Sir,--This refers to the report “Dwaraka expedition finds more remains” reported from Panaji (The Hindu, Jan.1) about the wonders revealed by the fifth archaeological under water excavation recently.
More than a decade back, a very old, small temple within a big temple, believed to be the original “Krishna temple” was unearthed 20 to 30 feet deep, not far off from the location of the present one, by the first surface excavation of the Archaeological Department.
Again, in early 1985, the fourth under-water excavation discovered two submerged sea walls, 20 to 30 feet below the sea-bed a few metres apart—also reported in The Hindu, the same year (1985), how the old Dwaraka Port, once the “gateway” of ancient India, was submerged four to five thousand years ago, was scientifically explained by Mr. C.S. Mahadevan of Madras vide The Hindu, February 21, 1985. Dwaraka was partially submerged according to him in 3031 B.C..
Later in 2700 BC, not only the remaining portion of Dwaraka but even the remaining portion of Lanka, Ravana’s kingdom got submerged in a cataclysm. This explanation is supported by the scientific reasons advanced by him. Due to the tilting of the axis of the earth, generally some of the islands throughout the world submerged.
The submerging of islands is more near the equator up to 30’ North or South latitude. So what happened in 3031 BC and 2700 BC and earlier in 12000 BC was due to this tilting of the earth.
This revelation by Mr. Mahadevan’s letter (The Hindu, Feb. 21, 1985) made interesting reading about Dwaraka once ruled by Lord Krishna who was born on July 26, 3112 BC according to him.
N. Bose, Madras
From Our Special Correspondent
The sixth marine archaeological expedition of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, led by Dr. S.R. Rao, Emeritus scientist has claimed the discovery of hitherto unknown features of the legendary Dwaraka of Sri Krishna, submerged by the Arabian Sea 3,500 years ago.
During the current season (November 1987 to February1988 the expedition said it came across the inner and outer gateways of the proto-historic port city, flanked by circular bastions built of massive blocks of sandstone. From the inner gateway a flight of steps led to the Gomati river, the submerged channel of which has been traced over a length of 1.5 km in the seabed.
According to Dr. Rao, the occurrence os smaller three-holed stone anchors of triangular shape weighing 100 to 140 kg suggests that small boats used to sail up the Gomati while the larger ones were moored farther away from the outer entrance gate.
A semi-circular mooring stone with a hole has been found here in situ. The outer wall acted as a pier also. The large three-holed stone anchors (150 to 250 kg) of prismatic shape lying in a row suggest that the jetty was about 1.2 km from the present shoreline , 12 metres below present water line.
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The remains of a stone temple within the inner fortifications are indicated by a pillar and moonstone, while a circular stone base with a large hole was used for fixing a wooden flagpost near the outer gate of the port. Perhaps it served as a sign post.
If the number, size and variety of stone anchors are any indication of the size of the port, it can be said that Dwaraka was the largest port of the second millennium B.C. on the Indian Coast. As many as 50 stone anchors are visible. But several hundreds must have been buried in the sediment.
Exploration since 1984 in the Dwaraka waters has been confined to the right bank zone towards the lighthouse of the ancient Gomati channel. The left bank zone remain unexplored for lack of funds and equipment such as sidescan sonar and sub-bottom profiler.
The PORT-INPMO have extended to the left bank also as indicated by the stone anchors of various sizes. After proto-historic port city was submerged, the site was unoccupied for a long period. Some constructions of the early historic period have come to notice. Among important antiquities found this season in the Dwaraka waters mention may be made of bronze objects such as the bell and arms of Prabhaval and fragments of a marble statue.
They were recovered in a trench dug at 4.6 metres below sea level and seem to belong to the early historic or later period. In the last season and again during the present expedition, parts of the hull of a wooden boat were found.
Useful data on sea level fluctuations have been collcted during the present expedition. Three wavecut benches were encountered at depths of 11.22 metres, 4.6 metres and 1.34 metres. The proto-historic city was built on the lowest bench, the early historic and the medieval townships on the higher benches. The island of Bet Dwarka, 30 km north of Dwarka, which is also famous as the pleasure resort of Sri Krishna, was connected with the mainland between Otha and Aramda. The reclamation referred to in ancient texts was made in this zone when the sea level was lower 3,500 years ago. The ancient port was four km long on the eastern coast where the landward and seaward fortifications were identified in previous expeditions.
During the current expedition, according to Dr. Rao, a most impressive stone wall 550 metres in perimeter (1 mile plus) was discovered in the intertidal zone of the central sector, not far from BDK V (north sector) where shell workers lived.
To the south of the wall is a rock cut slipway for launching boats. Nine courses of stone masonry of the massive fort wall are still intact at many places. It must have been much higher in ancient times to prevent further erosion by the sea.
The construction technique is interesting. Large trapezoidal blocks built course by course formed the outer shell holding together the rubble filling in the core. This gravity well was specially designed to serve as an anti-erosion structure in the sea, and is certainly a bolder experiment than that of their predecessors, the Harappans.
It served as a pier also. A trial dig in the inter-tidal zone and cliff of the northern sector indicated that the proto-historic settlement was completely washed away by the sea.
The occurrence late Harappan artifacts such as chart blacken and perforated vessels suggests the existence of a settlement earlier than the Dwarka of Sri Krishna, to which reference is made in the epic. This we have in Bet Dwarka the Mahabharata (before 1,500 B.C.), the Mahabharata (1500-1400 B.C.) and post Mahabharata (third century B.C. onwards) settlements. The former two were submerged by the sea.
An important achievement of the present expedition is that two young archaeologists have been trained in diving, underwater research, excavation and documentation. They were able to work underwater for 1 ˝ to 2 hours at a stretch, no small achievement for beginners. Thus for the first time scientific diving for archaeological excavation has been introduced by the marine archaeology unit.
Another significant achievement is that the underwater exploration has been filmed.
Thanks to Deva-Evu Lawrie for researching past original articles from the Hindu Times & submitting them and to "brother Shane" for forwarding them to s8int.com. Thanks for the typing practice. :0)