Rediscovery of Dwaraka

August 10, 2009

Rediscovery of Dwaraka


During the Mahabharata times (5000 years ago, or 3000 BC), Bharat-varsa (India) boasted of several splendid cities and kingdoms. One such important city is Dwaraka – the residence of Lord Krishna. While many other kingdoms described in the epic Mahabharata and related scriptures have been identified and traced, Dwaraka seemed to remain elusive, at least in the archaeological sense. Scholars thus would not accept the glorious heritage of Vedic India, and clung on to dubious theories as the Aryan invasion of India and continued to classify the Vedic literature as mythology. A knife can take life as well as give life. Scientific theories rendering the Vedic civilization, culture and books as myths are now being discovered as engineered frauds. The Aryan invasion tale was specifically engineered to dislodge a generation from naturally accepting a culture and teachings that had continued for millenniums.

In this article, we collect some recent findings from underwater archaeological research initiatives around the coast of present-day Dwaraka.

Puranas – The Historical Record

The ancient city of Dwaraka, situated on the extreme West Coast of Indian territory, occupies an important place in the cultural and religious history of India. The fabulous architectural planning of the Dwaraka temple has attracted tourists from all over the world. The town has association with Lord Krishna, who founded this town by reclaiming 12 yojanas (1 yojana = approx 8 miles) of land from the sea. During its glorious past, Dwaraka was a city of beautiful gardens, deep moats, and several ponds and palaces (Vishnu Purana), but it is believed to have submerged just after the disappearance of Lord Krishna. Dwaraka continues to attract archeologists, historians and scientists besides the devotees of Lord Krishna.
Sri Krishna killed the demon Kamsa (his maternal uncle) and made Ugrasena (His maternal grandfather) the king of Mathura. Enraged, Kamsa’s father-in law, Jarasandha (king of Magadh) together with his friend Kalayavana attacked Mathura 17 times. For the safety of the people, Krishna and the Yadavas decided to move the capital from Mathura to Dwaraka.
Sri Krishna and the Yadavas left Mathura and arrived at the coast of Saurashtra. They decided to build their capital in the coastal region and invoked Visvakarma, the deity of construction. However, Visvakarma said that the task could be completed only if Samudradeva, the lord of the sea, provided some land. Sri Krishna worshipped Samudradeva, who was pleased and gave them land measuring 12 yojanas and henceforth, Visvakarma built Dwaraka, a city in gold.

Submergence of Dwaraka

After Sri Krishna left for His eternal abode and the major Yadava heads were killed in fights amongst themselves, Dwaraka became submerged in the sea. This is the account given by Arjuna in the Mahabharata: The sea, which has been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. It rushed into the city, coursing through the beautiful city streets, and covered up everything in the city. I saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. In a matter of a few moments, it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the city. Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory.

The Historical Dwaraka

The city of Dwaraka has been under investigation by historians since the beginning of the 20th century. The exact location of this port city has been under debate for a long time. Several literary references, especially from the Mahabharata, have been used to suggest its exact location.
Dwaraka is mentioned in the Mahabharata (Mausala Parva) and an appendix to the epic, Harivamsa, refers to the submergence of Dwaraka by the sea. Dwaraka was a city state extending up to Bet Dwaraka (Sankhoddhara) in the north and Okhamadhi in the south. In the east, it extended up to Pindata. The 30 to 40 meter-high hill on the eastern flank of Sankhoddhara may be the Raivataka referred to in the Mahabharata.

Recent Discoveries

Excavations at Dwaraka helped add credence to the legend of Krishna and the Mahabharata war, as well as provide ample evidence of the advanced societies that lived in these areas such as the Harappan settlements.
The Dwarakadhisa Temple prompted the setting up of a Marine Archaeology Unit (MAU) jointly by the National Institute of Oceanography and the Archaeological Survey of India. Under the guidance of Dr. Rao, a great marine archaeologist, a team consisting of expert underwater explorers, trained diver-photographers and archaeologists was formed. The technique of geophysical survey was combined with the use of echo-sounders, mud-penetrators, sub-bottom profilers and underwater metal detectors. This team carried out 12 marine archaeological expeditions between 1983 to 1992 and articles and antiquities recovered were sent to Physical Research Laboratory for dating. By using thermo-luminescence, carbon dating and other modern scientific techniques, the artifacts were found to belong to the period between 15th and 18th BCE. In his great work, The Lost City of Dwaraka, Dr. Rao has given scientific details of these discoveries and artifacts.
Between 1983 to 1990, the well-fortified township of Dwaraka was discovered, extending more than half mile from the shore. The township was built in six sectors along the banks of a river. The foundation of boulders on which the city’s walls were erected proves that the land was reclaimed from the sea. The general layout of the city of Dwaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered by the MAU.


