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Durable Link to this BlogMonday, June 28, 2010

WE THE PEOPLE OF DWARAKA!

My friend Vasantha Kumari, brought me a book in Kannada on Marine Archaeological Expenditons, of Dwaraka by Dr. S.R. Rao. Dr. Shikaripur Ranganath Rao (1922-) is an internationally reputed Archaeologist. He is credited with excavational wonders of Lothal a slightly later archaeological site than Mohenjo Daro (which is presently in Pakistan). Lothal was ancient port in Gujarat where river Sabarmati joins the Arabian sea. Big ships arrived from different countries during high tide here and Dr. Rao has brought to light India"s most ancient trading site(2500BC). Several seals with engravings are discovered which show transitional stage from pictorial symbols to letters. They are similar to those of Mohenjo Daro seals, except this difference.

After 32 years in Archaeological survey of India with several discoveries and working for preservation of monuments, Dr. Rao retired in 1980, only to become India"s first Marine Archaeologist. He worked as emeritus scientist in the National Institute of Oceanography at Goa from 1981-1994. It was during this period that he discovered the ancient city of Dwaraka or Bet Dwaraka, capital city of Lord Krishna mentioned in Mahabharata, Harivamsa and Puranas.

Dr Rao had several initial difficulties because the staff was to be trained for diving, underwater mapping, and clicking. He made a thorough study of ancient Sanskrit classics and Puranas which mention Dwaraka and round about places. After several expeditions under the sea he was able to locate ruins of ancient city of Dwaraka where river Gomati meets Arabian sea. There were triangular anchors, remains of docks, stone buildings, large stone blocks which made walls, mooring stones, relics of barge etc. Pearls were abundant in this area earlier and hordes of pearl-shells and conches were discovered. The earliest submerged temple of Samudra Narayana (Sea-God) was located. Dwaraka port operated as late as 1700 B.C. Several cast iron articles, copper, lead and tin goods, brass vessels are also found. Kushasthali is another name of the region as well as city of Dwaraka. Shrikrishna built this city when he decided to leave Mathura. He settled in Dwaraka or Kushasthali. The present day Bet Dwaraka is on the same site of the ancient one, which submerged in third milleneum B.C.

The words "Kushasthali" and "Dawaraka" are of special interest to me. Ancient Saraswat Brahmins who lived in Saraswati Valley migrated to adjoining regions when river Saraswati dried up. One group made its way to Kushasthali in Sourashtra in Gujarat and then to Goa via Sea. Chitrapur Saraswats are known as Kushasthali Brahmins, (a place (sthala) established by Kusha is Kushasthali). Goud Saraswat Brahmins are known as "Dorke" Or people from Dwaraka, in common Konkani parlance. One is tempted to believe that these Saraswats have retained in their names their ancient identity long after they had settled down in Goa. A small village is still known as Kushasthali or Kutral in Goa.

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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