‘Pancha Dwarka’ is a significant pilgrimage tour that gives you a highly enriched spiritual experience by taking you on a tour of the five most important temples, associated with the life of Lord Krishna. For both Hindus and Vaishnavites, Panch Dwarka tour is like a spiritual ‘nirvana’
What is Pancha Dwarka Pilgrimage?
The ‘Pancha Dwarka’ pilgrimage journey covers the following five Lord Krishna temples- Dwarkadhish temple (Dwarka), Bet Dwarka lying in proximity to Dwarka, Ranchhodrai Ji temple (Dakor), Shrinath ji temple (Nathdwara), Dwarkadhish temple (Kankroli). Thus a pilgrimage to Pancha Dwarka takes you across places scattered around the two most prominent western Indian states; i.e. Gujarat and Rajasthan. Dwarkadhish temple of Dwarka, Bet Dwarka and Dakor temple fall within the state of Gujarat while Nathdwara and Kankroli temples fall within the state of Rajasthan.
A Panch Dwarka pilgrimage trip will make you feel as it were you have traveled back in time to the Dwapara Yuga; the era that felt the glory and power of God incarnation, Lord Krishna. Not only does this pilgrimage introduce you to the deep religiosity that pervades the sites but also lets you have a glimpse of the rich culture across the states where the devotion of Lord Krishna rules supreme. For any devout Hindu, the ‘Pancha Dwarka’ pilgrimage Yatra is a way to bring about divine enlightenment.
Dwarkadheesh temple is located in Gujarat’s town Dwarka which had been the legendary capital of Lord Krishna’s empire during his ruling period. Dwarkadheesh temple has been built in honor of the King of Dwarka; Lord Krishna. The temple is also differently referred to as the Jagat Mandir. The beauty and religiosity of the temple has been extolled in the sacred texts of Divya prabandha. The Dwarkadheesh Dham is one of the Chardham of the all-India Chardham circuit. Also the temple stands out as the 108th Lord Vishnu Divya Desams. The temple presents us with bejeweled and richly adorned image of lord Krishna seated here like a ‘King’. Archaeological investigations point out that the age of the Dwarkadheesh temple could be nearly 2200-2000 years. The temple has a very lavish architecture with many ornate, intricate carvings. During the festive times of Krishna Janmashtami, huge crowd of pilgrims gather at the temple to partake in the celebrations
Beyt Dwarka; a small, idyllic island 5kms off the coast of Gujarat’s Okhamandal Peninsula is said to have been the original residence of Lord Krishna during his ruling period at Dwarka. Many ancient religious manuscripts plus archaeological findings somewhat authenticate this common belief. At Beyt Dwarka there are two significant temples; one is the Shri Krishna Temple and the other is the Dandiwala Hanuman temple. The Shri Krishna temple is a magnificent temple dating back to nearly 500 years. The temple was set up by Vallabhacharya and the idol it enshrines is said to have been created by Lord Krishna’s wife Rukmini. A legend says that at Beyt Lord Krishna had destroyed demon Shankhasura. The Hanuman Dandi temple has many legends associated with it. The chief highlight of the temple is the presence of an image of Makardhwaja, Lord Hanuman’s son. To reach Beyt Dwarka one needs to be ferried to the island from the Okha jetty.
Ranchhodraiji Temple (Dakor)
Ranchhodraiji temple of Dakor, a small town in Gujarat’s Kheda district is an abode of Lord Vishnu known here by the name of ‘Ranchhodraiji’. Lord Krishna was named as ‘Ranchor’ when he escaped from Mathura’s battlefield in order to evade Jarasandha. The deity at the temple is the four-armed idol of Lord Vishnu bearing in the hands, a conch, discus, lotus and mace. During the festive time, the four hands of the Lord are adorned with gem encrusted gold gloves. The temple opens at 6am in the morning and shuts down at 12noon. In between this time span devotees are allowed five Darshan at the temple. During the evening session the temple again opens at 4pm and shuts down at 7pm. In between this time span three Darshan are allowed to the devotees. The major festivals observed at the temple premises are Krishna Janmashtami, Amalaka Ekadashi, Annakut, Holi, Nand Mahotsav. During these festivities, a huge crowd of tourists and pilgrims gather at the temple.
Shrinathji Temple (Nathdwara)
Shrinath Ji temple at Nathdwara about 48kms towards the north-east of Rajasthan’s Udaipur city is an abode of Srinath ji who is none other than lord Krishna. For the Vaishnavites this temple is one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations. The temple presents a self-manifested ‘swarup’ of Shrinath ji. Towards the later part of the 17th century ShrinathJi’s idol was shifted from Govardhan to Nathdwara and a temple was constructed under the order and supervision of Mewar Maharana Raj Singh in order to enshrine the idol. Goswami priests shouldered all the responsibilities of constructing this temple. The deity of Shrinath ji is associated with the legend that tells the tale of lord Krishna lifting Govardhan Parvat with just a single arm. The deity is made out of monolithic black hued marble stone and it features the left hand of the lord in a raised position while the fist of the other hand rests on his waist. Darshan at the temple starts from 5.40am in the morning.
