Day 2: Dwarkadheesh Temple, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Bet Dwarka, Porbandar - My Journey through Saurashtra, Gujarat

26th Mar 2016

Morning Aarti, Dwarkadheesh Temple

I woke up early morning and was ready by 6 am. My roommate, an elderly uncle from Delhi and recently turned religious, was curious about my plan. Another Uncle and Aunty, retired couple from Hyderabad, were already knocking on the door to check if I'm ready. The plan was to crash morning Aarti at Dwarkadheesh temple as early as possible and witness it live. Yesterday's Evening Aarti was so engrossing that we made the plan while standing in the queue itself. My roommate uncle got all excited and quickly got ready to join us. It  was still dark outside.

Roads were empty except few early hawkers. Shops had not opened yet. We did not take camera or phone or even wallet so as to quicken our entry into temple (they needed to be deposited). We walked leisurely enjoying the morning freshness. Chatting and sharing, we reached temple gate within 15 mins. But things were not same as we had expected, commotion was more than anticipated, much more.

My morning pals

There was long standing queue outside the temple complex main gate (women were twice the men). Realizing that we have been over an hour late, and guessing a heavy crowd already inside temple, we felt at ease and joined the queue. Aarti started soon, drums were beating loud and we joined the chants. By the time we reached main temple, Aarti was already over. Luckily, we took the blessings of live Aarti and also received prasad and jal. We were satisfied with our endeavor, nevertheless. 

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Dwarka

Bet Dwarka was our target and hence it was important to start early. Very close by was situated a Jyotirlinga, I was filled with joy (being a Shiva bhakt). We reached within half an hour. Morning sun was royally shining above a Huge statue of Shiva, in a samadhi pose. Crowd was minimal and place was lush green with huge banyan trees. 

huge shivji statute at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
Om Namah Shivaya
(pardon my poor photography skills, sun did not come well)

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Huge banyan tree at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Enter the temple and you'd find kids and women flocking nandi baba. Ritual is to speak your wishes in one ear of nandi baba, other being closed and it'd be granted. Jyotirlinga of Baba Bholenath is easily visible for taking darshan. While returning we stumbled upon huge cache of souvenirs. Key rings, idols, prayer books etc of all shapes and sizes and prices were available. We bought many small small things, along with prasad, and bid goodbye to Nageshwar baba.

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga TempleNageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Shivji with Flag at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
Flag crowning the Shiva

Bet Dwarka

The confusion between Dwarka and Bet Dwarka was lingering in our minds, "Why two Dwarkas?", hence our guide explained. Dwarka was the administrative capital while Bet Dwarka was royal residence. Soon we reached Okha, from where boats are run to and fro Bet Dwarka. We booked a boat for our group and departed quickly. This would turn out to be most fun filled section of our trip.

boat at okha

boat at okha
about to board the boat

Boat rides are not new to me. Since childhood I have traveled in large motored ships across Ganges between Munger to Khagaria (but not anymore as a new rail-cum-road bridge has been constructed over there). This was much smaller boat, and smaller ride, nevertheless exciting for many. Most took a seat, while few decided to stand and enjoy the view. I was busy clicking around. Suddenly, the boat was shaking. People got on their feet, shouting. We had been attacked by ferocious sea creatures, the very beautiful white seagulls. 

boat at okha
all aboard

cranes at bet dwarka
the attack

cranes at bet dwarka
feeding the birds

They were all over us, highly acrobatic. You can throw biscuit pieces in air and they would pick it with their beaks, as if gravity was their friend. An aunty was specially successful in this technique, showing us the best bird actions ever. We were so much engaged that we didn't realize when the hour long boat ride was over and bet Dwarka had arrived.

