The Lost Realm: Dwarka

Dwarka also known as Dvarvati is an ancient Hindu city that has been mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, the literal meaning of it in Sanskrit is ‘gateway to heaven’.

In the Hindu puranas Dwarka is referred to as the “Sapt Puri” or the seven sacred Hindu pilgrimages and is the city where Lord Krishna the eighth avatar of lord Vishnu once lived. In the Mahabharata the city of Dwarka was originally called “Kushasthali” which was the capital of the Anarta kingdom and was later made the capital of the Yadavas and renamed Dwarka.

The Story of discovery of Dwarka is correlated to the story of Krishna. Krishna was born in Mathura to Devaki and Vasudeva,

His maternal uncle Kansa was the tyrannical ruler of Mathura when his sister Devaki gets married to Vasudeva on the day of her marriage there is a divine prophecy that the eighth child of Devaki would kill Kansa. On hearing this enraged Kansa imprisons his sister and her husband and kills all the seven children of Devaki as soon as they are born.

Before the birth of her eighth child Lord Vishnu comes in Devaki’s dream and tells her that he will take birth as her eighth child, once the child is born miraculously entire Mathura falls asleep and Vasudeva takes their newborn to Vrindavan where his best friend Nanda lived he asks him to look after his son and raise him as his own. Once Krishna grows up he returns to Mathura with his older brother Balrama and together the two of them kill Kansa.

The death of Kansa enrages “Jarasandha” who was the ruler of Magadha and the emperor of Aryavartta, he also happened to be the father-in-law of Kansa. He decides to avenge the death of his son-in-law and attacks Mathura. Jarasandha attacked Mathura seventeen times but it did not fall to his attack, nevertheless the Yadu clan suffered heavy losses over the course of lengthy conflict and Krishna realized that his people would not be able to withstand another attack thus he decides to find a new place to keep them save from Jarasandha’s wrath.

On fleeing from Mathura Krishna had to look for a place where he could keep his people safe from Jarasandha that is when he reaches Kushasthali which was the capital of the Anarta kingdom which was founded by Anartha the Grandson of vaivasvata who was the father of present Manu and the god of death Yama. The city was in ruins as it had been flooded by Lord Varuna (the god of Sea). Krishna decides to build his city here and invokes Vishwakarma “the god of Architecture” and requests him to build a beautiful city for him but the god informs him that this task could only be possible if Lord Varuna grants him land. Krishna worships Varuna and on getting pleased by him the latter decides to grant him 12 Yojana (773sq km) of land, Vishwakarma then builds the beautiful city of Dwarka which according to the ancient Hindu texts is called as the most beautiful city of ancient Indian civilization. In the Mahabharata the city has been described as the most beautiful city on Earth comparing it with Indra’s heaven ,it was the most coveted city of that time filled with the sounds of birds chirping , bees flying , mystical parks and pleasure Gardens. It had lakes that were full of blooming lotuses and other fragrant flowers.

It was a well planned city and was an architectural marvel; it was divided into 6 main sectors. Traffic moved along a well laid out system of roads, intersections, boulevards and market places. The streets of the city were graced with many assembly halls and temples of various gods, goddesses and demi-gods. Dwarka boasted nine lakh royal palaces all constructed with silver and crystal, decorated with huge emeralds, inside these palaces the furnishings were bedecked with gold and jewels.

The most beautiful palace in the city where Vishwakarma has shown all his skills was that of the ruler of the city Lord Krishna it was gorgeously decorated with coral pillars that were decoratively inlaid with gems, sapphires bedecked the walls and the floors glowed with brilliance, the palace had huge canopies with hanging strands of pearls and the seats and beds were fashioned with ivory and precious jewels.

The beauty of the city was so captivating that when the Pandavas establish their new kingdom in Khandvaprastha, the architect Mayasur is instructed to make the city as beautiful as Dwarka or at least at par with it thus describing the charm of the city of Krishna .But this charm was not an everlasting one since the beautiful city of Krishna is submerged by the massive flood due to a curse given by Gandhaari, the mother of Duryodhana. Recently underwater excavations carried out by the archaeological survey of India have found remains of the ancient city under the Arabian Sea.

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