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Dwarka in a painting of the late 1820s

Dwarka is a city and a municipality of Devbhumi Dwarka district in the state of Gujarat in northwestern India. It is located on the western shore of the Okhamandal Peninsula on the right bank of the Gomti River. In 2011 it had a population of 38,873. Dwarka is one of the Chardhams, four sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, and is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven most ancient religious cities in the country. Dwarka is often identified with the Dwarka Kingdom, the ancient kingdom of Krishna, and is believed to have been the first capital of Gujarat.


  • Along with Badrinatha, Jagannatha Puri, and Ramesvaram, Dwaraka is one of India’s four main holy places where, it is said, the spiritual realm overlaps into this material world. It is also said to be one of the Saptapuris, or seven holy places, which also includes Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwara, Kashi (Varanasi), Ujjain, and Kanchipuram. Shankaracharya established one of his four mutts or centers here, and even Ramanujacharya and Madhavacharya came here on pilgrimage. Dwaraka is the remains of Krishna’s capital city, which He established around 3000 B.C.E. It was one of the most developed and advanced cities anywhere. Descriptions of it are found in many Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata, Bhagavat Purana, Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana, Harivamsha, and in 44 chapters of the Skanda Purana. It is described as having been full of flower gardens and fruit trees, along with beautiful singing birds and peacocks. The lakes were full of swans and lilies and lotus flowers. The buildings were also beautiful and bedecked with jewels. There were temples, assembly halls, residential homes, and as many as 900,000 palaces. While Lord Krishna lived here, the people of the town would often see Him. By local tradition, the present people of Dwaraka are considered to be family descendants of Lord Krishna, or members of the Yadu dynasty.
    • Knapp Stephen, Spiritual India Handbook (2011)
  • When I was repairing the temple of Dwarkadeesh at Dwaraka (on land) I had to demolish a modern building in front of it and I found the 9th Century temple of Vishnu. I got curious and dug further deeper (30 ft) in 1979-80 on land. We found two earlier temples, a whole wall and figures of Vishnu. We dug further and actually found eroded material of a township lying at the bottom. Then arose the question of dating the remains of the township destroyed by the sea. Thermo-luminescence dating revealed a date of 1520 B.C.
    • S.R. Rao, Interview with S. R. Rao at The Hindu, Nov 20 2002.
  • “After some time the Sultan started contemplating the conquest of the port of Jagat which is a place of worship for the Brahmanas… With this resolve he started for the port of Jagat on 16 Zil-Hajja, AH 877 (AD 14 July, 1473). He reached Jagat with great difficulty due to the narrowness of the road and the presence of forests… He destroyed the temple of Jagat…”
    • About Mahmud Begada and Dwarka (Gujarat). Burhan-i-Ma‘sir, in Uttara Taimura Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1958-59. Vol. II, p. 218-19
  • “Mahmood Shah’s next effort was against the port of Jugut, with a view of making converts of the infidels, an object from which he had been hitherto deterred by the reports he received of the approaches to it…”“The King, after an arduous march, at length arrived before the fort of Jugut a place filled with infidels, misled by the infernal minded bramins… The army was employed in destroying the temple at Jugut, and in building a mosque in its stead; while measures, which occupied three or four months in completing, were in progress for equipping a fleet to attack the island of Bete…”
    • About Sultan Mahmud Begdha of Gujarat (AD 1458-1511) at Dwarka (Gujarat). Tarikh-i-Firishta by Firishta.
  • “In the same year of AH 877 (AD 1472-73) the Sultãn made up his mind to destroy Jagat… Jagat is a very famous abode of infidelity and idolatry. Its idol is regarded as higher than all other idols in India and it is because of this idol that the place is called Dwãrkã. It is a very big nest of BrãhmaNas too. The idolaters come here from far off places and the great hardships they undergo in order to reach here is regarded by them as earnest worship… There is a fort nearby known as Bait… “…The Sultãn mounted (his horse) in the morning. The people of Jagat also got this information. They shut themselves in the fort along with Rãi Bhîm. After a few days the Sultãn entered Jagat and got its idols broken. He got its canopies pulled down and established the way of Islãm there.”
    • Dwarka (Gujarat) Zafaru’l-Wãlih Bi Muzaffar Wa Ãlîhi, S.A.A. Rizvi in Uttara Taimûr Kãlîna Bhãrata, Aligarh, 1959, Vol. II, p. 413-18
  • “On 17 Zilhijjã he started towards Jagat and reduced that place after marching continuously. The infidels of Jagat ran away to the island of Sãnkhû. The Sultãn destroyed Jagat and got its palaces dismantled. He got the idols broken…”
    • Sultãn Mahmûd BegDhã of Gujarat (AD 1458-1511)Dwarka (Gujarat) Mir‘ãt-i-Sikandarî in S.A.A. Rizvi in Uttara Taimûr Kãlîna Bhãrata, Aligarh, 1959, Vol. II, p. 318
  • He stopped public worship at the Hindu temple of Dwarka.'
    • Aurangzeb. Mirat-i-Ahmadi by Ali Muhammad Khan, in : Sharma, Sri Ram, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors, Bombay, 1962., p. 137-138
  • In the year 878 A.H. Sultan Mahmud Begada conquered Dwarkan, and destroyed the temple in the island of Shankhoddar (Beyt) and built a mosque... In the time of the carly Muslim rule the idols dedicated to Krishna, his father, and his mother, were removed from Jagat and placed in the island (Shankhoddar, Beyt), but in the end they were destroyed by Sultan Mahmud Begada.
    [Aurangzeb, on learning of an attack on the Mughal outpost at Dwarka, ordered local officials] “to stop the Hindus from worshipping at this place”.
    • Mirat-i-Ahmadi, 1765: Supplement 1928: 121-122) quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.178ff

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