By Gautam Mehta
Krishna's Dwarka may not be a myth
The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The mythical city of Dwarka, founded by Lord Krishna, may have actually existed, as underwater remains of a township and a settlement near Bet Dwarka indicate, according to marine archaeologist S.R. Rao.
Mr Rao, who heads the Dwarka underwater excavation project, is a consultant to the Marine Archaeology Centre of the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa.
``The first settlement of the Yadavas and Lord Krishna was Bet Dwarka nearly 3,600 years ago and later at Dwarka. The underwater township and the signs of settlement near Bet Dwarka, three temples and the remains of another township on the seashore near today's Dwarka compare well with what has been described in the Mahabharata and Harivansh,'' he said. The submergence of Dwarka in the sea provided a clear indication that in the last 3,600 years, the sea level along the Gujarat coast had risen by as much as 30 feet and that it was continuing to rise, he pointed out.
At the present pace of the rise of sea level, archaeologists and scientists of the National Institute of Oceanography estimate that the present ports and temples on the state sea coast may be submerged in the sea in about 1,000 years.
Mr Rao said:``In the first phase of excavation by a 15-member team, three temples and the evidence of a township were found on the seashore near the present Dwarka temple. Later, another major township was found nearly 30 km away at a depth of 30 feet near Bet Dwarka during underwater excavation. It was spread over a four-km area. Many interesting pottery, vessels, equipment and other remains were found at this site.'' He pointed out that excavation at the ancient sites of Mahabharata had not yielded convincing evidence because of the extremely limited excavation carried out at Hastinapur and Mathura. However, the excavation at the temple of Dwarkadhish in 1979-80 showed that it had been built over three temples, one below the other.
Further digging yielded first habitation and debris sediment brought in by a storm wave attested to the destruction of a town by the sea. This evidence acted as a spur to undertake excavation in the sea to locate the submerged town of Dwarka, he said. According to Mr Rao, Bet Dwarka was identified with Kusasthali where the first town named Dvaraka was built under Krishna's leadership as described in the Mahabharat. The present town of Dwarka, on the mainland at the mouth of Gomati river, stands where Dvaraka or Dvaravati once was. According to the epic, Krishna was said to have reclaimed land from the sea at the mouth of the Gomati on the mainland to build a port town. Thus came into existence the second Dwarka, Mr Rao said. The second phase of underwater excavation would begin in December this year.
Dec 1, 2000