Lord Krishna enjoys a unique status in the pantheon of Gods. As an avatar of Lord Vishnu he is worshipped by millions of devotees. Mathura, his birthplace is one pilgrimage spot and Dwarka, the place he made his home and kingdom, is another. The Jagat Mandir also happens to be one of the major char dham pilgrimage spots in India. When one thinks of Lord Krishna then one also thinks of Sudama, his childhood friend who travelled from Mathura to Dwarka at his wife’s behest. Sudama entered the court and on seeing him, Lord Krishna rushed to meet him, washed his feet and welcomed him. Sudama actually wanted to ask for Lord Krishna’s help but he forgot and returned home, only to find it transformed with riches. Such is the goodness of Lord Krishna who understands and grants. Dwarka is where pilgrims go with prayers in their hearts. Should you decide to go to Dwarka, and then make it a point to also visit Sudama Temple in Porbandar? This entire pilgrimage trip can well be referred to as the Sudama Dwaraka pilgrimage.
Dwarka is on the coast of Saurashtra, about 104 km from Porbandar and 378 km from Ahmedabad. There are myths galore associated with Dwarka, the golden city of Lord Krishna and how it was submerged in the Sea. The temple at Bet Dwarka, not far away, could be proof because here, the temple is submerged at high tide each day. The city is home to the Jagad Mandir or Dwarkadheesh mandir as it is known, dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is believed that Vajranabha the great grandson constructed the first temple and it was renoved over the centuries and expanded by Kings. Close to the temple you will also find Rukmini temple dedicated to Lord Krishna’s wife, an incarnation of Lakshmi, as well as Narsinh Mehta temple and Shankh Narayan temples.
However, it is the Dwarkadheesh temple that draws millions of pilgrims. Seven storeys high and constructed of sandstone without any metal or wood, it is about 43 metres tall. It sits at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula where the Gomati River flows into the sea. The temple complex houses shrines dedicated to Devaki ji, Kusheshwar Mahadev, Sharda Peeth and Pradyumnaji. The temple dedicated to Samudra Narayan, the sea God who granted land to Lord Krishna for Dwarka, is also located nearby. The temple opens at 6.30 AM with mangla aarti and ceremonies proceed till 1 PM when it closes. Evening rituals start at 5 PM and go on till 9.30 PM. While the temple and the idol inside are worshipped, the Dhwaja or flag atop the shikhar also has its own significance. It is 52 yards long and there is a reason for its length. It binds together 52 different Yadav sects and represents the 52 Yadav administrators who worked under Lord Krishna. The 52 yards also signify the 50 doors with the two extra for entrance and exit to the personal abode of Lord Shriji known as Moksha Dwar and Swarg Dwar. The Sun and Moon symbol on the flag represent incarnation of Shriji. The red, green, yellow, blue, pink, white and saffron colors too have special significance.
It is best to start the Dwarka pilgrimage at Porbandar and visit the temple dedicated to Sudama, the childhood friend of Lord Krishna. Porbandar was once known as Sudamapuri or the city of Sudama. The temple is located in the middle of Porbandar and dates back to the 12th century. However, the present temple’s construction goes back to 1902 by Bhavsinhji Maharaj of Porbandar on a grand scale with beautiful carved pillars and arches. The temple houses the idols of Lord Krishna, Sushila, wife of Sudama and Sudama. The temple is a reminder of friendship and devotion.
How to Reach
The pilgrimage to Sudama temple and Dwarka can start at Ahmedabad, a major rail junction with flight connectivity and road transport services. One can just as well fly in to Porbandar and stat the pilgrimage with a visit to the Sudama temple and then drive along the coast to Dwarka. It is also easy to fly to Jamnagar, travel to Dwarka and then go on to Porbandar.
Best Time to Visit & Weather
The best time to visit Dwarka is on Janmashtami day when there are millions of pilgrims and the entire city takes on a festive air. Winter is better with September being a good month because the countryside is green after the rains. Winter months up to February are pleasantly cool while summer can be hot but temperature is mitigated by the sea breezes.
The Dwarkadheesh temple opens at 6.30 AM and closes at 1 PM and then again it opens at 5 PM and closes at 9.30 PM. If you undertake a pilgrimage to Dwarka, be sure to take in Sudama temple in Porbandar too. Sudama Dwarka is an enlightening trip telling you about how humble Lord Krishna can be and how friendship can endure.