Sunday, November 06, 2005

Dwaraka – Rise and Fall

Dwaraka has a special importance as one of the major Hindu pilgrim place, known as the capital of Lord Krishna's Kingdom. It is also an important historical monument. The region of the west coast, where Krishna was to settle the Yadavas was full of flowering and fruit-bearing trees. Here grew the nagacampas, grapes, coconut trees and many others. It was the land of the hunter Ekalavya. Dronacarya had also lived here. Krishna decided to built a new city here and laid the foundation at an auspicious moment. He named the new city Dvaravati. Much later the poet Magha in his Sisupalavadha, sarga2, describes in slokas 31 onwards, the city of Dwaraka, sloka 33 can be translated:

"The yellow glitter of the golden fort of the city in the sea throwing yellow light all round looked as if the flames of vadavagni came out tearing asunder the sea."

Dwaraka on mainland which was one of the busiest ports of the Mahabharata Period met a sudden end due to the fury of the sea. After the Mahabharata War Krishna lived for 36 years at Dwaraka. At the end, the Vrshnis, Bhojas and Satvatas destroyed themselves in a fratricidal feud at Prabhasa but Krishna did not interfere to save them. The portends of destruction seen by Sri Krishna who advised immediate evacuation of Dwarakaare stated in Bhagavata Purana. Dwaraka abandoned by Hari (Krishna) was swallowed by the sea. The submergence took place immediately after Sri Krishna departed from the world.

Construction of Dwaraka

Interesting descriptions about its construction are found in Puranas. "Fearing attack from Jarasangh and Kaalayvan on Mathura, Shri Krishna and Yadavas left Mathura and arrived at the coast of Saurashtra. They decided to build their capital in the coastal region and invoke the Vishwakarma the deity of construction. However, Vishwakarma says that the task can be completed only if Samudradev, the Lord of the sea provided some land. Shri Krishna worshipped Samudradev, who was pleased and gave them land measuring 12 yojans and the Lord vishwakarma build Dwaraka, a "city in gold". This beautiful city was also known as Dwaramati, Dwarawati and Kushsthali.

Book X of the Bhagvata Purana says, Krishna used ‘his supernatural yogic powers’, in a crisis of battle, to transfer all his people to Dwaraka where he could protect them from the enemy in ‘a fortress inaccessible to human beings.’

“The Lord caused a fortress constructed in the western sea. In the fortress he got built a city twelve yoganas (96 miles) in area and wonderful in every respect. The building of the city exhibited the expertise in architecture and the skill in masonry of Tvastr, the architect of the gods. The roads, quadrangles, streets and residential areas were constructed in conformity to the prescribed tenets of science of architecture pertaining to city building. In the city, gardens planted with celestial trees and creepers and wonderful parks were laid out. It was built with sky-scraping, gold-towered buildings and balconies of crystals. It had barns built of silver and brass which were adorned with gold pitchers. The houses therein were of gold and big emeralds.”

Destruction of Dwaraka

At the time of the death of Shri Krishna, who was hit by the arrow of a hunter near Somnath at Bhalka Tirth, Dwaraka disappeared under the sea.The information and material secured through underwater excavation off Dwaraka corroborates with the references to the City of Dwaraka, made in the Great Epic Mahabharata and various other Sanskrit literary works. In Mahabharata, there is a specific account about the submerging of Dwaraka, by the sea which reads thus:

"The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of the beautiful city. The sea covered up everything in the city. Even as they were all looking, Arjuna saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. Arjuna took a last look at the mansion of Krishna. It was soon covered by the sea. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the beautiful city which had been the favourite haunt of all the Pandavas. Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory."


At November 06, 2005 3:15 AM, Blogger Parvati said...

Arjuna, I just had known the bare details about Dwaraka; but now your simply and clearly written post has improved my knowledge about everything regarding Dwaraka.

I felt sad when I read how it was swallowed by the sea.

Somehow, again, in the Mahabharata or real life, so long as there is death, there can be no good news, it seems.

