Monday, February 28, 2011

Ancient Idols, Sculptures of Lord Krishna Period Found in Dwaraka

Antique Idols stored at Bet Dwarka Temple premises

Remains of Eighth Century Vishnu Temple found during Archeological Escavation near Jagat Mandir

Ancient Dwarka: from Archeological Point of View
Dwarka has been a centre of archeologists' attraction all over. Samudranarayan and Varun Devata temples area on extreme left of Gomati river have been very important from archeological excavation point of view. The mention of ancient Dwarka is found on a copper inscription of 574 A.D. This inscription is from Simhaditya, an executive of Maitraka's of Vallabhi rulers. Simhaditya was the son of Varahdas, the King of Dwarka. Experts of Pune's Deccan College had done some excavation in 1963. They had concluded that the first Dwarka's establishment could be placed somewhere around the dawn of Christine era but not prior to that. They had also inferred that studies confirmed existence of the ancient Dwarka mentioned in Mahabharat and Skand Purana etc at the same place.
If this observation is accepted then it must be believed that ancient Dwarka of Mahabharat dates back to Maurya era's end. But this is far off from the hitherto accepted historical facts. On the contrary, from the Harappan habitats found in 20 kilometers area of Dwarka, Nageshwar and Vasai etc; it is certain that Dwarka existed in the last lag of Harappan era or immediately thereafter. Okha Mandal, also known as Kushdwip, is distinguished from other parts of Saurashtra because of its desert. In fact, it is an island. 

Remains Found During Submarine Archeological Excavation

In order to remove congestion around the Jagat Mandir and monitor the activities around the temple, a two-story building was razed to ground. Excavation in the foundation of the razed building; unearthed a 9th century Vishnu temple, engraved pillars of a 12th century temple, its hall, and prehistoric remains etc. The excavation of 1979-80 thus confirmed Dwarka of 20th century prior to the Christ and confirmed the belief that habitat of the shore was engulfed by the sea 4000 years ago.
The present Dwarka is the eighth habitat and the present Dwarkaedheesh’s Jagat Mandir is the 5th one. The first habitat was submerged in the sea sometime in fifteenth century B.C. Similarly, the second habitat was also submerged in the sea in tenth century B.C. The first Dwarkadheesh temple was built in this era that was destructed due to sea-storms and second temple was built on the remains of the first temple. Third temple of Vishnu or Vasudev was built, when second temple destroyed, in ninth century. The ceiling of this third temple was destructed due to sea storms sometimes in twelfth century and only walls and seating place remained. Fourth temple was built thereafter. The existing temple is the fifth in series and the town is eighth habitat.
In Harivansh puran, Dwarka is termed as vaari-durg (water-fort) or udadhi-madhya sthan (place in center of the sea). This indicates that Dwarka must have been an island once upon a time. Yadavas used to go to Bet Dwarka by boat. Bet Dwarka was Lord Krishna’s leisure spot.

Bet Dwarka
The investigation of the Bet Dwarka island began in 1983, 1984 and 1985 A.D. subsequent to a survey of the shore in 1982. The fourth investigation was done in 1986 under the educational program of the University Grants Commission. The 30 to 35 meter tall rocks in Bet are covered with algae and thorny bushes. The bay in North and South of the eastern shore has a potential for safe anchorage. Ships are anchored at Balapar in monsoon near here. The temples viz. Dwarkadheesh, Neelkanth Mahadev, Dhingeshwar Mahadev, Shankh Narayan and Abhay Mata etc were built on the old places in later part of eighteenth century. In the third decade of 20th century, one Hiranand Shastri did some excavation behind Dhingeshwar temple and near Neelkanth temple. He found evidences of proto-historic habitat there. The earthen remains found there depict an inscription ‘Nandakdas’ in Brahmi script of Maurya era. It is therefore believed that this habitat must have been built in first or third century B.C. In 1950 A.D. also some work at Bet Dwarka was carried out. Thereafter in 1979-80 when the investigation started then remains of earthen pots of last lag of Harrappan era were found from near Sidi Bawa Peer. No evidence however found to prove that a town of Mahabharat era was submerged there. But in 1982, a 500 meter long protection wall was found on the north of Sidi Bawa Peer. The wall is substantially damaged by the sea. Earthen pots of red shining colour were found from this place. The significant remains found from this place include a porous pot, a mould for an iron pierce and a glittering-surfaced vessel. From the wall and remains it could be imagined that Bet Dwarka was a port once upon a time and was destructed due to sea storms. During low tide a large plate of 220 meter was found. A series of stones of 180 meter size were found from shore towards sea. They believed to be of a submerged structure and certainly not drowned. Their shape suggests the use of these stones in constructing a 20 meter long wall. Stones of similar size were seen on the shore too. Balapar bay has become flat due to continuous sea-waves and the bay is formed near a Custom House and Dargah.

Dwarka Port
Of late, no ship anchors either at old port of Dwarka or on the bank of Gomati because of sand deposits. A stonewall built in 1990 also caused reduction in Gomati's flow. Sea waves, on the other hand, bring about dirt-deposits. While carrying out third expedition for investigation, silt and algae were removed from Samudranarayan temple to mid sea upto 200 to 700 meters. A navigation channel was noticed when cleaning was being done. Well built lime stones of 1.5 x 1 x 0.5 and 1 x 0.75 x 3 meters size were also found. They are broken at places. Some of them still have a strong surface. It is difficult to say whether these remains belong to some structure or some thing else. A crescent shape and two stones found nearby lead to existence of a temple.

Fourth expedition revealed that the stones found were damaged with tidal waters. They were buried under mud and bushes. In order to observe the masonry work, digging was done on both sides of stonewall. Stone anchors having three holes, used in Cyprus and Syria, during fourteenth to twelfth century B.C. were found. During third and fourth expedition, some structure was found beneath the sea while digging with iron rods. During fifth expedition, a large size molded stone and a wall of the fort were found. Stones thus used in building construction were found from sea near Samudranarayan temple upto 600 meters' distance. This indicated existence of some construction there. It is presumed that in order to build a wall or the fort, construction workers must have solidified the seabed by dumping large sized stones. The majority of the mason-work is seen little above the seabed. It is crescent-shaped. Wooden pieces of a wrecked ship were found when digging was carried out here. An iron made anchor was found while digging 1.5 meter deep in the sand bed at this place. Similar anchor was found earlier also. A 40 to 50 DWT ship could be berthed with these anchors. 


A seal, engraved pot and a stone mould of Indus civilization era can decisively throw light on the time when the sea engulfed Dwarka and Bet Dwarka. The time derived from these remains and soil samples match. Another seal made from a seashell was also found. It was rectangular shaped. It contained a bullock with short horns, one horned horse and a goat engraved over it. It is certain that this seal is of Indus civilization era. The remains found near Bet Dwarka establish trade links between Bahrain and Bet Dwarka. The time of Bet Dwarka assimilated in sea was simultaneous with that of Bahrain, it is said. Subsequent to attacks by Shalva on Dwarka, a law was enforced under which a resident of Dwarka was required to have a seal of identity. Harivansh Puran also confirms this. A seal found from Bet Dwarka is believed to be of 15th to 16th century B.C.
Thus, the sea around Dwarka is full of remains of sculptural and archeological significance and hence lures scholars of history, archeology etc equally.
(Courtesy: Abridged from and based on a prestigious volume entitled Progress and Prospects of Marine Archeology in India, by Dr. S.R.Rao)

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