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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Bet Dwarka | Gujarat Series

After our short and sweet sojourn at Gopi Talav (Click here to read about Gopi Talav) we boarded our autoriksha to go to Bet Dwarka, a journey of 19 kms to Okha port. Bet Dwarka is basically an island, In order to reach there we have to reach till Okha Port and from there take a boat to reach the other side.

The road ride was quite bumpy and dusty, many a times I could feel myself popping out of the auto, Thankfully I survived all the bumps. The road from Gopi Talav to Okha takes you through the salt town of Mithapur, which houses many Tata Factories. I was told that Tata Salt is also manufactured here. In fact we can see many salt pans as we go along the road. I'm told that the town Mithapur got its name from the Gujarati word Mithu which means Salt.

Okha Port View

It was around 10:30 am when we reached Okha Port. Our Auto driver told us to be back within 2 hours. My imagination of a port is that there are boats and ship docked, few boat officials but what I saw here was a melee and chaos, with fruit sellers, toy sellers etc you name it and that hawker is their vending their products. We quickly waded through this crowd and tried to reach the boat.

We waded our way towards the boat

Luckily We see a boat all set to go (Though it was very crowded), Without giving any further thought, we just jumped into it. We knew that, even if the next boat is anchored it will leave only once it is completely filled, which meant loss of time. Aur time hi toh nahi tha hamare pass ! Rahi baat jump marne ki, Yeh Mumbai ki local train me chadne ki practice thi jo yahan kaam aa gayi . 

Yoho !!  All set to go

We didn't get any place to sit, so we were standing in an overcrowded boat but what kept us engaged was the lovely sea-gulls following our boat.

Apna camera went wild, click click all the way clicking the lovely sea gulls , whom the people were feeding. So much was the fun that all the pain of travelling in the sun got drained away.

Seagulls all around us

So what is so special of Bet Dwarka, that we have boats loaded with people keep visiting it day in, day out.

Lots of people keep visiting Bet Dwarka 

 The story goes that Lord Krishna who administered the Dwarka stayed at Bet Dwarka and it was at Bet Dwarka that he met Sudama his childhood friend who brought rice as a present for lord Krishna.

Boats loaded with people eager to visit Bet Dwarka

But my dear friends there is more to Bet Dwarka than only this story. Bet Dwarka is actually a rich source of history dating to Harappan Civilisation. Check details given below:

1980: Remains of Earthen Pots and other artifacts of Late Harappan period were found near Sidi Bawa Pir Dargah.

1982:A 580 metres long wall dated 1500BC was foundwhich is believed to be damaged and submerged  due to the sea storm.
A copper Fish Hook, An Inscribed jar, Mould of Copper smith and a late Harappan seal was found.

The shipwrecks and stone anchors found during the excavations suggested that there were historic relations with the Romans.
(Source Wikipidea)

The excavation in Bet Dwarka Island has confirmed the oldest settlement dating back to the Late Harappan period.They have exploited marine resources available around the island. They had extraordinary technology for fishing, which has continued for thousands of years. The discovery of a copper fish-hook suggests that large-scale fishing activity continued around Bet Dwarka Island even after the Harappan period. Chronology has been verified with findings from Saurashtra as well as with absolute dating method.
(Reference source :A. S. GAUR* SUNDARESH National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula)

After knowing so much about Bet Dwarka We were naturally dying to see more but as soon as we reached the Bet Dwarka or Bet Island ,what We saw was not a very encouraging sight. Bet Dwarka was just like another crowded township, with series of houses of fisherman, anchored boats, smell of fish etc.

Bet Dwarka Side Jetty

 We were informed that 90 percent of the population on this island is Muslim. (It hardly makes a difference to me). We started walking along the road to the temple. The walk is hardly of 5-10 minutes in the congested bazaar, with shops and houses on the both side. 

Upon reaching the temple just like all temples here in Dwarka we were told to deposit our mobile phones, Cameras and leather belts at the locker.Hence we couldn't take any photos of the temple. However we took pics of some old structures around the temple.

Old Structures around the temple

Old Structures around the temple
After depositing our mobiles and camera we entered the temple. We were hurried by the ushers to do the Darshan, as the temple was to be closed for the afternoon. we were then quickly whisked away by the pandit to adjoining room where he made all of us sit down on the floor and started to narrate as to how Krishna Met Sudama his childhood friend on this island and in the same breath he informed us that the tirth of Dwarka is not complete if we don't donate rice here. Just like the menu card of Udipi restaurant he announced the various rates. 

We soon came out from the temple and rushed to see Makardwaj temple. Most people who come here often do the Darshan of Bet Dwarka mandir and go back but I had read that there is also a temple of Hanuman's son Makardwaj.

Dad, did you say Son of Hanuman !

Son of Hanuman !  My daughter looked at me and said "Lekin Dad Hanuman toh Bhramchari the na" and honestly I too was at loss of words so we googled then and there to find out as to how this happened.It so happened that after burning away the Lanka Hanuman took a dip in the sea water and a drop of his perspiration fell into the mouth of a mighty Makara, Thus Makardhwaja was born !! and then I looked at the bewildered face of my daughter " Come on Dad do you want me to believe this " I sighed and walked away to find auto to go to this temple.

Auto mil gaya 

There are these sharing autos that take you to the Makardhwaj Temple at Rs 30 per seat however they ply only if there are 10 pax. As we were short of time and though we asked few people to join us but no one came along.(Major reason is the waiting buses or auto don't give you sufficient time for this visit). Anyways we booked the whole auto to ourselves and this 4-5 kms rides again was very bumpy and dusty, as there is no proper road. It was lunch time when we reached the Makardhwaj temple sadly no pictures here too. 
Another clumsy auto ride to Makardhwaj Temple
There was no one  in the temple except the caretakers hence we were able to get darshan very quickly. Interestingly they were having bhandara there so we had our lunch sitting on the floor and after finishing the lunch each of us washed our dishes and left the temple very contented. Isse kismat kehte hai, kisne socha hoga ki hum bet Dwarka me ek mandir me lunch karenge

As soon as we got into the auto to reach the Jetty we got a call from our auto driver who was fuming because we went to this temple and were late. 

We quickly made our way back to the jetty and were again lucky to find the boat all set to leave and in no time we were back in our auto to go to our last destination today i.e Rukamani Temple.

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