Dwarakashish, the main temple of Dwarka is also called the Jagat Mandir (the universal enshrine). While legends have it that Jagat mandir – the main shrine of the Dwarakadhish Temple is about 2500 years old and was originally built by Vajranabh, the great grandson of Lord Krishna, it is also said that the same was constructed after Dwarka – a city that once used to be the kingdom of Lord Krishna sunk in waters following the war of Mahabharata.
The rest of the artistic edifice around Jagat Mandir is said to have been built in the 16th century. The temple's 43 m tall pinnacle and the huge flag over it depicting images of the sun and the moon can be seen from a distance as far as 10 km. The temple built of soft lime stone consists of two entrances the Swarg Dwar and the Moksh Dwar from where the devotees can enter and exit respectively.
Dwarakadhish is open for public viewing between 7 am to 9.30 pm, with a break in between from 12.30 pm to 5 pm.
The lighthouse in Dwarka located on the Arabian Sea shores is a perfect place to enjoy a panoramic view of the holy city and beyond. Open for the public between 4 pm to 6 pm daily, it is a place popular among tourists and is often frequented by tourists and pilgrims looking forward to some peaceful moments away from the city's hustle and bustle.
The Nageshwar Jyothirlinga Temple is located en route to Dwarka and Beyt Dwarka Island on the Sourashtra shore. The temple houses one of the twelve jyothirlingas in the world and is a popular tourist destination apart from being a holy pilgrimage.
While the place has an underground sanctum, the temple premises has a life size idol of Lord Shiva, surrounding which is a beautiful greenish garden. The place is a must visit spot especially during the occasion of Shivaratri.
The holy city of Dwarka is all about marvellous religious abodes and the mysterious legends attached to them. And to catch a glimpse of a few of them in conjunction as well as enjoy a beautiful bird's eye view of the holy town, one can float on a boat in the river Gomati here.
Situated on the banks of the composed stream are a few interesting temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and one devoted to Sudhama, the loyal friend of Lord Krishna. These temples have been popular among pilgrims since ages.
Beyt Dwarka is a place probably every religious person would admire. Home to some rare and beautiful places of worship, it is a small island that is also known by name Beyt Shankhodhar and is a flourishing seaport, a great place to spot dolphins and even enjoy camping and marine excursions.
Some of the important temples present here are the 500-year-old Krishna temple built by Vallabhacharya, Hanuman temple famous for the presence of the idol of Hanuman's son Makaradwaja, Kachoriyu – Lord Sri Rama temple, the shrine of Haji Kirmani Pir (a renowned Sufi saint) and a Gurudwara.
Dedicated to Meerabai, a religious Hindu singer and a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna, this little temple lies in a residential locality close to the Jagat Mandir. Born and brought up in a royal family, it is said that the lady was married to a king of Rajasthan during the 16th century, but Meera was unhappy with her wedlock for she always considered herself the better half of Lord Krishna.
It is also said that Meerabai went on a pilgrimage and journeyed almost all parts of North India, before concluding the same at Dwarka and that with the power of her devotion, she infused into the idol of Lord Krishna at the Dwarakadhish Temple.
This popular site in Dwarka has a small pond. And it is believed that it was here that Lord Krishna played raas leela with the Gopika Strees. Located at a distance of 20 km north of Dwarka city, the sand around the talav is extremely smooth and yellow in colour and is called gopi chandan that is used by the devotees to apply tilak.
There are various interesting stories attached to the history of Gopi Talav. According to one of them, the Gopikas with whom the lord danced the raas at Vrindavan (Vrij) were unable to bear being distanced from him once he moved to Dwaraka and hence visited the talav on a full moon night and danced with him again at the spot.
The Shardapith Math at Dwarka is one among the four fundamental mathas established by the famous 9th century Hinduism reformer Adi Shankaracharya. Also called the Dwaraka Pitha/Kalika Matha it is located within the premises of the Dwarka Temple and houses aesthetic wall paintings depicting the life history of Shankaracharya, while its inner dome pictures various beautifully etched postures of Lord Shiva.
