The Sacred Town and Temples of Dwarka
Artist: Purser, William (fl 1809-1837)
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
This is plate 32 from Robert Melville Grindlay's 'Scenery, Costumes and Architecture chiefly on the Western Side of India'. Grindlay (1786-1877) was only 17 when he arrived in India in 1803. He served with the Bombay Native Infantry from 1804 to 1820 and during this period made a large collection of sketches and drawings.
Dwaraka (Dwarka) is situated on the coast of Gujarat, at the point where the river Gomti meets the Arabian sea. Its name means 'door', and it is popularly known as the gateway to the coastal hinterland of Saurashtra and western India. Devotees throng the Dwarakadasa temple, dedicated to the god Krishna, which has a sanctum dating to the 16th century and is one of the most important Vaishnavite pilgrimage sites in Gujarat. Grindlay described the busy scene: "Men, women and children, of all ages and ranks ... assembled from remote parts of India to perform their vows ... after purification in the sacred waves and cutting off hair which had been allowed to grow until they should sacrifice it at this holy shrine, they make their offerings at the ancient Temple".