A PILGRIMS DIARY TO NAVA DWARAKAS
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sriman Narayana out of abundant compassion appeared as LORD Krishna to save the good and destroy the evil.
As per divine plan, Lord Mahavishnu appeared as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudevar in Mathura, the holiest of all cities during midnight on krishna paksha Asthami thithi in the tamil month of Aavani (Sravanam) in the closed jail which was fully guarded on a rainy night.
The Lord appeared as a child with chathurbhujam holding the divine weapons Sankhu, Chakram, Gada, Padmam to Devaki and Vasudevar to reaffirm that HE had fulfilled their early wish. Vasudeva out of vatsalyam prayed the Lord to assume the form of a child and immediately the Lord who is the controller of the Universe obeyed him as an dutiful son .
Our poorvacharyars point out that Lord Sri Rama obeyed HIS father’s words at the age of 12 whereas Lord Krishna obeyed as soon as HE appeared . The Lord instructed Vasudevar to leave HIM at Gokula where a devotee couple, Mother Yasodha and Nandagopalan nurtured the desire to have Lord’s association.
Due to Yogamaya’s power-the inner potency of the Lord, Vasudevar’s shackles fell down, he placed the divine child in a basket and unmindful of the obstacles and the weather simply obeyed the divine orders like Bharathazhwar.
The prison gates opened, the guards were fast asleep, Adisesha, the eternal servant of the Lord who takes the position of couch while the Lord rests, as Simhasanam when the Lord relaxes , as padhukas when the Lord walks , continued with his kainkaryam of serving the Lord.
The divine serpent protected the Lord by spreading its hoods over the Lord to protect HIM from pouring rain ,River Yamuna which was in full spat paved way and utilized the opportunity to purify herself by touching the Lotus feet of the Lord and Vasudevar safely reached Gokulam where Mother Yasodha had just delivered Yogamaya and was in deep sleep and exchanged the child without anyone’s knowledge. Andal glorifies this in Tiruppavai as
“Oruthi Maganaai Pirandhu, Ore iravil oruthi maganaai valarndhu…”
The divine child was brought up in Gokulam where right from HIS appearance, the Lord displayed HIS extraordinary qualities in killing the demons who were sent by Kamsa without using any weapon. The Lord spent first 10 years of HIS childhood in Gokulam, Nandagaon, Vrindavan and left for Mathura along with his elder brother Balaramji at the age of 10, killed Kamsa and other demonic friends and restored peace in Mathura.
The Lord released HIS parents from prison, granted their wish of seeing their dead children, made HIS grandfather, Ugrasena the king of Mathura, went to Sandipani rishi to study 64 arts in 64 days, gave life to the dead son of the rishi as “Gurudakshina” and returned to Mathura. Jarasandha, the father-in-law of Kamsa wanted to avenge Kamsa’s death and attacked Mathura many times even after repeated defeats. Lord Krishna to protect the residents of Mathura from these attacks, summoned Viswakarma-the divine architect to construct a palace in the sea and transported all of them overnight.
This golden city is vividly described in Srimad Bhagavatam. When Lord Krishna’s childhood friend, Kuselan (Sudama) came to meet the Lord, he was bewildered to see the beautiful golden palace and was enquiring as to where the entrance is -“Dwaar Kahan” which later got corrupted as Dwarakaa. There are nine Dwarakas known as “Nava Dwarakas” out of which five (Pancha Dwaraka) are very famous holy dhams visited by all vaishnavas .
The “Nava Dwarakas” are listed below
1) Mukti Dwarka (Gomti Dwarka)-main temple located in Dwarka in Gujarat
2) Rukmini Dwarka (4 kms from Dwarka)
3) Bhet Dwarka ( in an island 8 kms from Dwarka)
4) Moola Dwaraka (Rajkot-Dwarka route)
5) Sudama Dwarka (Porbandhar)
6) Nathdwara (near Udaipur in Rajasthan)
7) Kankroli Dwarka (near Nathdwara)
8) Prabhasa Theertha (Veravel near Somnath)
9) Dakore Dwarka (near Ahmedabad)
Dwaraka is one of the four important dhams(holy places). The other three dhams are Puri, Badrinath and Rameswaram. Dwaraka is counted as one of the seven “MUKTHI THARUM KSHETRAMS” ( MOKSHA STHAL ). The other six are Mathura, Ayodhya, Kasi, Gaya, Kanchi, Ujjain.
Sri Adisankaracharyar established mutts at 4 places- at Dwaraka, Puri, Sringeri and Joshimutt. As long as Lord Krishna was there, the sea could not exceed its limits. But soon after the departure of Lord Sri Krishna and due to Gandhari and Saptha rishis’ curse (which was nothing but LORD’s divine play (Thiruvullam), the city got submerged into the sea and the whole Yadu vamsam perished.
In the Srimad Bhagavatham it is mentioned that even as Arjuna (who had come to escort the women who were alive to Hastinapura) was seeing, the sea entered the city and swayed the whole city. Within seconds, the beautiful palaces of Lord Sri Krishna collapsed and got drowned in the sea.
Before this incident could take place, Lord Sri Krishna summoned Vayu and Guru to carry away from Dwaraka the deity which was worshipped by Lord Himself . This deity is our famous GURUVAYOORAPPAN in Kerala as told by elders .
Latest excavations also have revealed about the city of Dwaraka. In fact, the Central Govt. has plans to construct a underwater Museum (the first of its kind and I believe this work has already been started.
As part of our Sri Krishna Anu Yatirai ( piligrimage )which we had undertaken , after having darshan of the important places in Mathura, Gokulam, Vrindavanam, we proceeded to Dwaraka for having NAVA DWARAKA DARSHANAM .
This was our second visit to Dwaraka . Way back in 2000 during our pilgrimage to Dwaraka, we visited only 4 Dwarakas -Gomti Dwaraka(the main temple), Bhet Dwaraka, Rukmini Dwaraka (all these are around Dwaraka) and Dakore Dwaraka near Ahmedabad. This pilgrimage was very special to us as we were able to have darshan of all the important places which had association of LORD KRISHNA .
The experiences at Mathura , Vrindavan and Nandagaon ( gokulam ) shall be posted separately as Sri Krishna Anubhava yatra )
Nathdwara is a small town in Mavli-Udiapur route. WE had taken a train from Mathura to Udaipur to visit Nathdwara. The co-passengers however advised us to get down at Mauvli as it is nearer to Nathdwara. A 40 minutes drive took us to Nathdwara from Mauvli . We refreshed ourselves in a nearby rest house Lakshmi Lodge, one of the hotels opposite car parking(a big open ground) on the way to temple. For one hour, we paid nominal amount of Rs.100/- for the same. It was 10 A.M. by the time we finished and proceeded to the temple .
A five minute walk along the narrow streets led to the temple. This reminded us of Pandirpur Divya Kshetram in Maharashtra .
