The story behind ‘Gopi Talav’
Dwarka was considered as the Capital of Shri Krishna’s kingdom, while Bet Dwarka was his residence. Shri Krishna used to conduct his religious assembly at Dwarka.
Gopi Lake is located 14 kms away from Dwarka. The soil of Gopitalav is yellow in color and extremely smooth. There is a myth that after leaving the place, Krishna never went back to “Vraj”. During Krishna’s childhood, he played RasLeela many times with ‘Gopis’ (young female inhabitants of Vraj). They traveled from “Vraj” to Dwarka to meet Shri Krishna. After playing Ras Leela again with Shri Krishna, on night of “Sharad Purnima”, they offered their lives to the soil of this land and hence this land has become popular as “GopiTalav”.
The Rukmini Temple
Rukmini Temple (Temple one of Shri Krishna’s Patranis) is located 2 kms away from Dwarka. There is a myth associated with it, once Krishna and Rukmini went to Durvasha Rushi to invite him to Dwarka. He agreed on the condition that they (Krishna & Rukmini) have to carry the chariot instead of any animal. Krishna & Rukmini happily agreed to do so. While driving the chariot, Rukmini felt thirsty, and then Krishna stopped the chariot. With his toe, he dug the land and took out the holy water of the river Ganga. “Durvasha”, annoyed by the action, cursed Rukmini that she had to stay away from Shri Krishna. Hence Rukmini temple is located 2 kms away from Dwarka’s Jagat Mandir. It is widely believed among the devotees that the pilgrimage is incomplete if a devotee doesn’t go to offer prayers at the Rukmini Temple, even if he worshipped the Lord at the Dwarkadheesh temple.
Legend has it that Satyabhama’s father Satrajit owned a divine jewel called Syamantaka. Krishna told Satrajit to send the jewel to Ugrasena so it could be guarded safely. Satrajit’s brother Prasena took the jewel and went hunting, he was attacked and killed by a lion. Meanwhile, Jambava took the jewel and gave it to his daughter to play with. When Satrajit heard of his brother’s death and the missing Syamantaka, he accused Krishna of possessing the jewel. Krishna went in search of Syamantaka so that he could clear the accusation and found the jewel with Jambava. They fought for 28 days for the jewel until Jambava finally surrendered and recognized Krishna as the incarnation of Rama. Krishna returned the jewel to Satrajit. When he knew of the happenings, Satrajit asked Krishna’s forgiveness and gave his daughter Satyabhama’s hand in marriage to Krishna. Satyabhama is considered to be the incarnation of Mother Earth.
Lord breaks Duryodhana’s pride
As the preparations for the war were being made, both the Kauravas and the Pandavas were trying to get the support of more and more kings from far and wide.
Duryodhana went to Krishna, the king of Dwarka, to ask for his support. He reached Krishna’s palace, but at that time, Krishna was taking a nap. Krishna was sleeping with a gentle smile on his face. His feet were pointed towards Duryodhana. Duryodhana looked at it, and he didn’t like it. “He is not even a king; he is a cowherd. I am a great emperor. Why am I sitting at his feet?” So then he slowly got up and came and sat close to his head. At the same time, Arjuna also came to Krishna to ask him to support the Pandavas in the war. Arjuna was very humble and sat near Krishna’s feet.
When Krishna woke up, he saw Arjuna first because Duryodhana was sitting behind him. Duryodhana said,” I have come to ask for your support in the war.” Arjuna also made the same request.
Duryodhana said, “I came before Arjuna, so you should help me and not him.” Krishna said, “Due to your pride you sat beside my head and so I saw Arjuna first. But you are both dear to me so I will help you both. To one of you I will give my army (Narayani Sena) and to the other I will give my moral support because I will not fight in the war. Arjuna is younger so I will ask him to choose.”
Arjuna, without wasting a second, chose Krishna’s moral support. He knew that with his support and guidance, the Pandavas would certainly win the war.
When Duryodhana heard Arjuna’s choice, he was very happy. He was foolish enough to think that Krishna, who wouldn’t even fight in the war, would be of no use to him; Krishna’s huge army would certainly be of help. 10,000 trained men against one man who is not going to fight – what a foolish choice. But that choice made all the difference to what happened to the result of the war.
It is every devotee’s dream to visit the city on the day of Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna. Krishna Janmotsav is celebrated with great fervor at Dakor, Mathura and Dwarka. As Dwarka is known as Mokshapuri, a very special event is held at Dwarka. Janmashtami or Krishna Janmotsav is celebrated in a very special way wherein devotees from across India and abroad come together to celebrate this special festival.