Dwarka Gomti Ghat – A confluence of culture & nature

posted in: Asia, Culture, Gujarat, Heritage, India | 0

I followed the lone floating diya to the first ray of the rising sun that had begun to spread its golden tones onto the river. The slow rhythmic chants in the background added to the mystique in the air. A sudden splash broke my reverie and drew my attention to the ceremonies being performed in the wake of the day. At the same time, a squealing kid ran past me on the Sudama Setu bridge towards a waiting camel.

Clearly, I was at a confluence of culture and nature. I was at the Dwarka Gomti Ghat.

Deja Vu! Gomti Ghat Dwarka brought back the same medley of emotions & frenzy that I had first experienced when I had visited the ghats of Varanasi. There were rituals followed at one end and entertainment in another. There was history staring back from some corners while a live exhibition of colors showcased in others. So much to do and see in just one place and that my dear readers, is the reason why you need to visit the Dwarka Gomti Ghat.

Gomti Ghats Dwarka - an exhibition of heritage, culture and nature

Through this post, I will introduce you to the various attractions of Gomati Ghat Dwarka and also, share relevant tips on visiting them. As you go along, you will realize that the significance of Dwarka Gomti ghat is not just related to religion and its history. In the present day, it offers entertainment to all tourists visiting Dwarka. Needless to say, your visit to Dwarka is incomplete if you have not spend time along the Dwarka Gomati Ghat.

History of Dwarka Gomti Ghat

Mythologically, the river Gomti is said to descend directly from Heaven and is termed as descending Ganga. Sage Vashistha brought his daughter Goddess Gomti to earth to purify Lord Rama after his battle with Ravana. Legend has it that after the purification was done, Goddess Gomti continued to flow through the place and merged with the Arabian Sea. It is on this very bank that Lord Krishna set up his capital city- Dwarka.

The confluence of Arabian Sea and River Gomti as seen from Sudama Sethu Bridge

Geographically, the Gomti river is a tributary of the Ganga and originates in the Himalayas. It flows through the city of Lucknow and meanders its way through Gujarat to fall into the Arabian sea. Some say that the river is not the same one as the Lucknow city Gomti and is in fact a different one that is fed by the monsoons. Others argue that the climatic and landscape change over the years has led to this river being discontinuous from the one that originates in the Himalayas. Whatever, the case being, in Dwarka, the Gomti river is extremely auspicious and there is a belief that a dip in this holy river can rid you of all mortal sins.

Key attractions of Gomti Ghat Dwarka

Dwarka Gomti Ghat as seen from the Sudama Setu Bridge

The attractions of Dwarka Gomti Ghat are more than just a vantage point or a heritage temple. They even consist of rituals and traditions that have been practiced from times immemorial.

The best way to explore Dwarka Gomti Ghat is to walk alongside it. The ghats are busy throughout the day and you will never be disappointed with what you can see. You can start a little before the landmark Sudama Setu bridge and slowly make your way to the confluence marked by the lovely Samudra Narayana Temple. You do not have to do this walk in one go. You can split it between a sunrise walk and a sunset stroll – both equally invigorating.

Street art along the Dwarka Gomti Ghat that you can catch only if you stroll around.

Sunrise at Gomati Ghat in Dwarka

Sunrise over Gomti river in Dwarka

Get to the Gomati Ghat in Dwarka just before the crack of dawn, pick a spot near the Sudama Setu Dwarka and watch how the rising sun spreads its colors through the sky and Gomti river. The golden hour is also, the time when a lot of saints and devotees visit the ghats to float a candle and perform their morning prayers. Their soft chanting adds to the divine aura of the ghats and makes you feel really at peace with yourself and the world.

A floating diya lit in the morning at the Gomti Ghats Dwarka

As the sun goes up, around 7 am, you can walk on the Sudama Setu bridge and see how the golden rays have lit up the heritage ghats – kind of befitting given that Dwarka was known as the golden city of Lord Krishna!

Traditions followed along the Dwarka Gomati Ghat

Morning rituals in practice at the Dwarka Gomti Ghat

It is not just the ritualistic baths and morning prayers that make up the traditions followed along the Gomti Ghat in Dwarka. As you walk along, you will find people and priests involved in different tasks. Take for example the Tulabhar tradition that comes from the time of Lord Krishna and Rukmini. In fact, I did tell you the legend behind it in my previous post on Rukmini Devi Temple. You might find people weighing themselves on a large scale with food grains on the other side for donation.

All you have to do is walk along and watch these age-old traditions in practice.

Sudama Setu Bridge & Panchkui Tirth

On the Sudama Setu bridge in Dwarka

One of the main landmarks of the Gomti Ghats is the gorgeous pedestrian bridge. Named after Lord Krishna’s friend Sudama, the bridge is a recent addition to the heritage ghats. Sudama Setu Dwarka connects the Gomti Ghats to a small island on the opposite side. The bridge was inaugurated in 2016 and today, it serves as a key attraction of the Dwarka Gomti Ghat.