Here LORD gives darshan with HIS left hand raised upwards with little finger pointing upwards, HIS right hand closed in a fist rests on HIS hip. HIS eyes glance downward affectionately at HIS devotees. Lord Shrinathji is very special and attractive diety. There is a diamond stone on the chin of the Lord. This deity is swayambhu (self manifested and not carved by anyone). As the Lord is the combined form of Radharani and Gopala, HE is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI”.( “SHRI” indicates Thayar ).
The Lord is also affectionately called as “Banke Bhihari”. The LORD was earlier in Vrindavan near Goverdhana giri and is related to one of Sri Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan lifting Goverdhana hill. To briefly recapitulate, Nanda Maharaja after consulting the other elderly gopas, decided to do pooja and give offerings to Indra, the king of devas , as they thought that Indra was responsible for timely rains and good yield of their crops.
When the discussion was thus going on, child Sri Krishna , who was only 7 years old , intervened saying that Indra was not responsible for the cattle prosperity and it was Goverdhana giri which was responsible for the same as it provides the necessary grass to cattle, and crops to the gopas. Krishna suggested that they should therefore give their offerings to Goverdhana giri and all the gopas including Nanda Maharaj accepted to this proposal. An auspicious day was selected and all the gopas assembled in front of Goverdhana giri with heaps of offerings. Krishna advised them to close their eyes and everyone obeyed.
Then Krishna assumed a huge form and with wide opened mouth, He consumed the entire offering without leaving anything for others. (Our poorvacharyars point out that Lord Krishna consumed the entire offering which was given to Goverdhana giri because HE didn’t want HIS devotees to partake the offering made to demi gods. We are supposed to consume only what is offered to Lord Krishna). When it was finished, Krishna resumed HIS original child form and joined the gopis. The gopis were pleased to see that their offerings were accepted and happily returned home. Indra was naturally upset that no offering was made and decided to punish the gopis by sending torrential rains accompanied by thunder storms. Not knowing what to do, all the vraj vasis( gopis) approached Sri Krishna for help with their cattle and children.
The child Krishna assured them and to their astonishment, lifted the Goverdhana giri with HIS left hand little finger and all the residents of Vrindavan along with their cattle took shelter under the hill .
(recollected Nammazhwar’s pasuram”
” KUNDRAM ENDHI KULIR MAZHAI KAATHAVAN”
LORD Krishna thus stood braving for 7 days. Indra thus humbled realized HIS folly and surrendered at Lord Krishna’s Lotus feet for forgiveness. Repenting for not realizing who Krishna was, he prayed to Krishna for forgiveness which is known as Govinda Stuthi. Krishna came to be known as “GOVINDA”- the protector of cows.
Indra did Govinda pattabhishekam to Krishna with Kamadhenu , the divine cow and left the place. The devotees of Lord Krishna recite this Govinda stuti while offering abhishekam to the Lord.
To mark this incident, King Vajranabha constructed a temple at the foot of the hill. Due to passage of time, this deity disappeared and the whereabouts remained unknown for many years.
After many years, LORD appeared as Gopala in Madhavendra Puri’s dream, informed him about HIS whereabouts and subsequently, a temple was constructed in Goverdhanagiri
When Aurangzeb invaded Mathura and Vrindavan, the deity disappeared into the hill and could not be traced out.
One night, the all compassionate Lord appeared in Vallabhacharyar’s dream who was a great devotee and ordered him to take HIM away from Goverdhan to Mewar.
When Sri Vallabacharyar reached Goverdhanagiri, the idol emerged out by itself . (This reminds me the of the incident connected to Melkote Selva Narayana Perumal. Melkote is a small village near Mysore on the banks of Kalyani Pushkarini .
When Swamy Ramanujar arrived here, there was no temple. The Lord of the Universe chose to be hidden under sand dunes awaiting Swamy Ramanujar’s arrival. Perumal appeared in his dream and informed HIS whereabouts .
With the help of the local king and devotees, Swamy Ramanujar dug the place and traced out Perumal. The pathway to the hill which was filled with bushes and thorns were cleared and a temple was constructed in which the moolavar Thirunarayanan was placed in the sanctum sanctorum according to vedic rituals. As there was no utsavar, Udayavar prayed to Perumal for disclosing HIS whereabouts .
The utsava murthi appeared in Sri Ramanujar’s dream informing that HE was presently with Sultan of Delhi. At the ripe age , Swamy Ramanujar undertook the journey to Delhi and requested the king to return the idol. As there were many such idols which the king brought by looting various temples, he asked our acharyar to locate the idol. Ramanujar was taken to a storeroom where many idols were heaped. But as none matched with his divine vision of the Lord, acharyar was disheartened.
Then he heard that there was an idol with the princess with whom she played with. With the king’s permission, Ramanujar went to the palace to see the vigraham and LO , the vigraham jumped up from the place and suddenly moved towards Sri Ramanujar and sat on his lap. Hence the Lord is known a “CHELLA PILLAI” and also as “Yathiraja Sampath Kumaran (son of the king of ascetics).
As the princess was obsessed with the idol, she secretely followed our acharyar and finally Lord accepted her at HIS thiruvadi. At melkote, the utsava vigraham of Sri Ramanujar has Chella Pillai on his shoulders with the princess near the Lord’s thiruvadi )
Vallabacharyar arranged a cart for Perumal and left for Mewar. Rana Raja Singh of Mewar helped Vallabhacharyar . After 2 months, the cart reached the present Nathdwara enroute to Mewar in the 17th century.
But on the way to Mewar, the cart stopped suddenly at this place and did not move an inch. Vallabacharyar heard a divine voice say that Perumal wished to stay in this place itself as it was the place where HIS dear devotee, Meera bhai stayed. ( The story of Meera bhai is well known to all of us. To briefly recapitulate, Mira bhai was fondly attached to Krishna’s idol given by her father. As a child, she always used to play with the , dress Him up and sing songs in praise of the and considered Krishna to be her spouse. She exhibited bhakti like the gopis of Vrindavan.
The king of Mewar impressed with her bhakti married her despite having many queens. Though she was the queen of Mewar, she was totally disinterested in material comforts and always used to be in service of the Lord. In fact with every passing day, her bhakti enhanced and she was totally immersed in Krishna Bhakti. She was unmindful of all the hardships and tortures implicated on her by the annoyed king and her co-sisters.
They tried to kill her in many ways by even giving her poisoned milk. Mira offered the milk to her Lord and drank it. Krishna’s Thirumeni turned blue as HE consumed the poison but nothing happened to her. The king realized HIS folly and begged for forgiveness . Mira felt that it was not fit for her to remain there and left the palace and stayed in this place. )
Swamy Vallabhacharyar with the help of Mewar king constructed a beautiful temple for the Lord . Vallabhacharyar used to please the Lord with his kirtans which was later followed by his disciples. (Similarly, the original Dwarkadeesh idol left Dwaraka out of HIS own free will to stay at his devotee’s place in Dakore near Ahmedabad -this incident would be mentioned while narrating about Dakore Dwaraka)
OUR TRAVEL DETAILS
Situated in the heart of the town, SHRINATHJI temple is the main attraction with thousands of devotees thronging to the temple daily. This is the second richest temple in India, first being Tirumala temple. Opposite to the temple is the information centre who guide the pilgrims for prashad, timings etc. Near the entrance of the temple, we can find many vendors selling varieties of vegetables and fruits. .
