The Lost City of Dwarka Underwater
Dwarka the fabled city of Lord Krishna was built on land given by Samudra Dev and reclaimed when Lord Krishna left His earthy body and returned to His ‘Neejdham’. Lord Krishna established two cities in the days after the Mahabharata War during the Yuga known as Dwapar. One was Bet Dwarka and the other Dwarka, about 32 km apart. Lord Krishna, Himself lived in Bet Dwarka while the administration was in Dwarka.
Why Lord Krishna established Dwarka
After the Mahabharata war was over Lord Krishna lived and ruled over His kingdom in Mathura – Vrindavan. His kingdom was repeatedly attacked by Jarasandha, the powerful king of Magadh in the east. Jarasandha was seeking revenge for the killing of his son-in-law – Kansha by Lord Krishna. When Jarasandha attacked for the 18th time, Lord Krishna decided to leave Mathura and establish a new kingdom for His beloved Yadavas. The site for the new city was chosen by Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s mount. Lord Krishna prayed to Samudra Dev, who granted 12 Yojanas of land (96 sq. km). The magnificent twin cities were then built by Shri Vishwakarma the Divine architect and builder. Mentions of Dwarka and Bet Dwarka can be found in Harivamsa, Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana. Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita.
Magnificent Dwarka – A city of Palaces
When was the Dwapar Yuga? When did the Mahabharata War take place? So-called historians have come up with various dates, but the truth is that is only a matter of conjecture. The actual dates are not known. Whatever information we have is from our Puranas and other ancient religious texts. Dwarka and Bet Dwarka at that time were huge cities with innumerable palaces, temples, public buildings, lakes gardens, and residential areas. The entire city was enclosed by a fortified wall. Dwarka was a maritime city with a port and links to far-off places. This is the place where Shri Krishna lived with His queens for the rest of His life after coming from Mathura – Vrindavan. Dwarka was also known as Suvarna Dwarka (Golden Dwarka) because of the excessive gold, silver, gems, and precious stones used in the building of the city. Here the Yadavas lived in peace and harmony with their beloved king – Lord Krishna.
As declared by Lord Krishna earlier, the city would submerge with the sea after He left for Vaikunth, His Neejdham. Before this happened, Shri Krishna asked His chief disciple Pandava Arjun to relocate the population of Dwarka. Arjuna did as ordered and identified a safe and agreeable area that we now know as Jamnagar. It was rocky and desert-like terrain. The new settlement was known as Navanagar, which became Jamnagar over the centuries.
Samudra Dev now reclaimed Dwarka as ordained by Lord Krishna. Suvarna Dwarka was now underwater with all traces of its existence gone. An Era had come to its conclusion. Dwapar Yuga came to an end and the Kali Yuga began.
Underwater Archaeological Explorations
The first archaeological explorations to know whether a city had existed in the days of yore were taken up in 1963. This land project revealed many artifacts during excavations that showed a city did exist in ancient times. Technology in those days was limited and exact dates were not really known. This effort continued for twenty years and more and more evidence piled up. In 1984 an underwater exploration project was sanctioned by the government. This too was a long-term project and by 1990 there was enough evidence to show the existence of a submerged city.
By 2001 experts from the Archaeological department confirmed the existence of a highly civilized city on these shores with maritime links to other places. This predates all known ancient civilizations like Mohenjodaro. The now submerged city of Dwarka was a fortified city with massive gates, excellent roads, gardens, and drainage systems. It was five miles long and two miles wide. The city housed approximately 10,000 people. There was a wall stretching almost 180 miles. In 2001 yet another team from the National Institute discovered artifacts underwater, seven km from the shore. These were more than 9000 years old.
How it got submerged is still a mystery. It could have been a Tsunami, a massive storm, a hurricane, or the melting of glaciers that raised the sea level and claimed the city, as foretold by Sri Krishna.
Puranas proved correct by Science
We all have read much about the golden Dwarka Nagari and stories of it have often been told. All this is written about in various Puranas, Mahabharata, etc. In our minds, we have no doubt about it. We knew a fabulous city in which Shri Krishna lived and ruled existed in the Dwapar Yuga. Skeptics and non-believers scoffed and laughed at these stories. Western science refused to acknowledge it as true. But all were proved wrong when the archaeological department put forward their findings. These findings are in perfect correlation to what has been written in Harivamsa, a text written in the Mahabharata Era. In Harivamsa a detailed description of the city of Dwarka can be found.
Dwarka then and Dwarka now has a special place in the hearts of all devotees and will always be known as Shri Krishna’s Nagari. It would be very hard to find a devotee who does not want to visit Dwarka and bow his head in the famed Dwarkadhish Temple.