Dwarka – Faith Lives on!

dwarkadhish temple dwarka

Faith Lives on! is the story my recent work-trip to Dwarka in Gujarat. It was an eye opener after travelling across the world. By the end of the trip, even though my belief in God remained intact, but the rituals and practices surrounding the deity seemed unnecessary and superfluous.

Delhi to Dwarka Journey

dwarkadhish temple dhwaja
Dhwaja Flying high at Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka

I never thought that in this day and age of jet-setting and speed it took me half day to cover a distance of 1350 km approximately by air. I had to take connecting flights and then 2-hours drive by road. As someone has rightly said… its not easy to meet God, one has to cross hurdles and earn the visit.

Finally, after starting journey at 8 am in the morning from Delhi, changing flight at Mumbai and taking the cab from Jamnagar I reached Dwarka, the town of Krishna, at 3 pm. Only to find that it was his siesta time and will wake up at 5 pm and meets people around 5.30 pm.

The best part of journey till now was being shifted to the connecting flight. This was the first time I took connecting flights in domestic sector. Since the time gap was 45 minutes, I was fretting, but kudos to Air India who took the connecting flight passengers were taken separately to the next flight. In less than 10 minutes of getting off the plane, I was sitting in next flight. Though it felt like sneaking out and sneaking in through backdoors but that’s better than missing the flight. This was quite exhilarating.

Finally in the city of Krishna

dwarkadhish temple exterior dwarka
Dwarkadhish Temple during Afternoon

Now that I was in Dwarka, Krishna was resting, and Air India had fully fed me in 2 flights, I had not much to do to kill time. So, I met my other colleagues and took a tour of the city with them.

rukmini temple dwarka
Rukmini Temple
savitri vav in dwarka
Savitri Vav
sudama setu dwarka
Sudama Setu

We went to Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple on the edge of Arabian Sea, Rukmini Temple on the outskirts of Dwarka, Savitri Vav where the Dwarkadhish Idol was found, Sudama Setu behind the temple and Panchkui meaning 5 wells of sweet water in a region otherwise surrounded by saline sea water.

stones mannat in panchkui dwarka
A special Mannat for multi-storey houses

But the most memorable was seeing the confluence of Gomti river into Arabian Sea and it was quite clearly visible.

And then having the overcooked road side tea full of milk and sugar was the most logical end. The area around Sudama Setu is becoming like a picnic spot for the tourists.

If I felt I had had an overdose of religion for a day, there was more in store for me. we saw a family leaving for temple rituals with full paraphernalia.

Stories of Faith

Later in the evening I met people whose belief in the lord of the Dwarka was unshakable. And I could feel that belief rubbing in. It was heartening to see that the youth too believed in Krishna but not in the way their elders do. They treat him like a friend.

dwarka - youth in shops
The Economy of Dwarka running around Temple

Soon the day was over, but I could see that the faith lived on in the people and they felt safe with their Lord – Dwarkadhish around. I was so overwhelmed by the stories of faith, that I didn’t even go to the temple to say hello to the God. I decided to do it the next day after I have soaked what I had been hearing throughout the evening. The Temple wants to reach out to as many people as possible, so have the details in Braille too

braille note at dwarkadhish dwarka
Dwarkadhish Temple History written in Braille outside the Temple

As we called it a day and went back our hotel – Vits Devbhoomi, I was more than happy to put my feet up. Even the dinner was in room – dal khichdi – something one gets only in West India… best food when you don’t want to think of what to eat. And I just love it.

Day Two at Dwarka

More stories of faith and life followed next day before we set off to Beyt Dwarka – an island in the middle of Arabian Sea. Oh, it was just wonderful to go through Arabian Sea with water everywhere. The fact that we were close to international border gave a different high.

The island of Bet Dwarka from the Arabian Sea

Dwarka and Bet Dwarka are part of a region called Okha Mandal. The area around Bet Dwarka has 70% muslim Polpulation and 30% Hindus. Their main business in Fishing and for that they go deep into Arabian Sea. Because its international borders, they put an India Flag for identification, which is fine. But they put another flag which is severe discrimination – Hindu Boats put and orange flag and Muslim boats put a green flag. Why is this allowed is beyond me.

Once back from Beyt Dwarka and done with all my work, I decided to finally meet the lord of Dwarka. Once inside the temple and in front of him, I could feel a different energy. I think that’s the energy that runs through the people of Dwarka and gives them faith.

Conflict of Faith and Rituals

In the two days I was in Dwarka, I also got to know about the various rituals and religious practices in and around temple… but they seemed very small in front of the faith of people.

prasad charges details in dwarka
Donation Chart in the temple premises

There are various ways of acknowledging lord’s presence in one’s life and money shouldn’t be at the centre of them all. More money spent shouldn’t be equated with better acknowledgment. The Lord of Dwarka and for that matter all the other Gods too, do not shower their blessings on devotees basis the donation package. And its sad to know that more and more people are forgetting that God was there with them even when donation wasn’t there, but their faith was.

The more I try to think about this, more I come closer to the conclusion that the conflict of faith and expensive rituals will go on forever but will still wait for the day when only faith  in god lives on.

what was I doing in Dwarka?

By the way… if you have thinking that I was on work trip but all I have been talking about is temples and faith, so when did I work… well, I was working all the time… exploring mysteries surrounding Lord Dwarkadhish and finding stories of faith in the Lord… for the TV show I am working on.

And realised people come and go, rituals come and go, relationship with the God change but… Faith lives on!

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