There is a unique practice followed in this temple. Usually we find vendors selling coconuts,tulasi and flowers in front of the temple. But here vendors sell varieties of fruits,vegetables,milk etc which would be used for Lords (Perumal’s) bhog (neivedyam-food offering). Devotees can offer milk, varieties of fruits,vegetables which would be used for Perumal’s bhog (neivedyam-food offering).
Milk is to be given at a different place and vegetables , fruits in another place. It is customary for the local devotees to pray to the Lord for fulfilling their wish and when it gets fulfilled, people offer to change the flag on Gopuram ( Temple top )
The temple has 5 kainkaryapaars( serve the Lord) who are authorized to change the flag which is a hereditary right for them. While the flag is being changed, the assembled devotees continuously sing in praise of the Lord .
As we were waiting near the entrance, an elderly person came forward and offered to guide us . He gave us information about the temple which we could not get any where . He took us to the first floor of the temple where kirtan was going on while the temple flag was being changed. He informed that it was customary for the local devotees to pray to the Lord for fulfilling their wish and when it was fulfilled, people offer to change the flag. The temple has 5 persons who are authorized to change the flag.
This is hereditary right for them. While the flag is being changed, the assembled devotees continuously sing in praise of the Lord . He then took us to a room where a big photograph of Perumal “SHRI SHRINATHJI” was hung and pointed out to the nose ring worn by Perumal and a diamond stone studded on Perumal’s chin.
It was for taking this diamond that Aurangzeb invaded Mathura but HIS attempts became futile because disappeared from that place. He said that in the garbagriham, Perumal gives darshan as Krishna-Radha rani together and hence is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI”.
The pandit ushered us to a room where the cart in which the Lord arrived is kept. This event is commemorated every year. A new cart is made and is rested on the cart. In the adjacent room, there are 2 mortars- one made of gold and the other made of silver. Once in eight days, chandan(sandal paste ) for the LORD is ground using these mortars. Aurangzeb who invaded Vrindavan for taking away the precious diamond from the Lord returned empty handed. We offered our obeisances and reached the entrance of the main sannidhi. In front of the sannidhi, the guide showed us a place where sets of 5 coconuts were tied to a string and hung.
In east of the temple, the photographs of Sri Vallabhacharyar along with his descendants are displayed. Bhog is offered to Perumal on behalf of Sri Vallabhacharyar.
It was a typical Gokulam scene –serene atmosphere with vendors doing their business as god’s seva without any competition and cows moving around freely inside and outside the temple. Like in Puri dhaam , the pandas have hereditary right for their share in temple prashad daily and they in turn sell it to the devotees . Another similarity is like in Jagannath Puri, here many varieties of food are offered to the Lord…..
To have the next darshan at 11.30 A.M. , devotees had already gathered in large numbers in front of the big closed doors. WE handed over the 11 varieties of fruits and 11 varieties of vegetables and 2 pots of milk which we had purchased earlier at the respective kitchens ( we wished we could have bought some rice , cereals, sugar , jaggery, dry fruits for the offering.) and started reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam while waiting outside. When we completed , the doors sprang open and the devotees thronged inside to have darshan of the LORD .
There is a separate queue for ladies and gents. It is a common practice in North India to have darshan of the Lord when the doors are opened and aarthi is given . Hence the hall in front of the sannidhi is constructed in such a way so as to accommodate few hundreds of devotees at a time. All the devotees can have darshan of the Lord during haarthi and the devotees themselves can offer prasadam- sweets/dry fruits to the Lord. As they consider the “Lord of Universe” as a small “child”- the Lord is “NANDHA LAALA”- the darling of Nanda maharaja, the darshan is allowed only for fifteen minutes because the child has to take rest.
Again after an hour, the altar is opened for darshan. EVerytime, neivedyam is offered to the Lord. AFter darshan, the devotees who are immersed in the beautiful form of the Lord leave the place half-heartedly continuously gazing at the divya mangala swaroopam of the most enchanting CHILD of the Universe until they are gently ushered out. The LORD is dressed like a small cowherd boy of 7 years . The haarthi had just begun and shodasa upacharams (16 types of upacharam) were offered to the Lord while chanting slokas and singing songs. Lord was dressed in “Parrot green coloured “cloth round HIS waist like a typical cowherd boy and was adorned with varieties of flowers. Adiyen recollected Periazwar’s pasurams describing the Lord’s return to HIS home after gazing the cows.
Amidst loudly uttering “KANNAIYA LAL KI JAI” and singing of haarthi songs, we could experience the unalloyed vatsalya bhaavam of the devotees present. Like the gopis of Vrindavan , the devotees were unaware of their surroundings with their whole concentration on the LORD alone.
The enchanting beautiful divya mangala swaroopam of the LORD can only be described by sages ,pure devotees like azhwars and acharyars. WE mortals can only satisfy ourselves that our eyesight has been put to correct use only now. As Tiruppanzhwar says in Amalanadhipiran, “Unn Kangalai kanda kangal mattru ondraiyum kaanome “(The eyes which has seen the Lotus eyes of the Lord should not see anything else in this world!) The LORD is very very attractive with HIS left hand raised up with HIS little finger lifted up and HIS right hand closed in a fist and placed on HIS waist.
A small stick is placed in front of Him which is used while gazing cows. We were being squeezed out in the rush but were unmindful of the pushing . The devotees were competing with each other to have a very close darshan. Fortunately, we had darshan to our heart’s content. We just couldn’t take our eyes off from the Lords Thirumeni. Every part is so attractive that we felt that one darshan is not enough. A person standing on a higher platform in the hall was touching the devotees head with a stick which is considered to be a blessing.
As they say, it is
NOT THE DARSHAN WHAT WE SEEK, IT IS THE DARSHAN WHAT HE GIVES”.
After darshan, we had to come out through another door in front of which there is a small sannidhi where charanamruth (theertham/ holy water) is distributed. Beside this, there is a counter from which the devotees can purchase sweets, laddus etc by paying money. This counter also would be open only for limited time. As instructed by the panda who offered us prashad, we were sitting in front of the main door recollecting Perumal’s divya mangala swaroopam. After some time, my wife went in search of the Panda, and brought the prashad in two plates which was carried by panda’s attendant..
