Dwarka bet dwarkaBet Dwarka is famous for its temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and is of great importance in the ancient Hindu tradition. It and other coastal sites have ample antiquities, mainly potsherds, suggesting maritime trade and commerce with the Mediterranean countries around the Christian era. This flourishing harbor and religious capital is believed to have submerged under the sea after the Krishna left dwarka for vaikunth.
A team of archeologists have carried out onshore and inter-tidal zone explorations and a few trial trenches were laid to trace a proper cultural sequence. The most potential sites, where a large number of antiquities were recovered are the sectors, Bet Dwarka-I, II, VI, and IX.
The findings of Bet Dwarka may be divided into two broad periods: Pre-historic period which includes a small seal of conch shell engraved with a three-headed animal motif, two inscriptions, a copper fishhook and late Harappan pottery (circa 1700-1400 BC) and the Historical period consisting of coins and pottery. Onshore and inter-tidal zone explorations have indicated some kind of shoreline shifting around the Bet Dwarka island as a few sites get submerged during high tide.
Offshore explorations near present Bet Dwarka brought to light a number of stone anchors of different types that include triangular, grapnel and ring stones. They are made out of locally available rocks and their period may also be similar to those found at Dwarka and other places. Recently, Roman antiquities including shreds of amphorae and a lead ingot and lead anchors were found. There is also an indication of a shipwreck of Roman period in Bet Dwarka waters.
The archaeological explorations at Bet Dwarka Island have brought to light a large number of data on Indias external overseas trade and commerce with western countries. Recent findings at the Bet Dwarka have shown evidence of Indo-Roman trade. India had an active maritime trade with Rome from the fourth century BCE to 4th century CE. These findings would concentrate on the time period from the first century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The discovery of the amphoras in Bet Dwarka is significant in view of the maritime history of India in concerned. There are remains of seven amphoras from which a black encrustation can be seen. This ware was mainly used for exporting wine and olive oil from the Roman Empire; it is most likely that these were wine amphoras. The discovery of a large quantity of amphora sherds suggests that Bet Dwarka had international trade contact during the early centuries of the Christian era. The findings present the possibility of a shipwreck in this area associated with Roman trade, though it is unlikely that the remains of the hull of the wreck survive. Thus the presence of Roman amphoras show that Roman ships reached Bet Dwarka waters earlier than has been previously noted. These same archaeological findings along with anchors have indicated the existence of several ports, jetties and anchoring points along the west coast of Indian. Though there are no remains of an ancient jetty at Bet Dwarka, the presence of stone anchors in the intertidal one indicates that the high tide was effectively used for anchoring the boats. The presence of a large number and variety of stone anchors in Bet Dwarka suggests that this was one of important ports in ancient times. The location of Bet Dwarka was favorable for safe anchorage in the past since it was protected from high waves and storms.
The proposal for the Dwarka museum, submitted by the MAU, involves laying a submarine acrylic tube through which visitors can view through glass windows the ruins of the city. The State Government of Gujarat and the Travel & Tourism Department of Gujarat are working on this proposal (for over two decades). When completed, it will be the first museum to be built under the sea.
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