Historically speaking, Dwarka is a part of Prabhas Kshetra as described in Skanda Puran. It is a larger area that extends to Somnath in the east. So, you can find many small but ancient places around Dwarka that you can visit from the main town.
Pilgrimage Places around Dwarka
Located on an island off the coast of Okha, 35 km away from the town. You need to take a boat to reach there. This is the most popular of the places around Dwarka.
Read our detailed post on Beyt Dwarka
Mul Dwarka is believed to be the first place where Sri Krishna and his party stopped when they came from Mathura. It lies about 75 km from Dwarka at a place called Visavada closer to Porbandar.
There is a small temple complex here. There are temples dedicated to Shiva as Neelkanth Mahadev and Siddheshwar Mahadev. And there is a pair of temple one dedicated to Ranchor Rai – as Krishna is known in Saurashtra and another to Shiva. What I liked about these temples is that they are made in typical Nagar style temple architecture and Panch-Ratan sub style and they are as they must have been built. There are spaces for people to sit inside the temple.
I found it a very small but extremely peaceful group of temples.
The interesting feature here is a 13th CE L shaped stepwell called Jananvyapi. Does that remind you of Jnana Vapi well in Varanasi? There are covered pavilions around this stepwell. I could see the sculptures of Brahma, Vishnu and Surya placed in niches leading to the stepwell. A pavilion on top would be kept cool by the waters of the Vav or stepwell.
I just hope that the stepwell was better maintained and clean.
Notice, there is another Mul Dwarka which is closer to Somnath. It can be safely assumed that the landscape of this coastal region would have changed many times over a course of thousands of years and it may have changed places. Another argument can be that people created one wherever Sri Krishna stopped on his way from Braj Bhumi.
The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is located at a distance of about 16 km from the town. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country. There is another Nagesh Jyotirlinga at Jageshwar Dham in Uttarakhand. I would never know which one is the real, but now that I have visited them both, I have ticked it off my list.
It is small temple recently built by the Gulshan Kumar of T-Series fame. The original temple must have been very small. It is a rather simple temple in red next to an ancient pond that I found full of turtles. I could see the old steps leading to the base of the pond but they have obviously been out of use in the longest of time. There is an old tree that must have sheltered the original temple structure when the new building was not there. Walk around and you can feel the age-old energy in the place.
Outside the temple is a giant Shiv Murti in a sitting pose. Last I saw such a huge Shiv Murti was at Char Dham in Namchi, Sikkim. It is quite a rage with visitors as no photography is allowed inside the temple. Shiv Murti is a perfect place to take photos as well as selfies.
Visit Gopi Talaav
Now, Gopi Talaav is a small pond with a big story located 5 km from Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.
One anecdote says that Gopis of Vrindavan followed Krishna when he left them for Dwarka. This is where they met Sri Krishna and merged with him. The soil of the pond thus represents the Gopis. The soil in and around this pond is of pale yellow and considered auspicious. You can buy this all-around Gopi Talaav and the town.
Another story is that this is where Arjun’s ego was busted by Sri Krishna. It is said that when Sri Krishna decided to leave this world, he asked Arjun to take care of his queens and children. However, Kaba – the local tribals attacked them on them when they were traveling. Many queens jumped in this pond. Arjun was proud of his Gandiva and his courage but he could do nothing when Kabas attacked. I saw the verses written on the walls of small temples at Gopi Talaav that speak about this incidence.
The Talaav or the pond was absolutely dry when I visited. The local people said it has been so for the last 3-4 years as they have not received enough rains. At Gopi Talaav you would see many giant floating stones on display, though you would find them in all places around the town.
To see there is nothing much except a temple dedicated to Rukmini and Gopinath. This, however, remains a part of the popular pilgrim circuit that covers Dwarkadhish Temple, Rukmini Temple, Beyt Dwarka, and Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.
Suvarn Teerth with a group of temples located on the way to Meethapur. The main temple is dedicated to Surya Dev or Sun God and another to Vishnu as Jagannath.
The priest at this temple told me that the original temple was in the corner of the current temple. The original idol of Surya Dev was taken away by the British in the 1920s. Now there is another, a rather modern style idol of Sun God. In the open courtyard, there is a Sri Chakra.
Opposite the Suvarn Teerth temple complex is a dry pond that must have been quite huge during its hay days.
Mithapur is more or less a Tata town centered around the Tata Chemicals factory that primarily produces Salt here. While you can not visit the factory as a casual visitor, you can see the heaps of salt lying all around the town of Mithapur.
The salt is usually in different shades of grey. You can see many birds visiting them for their daily dose of salt.
Other Temples & Places around Dwarka
Temples and other Pilgrimage places around Dwarka include the following:
Indreshwar Mahadev Temple where Arjun had kidnapped Subhadra. It is a small colorful temple with a Shivalinga at the core. The original temple was again somewhere in the temple complex with a cave where Arjuna supposed to have meditated.
Not too far from here is a Kund or Pond, where Arjuna and Subhadra got married. The lady at Indereshwar temple guided us for this, but we could not locate this.
Rin Mukteshwar Mahadev where it is believed that you can get rid of your debts. It is again a Shiva temple with lots of ancient small temples surrounding this.
Pindarak – this is where Rishi Durvasa’s gurukul used to be. I could not visit it during this trip, but hopefully, there would be another time to visit it
Charan Ganga – where Krishna sprouted water for Rukmini while taking Durvasa Rishi to Dwarka.
As I always say, India never ceases to amaze me.