The city of Dwarka is a much discussed topic which has gained the attention of archaeologists around the world. The name of Dwarka was first discussed in the epic Mahabharat which is described as the city of Lord Krishna. Dwarka city is set to have been founded by Lord Krishna himself.
However, there were many arguments put forth by few historians who said that the existence of Dwarka City and Lord Krishna itself was a myth and did not have any proof to back the claims. This was also a narrative built by the colonial rulers which was then picked up by few political parties in a bid to discredit Hinduism. The very aim of the colonial mindset was to disconnect the present generation with the ancient history there by making us believe that Hindu history a mythology.
But the archaeological evidence have demolished the claim of few historians about ancient city of Dwarka being a myth. It was during 1980s some marine biologists discovered massive structures beneath the sea which caught the attention of the world. It was in 1988, a detailed exploration of the site was undertaken by marine archaeologists. The study was based on identifying the massive stone walls built on the banks of the ancient Gomati River, the architectural relevance of the city with the one mentioned in the Mahabharat, the point where the river Gomati joined the sea and the reason for submergence of the city.
The current location of Dwarka is situated in the north-western Indian state of Gujarat. Dwarka in Sanskrit meant ‘Gateway to heaven’ and was considered one of the most beautiful city. It is said to have 9,00,000 palaces constructed with crystal, silver and decorated with emeralds. The city was connected with roads and had market places, temples and huge assembly halls, gardens and lakes. The evidence which was collected in the excavation also suggested that the city of Dwarka was built on six blocks, two on the right bank and four on the left. All the six blocks had huge walls decorated with crystals and precious stones.
Evidence also showed the presence of large anchor stone which indicated overseas trade through ships. It is said that the city was surrounded by water and was connected to the mainland via bridges and a port. The big anchors near the sea may have been used for large ships and small anchors near the Gomati river were used for small boats indicating the trade was largely carried out through sea.
Many artefacts and structures found in the place suggests that the city of Dwarka may have existed around 9,000 years ago after which the city was rebuilt atleast 7 times. The archaeologists believe that the city was submerged sometime during 2000 BC due to heavy floods for over a period of time which lead to the submergence of the city. This year coincides with the dates when the Dwapara Yug came to an end and the death of Krishna as described in the ancient literature Mahabharat, Harivamsa, Matsya and Vayu Purans. Shrimad Bhagavad Gita , Skand Purana , Vishnu Purana also talks about the beautiful city of Dwarka which existed during the times of Lord Krishna and was a place of great importance.
The history tells that Krishna had once lived in Dwarka. Lord Krishna who was born in Mathura, now in Uttar Pradesh is said to have killed his uncle Kamsa (Demon King) who was once the ruler of Mathura. Jarasandh, who was the father in law of Krishna wanted to avenge the death of Kamsa and attacked Mathura 17 times. Although Jarasandh could not occupy Mathura, Krishna suffered heavy loss of the Yadava kingdom and realised that his people wont be able to withstand another attack. So it is said Krishna along with his Yadava clan moved to Dwarka.
It is said that Garuda (Eagle) brought Krishna to the coast of Saurashtra in north-western India which is the city of Dwarka. Vishwakarma, the deity of construction extended his help to Krishna to build the city of Dwaraka. Lord Krishna is said to have taken land from Samudradev, the Lord of the Sea, to build Dwarka. According to the literature, Samudradeva had given 12 yojanas to Krishna to build Dwarka. The archaeological evidence also suggests that the city of Dwarka may have been 773 square km/298.5 square miles which is equivalent to 12 Yojanas.
Krishna is believed to have lived his entire life in the Dwapara Yug in Dwarka until his death. After his death and subsequent fights among the Yadava clans, the city was flooded and was submerged beneath the ocean. But over centuries, as the water receded, many civilizations had flourished in the same place where Dwarka once stood. The present city is believed to be the 7th city built on the same place. Many evidences and excavations suggests that various civilizations flourished in the same place which dates back to 15 Century BC.
So, we can conclude that the city of Dwarka really existed around 9000 years back and it is totally wrong to say that Hindu literature is a myth. Evidence clearly shows that Dwarka was a well planned city with grandeur and had modern structures with every facility. The ruins of the great city even today lies 70 feet beneath the sea in the state of Gujarat.
Gaur, A., Sundaresh & Tripati, S., 2005. Ancient Dwarka: Study Based on Recent Underwater Archaeological Investigations. [Online] Available at: http://drs.nio.org/drs/bitstream/handle/2264/507/Migration_Diffusion_6_56.pdf;jsessionid=E4B3193C2D0952C971FE839661D9A69A?sequence=1
Gray, M., 2015. Dwarka. [Online] Available at: https://sacredsites.com/asia/india/dwarka.html
HRIDAY National Project Management Unit, 2015. Dwaraka. [Online] Available at: http://hridayindia.in/dwarka/