As having prashad in the temple premises is strictly prohibited, the attendant showed us a dharmashaala where we could have the prashad. Like in Jagannath Puri, many varieties of prasadam are offered to the Lord and are distributed to all the pandas. So it is better to purchase prasadam through two or three pandas because we would be able to partake the various prasadams. After having prashad, we proceeded to another Dwaraka glorified as Kankroli Dwarka which is about 12 kms from Nathdwara.
is one of the 9 Dwarakas located in Kankroli ( the leading exporter of marbles ) and just 12 kms away from Nathdwara on Mavli-Udaipur route- 30 kms from Mavli and 65 kms from Udaipur. One can visit the Rajsamund Lake near Kankroli- famous for its dam and architecture ,Chathur Bhuj temple of Maha Vishnu and Ekaling temple ( A huge lingam made from a single rock) All the above places can be visited within a day. We can straight away drive to Nathdwara, check in in any hotel or ashram for refreshing and finish visiting the above places and go back to Udaipur for boarding train/ flight. Udaipur is well connected to major cities and hence it is advisable to go back to Udaipur. Nathdwara is considered to be one of the Nava dwarakas and the presiding diety here is SHRI SHRINATHJI .
6 sevas are performed daily. A flight of steps led us to the main shrine. We participated in the the afternoon aarthi known as “Uthappana seva” .Perumal’s thirunaamam is Dwarakadeesh. Lordships are with full of compassion and is very attractive. Perumal is seen with chathurbhuj(4 hands) holding the divya ayudhangal. (weapons).
Two pujaris were offering 16 types of upacharams to the Lord . We had darshan to our heart’s content. Offered the dry fruits which we had brought with us as neivedyam to the Lord. On the left side of the main sannidhi, there is a separate sannidhi where child Krishna is placed on a cradle and the pujaris were performing jhoola seva. In a small vessel filled with water, varieties of scented flowers were kept. Varieties of flowers and fruits were placed in front of the Lord.
We reached Udaipur from Kankroli at 9.00 P.M and boarded Udaipur-Gwalior express . The schedule departure of the train was at 2220 hours but the train started at 0000 hours. Though it was the starting point, as no clearance was given, the train was delayed which is very common in the northern region . Thanking profusely LORD for HIS darshan we proceeded to the remaining Dwarakas in Gujarat state .
It is well known that Jarasandha, the father-in-law of the wicked Kamsa wanted to avenge his son-in-law’s death in the hands of Sri Krishna . To pacify his 2 widowed daughters, he marched with his army on Mathura many times where Krishna was residing with his parents. Every time Jarasandha attacked Mathura, Krishna and Balarama used to defeat his army but let him go without killing as Krishna wanted to reduce the earth’s burden by killing wicked people and Jarasandha was destined to be killed later by Bhima .On one such occasion, Krishna escaped from the battlefield with Balarama and started running away. Jarasandha chased them but could not catch hold of them as they climbed on a mountain top and disappeared from his sight.
Jarasandha presumed that they had died and returned to his kingdom. In order to protect His citizens from the frequent enemy attacks, Krishna arrived at this place and summoned Viswakarma, the deva-loka architect to construct a palace in the sea. The sea –God offered land to Krishna for construction of city. Thus Dwaraka was constructed overnight and all the yadavas were transported safely to this place. With His divine powers, ensured that the sea never crossed its limits and Dwarka was well protected thus ensuring that His people were safe whenever He went for battle. As this was the place where put His foot first, this is known as
When arrived here, ParamaShivan, Brahma and other devas offered prayers to the LORD here. There is a very old well near to the temple where Lord Krishna had His holy bath. Even during severe drought, this well doesn’t get dried up.
We reached the temple at 7.00 P.M.-20 minutes before evening aarthi. We recited Vishnu Sahasranamam thanking LORD . The temple is maintained hereditarily by priests who reside with their families near the temple.
This place was very calm and serene and best place for meditation. The main diety is Dwarakadeesh and there are small sannidhis for Sri Radha- Krishna, Sri Sita-Rama , Lakshmi-Narayan and few more small temples of Saraswathi,Gayatri, Ganapathi, Subramanya Swami, Dakshinamurthy, Shiva-Parvathi. We participated in the aarthi, offered the prasadam which we took with us . The car driver whom we affectionately called Kaka took us to a nearby well saying that Krishna had His holy bath here. A board is displayed describing this incident. A steep flight of steps leads us to the well. As it was dark, we did not get down the steps. There was another sannidhi for Shiva’s family. Cows keep moving about freely. After praying to the Lord, we left the place. As per our plan, we decided to stay one day in Veraval and reach Dwaraka the next day . But as finished visiting all the places in and around Veravel and were near Dwarka, we decided to reach Dwaraka on same day itself. We tried to contact ISKCON , Dwarka about our preponement but could not do so as there was no response when we called them over phone. We later learnt that their phone was out of order. Kaka said that it would take 90 mintues for us to reach Dwarka. So, relaxing in the car , we started our evening bhajans and kaka also joined us.
On the way, he took us to a temple dedicated to Bhavani (Harsiddhi maatha) and narrated the incidents connected with King Krishnadevaraya. As the king’s name is famous for “Vikram-Bhetal stories”(how he used to carry ghost on his back, ghost narrating a story, asking him to reply and used to leave him once he gave the correct answer…… -the stories which we used to read in our childhood days) , out of inquisitiveness, decided to visit this temple. Near the entrance, there are sannidhis for Bhaktha Hanuman and Ganapathi. Few steps led us to the main shrine. Beside the main sannidhi, on the left, there is a jhoola with the diety’ s photo. Kaka said that King Krishnadevaraya meditated at this place on Ambal for 12 years and when Goddess appeared before him and conferred a boon, he asked her to accompany him to Ujjain . Goddess consented to his request and left the place. A replica of the goddess was kept here. Kaka told us that every evening when aarthi is given to the goddess at Ujjain, this jhoola would automatically move to and fro and after this movement stops, aarthi is given to this goddess. Such is the power of this diety. He showed us the place where King Krishnadevaraya did penance. The roads were dark with no street lights but somehow managed to reach Dwaraka at 10.30 P.M. Locating ISKCON was easy. Luckily, the prabhus were awake and a room was allotted in the first floor.
In order to protect His people from the frequent enemy attacks, Krishna summoned Viswakarma and ordered him to construct Dwarka in the Arabian Sea. The Sea God was instructed to give land in the middle of the sea which was always protected by Krishna’s divine power. This is known as Gomti Dwaraka as it is on the banks of River Gomti.
Due to divine will, the city was constructed overnight and all the Yadavas were transported from Mathura to Dwarka and lived happily. The palaces were made of gold. It was the wealthiest city as the Goddess of Fortune Herself resided here.
As mentioned earlier, the place where LORD first placed His foot is Moola Dwaraka. Lord Krishna with His 16,108 consorts lived here like a typical Gruhasta and in many occasions showed how a Gruhasta should live . Perumal ruled over the Universe from this place. Lord Krishna married Rukmini, Satyabhama, Nappinai, Jambavathi, and so on and all of them are glorified as Astha Mahishis. By killing Narakasura, Krishna rescued 16,000 captivated girls at whose request HE married all of them. He took 16000 forms and married all the girls at the same time.When Draupadi surrendered to Krishna for protection, she addressed Krishna as “Dwarakanilai achyuta”-one who resides in Dwaraka.When Sage Narada was curious to know how Krishna managed with so many consorts, he was astonished to see the Lord with each of His consort performing various activities at the same time. Everyday, all the forms of Krishna used to leave the respective palaces but while entering the court, all the forms used to get merged with Him.It was in Dwarka that the exhibited his fondness to Sudama ( Kuchelan ) It was here that Lord exhibited that the gopis attachment to the LORD was much superior than even His consorts’ devotion.