Kankroli Dwarkadhish Temple
The temple of Dwarkadhish at Kankroli is set along Lake Rajsamand banks and is about 65kms away from Udaipur city. For Vaishnavites as well as for those belonging to the Vallabhacharya sect the Dwarkadheesh temple of Kankroli holds special significance. As per historical records the deity of Shri Dwarkadhish ji was carried from Gokul to Ahmedabad by Goswami Shri Gir Darji Maharaj in order to save it from the destructive forces of Mughal invasions. But there too the same danger prevailed. Later under the request of Udaipur Maharana Rajsingh ji the idol was shifted to Kankroli and was kept in the Vikram Samvat in the neighboring Asotiya village. After the completion of the present temple on the lake’s bank, the deity finally got enshrines here. The temple architecture resembles the Haveli style. The temple timings are 7.00am-11.00am in the morning and 4.00pm-7.00pm in the evening.
How to Reach
To reach Pancha Dwarka, you need to first travel to Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is well connected to the other parts of the country through well developed railway network. Ahmedabad railway station is a junction railway station and regular trains ply between Ahmedabad and all other major cities of the country. Ahmedabad is also connected to the rest of the country through flight services. Thus flights regularly operate between Ahmedabad and all other cities of the country. Sardar Vallabhai Patel International airport of Ahmedabad connects the city to all other major cities of the country.
From Ahmedabad station or airport, you could avail road transport such as cabs or state/private buses to reach Dwarka. The distance between Ahmedabad and Dwarka is about 439kms approximately and it takes nearly 7 hrs to reach Dwarka by road. Another option is to travel by local train from Ahmedabad to Dwarka. After Darshan of Dwarkadheesh temple at Dwarka, you can proceed for Bet Dwarka. Boat to Bet Dwarka is available from the Okha Jetty. After Darshan of Bet Dwarka you need to return to Dwarka and then drive down to Dakor by road. A distance of about 85kms is to be covered to reach Dakor. After Darshan of Dakor temple you can head straight for Rajasthan’s Udaipur. To reach Udaipur you have to travel back to Ahmedabad and then avail trains from Ahmedabad to Udaipur. Also, you could drive down to Udaipur by cab; a journey of 4 hrs approx. On reaching Udaipur, you need to proceed for Nathdwara temple situated nearly 48kms away from Udaipur city by local road transport. After completing Darshan of Nathdwara temple, you can proceed for Kankroli temple which is only half an hours of drive away from Nathdwara. That completes your ‘Pancha Dwarka’ Darshan.
Panch Dwarka Location: Google route map
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit ‘Pancha Dwarka’ is during the winter season; i.e. between months October and March. The temperatures during that time range between 20 degree centigrade to 28 degree centigrade and the weather is cool and pleasant. The wintry nights however could be somewhat chilly. Summers are unsuitable for journey as temperatures shoot up to nearly 40 degree centigrade and the heat is quite unbearable.
Sightseeing at Dwarka-
- Nageshwar Jyotirlingam: The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple belongs to Lord Shiva and is one among the 12 Shiva Jyotirlingams present in our country. The temple enshrines the idol of Nageshwar Mahadev who symbolizes a power that destroys the effect of all types of poisons.
- Somnath Temple: The shore temple of Somnath too belongs to Lord Shiva and is a Jyotirlingam. The temple is said to have been set up by the moon god who worshipped Lord Shiva here and obtained his blessings.
- Rukmini temple: Rukmini Temple belongs to Devi Rukmini or Rukshamini who had been Lord Krishna’s fond wife. The temple astounds one with the beautiful wall paintings dating back to the 12 century.
Sightseeing at Nathdwara-
- Charbhuja Temple: The Charbhuja Temple of Nathdwara is a well known temple belonging to Lord Vishnu. The temple was set up around 1444AD. Shri Gang Dev had set up this temple after receiving divine dictum from the Lord.
- Rakht Talai: Rakht Talai is a historical site where Maharana Pratap had fought the second session of the famous battle of Haldighati with the Mughals. It is said that due to huge amount of bloodshed at the war ground, a gory pool of blood was formed at this place.
Sightseeing at Kankroli-
- Rajsamand Lake: Rajsamand Lake is the biggest of all artificial lakes present in the state of Rajasthan. The beauty of this huge pellucid lake is heightened a tenfold due to the many ornate structures such as ‘Nav Chowki’, ‘Toranas’ etc present on the lake’s embankment. Sunset at Rajsamand Lake is a real ‘thing of beauty’ and thus a ‘joy forever’.
Accommodation is not at all a problem when you are on your Panch Dwarka pilgrimage as you’ll have plenty of options in the form of hotels ranging from medium range budget hotels to real luxury hotels. Also, there are many cheap Dharamshala, state owned guest houses plus guest houses run by temple board and trust. Each of these accommodation options come with all modern amenities for a comfortable stay.