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DWARKA PILGRIMAGE INFORMATION
DWARKA:
NISHKALANK MAHADEV TEMPLE  
Temple is situated in The Sea at the BAY OF CAMBAY AND GULF OF KHAMBHAT.

Legend
The legend goes like this when 5 Pandavas approached Lord Krishna to show the way to sanctify the sins of kurukshetra War He send them on Pilgrimage with Black cow and Black Flag and instructed to conduct penance when/where the black cow/flag becomes WHITE Here the cow/flag turned white and Lord Shiva appeared before pandavas in the linga form. The sea water recedes only at this temple point for few hours and return back pilgrims patiently wait for the receding wave and have darshan return safely before the tide come back.

THE TEMPLE OF DWARKADHEESH
Jagat Mandir is the seat of Lord Sri Krishna’s main temple at Dwarka situated on the banks of river Gomati. It was called as Trailokya Sundar Jagat Mandir, the temple of the Universe during Sri Krishna’s era. The presiding deity Lord Sri Krishna represents the four armed form (Chaturbhuja) of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu known as Trivikrama with Kounch, Disc, Mace and Lotus (Shanka, Chakra, Gada, Padma) in his four arms. Seated in the centre of the altar on a silver throne, the Deity is called as Dwarkadheesh (Ruler of Dwarka) 2.25 ft. height majestic, charming and fascinating idol of the Deity is black in colour with the sanctum sanctorum fully decorated.

The temple has two entrances. The main entrance (north entrance) is called “Moksha Dwar” (Door to Salvation) from where devotees enter the temple. This entrance leads to the main market. Other one, the south entrance is called “Swarga Dwar” (Gate to Heaven) with 56 steps leading down to the river Gomati where pilgrims exit.

BETDWARKA
Bet Dwarka was the residence of Bhagwan Sri Krishna. Bet Dwarka Island, also known as Bet Shankhodhara, is situated in the Gulf of Kutch. The island has a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Early historic settlement remains have been located on the island which may be dated back to 3rd century BC on the basis of a potsherd inscribed with 'Nandakasa' in the Mauryan Brahmi script. Thus they claim this to be the original Dwarka 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  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.
 
NATHDWARA (NathDwarka)
Nathdwara is considered to be one of the 9 dwarakas and the presiding diety here is  SHRI SHRINATHJI. Here the Lord  is seen in blackish form 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. Shrinathji is very special and beautiful diety. There is a diamond on the chin of the Lord. This idol is swayambhu.  The  Lord is also known as “Banke Bhihari”.  Here Lord gives darshan as Krishna-Radharani together  and hence is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI. 

Matrugaya Kshetra
Bindu Sarovar is one of the Panch Sarovars in India. It is also known as Matrugaya Kshetra in Patan district in Gujrat state. On the Banks of Bindu Sarovar (Matrugaya Kshetra) Lord Parshuram had perform Pind Dan of his mother in the past so devotees from all over India come to Siddhpur fpr performing this pooja, and his temple is also created here for darshan. Bindu Sarovar simply means a lake of drops, believed that Lord Mahavishnu’s tears have fallen in this lake. Bindu sarovar, sidhpur place is Kapil maharshi’s taposthal at this point he teaches moksha gyana to his mother.