Thus there are innumerable incidents connected with Sri Krishna’s life here. Dwarka was to be submerged into the sea within 7 days of Krishna’s departure . Before leaving for Prayag, Krishna ordered the sea to leave 12 yojnas of land from drowning.The original temple was constructed by Krishna’s great grandson, Vajranabha (son of Aniruddha) with the help of Viswakarma as per Vaastu Shastra . The structure of the temple is like that of Sri Chakram. The height of the temple known as “Jagat Mandir” is 150 feet.There are 2 entrances to the temple-Swarg Dwar and Mukti Dwar. The flag on the spire of the temple declares that Dwarkadeesh is the ruler.
The flag measures 40 feet -52 gaj (a unit of measurement) .The number 52 signifes the 27 stars, 12 rashis, 9 Navagrahas and the 4 main directions-north, south, east, west. The flag is stitched in a specific design. As part of their offering , devotees usually undertake a vow to change the flag when their wish is fulfilled.The holy flag is changed thrice daily. Morning between 8 A.M. and 11 A.M., second time between 11A.M. AND 12.30 P.M. and in the evening between 5 P.M. and 6.30 P.M.
Booking for this has to be done atleast 3 months in advance. The flag would be taken round the temple streets ceremoniously before offering in the temple. Only authorized persons can go to the top of the temple and change the flag.This is hereditary. Being on the sea shore, heavy winds keep blowing but these persons do not wear any safety belt. Lord Dwarkadeesh saves them for this unbelievable feat .From the cloth used as a flag, the priests and other service providers of the temple stitch shirts. A must have darshan .
Lord Dwarkadeesh gives darshan holding Sankhu, Chakram, Gadam and Padmam with an enchanting bewitching smile.
The temple priest informed that Lord wears wresting belt , has a black snake round HIS waist, Bhakti and Mukti are at HIS feet, wears Kaustabham and Vanamaala. The Lord holds a stick and a flute .
The Lord is dressed in various forms-like a child, like a ruler as per the legendry customs etc.During summer, in the nights, the LORD is dressed with jasmine flowers (like Pulangi seva in Tirumala. Usually in South Indian temples, the Lord is adorned with various types of flower maalas(strung with the thread) and placed round Lord’s shoulder. But here, the dress itself is stitched with flowers artistically. It is difficult to make out that it is a floral dress. It resembles like dress made of pearls.
The Chappan bhog (56 items of varieties of food) are offered as Raj Bhog to the Lord daily . Every day 6 aarthis are performed to the Lord . On Sri Krishna Janmashtami, the Lord is given special aarthi at the stroke of 12 in midnight. Thousands of devotees throng to the temple to have HIS darshan.
Inside the garbagriham, we find the utsava murthis of Rukmini and Krishna, Radha and Krishna. The colours of clothes adorned by the Lord are also pre-determined as per the days. On Sunday, the Lord wears Red colour, Monday-Pink, Tuesday-Yellow,Wednesday-Green, Thursday-orange, Frinday-white and Saturday-Blue. All the temple kainkarya kaarars(service providers) including the priests wear the same colour dress. We can have a advance notice of LORD attire observing the service devotees ..
Exactly opposite to the shrine of Dwarkadeesh is Devaki’s shrine. Near the entrance on the right side, we find a small shrine for Lord Balaraman. Lord Balaraman is in the form of Adiseshan. There are separate shrines for the Ashta mahishis of Lord Krishna, Radha- Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy, Madhavji .. 25 years ago, it was in front of Madhavji temple, Prana prathistha for the deities of Radha-Dwarkadeesh at ISKCON was conducted and Srila Prabhupada officiated for 5 days. The deities were earlier taken around Dwarka temple before this ritual. The deities were later shifted to ISKCON Dwarka. On the seventh day after the departure of the Lord to His heavenly abode, Dwarka was submerged into the sea. In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that Sri Krishna propounded Udhava Gita and ordered Uddhava to take the elderly, children and women from Dwarka to Hastinapur as the city would be submerged into the sea. The idol form of Narayana which was worshipped by Krishna Himself was carried by Guru and Vayu and placed at present Guruvayur in Kerala. Archeological Department of India have found out that few thousands of precious metals lie submerged in the sea. Even today the remains of the palaces can be found in the adjoining Gomti river known as “Gomti Chakram”. This is considered as Lakshmi swaroopam and is treated at par with our Saalagrama shilas.We can also find vendors selling different types of stones (nava rathinams) here.
The temple was first constructed by Krishna’s grandson and later by other kings. Devotees were lined up in a queue to have darshan of the Lord. Perumal was beautifully dressed up like a typical cowherd boy holding Sankhu, Chakram, Gadam,Lotus. A small stick used for grazing cows and a flute are also placed. The idol is beautifully carved as it was done by GOD HIMSELF. Opposite to Perumal’s sannidhi, is the sannidhi of Devaki, mother of Krishna. The sannidhis for the 8 chief consorts of the Lord , sannidhi for Radha- Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy , Balaram sannidhi are in the outer precincts of the garbagriham. Pilgrims were singing some Gujarati songs .The devotees were exhibiting their unalloyed bhakti in many ways – by singing, by raising slogans”Ranchor Raya Ki jai” etc. as for our turn, we were reciting few divya prabhandha pasurams which we knew by heart and singing the bhajans……………………..
“GOVINDA MADHAVA GOPALA KESAVA,…,
GOVINDA HARI HARI GOPALA HARI HARI RADHA RAMANA HARI HARI…..,
we had darshan to our heart’s content. Resolved to visit the temple in the evening along with children and participate in night aarthi too. After doing a pradakshinam, we left the temple and reached ISKCON. On the way back to our guest house, we passed by Gomti river which was already crowded with devotees for having bath and passed by Prema bhikshu Prahbu’s bhajan kutir where 24 hours non-stop kirtan of the holy mantra ” SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM ” is being sung continously for the past 40 years. We recollected having seen this ashram at Verval near Gita Mandir. We proceeded to Rukmini Dwarka which is about 7-10 kms from the main temple.
This happens to be the place where Krishna wedded Rukmini . Rukmini, the chief of 16,108 consorts of Krishna was very devoted to the Lord. Born as a Vidarbha princess , she used to listen to various pastimes of Krishna and developed an intense love for Krishna and decided to marry HIM or else end her life.Though her parents were interested in getting her married to Krishna, her brother, Rukmi was against it and wanted her to marry Sisupalan, Krishna’s cousin and made all arrangements for the same.