Among the objects unearthed that proved Dwaraka’s connection with the Mahabharata epic was a seal engraved with the image of a three headed animal. The epic mentions such a seal given to the citizens of Dwaraka as a proof of identity when the city was threatened by King Jarasandha of the powerful Magadh kingdom (now Bihar). The foundation of boulders on which the city’s walls were erected proves that the land was reclaimed from the sea about 3,600 years ago. The epic has references to such reclamation activity at Dwaraka. Seven islands mentioned in it were also discovered submerged in the Arabian Sea.
Pottery, which has been established by thermo-luminescence tests to be 3,528 years old and carrying inscriptions in late Indus Valley civilization script, iron stakes and triangular three-holed anchors discovered here find mention in the Mahabharata.

ASI’s view

According to the discoveries, Dwaraka was a prosperous city in ancient times, which was destroyed and reconstructed several times. The work of great excavators like Z.D. Ansari and M.S. Mate allowed chance discovery of temples of the 9th century A.D. and 1st century A.D. buried near the present Dwaraka.
Conclusions arrived at after carrying out these underwater archaeological explorations support and validate the dates arrived at through astronomical calculations. They also prove that the reconstructed city was a prosperous port town, and that it was in existence for about 60-70 years in the 15th century B.C. before being submerged under the sea in the year 1443 B.C.
Read the entire report.

The Pioneer

The discovery of the legendary city of Dwaraka which is said to have been founded by Sri Krishna, is an important landmark in the history of India. It has set at rest the doubts expressed by historians about the historicity of Mahabharata and the very existence of Dwaraka city. It has greatly narrowed the gap of Indian history by establishing the continuity of Indian civilization from the Vedic age to the present day. – S.R. Rao, former adviser to the NIO who is still actively involved in the excavations.
Rao said that if a fraction of the funds spent on land archaeology were made available for underwater archaeology, more light could be shed on Dwaraka, which had much archaeological significance because it was built during the second urbanization that occured in India after the Indus Valley civilization in northwestern India. Dwaraka’s existence disproves the belief held by Western archaeologists that there was no urbanization in the indian subcontinent from the period between 1700 B.C. (Indus Valley) and 550 B.C. (advent of Buddhism). As no information was available about that period, they had labelled it the Dark Period.
The findings in Dwaraka and archeological evidence found compatible with the Mahabharata tradition remove the lingering doubt about the historicity of the Mahabharata. We would say that Krishna definitely existed. – S.R. Rao.

The Vedic Observer

Although the adherents of western, empirical science date Dwaraka to 1443 B.C. or roughly 3,400 years ago, ancient Vedic astronomical texts and present-day practitioners of the Vedic tradition assert that the current epoch of Kali-yuga began in 3102 B.C. Lord Krishna’s disappearance and the subsequent submergence of Dwaraka occured shortly before this date. Therefore, Dwaraka can be no less than 5,000 years old. The current findings are only the tip of the iceberg, and with detailed under-water investigations, we are sure many more artifacts can be found. In fact, as per Dr Rao, “if a fraction of funding that goes for land archaeology can be reserved for under-water exploration especially around Bet Dwaraka, countless invaluable findings await us.”

We hope that the Government that controls ASI and NIO does due diligence in letting the citizens and the world know what treasures existed during Vedic India. The knowledge that India once possessed – architecture, astronomy, ship-building, medicine, mathematics, etc and above all – spiritual wisdom, let it be re-searched through all means and benefit all.

There are numerous evidences of vedic civilization not just in India but all over the World. This concurs with the vedic idea of Universality of Sanatana Dharma or Universal Religion. Watch out for more articles.

Compiled by Anand Yeolekar and LNDAS

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