Kankroli Dwaraka is considered as one of the nava Dwarakas. Located on the banks of Rajsamund lake, Kankroli is known as “haveli of King of Dwarka”.  The haveli (big mansion) and the ghats near the lake are built in Rajashtani style. It attracts pilgrims from all over India and is one of the important temples for Pushti Margi Vallabhacharya Vaishnavas.  Once when Brahma performed penance and  Lord appeared to him at the time of creation of universe at this place in this form. Dakor Dwarka
A pious devotee Bhaktha BODANA from Dakore use to visit Dwaraka every year on his bullock cart carrying tulasi plants with him to offer the same to the Lord.  He used to take 6 months to reach Dwaraka . He followed this practice even in his advanced age.    During one such visit, he prayed to Dwarakadeesh that in future he may not be able to visit Dwarka as he was very old.  The Lord replied that henceforth he preferred to stay with this pure devotee rather than being in Dwarka where people had turned materialistic and there was no pure bhakti. The Lord ordered him to be ready with the cart in the night. The devotee accordingly obeyed and waited with the cart for the Lord.  As promised, Lord left the temple, got into the cart and HE  HIMSELF drove the cart.  The Supreme  Lord who by His mere glance, controls the entire Cosmic manifestation, made the devotee relax and Himself drove the cart for the sake of His devotee. Overnight they reached Dakore, near Ahmedabad   The Brahmin used to take 6 months to drive the cart but the Lord reached the place within 6 hours.  From the following morning the Brahmin along with his wife started worship in their hut itself.  Meantime, when the temple doors were opened, the priests were shocked to see the idol missing.  They guessed that the old Brahmin who was in the temple for a very long time the previous night must be responsible for this.  All the residents of Dwarka set out for Dakor.  When they saw the Lord  in the brahmin’s house, they started abusing the Brahmin and tried to forcibly take the idol.  They did not listen to the Brahmin’s pleas. However hard they tried to grab the idol, the idol did not even move an inch.   At that time they heard an asareeri say that Lord would be with whoever gives offering equal to the Lord’s weight .  Immediately, a balance was brought and the idol was placed on one side of the balance.  The residents of Dwarka offered all their possessions which was kept on the other side of the balance.  The balance remained as it is.  They rushed back to Dwarka and brought back all they had but this also was of no match to the Lord’s weight.  Having accepted defeat, they asked the Brahmin to try his turn.  The brahmin’s wife  a very great devotee, prayed to  Lord and placed her nose ring along with little Tulasi on the other side of the balance and immediately both the balances became EQUAL.  Thus demonstrated that He is bound by His devotees pure affection and love.  To the dejected residents of Dwaraka,  Lord informed that very soon a sculptor would approach them who would sculpt a similar vigraham(Statue) which could be placed in the altar and  would continue to bless the devotees by bestowing His powers on the idol. Hence, the original vigraham (Statue) of the is present in DAKOR DWARAKA now.

MOOL DWARKA
In the past when, 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.  As this was the place where he put His foot first (Sri Padam), it is known as “MOOLA DWARAKA”.  Lord Shiva, Brahma and other devas offered prayers to the  Dwarakadeesh here.  There is a deep well near the temple where Lord Krishna had His holy bath.  Even during severe drought, this well doesn’t get dried up.

SUDHAMA DWARKA
Kuchelan (Sudama) and Sri  Krishna were childhood friends and studied under the same guru, Sandipani.  After completion of their studies, both of them parted their ways.  Since Sudama  became poor and having married, was overburdened with 27 children.  There was no food to eat.  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. He wanted to take something with him to be offered to Lord Krishna .  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 Goddess Rukmini did paada puja  to Sudama while the other  consorts were helping in offering  shodasa upacharams to the great bhakta.  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.  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 .  There is a beautiful temple, where sudhama lived with this family.

MUKTHI DWARKA
BALIKA THEERTH – the place from where the hunter let loose the arrow- This is “Mukti Dwarka” from where Sri Krishna ascended to Srivaikuntam. (According to Srimat Bhagavatam, Sri Krishna was reclining against a tree in a resting posture when a hunter mistook the light from the sri padam of his foot sole to be that of the eye of a deer and arrow at it.).