She communicated Her desire thru a Brahmin to be conveyed to the Lord and requested to be kidnapped from her palace and also mentioned that she would be visiting ambal’s temple before marriage ceremony and it would be easy for Krishna to kidnap her from that place. Krishna also expressed HIS desire to the Brahmin and left for Vidarbha immediately and reached the next morning. When the Brahmin informed Rukmini about Lord’s arrival, she thanked the Brahmin and prostrated at his feet as SHE , the Lokamatha thought that prostration was the only befitting gift to the Brahmin.
When Rukmini was returning from Ambal temple, Krishnaappeared like a lightning and effortlessly kidnapped Rukmini Devi like a lion which snatches its food amonst wolves. When the assembled kings including Jarasandhan and Sisupalan fought with Krishna, Krishna and Balarama defeated the entire army. Rukmi was humbled by Krishna but was saved due to Balaraman’s intervention. The celestial wedding of Krishna and Rukmini took place grandly at Dwarka. She was very dedicated and derived immense pleasure in performing all types of services to the Lord like massaging His Holy feet and personally offering various kainkaryams to the Lord . She demonstrated how a devotee irrespective of his/her position should serve the Lord.
Gradually, She nurtured a feeling that She was more dearer to the Lord than other consorts. Whenever a devotee entertains the thought that he is dearer to the Lord and becomes possessive, Perumal immediately enacts some drama and make them realize their folly. (In Vrindavan during Rasakreedai, when the Gopis including Radha Rani, thought that they were dearer to Krishna as He was dancing with them, the immediately disappeared. The gopikas were crying piteously and their outpour for the union with the is the famous “Gopika Geetham”. They were so captivated with the form of Krishna that even when Krishna appeared as Narayana with 4 arms, they were not content. They only wanted their form of Krishna.
Krishna appeared and pacified them that they were very dear to them and He disappeared only to increase their Bhakti ) does this out of pure compassion towards the devotee. In this case, Lord wanted to correct Rukmini and hence created an opportunity to enact His Leela. Krishna accompanied by Rukmini went to sage Durvasar’s hermitage and invited him for lunch.
A chariot was brought forth for the sage to be seated. However the sage said that he could not sit in a chariot driven by horses and if it was driven by them ,he was prepared to visit them. The Lord of the Universe unhesitatingly agreed for the same. The Lord along with Rukmini Thayar drove the chariot. Due to the scorching heat and tiresomeness, Rukmini felt thirsty and expressed the desire to quench Her thirst. Krishna pressed HIS toe on the ground and water sprouted out.
As she was desperately thirsty, Rukmini forgot the decorum to take the rishi’s permission for quenching HER thirst and drank the water. This infuriated the rishi who cursed Her to live separately from HER Lord Krishna as the pride that She was more dearer to Krishna made her behave in this way. He also cursed that the entire area would be bereft of drinking water. Rukmini realized HER mistake and fell prostrate at the sage’s feet and asked for forgiveness. The rishi said that She has to live separately for 12 years and then join the Lord. (Mother Sita had to live in Rama’s separation for 12 months and Rukmini Devi had to live alone for 12 years).
Thus Rukmini’s pride was subdued . However, Krishna assured her that He would visit her daily. As She stayed here for 12 years, this place came to be known as “Rukmini Dwaraka”. (Some say that Rukmini got married to Krishna at this place.) One gets only half the punyam if he visits only Gomti (Main) Dwaraka. Dwaraka yaatrai is deemed to be complete only after visiting Rukmini Dwaraka . Even today , there is no drinkable water around this area and the residents have to get water from far off places . Hence, in this place “jhala dhaanam” (water dhanam) done gives 1000 times benefit.
When we reached the temple, curtains were drawn as bhog(neivedyam) was being offered to the Lordship . The assembled devotees were asked to sit in front of the garbagriham and a panda narrated the above incident. Pointing to a big picture on the right side, the panda started narrating the above incident that it gives 1000 times benefit. We then proceeded to BHET DWARAKA
This holy dhaam is located 15-20 KMS from main Dwarka temple and situated near Okha Port- the last tip of the west coast The presiding deity Lord Dwarakadeesh gives darshan here . There are separate sannidhis for His consorts and mother Devaki. There are separate sannidhis for Perumal,HIS mother Devaki, His 8 chief consorts, Purushotham, Lakshmi Narayan, Dhauji(Balaraman),Radha_ Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy ,Madhava Perumal, Garuda.
“Bhet” in Gujarati means island. As this is situated in an island, it is named so. This was the pleasure spot for the Lord with HIS consorts. Legend says that Lord Krishna used to spend time with HIS consorts in this place. There is a temple situated on top of a hillock. This is considered as one of the 9 Dwarakas.
As per the locals devotees, this place was part of Krishna’s palace and when the original Dwarka was submerged into the sea, this holy place remained intact. Thus they claim this to be the original Dwarka.
From Rukmini Dwaraka, we proceeded to Bhet Dwarka which is situated on an island. Reached Okha port and after parking our vehicle in a nearby place, we proceeded to take a boat.
The boat in which we travelled was over crowded as it was 11 .A.M. and probably the last trip to the temple for morning darshan. It took nearly 15 minutes for us to reach the other shore. Alighted from the boat and took the narrow path towards the temple. Chanting Mahamantra, we had good darshan of Dwarkadeesh. Opposite to Perumal’s sannidhi is Mother Devaki’s sannidhi. In Perumal temples, opposite to the garbagriham, we usually find Peria Thiruvadi(Garudan)’s sannidhi but in Dwaraka, we find Devaki’s sannidhi. After offering neivedyam and circumbulating the temple , we left the temple at 12 noon to take the return boat to the mainland.
Offering dakshina in Dwarka is very important. Donated some money for”Go Samrakshana” protection of cows. From this point, we can clearly see Pakistan border across the sea and the Pakistani navy posted there. Kaka was referring to the recent 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks adding that from the Pakistan border, the terrorists took a boat to Porbandhar which is also a sea coast and then shifted to an Indian ship. He also pointed out to some wrecks stating that it was due to the earthquake which occurred in 2001(Khuj earthquake). We recollected having seen the structures before the quake in 2000. Luckily, we got place to sit in the boat in our return journey. From Bhet Dwarka, we went to Gopi Talab, a very sacred place to Krishna’s devotees.
GOPI TALAB , a holy tank and an adjacent temple was the sacred well from where Gopi Chandan is collected (used by ISKCON, Gaudiya and madhava Sampradhaya Vaishnavas), and a small temple dedicated to Radha- Krishna temple
There are 2 incidents which may be recollected in connection with Gopis. This refers to one of the pastimes of the Lord when He wanted to prove that the gopika bhakti was superior to that of His consorts. The consorts of Lord Krishna developed superiority complex that they were very dear to the Lord and the best devotees of the Lord . In order to check their ego, Lord enacted a drama. He pretended as HE was suffering from severe headache. The best of physicians were called and best treatment was given to the but the headache would not subside.
