Places abound in natural beauty, pilgrim places of national importance, memorable historic sites, myriad of handicrafts of Gujarat are a constant attraction for tourists within and outside the country. It is needless to say that more tourists should be attracted and brought to the land with longest coastline in Gujarat. These centers of State heritage should be preserved.
To promote religion tourism the State has set up Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board. What else can convey the State's earnestness other than the fact that the Chief Minister himself heads the board. The idea is to establish an aura of harmony and spirituality around these abodes of Gods.
In the first phase, six pilgrim places have been selected. The objective is their all round development. The places are : Somnath, Dwarka, Girnar, Dakor, Ambaji and Palitana.
Dwarka has a special importance as one of the major Hindu pilgrim place, known as the capital of Lord Krishna's Kingdom. Dwarka is one of the four most important pilgrim places. It is also an important historical monument. The architecture of the old Dwarka of Shri Krishna is majestic and wonderful. The great poet Premanand has in his "Sudama Charit" described its splendid beauty and majesty.
Dwarka is mentioned as Golden City in Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, Skand Purana, Vishnu Purana and also in Harivansh and Mahabharat. Legendary Krishna's kingdom means Dwarka. Since the place has historical links with the Lord Krishna, devotes take pilgrimage to Dwarka. It is one of the seven ancient cities of India.
Interesting descriptions about its construction are found in puranas. "Fearing attack from Jarasangh and Kaalayvan on Mathura, Shri Krishna and Yadavas left Mathura and arrived at the coast of Saurashtra. They decided to build their capital in the coastal region and invoke the Vishwakarma the deity of construction. However, Vishwakarma says that the task can be completed only if Samudradev, the Lord of the sea provided some land. Shri Krishna worshipped Samudradev, who was pleased and gave them land measuring 12 yojans and the Lord vishwakarma build Dwarka, a "city in gold". This beautiful city was also known as Dwaramati, Dwarawati and Kushsthali.
Another story says that at the time of the death of Shri Krishna, who was hit by the arrow of a hunter near Somnath at Bhalka Tirth, Dwarka disappeared in the sea. State's Archaeology department is at present excavating the Dwarka and ancient ruins are being found.
The present Dwarka like its ancient form was on the coast of Arabian sea opposite the coast of Arabian sea opposite the Gulf of Kutch. Nearby Okha Port is a major and it is also well known as entry to Western India.
The splendid temple known as Dwarkadhish - Jagat Mandir is more than 2500 years old. The five story temple has 60 pillars with exquisite carvings. Temple's beautiful carvings and architecture captivate tourists. It has three parts : place of worship, prakashgar (Nijmandir) and Sabhagrih and the topmost part, the shikhar. There is no arch in the temple and the stair is also built from one stone. On the ceiling of the main hall a tiny carved stone is ornamentally fixed. Jharokas have apsaras and elephants carved on them. It's conical shaped shikhar is 172 ft. high.. There is a grand mandap in the center of the temple. One can enjoy the natural beauty of the place through jharokas of the temple is surrounded by a number of small temple. In the Garbhgruh (sanctum) one meter high idol of Lord Dwarkadhish, is placed, looking like four armed deity Vishnu in black stone. The temple is on the bank of river Gomti at a height of 40 feet.
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