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven holy cities of India.[20]

The temple is near the Dvaraka Pitha, one of the four pithas (religious centers) established by Adi Shankara (686-717) who pioneered unification of Hindu religious beliefs in the country.[19][6]


The Dwarkadhish Jagat Mandir was awarded the certificate of "World Amazing Place" on 22 March 2021 by the World Talent Organization, New Jersey, USA.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  • Bansal, Sunita Pant (1 January 2008). Hindu Pilgrimage. Pustak Mahal. ISBN 978-81-223-0997-3.
  • Bandyopadhyay, Deepak (11 June 2014). Hinduism. Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd 2014. ISBN 978-81-291-3428-8.
  • Desai, Anjali H. (2007). India Guide Gujarat. India Guide Publications. ISBN 978-0-9789517-0-2.
  • Paramāra, Thomasa (1996). Temples of Gujarat Built During the Mughal Period. Thomas B. Parmar.
  • UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site status, report on Indian Express newspaper website
  • Underwater remains near Dwarakadheesh temple, on website of National Institute of Oceanography
  • Brockman, Norbert C. (2011). Encyclopedia of Sacred Places. California: ABC-CLIO, LLC. ISBN 978-1-59884-655-3.
  • Gwynne, Paul (2009). World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publication. ISBN 978-1-4051-6702-4.


  1. ^ S. R. Rao (1988). Marine Archaeology of Indian Ocean Countries. National Institute of Oceanography. pp. 18–25. ISBN 8190007408. The Kharoshti inscription in the first floor of Sabhamandapa of Dwarkadhish Temple is assignable to 200 BC. [...] Excavation was done by the veteran archaeologist H.D. Sankalia some twenty years ago on the western side of the present Jagat-Man- dir at Modern Dwarka and he declared that the present Dwarka was not earlier than about 200 BC.
  2. ^ L. P. Vidyarthi (1974). Journal of Social Research,Volume 17. Council of Social and Cultural Research. p. 60. Inscription in brahmi found in the temple supports the fact of its construction during the Mauryan regime. Apart from this beginning, the pages of history of Dwarka and Dwarkadhish temple are full of accounts of its destruction and reconstruction in the last 2000 years.
  3. ^ Alok Tripathi (2005). Remote Sensing And Archaeology. Sundeep Prakashan. p. 79. ISBN 8175741554. In 1963 H.D. Sankalia carried out an archaeological excavation.. at Dwarkadheesh temple at Dwarka to solve the problem. Archaeological evidences found in this excavation were only 2000 years old
  4. ^ 1988, P. N. Chopra, Encyclopaedia of India, Volume 1, p. 114.
  5. ^ Rao, Shikaripur Ranganath (1999). The lost city of Dvārakā. Aditya Prakashan. ISBN 978-8186471487.
  6. ^ a b c Bandyopadhyay 2014, p. 71.
  7. ^ Paramāra 1996, p. 87.
  8. ^ Williams, George M. (27 March 2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. OUP USA. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.
  9. ^ Bhoothalingam, Mathuram (2016). S., Manjula (ed.). Temples of India Myths and Legends. New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. pp. 87–91. ISBN 978-81-230-1661-0.
  10. ^ Vyasa, Dwaipayana (24 August 2021). The Mahabharata of Vyasa: (Complete 18 Volumes). Enigma Edizioni. pp. 7206–7207.
  11. ^ Gaur, A.S.; Sundaresh and Sila Tripati (2004). "An ancient harbour at Dwarka: Study based on the recent underwater explorations". Current Science. 86 (9).
  12. ^ Commissariat, M.S. (1938). A History of Gujarat: Including a Survey of its Chief Architectural Monuments and Inscriptions. Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd. pp. 173–174.
  13. ^ Ansari, Z.D.; Mate, M.S. (1966). Excavations at Dwarka: 1963. Deccan College Postgraduate & Research Institute. p. 23. About this time [1500], Abul Fath Khan, better known as Mahmud Beghra invaded the Okhāmaṇḍala area and despoiled the entire area including Dwarka itself. This mission was ostensibly undertaken to suppress the pirates in this area.
  14. ^ Chandra, Satish (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals: Part One: Delhi Sultanate: (1206-1526) (3rd ed.). Har-Anand. p. 220. Later in his [sic] region, Mahmud Begarha sacked Dwarka, largely because it harboured pirates who ravaged the traders. Thus, the immediate occasion for Mahmud's attack was the plaint of Maulana Mahmud Samarqandi that while returning to Hormuz, he was driven ashore and all his property looted by the pirates who were sheltered by the local ruler. The campage was, however, also used to raze the famous Hindu temples there.
  15. ^ Chaube, J. (1974). History of Gujarat Kingdom: 1458-1537. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. pp. 65–71.
  16. ^ Rangarajan 1990, p. 50,55: "The temple was probably demolished by Śamsuddin Damgāni, the Governor of Sultan Firuzshah Tughlak in the 14th century A.D. and again by Sultan Mahmud I alias Begda of Gujarat in the 15th century A.D. The Veghars did their utmost to defend it and restored ti whenever necessary."
  17. ^ Rangarajan, Haripriya (1990). Spread of Vaiṣṇavism in Gujarat Up to 1600 A.D. (A Study with Special Reference to the Iconic Forms of Viṣṇu). Somaiya Publications. p. 51.
  18. ^ "Dwarka". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  19. ^ a b c Desai 2007, p. 285.
  20. ^ a b c d e Bansal 2008, p. 20-23.
  21. ^ Chakravarti 1994, p. 140
  22. ^ "Dwarkadish Temple, Dwarkadish Temple Dwarka, Dwarkadish Temple in India". Indianmirror.com. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  23. ^ Mittal, Sushil (2004). The Hindu World. New York: Routledge. pp. 482–483. ISBN 0-203-64470-0.
  24. ^ Brockman 2011, pp. 94-96
  25. ^ a b Gwynne 2008, Section on Char Dham
  26. ^ Harshananda, Swami (2012). Hindu Pilgrim centres (2nd ed.). Bangalore, India: Ramakrishna Math. p. 87. ISBN 978-81-7907-053-6.
  27. ^ Gujarati, TV9 (22 March 2021). "Devbhumi Dwarka: દ્વારકાના જગતમંદિરને મળ્યું વર્લ્ડ અમેઝિંગ પેલેસનું સન્માન" [Devbhumi Dwarka: Dwarka's Jagatmandir honored with World Amazing Palace]. Tv9 Gujarati (in Gujarati). Retrieved 23 March 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  28. ^ "Shree Dwarkadhish Temple | World Talent Organization". worldtalentorg.com. 13 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.

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