Sage Narada arrived in Dwarka to have Perumal’s darshan. The perplexed mahishis (wives) of the Lord informed the rishi about Lord’s illness. Narada who understood Perumal’s play suggested that if some dust from devotee’s feet is rubbed on Perumal’s forehead , the headache would subside. The shocked wives backed out because they felt that it was not proper to place their dust on Perumal’s forehead. The news spread about everywhere. When the gopis of Vrindavan heard this, they immediately rushed to see the Lord and filled up carts full of their paadha dhooli (dust from their feet) to be applied on ’s forehead. They did not even think that they would be committing a serious offence by this petty act. They were only concerned about their Krishna’s well being and so were prepared to even go to hell for the sin they were committing. The moment the paadah dhooli of the gopikas were applied on HIS head, the Lord was relieved from the pain.. Thus the Lord showed that the gopis unalloyed prema bhakti was the best among all. After spending few days with Krishna , the gopis had to leave for Vrindavan. Unable to bear the pangs of separation from Krishna , on the way, they jumped into a well at this place to end up their lives. They were turned into chandan by Krishna’s grace. Krishna pleased with their devotion declared that the place has become very sacred and Himself would smear the chandan from that place.
Hence, this place is considered to be very sacred and whoever visits this place would be bestowed with unalloyed bhakti towards the Lord . Even after thousands of years, we are able to get chandan from this inexhaustible well. While ascending to Sree Vaikuntam, Lord Krishna ordered Arjuna to take care of all the women folk and children and leave them at Hastinapur. On the way, unable to bear the pangs of separation from Sri Krishna, the gopis jumped into this well and ended their lives. The fact that the gopis out of separation jumped into this well and thinking of the Lord attained the Highest Bliss –moksham in this place is common in both the incidents. Gopi chandan collected from this place is considered to be very sacred. We decided to have samudra snaanam the next day . We recollected Sowmyanarayanan mama’s words that the sea at Dwarka is known as “Arasethu “ and bath can be had at any time here which is an exception. Usually, samudra snanam has to be done only on specific days but samudra snanam at Sethukarai- Thirupullani(Rameswaram) and Dwarka can be had at any time. So, we had bath in the sea and also at the confluence of the Gomti river with the sea .
is located near Ahmedabad .The archa-vigraha as described in Naalayira Divya prabhandam is not to be found. There is an interesting story about the present Lordships . There lived a Brahmin near Ahmedabad who was a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. Every year , he used to visit Dwaraka and it used to take 6 months for him to reach Dwaraka. He would plant a small Tulasi plant and water it daily and used to carry the same along with other offerings in his bullock cart. Lord was very much impressed with the sincere devotion of the Brahmin. As the Brahmin was getting old, it was becoming very difficult for him to go the Dwaraka. Once when the Brahmin reached Dwaraka and offered neivedyam to the Lord, the Lord ordered the Brahmin to take Him to his house saying that as there was no sincere bhakta, He did not wish to stay there. Due to God’s will, the temple doors opened in the midnight and the Lord got Himself placed in the bullock cart and drove the cart. Within a span of 3 to 4 hours, the Lord along with the Brahmin reached the present DAKORE DWARAKA.(As already mentioned, it used to take 6 months to reach the place but due to Perumal’s sankalpam, the Brahmin reached his town within 3 hours. The people at Dwaraka were shocked to see the archa-vigraha missing. They suspected the poor Brahmin whom they had heard speaking to the archa-vigraha previously. Accordingly, all of them went in search of the old man and it took months for them to reach the place. They turned violent when they saw their archa-vigraha with the old Brahmin. They did not pay heed to the words of the Brahmin and started abusing the Brahmin. At that time, an aseeriri was heard by everyone which clearly said that whoever offers gold equal to the weight of the Lord, could take the vigraham. The residents of Dwaraka accumulated all their wealth and placed it in the thulabhaaram but the weight was not equal. At that time, the Brahmin and his wife offered prayers to Perumal and the lady placed her “nose ring” and the balance was equal. As Perumal was not interested to stay where there was no sincere bhakti, Perumal had moved to this place out of His own will.. This place came to be known as Dakore Dwaraka as the archa-vigraha was brought by the old man whom they considered to be a Daaku (thief). [ In Gujarat, Perumal is lovingly called as RANCHOR RAYA ( Even today we can see the TULABHARAM inside the temple premises.
The people of Dwaraka repented for their folly and pleaded with Perumal to forgive their mistake. Perumal ordered them to make another archa-vigraha and said that they should not open the room in which the archa-vigraha was kept for 6 months. The people made an archa-vigraha and kept in a room and locked it . But out of curiosity, even before the specified time was over, they opened the doors of the room. They found to their dismay that the eyes of the Lord were closed. An asareeri was once again heard which said that as they did not obey Lord’s command, the eyes were closed. The people realized their blunder and apologized for their unpardonable mistake. Hence, the present archa-vigraha in Dwaraka is seen with closed eyes. Unless we are told about this, we cannot make out as the vigraham is well decorated. Lord Dwarakadeesan is seen holding Sankhu, Chakram, Padmam. He is dressed 4 times daily. Every day, like in Guruvayoor, Perumal is dressed lika a child, boy, youth, old man We were told that during winter, Perumal would be dressed in woolen clothes and in summer, He is dressed in light clothes. Every day, aarthi is given 4 times.and bhogam is offered 17 times. Different eatables like Misri Bhog, chakarai pongal, milk, curd, fruits etc are continuously offered to Perumal.
The story of Sudama , also known as Kuchelan is well known even to children .Elders narrate this bedtime story to children and inculcate the habit of offering to Lord right from childhood. Kuchelan (Sudama) and Sri Krishna were childhood friends and studied under the same guru, Sandipani.
Once when Krishna and Sudama went into the forest for collecting wood, it started raining and they had to take shelter under a tree. At that time , both of them were hungry. Sudama , without offering to Krishna munched puffed rice (Avul in tamil) without sharing with Krishna and when Krishna asked him he denied. When Krishna punched his stomach, he spit the avul. This was a childish prank played at that time. After completion of their studies, both of them parted their ways. Since Sudama did not offer to , in due course, he became poor and having married, was overburdened with 27 children. There was no food to eat.
Being a Brahmin he did not even know any other profession and did not make any effort to earn his livelihood. Being a matured devotee, he was only seeking salvation and was not interested in material pursuits. He was constantly thinking of the and was nurturing the desire to see Krishna . His wife, Susheela suggested that he should meet his friend, Krishna who was now the king of Dwarka for financial help as she could no longer see their children starving. Sudama was delighted at the proposal because he could meet his friend after many years but was not interested in asking for material benefits. As stated in scriptures that something has to be offered while meeting a king/elderly/sick person, he wanted to take something with him to be offered to the .
