Cities are a reflection of the ones who built them. The prosperous city of Dwarka, which was capital of Lord Krishna’s kingdom, was a gateway to heaven — a physical manifestation of the rewards one reaps by walking the path of righteousness.
Located in modern day Gujarat, Krishna settled here after battling and killing his uncle Kansa at Mathura. The city was built by Lord Vishwakarma, on Krishna’s orders, in a couple of days. Krishna was said to have prayed to Lord Samudradeva (God of the seas), asking him for some reclaimed land to build the city.
Dwarka exuded opulence with its countless royal palaces made of gold, crystal and silver and adorned with emerald ornaments. Inside, these palaces were decorated with gold and jewelled furnishings. Common folk could take leisurely strolls in the city’s many parks and gardens or enjoy the views of lakes populated with swans and cranes. Dwarka was a well-planned city with thoughtfully laid out roads and markets and boasted of wonderful temple architecture depicting demigods. This was the city where the Pandavas sought refuge during their exile.
Peace and prosperity prevailed in Dwarka for many years. But it was doomed by a curse put on Krishna by a bereaved Gandhari, mother to the Kauravas, during the Kurukshetra war. While mourning the death of her sons in the war, Gandhari cursed Krishna with the destruction of the Yadava clan, to which he belonged, along with the downfall of Dwarka because she believed he could have prevented the war.
This curse came true 36 years after the Kurukshetra war ended. Major infighting among the Yadava clan led to severe chaos and destruction in Dwarka, and immorality abounded. A dejected Krishna accepted the end was near and was eventually killed by a deer hunter. With the death of Krishna, Samudradeva took back the land that he had given to Krishna and Dwarka submerged into the sea, leaving behind no trace and becoming nothing more than a memory.
Dwarka prospered when Krishna’s philosophy was followed by the residents of the city. They all aspired to walk the righteous path and practice peace. But immorality and a failure to perform their duty (dharma) led to the eventual downfall of the Yadav clan and their beloved Capital. Dwarka reminds us, therefore, that in order to prosper, one should always put duty and moral virtues above all else.