PUSHKAR
Pushkar is considered as  one of the sacred ponds which bestows mukti. It is known as “Teerth Guru” , the foremost of all Theerthams. Every aspiring devotee visits this place to have a holy dip in this theertham.  The place is named after this theertham.  Jagathpitha (father of all worlds), Brahma was in search of a residence in Bhooloka for performing yaaga.  At that time, a petal from the lotus flower which he held  fell down at this place and water sprouted out which is the Pushkar lake.   Brahma selected this place to perform sacrifice/yagnam.  As the consort is supposed to be present for any pooja, Brahma asked his son, Narada Maharishi to bring his mother, Saraswathi.  Saraswathi for some reason was delayed in reaching this place.  As the auspicious moment was tripping off, Brahma put some grass in a cow’s mouth (“Ghai” means cow) , uttered some mantras and from the cow’s mouth emerged a lady  As she appeared from the mouth of the cow,   Brahma named her Gayathri and accepted her as his consort and started the yagnam. She is known as “Vedmatha Gayathri”- , the mother of Vedas.   This infuriated Saraswathi who cursed Brahma that he would not be worshipped on earth and left the place in a huff. She reached a nearby hillock and started her penance.  This is the reason for a separate temple for Saraswathi. 

SOMNATH
This is one of the 12 jyotirlingas which every Shaivite aspires to visit atleast once.  There are 2 temples for Someshwarnath. –old temple known as Ahalya temple and the new temple.  Once, lord Shiva appeared to Ahalya, a local devotee and instructed to construct a temple for him.  Later,a local king constructed a huge temple and fortified it and thus protected it from sea and invasions.  The statue of the king riding on a horse can be seen on the way to the temple. After, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the “Iron Man of India” took initiative and was responsible for the construction of a new huge  temple.  In both the temples, the linga form of Shiva is worshipped.  Archeological revelations and pictures of the old temple ruins are displayed in the temple premises.  This temple is located near the sea shore on a vast area.

RUKMANI DWARKA;
Rukmini was the daughter of Bhishma, the king of Vidarbha. Bhismaka was the vassal of King Jarasandha of Magadha. She fell in love with and longed for Krishna, whose virtue, character, charm and greatness she had heard much of. Rukmini's parents wanted to marry Rukmini to Krishna but Rukmi, her brother strongly opposed Bhishmaka and changed his father's mind. Rukmi proposed that she be married to his friend Shishupala, the crown prince of Chedi.

Bhishmaka gave in but Rukmini, who had overheard the conversation was horrified and immediately sent for a brahmana, Sunanda, whom she trusted and asked him to deliver a letter to Krishna. She asked Krishna to come to Vidarbha and kidnap her to avoid a battle where her relatives may be killed. She suggested that he do this when she was on her way to the temple or back. Rukmini asked that he claim her to marry her. She also added that if Krishna refused to comply she would commit suicide. Krishna, having received the message in Dwarka, immediately set out for Vidarbha with Balarama, his elder brother.

Meanwhile, Shishupala was overjoyed at the news from Rukmi that he could simply go to Kundina and claim Rukmini. Jarasandha, not so trusting, sent all his vassals and allies along because he felt that Krishna would certainly come to snatch Rukmini away.

Bhishmaka and Rukmini received the news that Krishna was coming by their respective spies. Bhishmaka, who secretly approved of Krishna and wished he would take Rukmini away, had a furnished mansion set up for him. He welcomed them joyfully and made them comfortable. Meanwhile, at the palace, Rukmini got ready for her upcoming marriage. She went to the shrine to pray but was severely disappointed when she did not see Krishna there. Inside the shrine, she prayed to goddess Parvati that Krishna would arrive and wed her. As she stepped out, she saw Krishna and he soon swept her into his chariot with him. They both started to ride off when Shishupala noticed them. All of Jarasandha's forces quickly started chasing them. While Balarama occupied most of them and held them back Rukmi had almost caught up with Krishna and Rukmini.

Krishna and Rukmi duelled with the inevitable result of Krishna's victory. When Krishna was about to kill him, Rukmini fell at the feet of Krishna and begged that her brother's life be spared. Krishna, generous as always agreed but as punishment, shaved Rukmi's head and let him go free. There was no greater shame for a warrior than a visible sign of defeat.According to folklore, Lord Krishna came to the village of Madhavpur Ghed after kidnapping Rukmini and got married to her at this very place. In the memory of that event, there is a temple built for Rukmani devi.

 
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