Susheela borrowed some puffed rice from the neighbours, tied it in a worn out cloth and gave it to Sudama. It took 2 months for Sudama to reach Dwarka from Porbandhar and 4 months to locate Sri Krishna’s palace. Sudama informed the dwarapalakas that he was Krishna’s friend and wanted to meet him. The dwarapalakas did not believe him and asked him to move out of the place. At that time, Sri Krishna came running and affectionately hugged Sudama and took him to His palace. Sri Krishna along with His eight principal consorts served Sudama with the best of everything.
The of the Universe along with Thayar Rukmini did paada puja(pooja to his feet) to Sudama while the other consorts were helping in offering shodasa upacharams to the great bhakta. After sumptuously feeding Sudama with varieties of food, Krishna asked what he brought for HIM.. Sudama was feeling very shy to offer the avul and was trying to hide the bundle but Sri Krishna snatched it from him and put a fistful of it in His mouth with great relish. When the Lord was trying to take it for the second time, Rukmini Devi refrained Him saying that one fistful was more than sufficient. Sudama did not understand this and returned home. All the way, he was constantly thinking about his friend and contemplating on HIM . When he reached his village, he could not locate his thatched hut and in that place, he found a palatial building. While he was worrying about the whereabouts of his family, a lady bedecked with jewellery and dressed like a queen appeared before him and fell prostrate at his feet. Sudama could not recognize his wife. Susheela narrated how overnight the hut turned into a palace and about the wealth bestowed on them due to Sri Krishna’s grace. He could not recognize his own children who were looking like royal princes. Sudama understood that Krishna showered HIS mercy by eating a handful of puffed rice and bestowed all the riches on him. This incident only enhanced Sudama’s bhakti and with detachment and pure devotion , he attained the Lotus feet of the Lord..
Near to Porbhandar , the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi , this holy place is located . SUDAMAPURI” written on an arc in the entrance welcomed us . With trees and plants abundantly planted, it was more like a garden. On the way to the temple, Kaka our sarathy ( car driver ) who accompanied us , showed us a small stone layout with narrow paths and many twisting lanes saying that the way to Dwarka was similar to this . He said that when Sudama set out for Dwarka to meet Sri Krishna, he wandered thru the streets and took 4 months to meet Sri Krishna. He was searching for the entrance and asked DWAAR KAHAN .. which now got corrupted as DWARAKA .An old devotee who was sitting there was doing some kirtan and suggested to pass through the layout. It is customary for visitors to go thru the layout and if they successfully come out , they would achieve their goal of meeting the and their bhakti would be enhanced. Only one foot can be placed in the narrow pathway . Holding the prashad (Dry fruits) above our head and amidst chanting of Hare Krishna Maha mantra (kaka was encouraging us ), all four of us successfully completed the task and came out. The devotee was pleased when we gave some dakshinai to him. He blessed and advised us never ever ignore your Parents and Elders . We then went inside the temple. In the sannidhi, there are small vigrahams of Krishna, Rukmini, Sudama and Susheela.
is located at Main Dwaraka itself . It may be recalled that when Lord Sri Krishna decided to complete His incarnation, He relaxed under a tree.
PRABHASA THEERTHA AT VERAVAL
Lord Sri Krishna after satisfying Himself that He had annihilated most of the demons in human form after Mahabharata war, decided to ascend to His eternal abode, Sri Vaikuntam. Due to His presence, the Yadus (people belonging to His clan) became proud and arrogant. Sri Krishna who wanted to reduce the burden of Mother Earth decided to put an end to the Yadavas too and masterminded a plan . As it was Lord’s will, he made Gandhari and the sapta rishis utter the curse of annihilation of Yadavas.
It so happened that Krishna’s son was dressed up like a pregnant woman and along with his friends approached some rishis to find out the gender of the child which would be born to the pregnant woman. The infuriated rishis cursed that the disguised lady would give an iron pestel which would destroy the entire Yadava race which came true. The shocked Yadus ran to Balarama for a solution. Balarama ordered them to powder it into pieces and throw them away in the sea at Dwarka . The yadus acted accordingly and returned to their palace. A big iron piece which could not be powdered was thrown away into the sea which was swallowed by a fish.
When this fish was caught and cut open by hunter, Jara, he found a big iron piece which he fixed to his arrow with which he hit Krishna later. Over a period of time, the powder got deposited near the shore of the sea at Prabhasa Theertha and sharp blade type grass grew there. When the Yadus who were fully intoxicated came to this place arguing with each other, they totally lost their mental balance and started hitting each other with the grass and got themselves killed. Balarama , noticing that it was Lord ’s will decided to leave this earthly residence, assumed his original form as Adisesha and walked into the sea and disappeared. The place where he disappeared can be seen even today. Over a period of time, this place has turned into mass of land due to reduction in the water level. LORD Sri Krishna was resting under a banyan tree with right leg placed on left lap.
A hunter named Jara (who was Vaali in his previous birth when Krishna incarnated as SriRama) , mistook Perumal’s thiruvadi to be a deer and shot an arrow from a distance of 1 kilometre. The hunter who came in search of his prey was shocked to see the Lord and begged for forgiveness. The Lord convinced that it was as per His plan and narrated his past birth as Vaali when Perumal hit him from behind and thus fulfilled Vali’s desire for revenge. He bestowed moksham to the hunter. This shows Lord’s compassion to persons who try to kill him. In this avatar, he first killed Putana who had come to kill him and gave her moksham and at the end of the incarnation, he blessed Jara by giving him moksham.
At that time, a hunter , Jara, who was Vali in his previous birth, hit the Lord with an arrow. The repentant hunter apologized for his folly and at that time Lord enlightened him about his previous birth.
At that time, Lord Brahma, Shiva and other Devas came to offer prayers to the Lord . Lord Sri Krishna exhibited His divine form with 4 hands and Thayar seated on His right breast. At that time, Lord Brahma and others addressed the Lord as the one bearing the bow, indicating Sri Ramaavataaram.
The Divine spirit ascended to the Heavens piercing the Solar Orb. Then the spirit appeared to Brahma and the others as a stone image and simultaneously a voice from the Heavens proclaimed that He would appear on earth in that shape , which while appearing to be stony and lifeless would possess considerable spiritual power, that He would remain on earth thereafter till the end of Kaliyugam and that Brahma and the Devas should continue their worship there.
This incident happened at the end of Dwapara Yuga. ( This story is depicted in Chapter V of Mausala Parva of Sri Mahabharatha ) In the beginning of Kaliyuga, Lord manifested Himself at Thiruvengadam ..
This Lord is our Thiruvengadamudayan and our Tirumala is Kaliyuga Vaikuntam. Even today, all the devas headed by Lord Brahma come to Thiruvengadam and offer worship to the Lord. Hence, every night after EKANTA SEVA, the archakars in the Tirumalai temple fill all the pancha paatrams with water for the devas to perform pooja and leave the place.
This sripadatheertham is offered to devotees who participate in the next day “SUPRABHATA SEVA”.
Jai Jai Dwarakadeesh
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images
Credits SVBC channel and many advanced devotees who have uploaded in social media