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Beyt Island, Dwarka Overview

Situated around 30 km from the main town of Dwarka, Beyt Island (also called Bet Dwarka or Shankodhar) is a small island which was the main port in the region before the development of Okha. Located at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch, the island is enclosed by a few temples, white sand beaches and coral reefs, which is the prime reason for the tourist activity in the region. Among the several activities available at the beach to engage the tourists, the most popular ones include dolphin spotting, marine excursions, beach camping and picnics etc.

Aside from the flourishing tourism industry, the island also holds a significant mythological and religious significance. It is believed to be the home of Lord Krishna when he was the king of Dwarka. It was here where Lord Krishna exchanged the bags of rice with his friend Sudama - as the story goes. Therefore, this place is also visited by several devotees for a pilgrimage as well.

Photos of Beyt Island

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Legend and Etymology of Beyt Island

Bet Dwarka or Beyt Island is called so because ‘bet’ or ‘beyt’ in Gujrati means a land surrounded by water on all sides. So this name is considered to be derived from the same word. Another story suggests that in olden days Lord Krishna used to live here. And as the legend goes, this is the exact same place where Lord Krishna also exchanged the famed bag of rice with his best friend Sudama. And a gift in hindi is called ‘bhent’. So the island came to be called ‘Bhent Island’. And over the year, ‘Bhent’ came to be called ‘Beyt’.

Beyt Island Map like a Conch Shell
Source


The island is also called Shankodhar and that is because some people believed that the island is ‘shankh’ or conch shaped. And it is also a source of conch shells.

History of Beyt Island

Beyt Island is supposed to be really ancient. It can be dated back to the time of the Mauryan Empire. It was also a part of Okha Mandal or Kushdwip area. Beyt Island was once under the rule of  under Gaekwad of Baroda State. Later, in the rebellion of 1857, it was captured by the Vagers and some time after that, it eventually came to be captured by the British. After the independence of India, it came to be a part of Saurashtra state and then after bifurcation, it was merged with Gujarat. 

Archaeological remains found under the sea suggest that there were settlements of the Harappan civilization from the Late Harappan Period or immediately after it, from the Indus Valley Civilization.

Archaeological Findings at Beyt Island

Several excavations and investigations conducted in the region in 1980 have led to the discovery of earthen pots, coins and other artefacts from the late Harappan period. Just immediately after, in 1982, a 580 meter long protection wall was discovered that dated back to 1500 BC. This wall was submerged in sea water and was majorly damaged. The artefacts included Late Harappan seal, an inscribed jar and the mould of coppersmith, a copper fishhook etc. There have also been shipwrecks, ports and ship anchors found that suggest trade relations with other countries.

Things to Do at Beyt Island

  1. Marine Camp

    Marine Camping is one of the top activities to do on the island. It is a relatively new concept which requires the volunteers to stay on the shore for a couple of days and indulge in activities like explore the marine biodiversity, studying the ebbs and falls of the tides, interacting with the local people and the like. There is a base camp set on the north eastern part of the island. It boasts of a rich marine and sea biodiversity which includes sponges, jelly fish, corals, mollusks, sea feathers, sea anemones, bristle worms, barnacles, fish, marine turtles, sea snakes, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, and other such creatures.

Places to See near Beyt Island

  1. Sri Keshavraj Ji Temple

    The most important temple to visit on the island is the Sri Keshavraj Ji Temple which is enshrined by Lord Krishna. The temple is 500 years old and was built by Vallabhacharya. It is believed that after the temple was constructed, the central idol was installed by Lord Krishna’s wife- Devi Rukmani. And that, the temple stands on the exact grounds which once had Lord Krishna’s residence. It is an important site of Hindu pilgrimage.
  2. Hanuman Dandi

    Hanuman Dandi is another one of the revered Hindu temples at Beyt Dwarka that is enshrined by Lord Hanuman and his son- Makardhwaja. Legend goes to say that a drop of sweat from Hanuman’s body was gulpe by a fish who then delivered his son, who later came to be called Makardhwaja.
    Hanuman Dandi, Bet Dwarka
    Source
  3. Abhaya Mata Mandir

    This is one of the relatively smaller shrines located on the southernmost end of the Beyt Island and is dedicated to the deity- Abhaya Mata.
  4. Dargahs

    There are also two dargahs on the island, dedicated to Muslim saints - Sidi bawa peer and Haji Kirmai. These are important Muslim pilgrimage centres.
  5. Jain Temples

    In addition to the Hindu temples and the muslim shrines, Beyt Island also have a couple of Jain temples where you can visit and seek blessings from the 24 Jain Tirthankaras.

Tips

  1. The only way to reach the island is through the boat ride and the boats operate for a fixed time period in the day i.e. between 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM or so. So you need to plan your day accordingly.
  2. All temples are closed for sightseeing from noon till 5:00 PM.
  3. There are a few decent places to have meals, on the island. It is best to carry your own food if you are just visiting for a couple of hours.
  4. No photography is allowed inside any temple.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Beyt Island is during the winter season, i.e. between the months of October and March. The area does not experience an extreme winter season and hence the trip will be pleasant and comfortable. Average temperatures at the time are around 20-22 degrees celsius. Summer season and the monsoons are best if avoided as the region is extremely hot and stuffy during the summers and extremely humid and unpleasant during the rainy season.

How to Reach

To reach Beyt Island, you will have to reach Dwarka first. The nearest airport to Dwarka is at Jamnagar that is at a distance of only 45 km from the city. Regular state buses and railways also ply from all the neighbouring towns to Dwarka. Once you are in Dwarka, you can take a private cab or a state bus from the bus stand which is bound for Okha. Here you will have to alight at the Okha jetty which is around 35 km from Dwarka. From the jetty, a 15 minute boat ride can take you across the sea to the Beyt Island. The cost will be around INR 20 per person and starting from INR 2000 in case you want to hire a private boat.

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Q. How to go to beyt island from dwarka temple?

Holidify 1 year ago
You will have to take a ferry from Okha to reach Beyt Island. Okha is about 30km from the Dwarkadhish Temple. You can take the scenic route along the coast towards the north of the temple to reach Okha.
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