This post-film smoking gun report reveals why the mysterious lost city of Dwarka may force us to rewrite history. Read on to uncover what we know, what didn’t make it into the documentary, and what happens next.
Buried beneath the waters of the Arabian Sea, the ruined fragments of an ancient city twice the size of Manhattan occasionally wash up onto the sandy shore of one of India’s most fascinating sites. Known as one of the four Dhamas, the small coastal city, still called Dwarka today, is a sacred place of pilgrimage in the Hindu religion. For hundreds, if not thousands of years, people from around India have traveled to Dwarka, and in particular to Dwarkadish Temple, to pay homage to deities and receive blessings, but few locals are even aware of the great mystery that lies just a few hundred meters off shore. As you saw in our documentary, Dwarka: Atlantis of the East, our founder Amish Shah journeyed to see this gem of cultural heritage and inadvertently began unraveling the clues behind this mystery.
Just 200 meters from the sandy coast, large underwater structures have remained for thousands of years. In the 1980’s, Archaeologists launched a diving investigation to determine the extent of these ruins. It was India’s first attempt at underwater research and it carried on for nearly two decades. Just a few meters beneath the water they discovered clear evidence of ruins and a number of stone anchors scattered along the outside of this hidden city. It suggested that at some point several thousand years ago, this submerged city was an extraordinarily busy port, perhaps a port of commerce, that was heavily trafficked by sea. But with the limited technology of the late 20th Century, experts were unable to get a conclusive date for the city.
The true mystery was found in the fact that this city was several meters below sea level. The tools for thorough excavation simply did not exists at the time, so it wouldn’t be until 1997, with the help of another research team, that Archaeologists would be able to uncover more clues about the mysterious ruins beneath the water.
The mainstream view currently dates the site between the 8th and 15th Century AD, but this is acknowledged as being based on surrounding archaeological sites. In other words, researchers have estimated this date based solely on the dating of structures above ground near the modern city of Dwarka.
In the documentary, Amish reveals that Dwarka was referenced in the Mahabharata and it was described as the site of a massive battle between the legendary figure of Krishna and one of his greatest enemies. The epic poem tells of flying chariots and explosive blasts that could kill millions of people in days.
The city of Dwarka was said to have been built as Krishna’s fortress by the sea. But Archaeologists gathered forensic evidence in the form of artifacts around the dig site that only dated back to the 15th century. But here’s where the mystery gets interesting. The Mahabharata was written centuries, if not thousands of years before the 15th Century.
Peplexed, an astronomical expert by the name of Dr. Narahari Achar used specific references from the Mahabharata and advanced astronomy software, to posit that events in the epic may have actually taken place around 3067 BC. The authors were very precise referencing planetary alignments and movements that could only have taken place once in the last few thousand years.
The fantastic story of Dwarka in the Mahabharata ends with the city being destroyed by an incredible blast and the stories are riddled with references to ancient technology; however, to date there has been no conclusive evidence found. But what if scientists were overlooking something that could appear completely mundane and insignificant? What if further research could yield more clues that could establish a more accurate date for this submerged city?
Between 1997 and 2001, the Marine Archaeology Centre of the National Institute
of Oceanography in Goa headed an investigation into the region off the coast of Dwarka. Using GPS technology, still and video photography, and compass readings, researchers were able to do a more thorough analysis of the site. The team was able to even airlift some obstructions to examine covered parts of the underwater city. After removing overgrowth and sediment layers that had settled, they were able to determine a few things about the site.
Based on the formation of a sand dune at the mouth of the Okhamadi River, it was determined that the nearby river was probably navigable at least 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. This would confirm suspicions that this entire area was a bustling port city in ancient times. The presence of over 34 massive anchors of various styles and stone types also suggest that it was a port for many years.
The port city is itself hardly a city, as research has found several large semicircular blocks and rectangular stones that don’t seem to have any recognizable structure patterns. It has been noted that some of these large stones appear to be part of the same large structure. Beyond that, several meters further below the water is where the over 34 anchors made mostly from igneous (volcanic) rock are also scattered in no particular pattern or order. For that reason the archaeological site has been divided into two sections. One part is where the large stone blocks are strewn across the sea floor and the other is where the large stone anchors can be found.
Scientists have identified three types of anchors that can be found at the site: grapnel, triangular, and four that have been classified as ring stone. Interestingly enough, there are no markings on these anchors which makes dating them nearly impossible. Researchers have based their conclusions on the rough sizes of anchors found throughout the Mediterranean, but it should be noted that a lot of these “comparison anchors” did in fact have markings that supplied further clues. Their best guess based on the inability to date rock places one of submerged sections somewhere between the 10th and 12th century AD.
But they did find something fascinating that gives a clue.
The exploration of the site that began in the early 1980’s and continued for over 20 years, was led by Indian Archaeologist, S.R. Rao. It was his research and incredible commitment to the project over the course of the research that helped bring attention to the ancient site. But what could be the smoking gun? In his own words, S.R. Rao said that the discovery of identification markers proved that this was the site mentioned in the Mahabharata. As he describes it, this is what they found:
“Besides plenty of pottery, we found an inscribed sherd (piece of pottery) with the following: maha kacha shahapa (sea, king or protector). This is dated around 1600 B.C. while the mudra is dated to 1700 B.C. We found a 580 metre long wall.”
– S.R. Rao
In the Mahabharata, it is said that Krishna, the protector of mankind, asked his followers to wear an identification marker or mudra as a sign of their allegiance. Could these artifacts that Rao and his team uncovered and dated back to at least 1600 B.C. be the proof that an ancient advanced city truly existed?
Or could this old port city be no more than a couple hundred years old? At this point, based on the evidence found so far, either is possible. But, is that any reason to simply halt research and chalk it up to nothing special? Absolutely not!
The bottom line is that more research needs to be done. If you combine these fascinating clues with the detailed accounts described in the Mahabharata, there is more than enough reason to dig further, and at the very least find conclusive evidence that the city actually is no more than a couple thousand years old. What have we got to lose?
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