Welcome to Dwarka, a sacred city located on the western shore of the Okhamandal Peninsula in the state of Gujarat, India. This ancient city is steeped in history and mythology, and is considered one of the seven-most-ancient religious cities in India. Dwarka is home to the Dwarkadhish Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, which is one of four sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites called the Chardham. The temple complex also includes the Dwaraka maţha, one of the four peeths established by Adi Shankaracharya. As part of the Krishna pilgrimage circuit, Dwarka is a must-visit destination for those exploring Vrindavan, Mathura, Barsana, Gokul, Govardhan, Kurukshetra, and Puri.

Dwarka has a hot, arid climate with a 16-day rainy season. The city had a population of 38,873 in 2011, and is one of 12 heritage cities across the country selected under the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme of the Government of India to develop civic infrastructure.

The history of Dwarka is steeped in Puranic traditions and mythology. According to legend, Krishna settled here after he defeated and killed his uncle Kamsa at Mathura. This mythological account of Krishna’s migration to Dwarka from Mathura is closely associated with the culture of Gujarat. Krishna is also said to have reclaimed 12 yojanas or 96 square kilometres of land from the sea to create Dwarka. The city was established as the capital in Saurashtra by the Vedic Indians during the Puranaic. The Yadavas, who had migrated from Mathura, established their kingdom here when the city was known as Kaushathali. It was during this period that the city underwent rebuilding and was named Dwarka.

Archaeological investigations at Dwarka, both on shore and offshore in the Arabian Sea, have been performed by the Archaeological Survey of India. The first investigations carried out on land in 1963 revealed many artefacts. Excavations done at two sites on the seaward side of Dwarka brought to light submerged settlements, a large stone-built jetty, and triangular stone anchors with three holes. The settlements are in the form of exterior and interior walls, and fort bastions. From the typological classification of the anchors it is inferred that Dwarka had flourished as a port during the period of the Middle kingdoms of India.

Dwarka is well known for its temples and as a pilgrimage centre for Hindus. The Dwarakadhisa Temple, also called Jagat Mandir, located in the heart of Dwarka, is a Vaishnava temple. It was built by Raja Jagat Singh Rathore, hence it is called Jagat Mandir. The temple, facing west, is at an elevation of 12.19 metres above mean sea-level. It is conjectured that this temple location is 2,500 years old and is where Krishna built his city and a temple. However, the existing temple is dated to the 16th century. Other notable temples in the area include the Rukmini Devi Temple, dedicated to Krishna’s chief queen, and the Nagesvara Jyotirlinga, an ancient Shiva temple.

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