Eastern side of the Gomti Ghat Dwarka

The 166m long Sudama Setu bridge is a perfect vantage point to see the bustling ghats of Gomti. From here, you get a lovely glimpse of the various temples on Gomti Ghat and the confluence of the river and Arabian Sea. I am told that it is a great place to view sunsets as well.

Camel rides available on the island opposite Gomti Ghat in Dwarka
ATV rides in Dwarka near Panch kui

The island that it connects to is being developed as a tourist attraction in Dwarka. The white sand beach offers fun camel rides and ATV rides. The bank facing Gomti Ghat has been developed like a promenade where you can just perch yourself and watch the activities of the heritage ghats.

The promenade setting by Sudama Setu bridge

However, that is not the only thing that you must do on this island. The main significance of this island termed as Panchkui tirth are the five sweet water wells on it. These wells are associated with the five Pandavas (of the Mahabharat fame) – from the time they visited Dwarka.

Bridge timings and fees : Note that the Sudama Setu Dwarka is open only from 7 am to 5 pm everyday and one has to pay INR 10 to access the bridge.

Boating in Gomti River

Boating on Gomti River near the Sudama Setu bridge

Another way to see Gomti Ghat is to hire a boat. There are motor boats as well as punts that take you along the ghats right upto the confluence. It definitely gives you another perspective, especially that of the Sudama Setu bridge.

Shopping in Dwarka Gomti Ghat

Shopping - one of the key attractions of Dwarka Gomti Ghat

Colorful jhootis, vibrant clothes, sparkling jewelry and local accessories to go with your look – you will find them all on display around the Dwarka Gomti Ghat, especially near Dwarkadheesh temple. Reasonable in terms of rates, these costumes and jewelry make great occasion wear. Be aware though that the fabrics used might bleed color when washed and hence, do keep them separate.

Shells for sale along Gomti Ghat in Dwarka

Local shells found in Gomti river and the Arabian sea are also, sold along the ghats. You do not have to look too hard for them. The vendors will beckon you by blowing the Shankh (conch shells) and draw your attention to the Kaudi or the Cowrie shells which come in all possible colors and shades. The other specialty shell here is the Gomti Chakra – a rare snail shell found in this area. These tiny shells are considered to be auspicious as they are believed to represent Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra. The Gomti Chakras are sold loose as well as in the form of necklaces. They are extensively used in home decor articles like mirrors and show-pieces – which make good travel memorabilia.

Local food at Gomti Ghat in Dwarka

Gomti Ghat - a good place to sample local delicacies

As a traveler, most of us seek the authentic local cuisine of a place. I know that there are time, I have ventured out of my five-star lodging to the city markets just to get the real taste of the place. Well, in case of Dwarka, Gomti Ghats is your destination. From chat stalls to milk shake vendors and local tea shops, you can get it all here. What makes it even more interesting is the way they display their food and in some cases, like the one above, you will find them making it in the most dramatic fashion.

Unlimited lunch at Srinath bhojnalaya in Dwarka

There are small restaurants termed Bhojnalayas that serve complete meals. These are unlimited servings that start from starters to the main course that consist of both rotis and rice and end with the local sweet dishes. The bhojnalayas are generally family-owned and the meal price is very minimal. Most of them have limited seating and most often than not, you will have to wait in a queue that extends outside the place for your turn at the shared table. Not a five star experience but a unique and very authentic one for sure. Specifically – look out for Srinath bhojnalaya

Must-see temples along the Dwarka Gomti Ghat

There are plenty of temples along the Gomti Ghat in Dwarka

Being a heritage ghat, there are many Dwarka temples to see in this area. While you might not be able to cover them all at one go, here are the ones that you must prioritize. The first naturally being the very temple most people visit this town for – the Dwarkadhish mandir.

Dwarkadhish Mandir

The Gomti ghats with Shree Dwarkadhish temple

Shree Dwarkadhish temple is likely where you will start your tour of Gomti Ghat. The temple has two entrances and the one that is on Gomti Ghat Dwarka (Swarg Dwar) requires you to climb 52 steps. Dwarkadhish temple is home to Sharda Peetha – one of the four mathas established by Adi Shankracharaya himself. The temple is designed like the palace of Lord Krishna with numerous shrines depicting private chambers of his wives, consorts and other family members. Besides these, there are plenty of interesting rituals like the Dwaja Aarohan that you would enjoy watching – all of which I have shared in this virtual tour of Dwarkadhish temple.

Samudra Narayana Temple

Samudra Narayana temple in Dwarka

The Samudra Narayana temple marks the sangam of the Gomti River and Arabian Sea (Confluence). The temple has a sand-colored idol of Lord Vishnu (Narayana) and in another shrine, one of Goddess Gomti. Besides these, there are idols of Mirabai (ardent devotee of Lord Krishna) and Mata Ashta Bhawani. A set of five sweet water wells called the Pancha Tirtha are found in the Samudra Narayana temple. One of the beliefs attached to the Samudra Narayana temple is that the waves hitting the temple is akin to the devotional tune of a chant – Sriman Narayan Hari Hari.

