Why You Should Know About Archaeological Excavation at Dwarka?

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Dwarka is known as “Lord Krishna’s house”, who is considered to be the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The name Dwarka literally means dwar = gate and ka = Brahma. Brahma considered being infinite. So complete meaning is ’ gate of salvation’. 

Due to this reason, one can easily understand how important this city is for the Indians.

The importance of the legendary city of Dwarka believed to have been founded by Lord Krishna, and subsequently swallowed by the sea about 5,000 years ago according to scholars and scriptures, has been realized by historians, archaeologists, and oceanographers.

The epic Mahabharata and its epilogue, Harivamsa, give a graphic description of the city and its environs. According to the Vishnu Parva of Harivamsa (57-5), Dwarka was a Varidurga (a water fort and is said to be surrounded by the sea) maybe an island.

However, the discovery of Dwarka has not been an easy ground like other archeological sites. This archeological site is present in underwater. So the team under the guidance of S.R. Rao faced so many challenges during the excavation, whether it is related to geography or climate. But finally, after almost 10 years of excavation exact location of Lord Krishna city was found.

I read the book “Marine Archaeology in India” by S.R. Rao where he has written a chapter on an excavation in Dwarka. So I felt sharing key points with you.

Background Story of the making of the Dwarka

Excavations at Dwarkadhish Temple

The excavation done by A.S.I. in Dwarkadhish Temple Complex at Dwarka in 1980 gave clear evidence of the destruction by the sea of a township of 1500- B.C. however earlier dates were not to be rejected straight away. It was possible to assume that the habitation debris of the town, which could be assigned to 1500 B.C. may be of submerged Dwarka of the Mahabharata tradition.

Multiple layers of older temples were found during excavation which is present under the current Dwarkadhish temple. It is easy to understand that time to time re-construction of the temple had been done. The rise in sea level may be one of the top reasons behind this.

Temples layer over the older temples.
Underground Passage

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Beyt Dwarka

As it is mentioned in Vishnu Parva of Harivamsa (57-5), Dwarka was a Varidurga (a water fort and is said to be surrounded by the sea) maybe an island. Beyt Dwarka is one decent island near the mainland of Dwarka which fulfill the Harivamsa Purana statement

Bet Dwarka, which is also known as Sankhodhara. The island was connected with the mainland in 1500 B.C. Bet Dwarka was then not a complete island. It was connected with the mainland near Gopi pond via Kui in the southeast and with Okha on the west, where the sea is very shallow even now.

The island of Bet Dwarka (22° 25′ 10″N 69° 6′ E), situated 30 km north of Dwarka on the mainland, is also a holy place Kusasthali mentioned in the Mahabharata. It may be recalled that Kusasthali, which was named Dwarka after Yadavas occupied the town.

Bet Dwarka Connectivity with the Mainland
Bet Dwarka Connectivity with the Mainland

Excavation at Beyt Dwarka

Multiple excavations were performed by ASI (Archaeology Survey of India) in Dwarka which collected ample evidence to proof Beyt Dwarka is an ancient city of Krishna. The artifacts which are found during excavation are sufficient to proof habitation in this area before at-least 2nd Millenium B.C.

Late Harappan Pottery

The sherds of the Lustrous Red Ware bowl and dish recovered in excavation corroborate the TL date of 1500 B.C. for pottery associated with the structure of Period I.

Late Harappan and Lustrous Redware pottery' from BDK
Late Harappan and Lustrous Redware pottery’ from BDK

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Fortification Wall

An important discovery made in Balapur Bay of Bet Dwarka. A wall of dressed stones, four courses of which are exposed over a length of 6m

A massive fortification stonewall
The turning point of the massive wall

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Ancient Anchors

Several rectangular stone objects with 3-holes which also served as anchors in addition to the triangular 3-holed anchors were located and plotted.

Honor Frost who has studied 3-holed anchors of Kition in Cyprus and at the Biblical site of Ugarit in Syria has assigned them to the 14th-12th century B.C. The comparable anchor of Dwarka also belongs to the mid-second millennium B.C.

Ancient anchors

L-shaped stones were found which is used in the masonry for ensuring proper grip between various buildings.

Submerged Walls of the City

Lunate- shaped stone, which resembles the Candrasila (moonstone) used at the entrance to temples.

Top Left and Right – Submerged Walls
Bottom Left and Right – Lunate shaped stone

Mooring Stone

The spheroid stones under discussion can be dated on the basis of associated 3-holed triangular stone anchors of Dwarka, which are assigned to 1500-140,0 B.C., if not earlier.

End of Dwarka

The archaeological evidence so far made available from the onshore and offshore excavations at Bet Dwarka during the years 1983 to 1995 is adequate enough to suggest the identity of the excavated site in Bet Dwaraka island with Kusasthali where a town was built and named as Dwarka.

Similarly, the port town of Dwarka on the mainland can be identified with the town built after reclaiming land from the sea when it was found that the narrow strip of land at the foot of the hill in Kusasthali Dwarka was not sufficient for the Yadavas.

However, we have evidence given in Harivamsa Purana and Mahabharat about the destruction of Dwarka but still, it is a mystery how destruction happened in Dwarka if we don’t want to consider the mythological story. Other ancient sites like Akrotiri where reason is well known that due to earth quack city was abandoned. Mahabharat tells us about the story behind the end of the Dwarka


In conclusion, it can be said that the Late Harappan and post-Harappan pottery of Dwarka establishes the existence of a habitation site al least from 18th century BC. The site was contemporary with its neighboring well knew Late Harappan sites such as Nageshwar, Prabhasa and further east at Rangpur. Kusasthali, as Dwarka was referred to in the Mahabharata, can be, therefore dated back to 1700-1600 BC. and it is over this site that Dwarka came to be built in 17th century BC. if not earlier.

As per Hindu mythology, Dwarka must be at least 5000 years old. But the artifacts which have been found in this area, indicate dating of this area abut 3800 years old.

But here we should consider that 5000 years is a date of when Lord Krishna went back to heaven. It is quite possible that people were still living in that area for a long time until the whole area was swallowed by the ocean. So the found artifacts must belong to the last generation who lived in beyt Dwarka before escaping.

Over to you. Indian Archeology Team has got an extraordinary finding which scientifically and mythologically very important for us. Every Indian must read about this finding and share it as much as possible with other Indians.

Note: All the picture used in this article has taken from the book “Marine Archaeology in India” by S.R. Rao. All credit goes to the writer.

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1 thought on “Why You Should Know About Archaeological Excavation at Dwarka?”

  1. Great informatiin! more surveys required may be the latest technology to be used to identify more data on the ares and idenfy the material underneath and that helps specific location for excavation/ surveys.

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