The Underwater City of Dwarka: Ancient Kingdom Submerged in the Sea

# The Underwater City of Dwarka: Ancient Kingdom Submerged in the Sea

Dwarka, also referred to as the “Gateway to Heaven”, is a city steeped in myth and legend. Located in the western state of Gujarat, India, it holds a crucial place in Hindu mythology as the dwelling place of Lord Krishna. However, it is not just the religious and mythological significance that intrigues historians and archaeologists but also the city’s ancient ruins that lie submerged under the sea.

## Introduction to Dwarka

Dwarka is considered one of the seven ancient cities (Sapta Puri) in India. It is traditionally identified with the Dwaraka Kingdom ruled by Lord Krishna, who is a major deity in Hinduism. The Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, describes the beauty and wealth of Dwarka in great detail, which was said to have been submerged by the sea after Lord Krishna’s departure from the world.

## Discovery of the Underwater City

The first indications of an underwater settlement came to light during the 1930s when local divers reported the presence of structures off the coast of modern Dwarka. Systematic studies were initiated in the 1970s by the pioneering marine archaeologist Dr. S.R. Rao. Subsequent underwater excavations confirmed the presence of a city submerged just off the coast.

### Archaeological Excavations

The underwater city revealed a fortified area that suggested a well-planned layout. The marine archaeological team found a number of stone structures, which seemed like walls, pillars, and fort bastions. Artifacts such as pottery, beads, and inscriptions patterned with ancient scripts added to the repository of evidence suggesting elaborate human settlement below the sea.

### Dating the Submerged City

A range of techniques such as carbon dating and thermoluminescence have been used to estimate the age of the finds. Results suggest that the structures might date back anywhere from 1500 BC to 9000 years ago, thereby predating the historical period during which Krishna is supposed to have lived according to traditional Hindu chronology. This debate about the age of the underwater city continues among scholars and researchers.

## Mythology and Historical Context

According to Hindu texts, Lord Krishna built a magnificent city, which he named Dwarka, meaning “the gateway to liberation.” The city was made up of 70,000 palaces made of gold, silver, and precious stones. After the death of Krishna, the city was said to have been reclaimed by the sea due to a curse.

### Relation to the Mahabharata

Dwarka played a pivotal role during the Mahabharata period, serving as the capital of Krishna’s kingdom and a significant spot for numerous events described in the epic. The city’s connection to Krishna provides a rare intersection between mythological narratives and archaeological findings.

## Religious Significance

Dwarka is currently an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Dwarkadhish Temple, also known as Jagat Mandir, occupies a significant spot here. Devotees believe that a visit to this temple and a dip in the Gomti river can cleanse one’s sins.

## Modern Dwarka

While the ancient city is submerged, modern Dwarka is a bustling municipality. The city continues to be an important religious district and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists interested in its historical and religious heritage.

## Controversies and Challenges

The interpretations of the archaeological findings remain debated. Some scholars are skeptical of the claims that link the underwater ruins with the scriptural Dwarka of Lord Krishna, arguing for more evidence and caution in drawing conclusions about the historicity of religious texts.

## Preserving the Underwater Heritage

The Government of India and various research organizations have been involved in protecting and studying the submerged city of Dwarka. The site is recognized for its archaeological and historical importance, with efforts being made to preserve it as much as possible.

## Conclusion

The underwater city of Dwarka presents a fascinating blend of myth, history, and mystery. It beckons to be further explored and understood, as it opens a portal into an ancient time, possibly illuminating a period in human civilization that is still enshrouded in myth.

# Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Underwater City of Dwarka

### Q: Is the story of the submerged city of Dwarka true?
A: Marine archaeological findings suggest that there was indeed a significant settlement at Dwarka that is now underwater. However, linking it definitively to the mythological city of Dwarka requires more evidence.

### Q: Can anyone visit the underwater ruins of Dwarka?
A: The underwater site is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other government bodies, and is not typically open for recreational diving. However, visitors can explore the land-based archaeological sites and visit the Dwarkadhish temple.

### Q: How does the underwater city of Dwarka relate to Hindu mythology?
A: Dwarka is believed to be the kingdom of Lord Krishna as described in ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana. The city’s submersion is said to have occurred after Krishna’s departure from the world.

### Q: How old are the ruins under the sea?
A: Different studies have given various age estimates, ranging from 3,600 years old to potentially 9,000 years old, adding an intriguing dimension to our understanding of the ancient world.

### Q: What kind of artifacts have been discovered in the submerged city?
A: Items recovered from the site include pottery, beads, inscriptions, and structural remnants like pillars, bastions, and stone pathways, which allude to a once thriving human settlement.

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