Also present here are the temples of Sharadadevi and Chandramoulishwar, while attached to the math are an education society, an arts college and a Sanskrit Academy.
A very interesting place, this site in Dwarka too, is a must visit. To the north of Somnath located is a shrine called Bhalaka Tirtha, where it is believed that Krishna was unknowingly shot on foot and killed by a hunter following which, the Krishna Avatar concluded.
In the premises of the temple, a tulsi tree has been planted in the Lord's memory. And located close by is the Dehotsarg Tirth—the place where people believe Lord Krishna was cremated. At the Bhalka Tirtha, there is a statue of Lord Krishna that signifies his death due to an arrow shot by a hunter who mistook the lord to a deer.
There is yet another interesting site located a kilometre away from the Somnath temple and is called Baldev Gufa. Legends have it that Balaram/Baldev, the elder brother of Krishna disappeared into the mythical world in the form of a white snake through this gufa after the disappearance of Krishna, for he was called the incarnation of Sheshanag (Lord of snakes).
On the seaside shore on Gulf of Khambat is a beautiful Shiva temple. There is an array of islands on this coast that make the spot picturesque and attract many. Also, it is said that the famous Gujarati poet Narsinh Mehta experienced spiritual fulfillment at this place.
A shrine with beautiful carvings on the exteriors depicting gajataras (elephants) and naratharas (human statuettes), the Rukmini Devi Temple is found situated at a distance of 2 km from the Dwarakadhish Temple of the holy town.
According to a popular myth, this temple dedicated to Rukmini, the wife of Lord Kishna, lies away from the main shrine for the following reason: once when the Lord and his wife went to invite Durvasa Muni to Dwarka, he asked them to carry him to the place in a chariot on their backs. The couple happily agreed to the same and began commuting. While on their way, Rukmini felt thirsty, and Krishna goaded the earth to obtain the holy Ganga water. But Rukmini drank the water without offering a sip to Durvasa Muni which irked him, and he cursed that she would be separated from her husband. Hence, the distance between the two temples.
Heading towards the city, one can find the ISKCON gate at the very entrance. And towards its cross way lies the ISKCON Temple – a shrine solely made of stone and situated on the city's Devi Bhavan Road.
Run by the religious organization International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), present at the temple's sanctum are the idols of Lord Krishna and Radha. From the rooftop of the ISKCON temple, one can also enjoy a view of the Dwarakadhish Temple.
On the foot of the Barda Hills lies a small hamlet called Ghumli, established in the 7th century AD by Jethwa Sal Kumar. This place which served as the ancient capital of the Jethwa Dynasty before is home to some of the very beautiful temples of Gujarat.
The popular one among them is the Navlakha Temple of the Solanki Dynasty which is said to be the oldest Sun temple of Gujarat. Also, present here is a stairwell called Vikai Vav. Restoration work of this ancient historical city is on by the Government of Gujarat and the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Krishna Temple in Beyt Dwarka is said to be a 500-year old temple. In order to reach Beyt Dwarka, one must reach the Okha Port Jetty and from there take a boat to reach Beyt which lies at about 5 km distance. The age old shrine is said to be built by Vallabhacharya and houses in its sanctum an idol known to be made by Rukmini herself.
There is a famous legend that says Krishna's loyal friend Sudhama during his visit to Dwaraka gifted the lord with beaten rice for he could not afford to offer anything else to the lord. Devotees and visitors to the temple gift Brahmins in the locality with beaten rice even to this day.
Dandiwala Hanuman Temple lies close to the Krishna Temple. A special attraction at this Hanuman temple is the presence of Hanuman's son Makaradhwaja's idol. Makaradhwaja is believed to have taken birth after a drop of Hanuman's perspiration fell into the mouth of a powerful fish when he took a dip in the sea after burning Lanka. Makaradhwaja is known to have looked partly like an ape-like humanoid and partly a reptile.