Chakra Narayan temple

The Chakra Narayan temple is so called owing to the stone within its shrine that bears the mark of Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Krishna. The temple is quite close to Samudra Narayana Temple. The temple itself is small but right beside it are some meditation caves called Manoratha Dhar. Even today, you will find many saints meditating within its folds.

Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple in Dwarka

Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple in Dwarka

Technically, Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple of Dwarka is not on the Gomti Ghats. It is further away from it, past the landmark lighthouse that you can see from the Gomti Ghats. However, I felt it was worthwhile adding it to your tour of Gomti Ghats. Once you are done at the Samudra Narayana temple, you can hire one of the Chhakda – unique auto-rickshaws to the Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple. The ride makes quite a unique experience.

Chhakda - autorickshaws with a bullet bike
The linga in Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple

Bhadkeshwar Mahadev temple is dedicated to Shiva and is quite significant for its linga. The same was found by Adi Shankracharya in the Arabian sea and established in the temple. During high tides, the temple is a little difficult to approach. Right behind it, is another temple called the Gita temple where lines from the Holy Gita are inscribed on the walls.

Bhadkeshwar Mahadev temple makes a lovely sunset point as well as an entertainment area for kids with its vantage points and camel rides.

Sunset and night stroll by Gomti River in Dwarka

Gomti Ghat at night

Besides the Bhadkeshwar Mahadev temple, I recommend two vantage points for your sunsets. The first being the promenade area of Sudama Setu bridge and the second being the Samudra Narayana temple. Past the sunset, it is a good idea to just stroll along the river and enjoy the calm in the air. Grab a seat at one of the many ghats, watch the fish pop up and down in the water, enjoy the night lights of the Sudama Setu bridge and reflect on what you have seen through your day at the Gomti Ghats Dwarka.

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How to get to Dwarka Gomti Ghat?

Dwarka is well connected by road and rail to all the major cities of Gujarat. The closest airports to Dwarka are in Porbandar (105 km) and Jamnagar (131 km). From both these airports, you can get to Dwarka by trains, buses or private cabs. In case you plan to drive on your own, here are the two route options
Route one – Porbandar to Dwarka
Porbandar Airport -Kuchhadi – Bhogat (via NH 51) – Baradia – Dwarka
The journey takes around 1 hour 50 minutes.

Route two – Jamnagar to Dwarka
Jamanagar Airport – Danta – Khambhalia – Gurgadh – Dwarka
This route will take you around 2 hours 30 minutes.

Note that both these airports have limited flights. If you do not find any availability, try air travel to Rajkot. Rajkot has a better frequency of flights but is a little further away. There is an option of a train or a bus and a cab from Rajkot to Dwarka. Just add 2 hours to the same route as Jamnagar.

Once in Dwarka, you can hire the local auto-rickshaw to get to the Gomti Ghats. The best landmark for your ghats tour would be Sudama Setu Bridge or the Dwarkadhish temple. From there, you can just begin your walking tour.

What is the best time to visit Gomti Ghat in Dwarka?

There is no entry timings for Gomti Ghat in Dwarka. It is open throughout the day. The best time to visit it would be just before sunrise and at sunset. This is when you can see the rituals and aartis taking place. It also, looks really beautiful with the golden glow of the Sun.

If you are keen on shopping near Gomti Ghat, keep your evening aside for it. That way you do not have to interrupt your sightseeing along the ghats.

The only attraction that has specific timings on Dwarka Gomti Ghats is the Sudama Setu bridge. The bridge opens at 7 am and closes by 5 pm. There is a small entry fee to access it -INR 10 per adult.

Where to stay in Dwarka?

Most of the good mid-priced and budget hotels are located around the Dwarka Gomti Ghats and the Dwarkadhish temple. These can be booked online through the websites that I have listed under the booking section.

There are limited luxury hotels in Dwarka. The one that I stayed in – Hawthorn Resorts is located 7 km from the city. This Dwarka hotel is quite comfortable with luxurious rooms, good food and amenities like swimming pool, play area and a gym.

Where can you hire a boat for a Gomti Ghats trip?

All you have to do is reach Dwarka Gomti Ghats near Sudama Setu bridge and you will find some boats for hire. The price is not fixed and one needs to bargain based on the kind of boats and the time it is hired for. Remember though, the ghats are not as extensive as those in Varanasi and hence, the boat is more of a pleasure ride rather than a tour.

Booking Resources

  • Booking.com has good listings for hotels in Dwarka. You can use this link to book one for yourself. 
  • This is a list of hotels near Gomti Ghats in Dwarka on Tripadvisor. You can check the reviews and book through the same link.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this. 

P.S: I was invited to visit Gujarat by the Gujarat Tourism Board

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