After all the struggle and wars in the Mahabharatham, the epic ends with description of everyone's end.

Quite sad and futile.

At November 06, 2005 3:36 AM, Blogger TJ said...

Will have to see to belive that place.
There is this temple on the mainland, which is marvellous.
Then on taking the boat to the island dwaraka, which is called 'Bhet Dwaraka'. That is supposed to be the real palace.
It was an out of the world experience, not mentionable in words. Do pay a visit there!

At November 06, 2005 4:14 AM, Blogger Venky Krishnamoorthy said...

TJ, Thanks for the description. It add to the post.

At November 06, 2005 5:37 AM, Blogger Sumonk said...

Every rise has a fall,
Every construction has destruction,
Every beginning will have an end,
Every arrival has a departure,
every avatar has an end,
every argument in blog has an end :-)

It is the nature of things in the universe...
with best wishes,

At November 06, 2005 6:24 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Parvati - thanks :) - I collected some details from the web and put it in this post :)..

Even I felt sad when I read about it..

At November 06, 2005 6:24 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

TJ - Yeah even I was thinking about going and seeing it..lets c - may be next year..

At November 06, 2005 6:25 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Venky - ur welcome :)

At November 06, 2005 6:25 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Sumon - that was beautiful :)

At November 06, 2005 8:39 AM, Blogger krishna said...

Dear Arjuna

Nice and informative post..

It really was wonderful to know about the glorious city of Dwaraaka.

Yes, the city of dwaraka is long gone but we can make our own body become the great dwaaraka if try out best to house "Sri Krishna" in our hearts.

On another note, i would like to bring to the attention of the reader that Sri Krishna asked Udhava to seek the help of Guru and Vayu to recover a idol of Sriman Naryana from the flooding sea and install it elsewhere in an appropriate auspicious place. That sacred idol was installed by them at Gurupavanapuri or Guruvayoor. Krishna wanted people in kali yuga to worship that idol of him with devotion .

Aren't we fortunate?

Hantha Baagyam JanAnAm

At November 06, 2005 1:09 PM, Blogger Jeevan said...

First time reading about Dwaraka. very intersting History. i think Dwaraka should gone under the sea, in Tsunami.:)

At November 06, 2005 4:57 PM, Blogger Prabu Karthik said...

yep. me too felt it was tsunami.

one great thing about yr blog is, u move from culture to sanjana to
naushad to dwaraka rather effortlessly.

all blogs are like that to some extent but yrs is special.

At November 07, 2005 2:50 AM, Blogger Parvati said...

@Krishna: Hantham Baagyam Janaanaam indeed - the supreme Grace of Lord Krishna is immeasureable and we still have the sacred idol of the Dwaapara yugam now in the Twenty first century!

At November 07, 2005 5:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwaaraka's destruction, the end of the Yaadavas and the death of SriKrishna's body all these were willed by the Jagan nataka sutradhari himself..
I guess he knows what he is doing even if it leaves us a bit sad..

At November 07, 2005 5:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

also check out on dating of the Kurukshetra war by the use of planetarium software , some interestng stuff comes up on the net..


At November 07, 2005 8:23 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Krishna - thanks :)..But who knows we may have been in Dwaraka during Krishna's period :)

At November 07, 2005 8:24 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Jeevan - thanks :)

At November 07, 2005 8:24 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Prabhu - I am honoured my friend :) - thanks a lot for ur appreciation :)

At November 07, 2005 8:25 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Anandji - sure I will check it out :)

At November 07, 2005 11:15 PM, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Pardon my Geography ( Shame on me) Where exactly was the city of Dwaraka??

I love ancient History I liked this post a lot. I couldn't read the captions under the photos...can you please let me know the link for these photos??

Very interesting read Arjuna.!

Thank you.

At November 08, 2005 9:50 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Narayanan sir - Its in Gujarat, next to Jamnagar :)

Sure - I will send u the link by email :)


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