Must visit places en route Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip

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When you are done with visiting Dwarka and with a blessing of Lord Dwarkadhish (In Dwarka Lord Krishna is referred to as Dwarkadhish by the locals and devotees), now your attention turns to visit Somnath. Somnath also known as Prabhas Patan is located at a distance of 230 kilometers from Dwarka and you just need to drive along the coastal highway that leads to the holy city. Thus a Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip is in the offing. However your drive from Dwarka to Somnath is not just traveling the distance, but it is full of surprises as you come across some of the iconic places you might have dreamed to visit in your lifetime.

So, your drive is going to be full of excitement that you will remember for a long time. The drive along the Arabian sea is quite pleasant with the gentle sea breeze and the inviting sea waves just at a stone throw distance. I have travelled along East Coast Road (ECR) from Chennai to Pondy along the Bay of Bengal coast and found it more visually satisfying due to the greenery. However the Gujarat coast is bereft of such greenery as the region experiences tropical climate. Thus vegetation is very thin in coastal Gujarat. However, hundreds of windmills along the highway are an amazing sight and are rarely found elsewhere.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Harsiddhi Mandir, Gandhvi, PC-Kalpana Mishra

Related article: Top places to visit in Dwarka and things to do

Harsiddhi Mata Mandir, Gandhvi 

En route your Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip, your first stop is at a quaint small coastal town called Gandhvi about 65 kilometers from Dwarka. The place is famous for the Harsiddhi Mata Mandir which is an ancient Hindu temple located atop Koylo Dungar hill at Gandhvi near Porbandar. It is one of the oldest temples in Gujarat and one of the most popular pilgrimage sites. However presently no Puja is performed in this temple and there is another temple in the market of the town built in the 13th century AD.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Harsiddhi Mandir atop Koyla Dunger, Gandhvi, PC-Ashok modhvadia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Both temples are dedicated to Goddess Harsiddhi, the Happy Mother, and is also known as Harshal Mata Temple. The goddess is regarded as one of the manifestations of Amba and Kalika, the Hindu Devi. She is also known as Harshal, Harshad and Harshat Mata. The original temple atop the hill is said to have been built by Lord Krishna commemorate his victory over Jarasandha. The main temple over a hillock overlooks the sea and is just 10 minutes away from the town temple. It may be noted here that there are a couple of other temples by the same name, one in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and the other in Rajpipla of Narmada district in Gujarat.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Mul Dwarka, Visavada, PC-Ashok modhvadia , CC-BY-SA-3.0

Other Gujarat tour article: Sabarmati Ashram: Where simplicity is the mantra

Mul Dwarka, Visavada 

This is another important attraction on the way during your Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip. Mul Dwarka in Visavada is located quite close to Porbandar and the place is associated with events related to Lord Krishna. It is believed that Lord Krshna and his party while shifting from Mathura to Dwarka stopped here for the first time. Hence the name Mul Dwarka. Popular belief has tt that Lord Krishna stayed here for few years while Dwarka nagari was being built. 

Lord Krishna’s “paduka” can be seen in this temple as a remembrance in Visavada (Mul Dwarka). These temples were built around 750 years ago by a devotee named Vijant Bhagat. The temple complex here boasts temples dedicated to Lord Shiva as Siddheswar and Nilakanth. There are also two other temples, one dedicated to Ranchor Rai i.e Lord Krishna  as he is known in Saurashtra region and the other to Shiva. The temple follows the Nagar style of architecture. There is also a L shaped step-well dating back to the 13th century. During my visit I found the temple premise as well as the stepped well in complete mess. I wish the temple complex to be maintained properly.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Kirti Mnadir, Porbandar, PC-Kalpana Mishra

Kirti Mandir, Porbandar

This is the most important place that you come across on your Dwarka-Sonmath roadtrip . The place is associated with Mahatma Gandhi and it was his birth place which has now been converted into a memorial museum. Tucked away in Porbandar’s narrow lanes. Kirti Mandir is the name of the memorial that stands next to the family’s modest ancestral home.

A sprawling courtyard is surrounded by a photo gallery depicting Gandhi’s life’s journey. The house where he was born and briefly lived is located at the far end of the courtyard. Many visitors want to see the exact location where he was born. This was a three-story house that had been modified since Mahatma Gandhi’s grandfather built it.

Dwarka-Somanth roadtrip
Kirti Mandir, Porbandar, PC-Kalpana Mishra

The museum has a library that contains books written by Gandhiji or about his philosophies. Through the museum, visitors can also access Gandhiji’s ancestral home. As you walk into the house, you will notice large paintings of Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba, some of which include rare black and white photographs of the two sharing lighter moments. A number of world leaders have paid their respects here, and they continue to do so.

