Dwarkadish Temple in the holy city of Dwarka in Gujarat is a Vaishnava temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Krishna is considered to be the absolute incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The deity of Krishna is worshipped here as ‘Dwarkadhish’ (King of Dwarka). The 2,500 years old temple is also known as ‘Jagat Mandir’. The present form of the temple is estimated to belong to the 12th century.
The five-storeyed Dwarkadish Temple is built of soft limestone. It is richly carved with figurines of gods and goddesses on the exterior. The temple stands at the confluence of the river Gomati with the Arabian Sea. The temple features a sanctum, atrium and a rectangular hall with porches on three sides. The temple has two gateways: Swarga Dwar (gate to the heavens), where pilgrims enter, and Moksha Dwar (gate to liberation), where pilgrims exit. The temple spire soars to a height of 78.3m.
Government of India took over the shrine in 1960, and conducts periodical renovations from time to time.
The holy town of Dwarka, popularly known as ‘city of gold’, is believed to be the legendary city built by Lord Sri Krishna between 3500 and 5000 years ago. It is believed that the lord spent close to hundred years of his life in this holy city. According to the epic Mahabharata, the city in due course was submerged by the sea after Krishna left his body and went to heavenly abode.
As per the belief, a number of civilizations built their cities in the area where the city of ancient Dwaraka once stood. The present city of Dwarka is believed to be the seventh one built on the site. Lord Krishna’s city is believed to remain buried under the sea even now.
Krishna was succeeded by his great grandson Vajranabh. The belief is that the temple was originally built in 400 B.C. It was constructed in one night by a supernatural intervention under Vajranabh’s direction. The original structure was just a small umbrella type monument. The temple had undergone renovations over the centuries.
The popular belief is that Mirabhai, the 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna, merged with the idol in this temple.
Dwarkadish Temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimage centres. The other three temples are in Badrinath, Puri and Rameswaram. Char Dham shrines are considered to be highly sacred. It is considered highly blessed by Hindus to visit these temples during one’s lifetime.
The temple gets maximum number of devotees during the Janmashtami (Krishna’s birthday) celebrations. Devotees from all over India come here to have darshan of Lord Krishna.
The Rukmini Devi Temple, dedicated to Rukmini, Krishna’s chief queen, (who was believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi) is located 2 kilometres away from Dwarka.