Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dwarka, the Kingdom of Dwarkadheesh Lord Krishna

We left Jamnagar around 9 am in the morning. The distance between Jamnagar and Dwarka is around 190 km. But road was no longer 4 lane expressway. It has narrowed to 2 lane but quality of road was not bad. We reached Dwarka around 11.00 am. We had booked a hotel for our stay in Dwarka through the travel agent that rented out the vehicle. 

Our plan was to dump our luggage in the hotel, take some rest and move to Byet Dwarka. We wanted to visit Dwarkadheesh first thing next morning. But some members insisted not to budge an inch without touching feet of Dwarkadheesh first. So we went on to the temple. Since our last visit, the temple premises has been renovated and reorganised. Mobile phones, camera and leather belts are not allowed in the temple. So one has to deposit them first. Shoes had to be deposited in a different counter. We decided to take turn in visiting the temple. Always one person stayed guard on camera, mobile and shoes. This time I had the opportunity to have a darshan at 11.20 am slot on the day of arrival. I could also have a darshan the next day at 6.30 am mangal arti. One has to walk bare feet towards the temple gate. After a body search one is allowed entry into the temple complex. Apart from the central temple of Dwarkadheesh, there are many other temples in the complex. 

Dwarkadheesh is the ruling deity of Dwarka. He is the king of Dwarka and he is treated like one. From morning waking at 6 in the morning till noon he performs different activities like  snan (bathing), shringar (dressing up), bhog (partaking a meal) etc. At the time lord is engaged, his idol is draped in a curtain. Once an activity is over, one can have a darshan (meet the lord). Between 1 pm to 5 pm in the afternoon is the time for lord to relax. So there can be no darshan at the time. Temple closes at 10 PM in the evening for lord to call it a day. A detailed list of darshan timings is available on the net. Briefly, in the morning one can have darshan at the following times : 

 6.30 Mangla Arti
  7.00 to 8.00 Mangla Darshan
  9.00 to 9.30 Shringar Darshan
  9.45 to 10.15 Shringar Darshan
  10.30 to 10.45 Shringar Arti
  11.20 to 12.00 Darshan
  12.20 to 01.00 Darshan
  
At the time of darshan, there are two separate lines for men and women. Senior citizens are allowed to enter through a less crowded entry point. General enclosures are very crowded. Devotees go into a frenzy with chant of "Dwarkadheesh ki Jai" and "Ranchod ji ki Jai". Many raise their arms as if to draw attention of the lord that they have also arrived to pay a visit. Gradually, line moves ahead. In front of the lord one hardly gets 30 - 45 sec. Give your offering of sweets and/or money, do a pranam. Priest offers the item to lord and returns the same or some other item as prasad.

After darshan, we went back to hotel which was booked in advance. Hotel Shri Darshan is an average budget hotel. Rooms were fitted with air conditioner and television. Bathroom was cramped but usuabl. On the positive side, rooms came with complementary breakfast in the small restaurant in the hotel. After taking our bath and lunch, we set out for seeing rest of Dwarka.
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