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Sudama Temple, Porbandar

Apart from Mahatma Gandhi, Porbandar is also famous as the birthplace of Sudama, the childhood friend of Lord Krishna. Porbandar was formerly known as Sudamapuri. Located not very far from Kirti Mandir, Sudama temple is one of Gujarat’s most revered sites and one of Porbandar’s most visited pilgrimage sites.

This is the only temple in India dedicated to Sudama. Shri Ram Devji Jethwa of the Jethwa dynasty constructed the temple between 1902 and 1907 AD. It is said that during the construction of this shrine, the funds were exhausted, and the people of Porbandar had to host various drama shows to raise the necessary funds. The temple has a lot of historic and religious significance, which attracts a lot of visitors.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Sudama Temple, Porbandar, PC- Vinayaraj, Wikimedia

The temple’s architecture is simple, with carved marble pillars open on all sides and set in the middle of a garden. The temple is stunning, with a sikhara decorated with exquisite architecture and carvings. These carvings can also be seen above the pillars and arches. There is a lovely mural depicting Lord Krishna washing Sudama’s feet when his friend came to meet him, as well as a statue of Krishna and Sudama embracing. The temple is open between 6.30 AM and 8.30 PM. This is a must visit place en route Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip along the coastal highway.

Madhavpur Beach

As you continue your journey along the coastal highway, just some 70 kilometers before reaching Somnath you make a voluntary stop at the scenic Madhavpur beach which is barely 100 meters from the highway. Madhavpur Beach is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Gujarat, with a view that is difficult to match. 

The beach, named after the ruler Madhav Rao, has become popular among other beaches due to its convenient location. The beach is lined with coconut trees, and the water is crystal clear. It is also the site of a two-decade-long conservation project for Green Sea and Olive Ridley turtles.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Evening at Madhavpur beach, PC-Natha Odedara, Wikimedia

Because the beach is less commercialised, it is very clean, with azure blue waters that attract people who want to spend quality time with family and friends. Cold drinks and coconut water are available at the shacks. Camel rides are also available. But none of that matters if you don’t have anywhere to sit and relax for a few hours. There is also no food. The sea water is deep with high tides and thus swimming is prohibited.There are no lifeguards on duty to handle any crisis. The beach has scope for great potential as a tourist spot. 

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Bhalka Tirth, Veraval

Just when you’re about to reach your destination, Somnath you come across Bhalka Tirth, a sacred place associated with an important event related toLord Krishna. The place is located in Veraval, a twin town of Somanth about 4 kilometers from the Somnath Jyotirlinga Shrine. The place narrates the last moments of Lord Krishna. Popular belief has it that a hunter Jara struck an arrow at him mistaking his partly visible body for a deer mortally wounding Lord Krishna when he was meditating under a peepal tree at night.

According to religious scriptures Rama, i.e. Krishna, in his previous Rama Avatar is said to have given a boon to the monkey king Vali whom he killed indirectly in hiding rather than directly fighting with him in front. The above action of the hunter in Krishna avatar is said to be in accordance with Rama’s (Krishna’s) earlier Avatar’s boon. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for visitors to Somnath. You can see the Bhalka Tirth story written on a board in English, Gujarati and Hindi languages. 

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Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip
Bharla Tirth, PC-Manoj Khurana,CC BY-SA 4.0

I visited this place for the first time in 1995. At that time there was nothing at the site except a small temple housing the peepal tree where Lord Krishna was struck by an arrow. Twenty five years later the place has turned into a huge complex and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists everyday. 

Now a huge temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been built at the site. The sanctum sanctorum, which houses Krishna and the hunter Jara’s idols, is housed in a beautifully designed hall. Inside the temple, you can also see the Peepal tree where Lord Krishna is said to have been mortally wounded.

With this your Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip comes to an end.

Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip

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Fast facts

  • Distance between Dwarka and Somnath is approximately 230 kilometers. You can hire a taxi which might cost you Rs 4,000. You can also travel by the tourist buses which costs between Rs 350 to Rs 400 per person. The tourist bus touches all the attractions en route your Dwarka-Somnath roadtrip which have been mentioned above.
  • After reaching Somnath you have the option either to return back in the same vehicle or stay back in Somnath to explore nearby places and onward journeys.
  • When in Kirti Mandir, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth place do not offer flowers at the lifesize images of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba which you see on entering the memorial temple complex. Gandhij had asked his followers that he be never regarded as God. You can see the two words Truth and Nonviolence, the two weapons he used in the freedom struggle kept written at the feet of these images.   
  • As I pointed out in my previous post, take enough bottled or RO water with you. Never use normal water at the roadside shops during your Dwarka-Somanth roadtrip. 
  • While in Madhavpur beach, never dare to venture into the sea water. It is very risky and there are no lifeguards here who can come to your rescue. Moreover it is a conservation site of Olive Ridleys and Green Sea Turtles. Thus swimming is strictly prohibited here.

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