Legends of Indian Temples: Dwarka Temple

Dwaraka or Dwaravati, was a city where Lord Krishna lived as king. Naturally, it is one of the four sacred Dhams in India. The legendary city of Dwaiaka was not Made by men. After Krishna chose the site it was Viswakarma, heaven’s architect, who planned and built the city. Shiva and Kuvera, from Kailas and Patal respectively, sent their spirit servants to execute the plans drawn by Viswaliarma. When the construction of the city was complete, it looked like a chunk of paradise!

Before the Kurukshetra war began, both the Pandavas and the Kauravas were eager to avail of Ktishna’s support for themselves.

Duryodhana came to Dwaraka to meet Krishna on behalf of die Kanravas. At that time Krishna “was asleep in his palace. Duryodhana sat on a luxurious scat close to Krishna’s head, expecting to be seen as soon as Krishna opened his eyes. Arjuna, sent by the Pandavas, reached soon after. His natural humility made him occupy a seat at Krishna’s feet.

When Krishna opened his eyes, the first to be seen by him was Arjuna.

The situation was piquant. Since Duryodhana came first, he had a claim to Krishna’s support. But since Arjuna was the first to be seen by Krishna, he too had a claim perhaps a greater claim to his support. Krishna decided to help both. One was to get the services of his heroic army and the other was to get his personal guidance. Arjuna, being the younger of the two, was granted the privilege to choose. Arjuna preferred Krishna’s personal help to the assistance of his great army.

Who does not know what happened in the Mahabharata war? Under Krishna’s unerring guidance, the Pandavas won a glorious victory over the Kauravas. Krishna then returned to Dwaraka and resumed ruling peacefully.

But a curse was cast on him.

Gandhari, the mother of the Kaurava brothers, firmly believed that if Krishna had so wished, the tragic war could have been avoided. At night, as she walked through the deserted battlefield with a lamp in her hand, surveying the faces of her dead sons, she was overwhelmed with agony and uttered a deadly curse. She said that Krishna’s own people – the dynasty of the Yadavas – would be altogether destroyed within a few years, just as her children had been destroyed.

The time soon came for the curse to realise itself. One day, the unruly and unworthy youth of the great Yadavas teased a great sage. The sage cursed them once again.

A few days later, the Yadavas went on an excursion to the seashore at Prabhasa. There they got drunk and quarrelled among themselves. Soon the quarrel resulted in a wild free-for-all. No male member of the family, except Krishna, survived this suicidal fight.

Tired, Krishna was relaxing beneath a tree in a nearby forest. A hunter mistook his feet for the ears of a deer and shot an arrow. That ended the life of Krishna.

Upon hearing of this tragedy, Arjuna hurried to Dwaraka. Dwaraka lay under an eerie silence, broken only by the wailing of the Yadava women. Ar)una took charge of them on the way. Bandits attacked them and Arjuna could not defeat them because, with the passing away of Krishna, he had become powerless.

Once a paradise, Dwaraka was now almost a wasteland. If this was not enough, Dwaraka was soon engulfed by the sea. For seven days, it remained submerged. All that was associated with the memory of Krishna had been erased by the time the land re-emerged. Yet, die earth of Dwaraka is sacred enough, and pilgrims consider it good luck to be able to breathe its air where, once upon a time, Krishna ruled as king.

The temple at Dwaraka, which is dedicated to Krishna, stands on the banks of the river Gomari in a peaceful and serene atmosphere. It is said that one of the descendants of Krishna, Vajranath, built the temple.

Krishna has been worshipped at Dwaraka since time immemorial, though the original temple must have been replaced several times in the distant past, with each new construction taking the place of the old. The four-handed, graceful image of Krishna looks vibrant with spirit.

It was in this temple that Mira, one of the supreme singers of Krishna’s glory, passed the last years of her life. She had been the queen of a state in Rajasthan. But in her palace she was harassed by the members other own family for her intense devotion to Krishna. She therefore, left the palace and came away to Dwarka to meditate on Krishna in peace.

Later, her kinsmen repented and came to take her back. She refused to go. When they insisted, she entered the shrine of Krishna and shut herself m. When the doors of the shrine were forced open, Mira*s sari was seen on the idol, but there was no trace of her. She is said to have physically merged with Krishna.

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