 the ringmaster

dock at bet dwarka
Bet Dwarka has arrived

bridge at bet dwarkabridge at bet dwarka
 bridge connecting to bet Dwarka

Quickly we walked to the temple, hired a panda who gave a complete tour of temple complex. Its well guarded and consists of many temples for Krishna, his principal wives and others. One interesting thing was a pillar which one needs to circumambulate to get wishes granted. It was fun to watch people of all shapes and sizes trying to make through narrow sides of pillar. Camera and phones were not allowed, so we'd soon make an exit to the temple and come out to market.

cranes at bet dwarkacranes at bet dwarka

cranes at bet dwarkacranes at bet dwarka
birds in action

Market is thriving and full of interesting items to buy. I bought some diyas, animals made out of shells attached to each other. Pakoda, samosa, chai and chatni soon followed. We quickly boarded the boat to head back but were all hungry and tired. It was sunny and hot.

that's us

Rukmini Devi Temple

There is an old temple of Mata Rukmini Devi in middle of nowhere. The legend goes that Rishi Durvasha cursed Mata Rukmini for not paying him proper respects (detailed story). The temple priest would gather us and others and recite the story in detail using a mic. It was so hot that I preferred to sit under a tree. Apparently a favorite place for sadhus, they were idling under hot and burning sun, few even smoking hukkas. There is even a makeshift booth for donations to them, out in open, under the sun, no shades preferred. 

Rukmini Temple
rukmini devi temple

Sadhus at Rukmini Temple
Sadhus, absorbing energy from Sun

Sadhus at Rukmini Temple
Daan peti

priya, shaurabh, ronit
a selfie to remember

A retired tourist officer, who had joined us midway just for a short trip to Bet Dwarka, told us that these were ruins and hardly any tourist would visit it. In last ten years, such structures have been revitalized, priests and staffs assigned permanently, added to popular tourist circuits, and basic amenities installed. On this whole trip, we'd visit several such small but ancient and locally popular temples which would feel too insignificant for outside tourists like us to visit. However, beautification and expansion is ongoing and I believe it is yielding results. 


Enter Porbandar and stink of the city welcomes u from a distance, even within the A/C. Being a fisheries hub, stink is horrible and unbearable. As we walk towards Kirti Mandir, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, the stink becomes worse, as if its a fish factory. Soon our noses would adjust  to this though and we'd forget if it even existed. Kirti Mandir is more like a museum, full of photographs, boring and repetitive ones. The only interesting thing here is to see how old Gujarati houses looked like, as its maintained decently - the structures, layouts, stairs, windows, woods, its beautiful.

pic of gandhi ji with neta ji, kirti mandir, porbandar
not friends, even then

kirti mandir, porbandar
view from original house

Toran hotel in Porbandar is right behind the beach. I'm so tired and exhausted I don't even want to freshen up. But the idea of visiting beach is exciting. I ask the receptionist if its open for bathing and he says a firm NO. Its sunset and lights are running out. Melas are regularly organised nearby. Beach is rocky, dangerous, even to walk or let sea waves kiss your feet. Crowd is thin, activities are minimal but the view is beautiful. I'd take a long walk from one end of beach to the other, clicking on the go.

toran hotel, porbandar
toran hotel, porbandar

mela at porbandar
mela next to beach

beach @ porbandar
the enthusiasts

Sunset beach @ porbandar

Sunset beach @ porbandar

Sunset beach @ porbandarSunset @ porbandar
 different shades of sun

Sunset @ porbandar
day ends with sunset
By the time I was back to hotel, everyone had left for Sudama Temple. By the time I reached Sudama Temple, they had left for shopping. Everything is expensive here, and its difficult to find unique items. Nevertheless we buy few things and head back to hotel. Many of us spent nice time on chaupati post dinner. I was dead tired and slept.

Route map, Day 2

Dwarka to Porbandar
Dwarka to Porbandar

Continue reading Day 2 - Dwarkadheesh Temple, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Bet Dwarka, Porbandar

My Journey through Saurashtra


  1. Thanks a lot for the travel travails especially mention of 'Ring-master'. Keep up the good work!

  2. Wow...great trip. But u still look like a school kid ��

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