Dwaraka: Gateways of Mukthi – Temples of India


The Dwarakadhish temple located at Dwaraka is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Situated in Gujarat, India, the temple is one of the four destinations of Char Dham, the other three being Rameswaram, Badrinath and Puri. Also, Dwaraka is one of the 7 holy cities of India, also known as the Sapta Puri. Believed to be constructed in 200 BCE, the Dwarakadhish temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu. As a result, it is venerated in the Divyaprabanda scriptures as well.  Also, Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century philosopher visited the shrine and established a mutt here as well.

Dwarakadhish Temple, Dwaraka


Dwaraka finds a mention in epics like Mahabharatha. After Lord Krishna defeated his evil uncle Kamsa, King Jarasandha kept invading Mathura and harassed the Yadavas. As a tactical manoeuvre, (Jarasandha will be killed by Bhima later), Krishna left Mathura and built the beautiful town on the banks of Gomati River and named it Dwaraka. Since he left the battlefield, he is affectionately known as Ranchchod Rai, meaning the king who ran away from the battlefield. Incidentally, the original temple was constructed by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Krishna.

As per legend, Dwarka was built on a piece of land by Krishna that was reclaimed from the sea. Once, Sage Durvasa met with Lord Krishna and Rukmini and wished that they take him to their palace. They happily agreed and started walking with the sage to their palace. On the way, Rukmini got tired and she requested Krishna for some water. Krishna immediately dug a hole and brought the waters of River Ganga to that place. Rukmini quenched her thirst but failed to offer water to the sage. On account of this, Sage Durvasa cursed Rukmini to remain in the place and not be with Lord Krishna. The temple where Rukmini’s shrine is present today is believed to be the place where this incident happened.

Temple Architecture

After several demolitions and renovations, the current temple was renovated by Chaulukya kings during 15th & 16th centuries. This temple has a unique blend of Nagara and Dravidian architectural elements. The beautiful Jagatmandir is bordered on one side by the Arabian Sea and on the other side by the town of Dwaraka itself. The temple has two gates – Swarg Dwar (Gate to Heaven) in the South and Moksha Dwar (Gate to Salvation) in the North. The main shrine of the temple houses the idol of Lord Krishna. It is a five-storey building, with a 43-metre tall Gopuram(spire). The main shrine is supported by 72 intricately carved pillars. The temple walls contain carvings from various Puranas and other events.

The central sanctum houses the main deity Dwarakadhish, the Trivikrama form of Vishnu with four arms. Lord Balarama is present to the left of the main altar. Pradyumna and Aniruddha, son and grandson of Krishna are present at the left of the sanctum. Surrounding the central shrine, Radha, Jambavati, Satyabhama and Lakshmi are present. Other idols inside the temple include Madhav Raoji (Krishna), Devaki and sage Durvasa.

Lord Dwarakadhish

Temple Flag

Atop the Gopuram (spire) a flag with the markings of the Sun and the Moon is hoisted. This symbolises that as long as the Sun and the Moon exist, the kingdom of Lord Krishna will also exist. The triangular flag is of 50 feet (15 m) length and is changed four times a day with a new one with great fanfare and piety.

Religious importance

The 8th century philosopher Adi Shankaracharya established four great monasteries in the cardinal directions of the country (Sringeri in the south, Puri in the east, Joshimath in the north, and Dwarka in the west).

Meera Bai, the famed Rajput princess and 16th century poet who was also an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna is said to have merged with Lord Krishna at this temple.
Dwaraka is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven holy cities of India, the others being Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Banaras, Kanchi and Ujjain.

Other temples related to Dwaraka

Beyt Dwaraka: Positioned about 20 miles from the town, Beyt Dwarka is said to be the dwelling place of Lord Krishna and his clan. ‘Bhet’ in the local language means ‘Island’. It is said that Lord Krishna ruled from here. There is a place in this temple where Lord Krishna and his queens welcomed Sudhama, the friend and devotee of Lord Krishna.

Sudhama Dwaraka: This was the birth place of Sudhma. Sudhama and Sri Krishna were childhood friends and studied under the same guru, Santipani.

Moola Dwaraka: This is the place where Lord Krishna is said to have set foot first on arriving at Dwaraka.

Mukti Dwaraka: This is the place where Lord Krishna’s final moment on earth was observed. This is where Lord Krishna reclined on a tree with his foot dangling. A hunter mistook the foot for an animal shot a poisonous arrow thus ending his life.

Mukthi Dwaraka

Dakor Dwaraka: It is believed that the original Dwarakadhish idol left Dwaraka out of his own free will to stay at his devotee’s place here. The temple has some amazing wood carvings and is an architectural wonder.

Shrinathji Dwaraka: ‘Nathdwara ‘ means the gateway of God. Situated in Udaipur, Rajasthan, the image of Lord Shrinathji is breathtaking and is a beauty to behold.

Kankroli Dwaraka: The Lord here is also worshipped as Dwarakadhish. The red stone idol of Lord Krishna was brought from Mathura during the Mughal invasion.


The Dwarakadhish temple follows Pushtimarg, introduced by Hindu saint Vallabhacharya in the 16th century. The daily rituals commence with a Mangal Aarti early at 6:30 am.
The Krishna Janmashtami festival is the most important festival celebrated. On this occasion, millions of devotees flood the temple to seek blessings. Bhajans originating from the temple echo throughout the city.

Temple Facts

Dhivyadesam Name Dwaraka
Main Deity Dwarakadhish
Location Dwaraka Town, Gujarat (Vada Nadu)
Architecture Style Chalukya / Nagara
Temple Age 2200 Years
Azhwars that did
Thirumazhisai Azhwar, Periazhwar, Andal,
Nammazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar
Naanmugan Thiruvanthathi (1)
Periazhwar Thirumozhi (4)
Nachiyar Thirumozhi (3)
Thiruvaimozhi (1)
Peria Thirumozhi (2)
Unique Specialities – One of the 4 Dhams (destinations)
– Meerabai’s final meeting with Lord Krishna
– Adi Sankara’s monastery (one of 4)
Popular Events Krishna Janmashtami

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Rangarajan has been blogging for over 12 years now on various topics. With Thedal, he becomes one with the universe and he is hoping that his search will help him discover the eternal truth.  Please join him as he traverses through the universe across temples, philosophies and science!

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