Dwarika – Charming Liveliness

It was a little after 6.00 AM when I stepped out of my hotel room. It was still dark and that made me double-check my wrist watch. The morning aarti (prayer) was due at the temple at 6.30 AM. I could either watch the sunrise or attend the aarti and I still hadn’t decided which one I wanted to do. My parents preferred to stay back at the hotel as we were expecting a long day ahead.

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Pic 1: A portion of Gomti Ghat

We had arrived at Dwarika the day before. After settling down in the hotel, I had stepped out for a stroll in Gomti Ghat while my parents rested after the 4 hour drive we had from Jamnagar. Our hotel was located at Gomti Ghat and it was just a few meters from the temple.

It was late afternoon and the first thing I saw on stepping out was Sudama Setu, the suspension bridge, over Gomti River. The ghat had as many people as there were cows. There was a camel too offering rides with its owner and it just seemed so out of place. Street vendors spread out their wares and tiny shops dotted the ghat. Someone was also seeking donations over a loudspeaker for feeding cows. I turned around and spotted the temple Shikara (spire) just opposite to the ghat.

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Pic 2: A Sadhu all set for his evening rituals.

This part of the world looked so different from the hi-tech world of Bangalore – reason enough for the sense of excitement I felt. The thought that it was Christmas day and for the first time I was in a not-so-Christmassy set up amused me even more. I walked leisurely towards the point where Gomti River meets Arabian Sea while enjoying the old world charm around me.

An interesting thing about Gomti River is that, its water recedes during the day and one can walk to the middle of the river, in the mornings the river gets filled with water once again.

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Pic 3: Sudama Setu as the Sun had started conspiring with the sky and the sea

Somewhere on the way, I stopped to have a cup of tea from a roadside Chaiwala (tea seller). Meanwhile, the Sun was busy conspiring with the sea and the sky. By the time I finished my tea, the sun had started bathing the sea and sky in a burning red with tinges of orange and yellow. I hurried my pace to reach the end of the ghat to get a good glimpse of the gorgeousness that was unfolding as the sun was bidding goodbye for the day.

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Pic 4: Sunset, as I saw from Gomti River, the water had receded and I walked on the river bed.
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Pic 5: Sunset from the point where Gomti River meets Arabian Sea.
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Pic 6: The temple town after sunset as seen from the other side of Gomti River.

This morning I felt compelled to step out. All in the hope of beholding the golden colours once again. This time for sunrise. Though the morning was still dark, the ghat was abuzz with activities. It didn’t take me long to decide it was sunrise that I wanted, the morning aarti could wait for the next day.

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Pic 7: As dawn was breaking in.

Once again, all the activities in the ghat fascinated me – some were bathing in the river notwithstanding the cold December morning; some were performing Puja and releasing oil lamps onto the river; some were hurriedly walking towards the temple; some were feeding fishes; some were buying sea shells; and so on and so forth.

The cows were up too, jostling to share space with their human counterparts. Few sadhus in their saffron robes wandered around aimlessly. The shops of colourful shoes and bags were opening up. Those selling Puja items had already started their business.

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Pic 8: Sudama Setu looked brilliant at sunrise.

Somewhere, I met my Chaiwala where I sipped tea while watching people – watching people happens to be one of my favourite activities. The buzzing energy all around was somewhat contagious. Everybody and everything at the ghat seemed like little stories to me.

Somewhere in the flurry of activities, nature had quietly started painting the sky in hues of yellows, oranges and reds. As the Sun peeked over the horizon, it was time for me to go back to the hotel where my parents were waiting for me.

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Pic 9: The point where Gomti River meets Arabian Sea. The river is filled to the brim in the morning.
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Pic 10: The temple shikhara seen clearly with the first rays of the sun.

I turned around and noticed the temple shikhara, which was now clearly visible with the first rays of the Sun.

I recalled last evening when we had visited the temple during the evening aarti. The temple was swarming with people. My parents didn’t dare to brave the crowd and found a place to sit instead. I went ahead and managed a quick glance of Dwarkadhish – that’s how Lord Krishna is referred to here – but not before the undisciplined crowd squashed me completely.

As always, I wondered why people become so unruly just before the actual darshan in some of these temples. All that I could think of is Lord Krishna perhaps enjoys all the attention he gets from His frenzied devotees.

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Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

23 thoughts on “Dwarika – Charming Liveliness”

    1. Corrected!
      There were two others that I spotted now and corrected. One was blatant, how did that miss your eye. Either you didn’t read properly or you were being kind 😀
      BTW, Thanks for reading and correcting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have mixed thoughts about the religious places and the attitude of devotees. I feel somewhere on our way, all these places have become extremely commercial in nature because religion is a big business. I feel sad when I see trash being dumped by devotees near religious places in the form of disposable plates & glasses. Even the religious leaders/ authorities turn a blind eye towards all this. I also find this analogy of “give & take” absurd. I guess it is a scheme devised by agents of God as a means of earning. I’m convinced that the “higher power” doesn’t demand anything from his subject apart from devotion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am totally with you, Arvind. Especially the total disregard for environment in the name of religion. It hurts to see people dumping non-biodegradable materials into rivers and lakes just because it was used in some Puja. Then, some of the places have paid queues vs. non-paid ones. All of these and others are very disheartening.
      In fact, after planning Gujarat and these places I hesitantly wondered why I was doing this. Neither my parents nor I are overtly religious.
      However, I did enjoy Dwarika. Not sure if such things exist there, probably it does. Other than the nuisance of the unruly crowd inside the temple I did not come across any other negative thing upfront. I enjoyed the quaintness of the place and the people, such men selling selling dahi and milk, clad in white dhoti, short kurtas, and turbans. Things that we don’t see in the modern metro cities anymore. Then the pilgrims and the activities they were indulging in. And, of course the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Neel, in my opinion, some of the best experiences happen in not so crowded temples. Temples were meant to offer a spiritual experience but when they are crowded, you know how it is. I’m sure despite being not so religious you can have some amazing time in some of the old temples in India.

        Sunrise and sunset? what more can you ask for?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good that you chose to watch sunrise. Visiting the temple during the arti is a struggle in itself. I remember getting lost as a child near the temple gates, screaming for my parents. But, I’d surely like to visit it again to have a fresh perspective of the place. Beautiful pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Getting lost in a crowded temple must have been nightmarish! The problem is people go crazy, I seriously cannot understand why a proper queue cannot be maintained. That doesn’t happen in all temples though. Having said that, sometimes I even think maybe taking a little trouble before getting a darshan is alright :), that’s also an experience by itself!

    Like

    1. Vishal, I learnt to be judicious about those days after having spent a couple of years literally doing nothing! I now make plans way ahead 😛
      Thanks for visiting. We should meet up some time before May 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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