Travelling is more than just seeing different physical forms of nature, it’s also the continuous interaction with different cultures that adds to the ecstasy of travelling.
Temples in India not only serve the purpose of religious centers but also provide a trip down the historical aisles of this one of the oldest civilizations.
Our trip to the two of the biggest holy sites, Somnath and Dwarka is one such experience.
This is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva. The temple has a history of destruction by invaders. It was re-constructed many times. The temple is located at the coast adjacent to the Somnath Beach. The temple appears to be made out of sandalwood and the designs carved on it are intriguing and marvelous.
We reached in the afternoon and there was no rush at all. We booked a lodge nearby at cheap rate to freshen up and keep our luggage.
No mobile phones, camera or any other such gadgets are allowed inside the temple and photography is strictly prohibited. But we still managed to get some shots from outside the temple premises.
As soon as we entered the temple courtyard, the strong sea breeze relaxed all our tiredness. There was a cluster of tens of pegions in the courtyard, which according to the locals is a daily sight.
We saw the designs on the temple and could only think of the greatness that prevailed in India in terms of art and design. We entered the temple and by the grace of God, there were very few people inside. We prayed to the shrine (Shiva Linga) and to be true, this was one of the most satisfying and fulfilling moments of our lives. One could easily sense the negative energy taken away from your inner self. It was a submission of self to the energy so higher than ones comprehension.
We came out of temple and roamed in the courtyard. One could see the endless sea on one side and small temples on the other.There is also a list of all tweleve jyotirlinga with pictures in one of the galleries.
In one of the corridors it was mentioned that if a beam of light is directed from there, it would reach towards south pole. There is no landmass in between. Fascinating right ?? One can easily spend hours looking at the sea from the temple.
We waited for the sunset which was beautiful and serene. After dark, the temple was lighten up and appeared to be golden. It was truly a sight to relish.
There are a lot of stalls of food and small decorative stuffs around the Somnath Beach which are closed after the sunset. The beach is quite dirty because of these stalls, this is the only thing which was disappointing.
We went back to hotel took our luggage and traveled on foot to the Somnath railway station in Veraval which was few kilometers, to catch our train for Dwarka.
Nothing gives the much needed boost for the day than seeing the sun rising on the horizon. Well we were fortunate enough to get the sight of it from our train. It pretty much got us ready for the journey ahead.
From the city of Lord Shiva, the master of mysticism to the city of Lord Krishna, the lord of festivities. We reached Dwarka, the city believed to be created by Krishna himself. It is located on the western shore of the Okhamandal Peninsula on the right bank of the Gomti River.
Just like many cities and places dedicated to lord Krishna, this one also has a certain sense of fun and festivity in the air. The puja or offerings are given to Krishna in the temple of Dwarkadhish multiple times in the day and we were fortunate enough to reach before one such puja.
We freshened up at the hotel and headed straight to the temple through the ghats enjoying the cultural heritage and customs of the city.
It was long queue before the entry but everything went smoothly. We reached the temple and the puja started within minutes. The enchantments certainly took us to the realm of immense joy and fulfillment. The idol of Lord Krishna in his attire was like seeing the king on his throne, after-all that is what the city is all about.
Apart from the main idols , there are many other idols and smaller temples which are very beautiful. The architecture of this temple appears to be very historic and artistic.
After coming out we realised that the temple resembled to one of the paintings hung on the wall of our hotel. And yes, it was indeed of this temple.
We booked an auto rickshaw that drove us to the Rukmini temple, which is believed to be built by lord Krishna for his wife Rukmini and is build in the same way as Dwarkadhish temple.
When we reached, a strange coincidence happened , there was a painting of the same temple in our hotel and when we reached there, it was like the painting became live.
There are lot of statues and paintings carved on the temple. The designs depict some sort of dance forms and deities, probably depicting the life of people during the time of construction.
From there we moved to Gopi talav, which is a small pond where lord Krishna is believed to do pranks with Gopis.
The pond is full of lotus flowers.
The next stop, the other Jyotirlinga shrine of Nageshwar. The temple is beautiful and there is a huge statue of Lord Shiva inside the temple courtyard.
The temple is well maintained and the one can buy lot of stuff as souvenir inside the temple. We prayed for some time and roamed in the temple. It was actually fun.
On our way back to hotel there were a lot of farms and herders were rearing there cattle. It was an interactive display for us and gave us insight of the area and the people living in the region.
We rested for some time and then went to watch the sunset at the sunset point near Dwarka beach which also had the temple of Lord Shiva known as Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple.
The beach was beautiful, strong sea breeze blew and we clicked a lot of pictures. But as the sun began to set, the calmness gripped the atmosphere. The color of the sky started to change and so were the emotions of the traveler inside. Suddenly the urge began to calm down at stare at the setting sun. It was simply beautiful.
As darkness gathered up, in the sky, the time to bid adieu grew nearer. We went back, packed our bags and off to our next destination.
A journey so pious and so peaceful, it will definitely have a special place in our hearts.