The Lost city of Dwarka
By Madhav Shastri
“On the same day that Krishna departed from the earth the powerful dark-bodied Kali Age descended. The oceans rose and submerged the whole of Dwaraka.” According to Vishnu Purana – Dwaraka was submerged by the sea right after the death of Lord Krishna. This was regarded as a grandiose metaphor, part of a story filled with great myths. In the early eighties an importantarchaeological site was found in India, at Dwaraka, the site of the legendary city of Lord Krishna. Now, it is discovered that the whole coast of western India sank by nearly 40 feet around 1500 B.C. E. The first clear historical record of the lost city is dated 574 A.D. and occurs in the Palitana Plates of Samanta Simhaditya. This inscription refers to Dwaraka as the capital of the western coast of Saurashtra and still more important, states that Sri Krishna lived here.
Recently, the strongest archaeological support comes from the structures discovered under the sea-bed off the coast of Dwaraka inGujarat by the pioneering team led by Dr S.R. Rao, one of India’s most respected archaelogists. An emeritus scientist at the marine archaeology unit of the National Institute of Oceanography, Rao has excavated a large number of Harappan sites including the port city of Lothal in Gujarat.What has been discovered underwater at the bay of Cambat near Dwarka is an archaeological site, dating back to 7500 BC and older than any previously claimed oldest sites of civilization.
The information and material secured through underwater excavation of Dwaraka corroborates with the references to the city of Dwaraka, made in various Sanskrit literary works. In Mahabharata, there is a specific account about the submerging of Dwaraka by the sea, which reads thus: The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of the beautiful city. The sea covered up everything in the city. Even as they were all looking, Arjuna saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. Arjuna took a last look at the mansion of Krishna. It was soon covered by the sea. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the beautiful city which had been the favorite haunt of all the Pandavas. Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory. The importance of the discovery of Dwaraka lies not merely in providing archaeological evidence needed for corroborating the traditional account of the submergence of Dwaraka but also indirectly fixing the date of the Mahabharata which is a landmark in Indian history. The Thermoluminiscence date of the pottery from Dwaraka is 3520 years Before Present. Identical pottery is found in the submerged city of Dwaraka. Mahabharata describes the security system of Dwaraka wherein each citizen carried a badge for identity. Certain coins were found during excavations underwater having inscriptions similar to details found in Mahabharata. Thus the results have proved that the account in Mahabharata as to the existence of a beautiful capital city of Dwaraka of Sri Krishna was not a mere figment of imagination but it did exist.
Excavations done by Dr. S. R. Rao at Dwaraka prove that the descriptions as found in these texts are not to be discarded as fanciful but are to be treated as based on actualities as seen by their authors. The architecture of the old Dwaraka of Shri Krishna is majestic and wonderful. This astounding discovery has muzzled those who had been blazoning out over the years that Vedas and puranas are a product of imagination and are no more than mythical stories.
If Dwaraka excavations throw a flood of light on the history of the city which was associated with the life events of Krishna, then under-water excavations of Ayodhya situated on the bank of the river Sarayu might yield valuable information about the historicity of Rama, his age and contemporary urban status.
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