Name of the Temple
Sri Gopi Talav
Period of origin
Before 1500 years
Name of deity
Moolavar: Sri Krishnan
Gopi Talav Also known as Gopi Tank, Gopi Talav is a small pond enveloped by yellow color sand, resembling sandal. It is also labeled as Gopi Chandan. The sacred Gopi Chandan is commonly used by Lord Krishna devotees visiting the talav to make the religious tilak marks on their foreheads. The Gopi Talav has great importance in the age-old Hindu mythological history. The Gopi Talav is considered to be the sacred spot where all the gopis arrived to catch a glimpse of Lord Krishna in the holy town of Dwarka.
The myth surrounding the Gopi Tank states that this was the spot where Lord Krishna destroyed a demon known as Bhaumasura and released 16,000 princesses, who were forcefully locked inside the demon’s palace which was located at Gopi Talav. All the Gopi princesses were in love with Lord Krishna for his kind act of saving them and each one wanted to marry him. This is how the spot got its name as Gopi Talav.
Gopi Talav is historically famous for the many stories of Lord Krishna’s naughty pranks and romance that have occurred at this spot. When Lord Krishna was small, he would playfully dance the raas with all the gopis (young female locals) in the town of Vrindavana, also known as Vruj. When Lord Krishna relocated to Dwarka, the gopis were heartbroken at being separated from him and thus, they decided to visit him. It is said that Gopi Talav is the spot where all the gopis re-united with Lord Krishna on the auspicious night of full moon, observed as Sharad Purnima. Elated with meeting Krishna, they once again started the raas dance with him. The myth also states that the gopis could not bear their separation from Lord Krishna. They offered to sacrifice their lives to the land so they could eternally merge with their loved one. The legend further states that the gopis transformed into yellow clay material, which is now known as Gopi Chandan. Even today, the soil found near the Gopi Talav is yellow in color and very smooth to touch.
Once labeled as the Golden City, Dwarka is a religious town located towards the western part of the state of Gujarat in India. It can be found on the tip of the Saurashtra cape on the Arabian Sea. According to Hindu mythology and tradition, the town of Dwarka holds much relevance and significance. This place is mentioned under the ‘sapta-puris’ (seven sacred cities) as well as under the ‘Chardham’ sites.
The name of the town is derived from two words-Dwara meaning door and Ka meaning Brahma. The word Dwarka therefore means the route to one’s union with the Brahma (all empowering). One of the most ancient cities in India, Dwarka has a rich religious history dating back to 1500 BC with references to the ancient Hindu scriptures like the Puranas and the Gita. The birth of the town of Dwarka is closely related to the life of Lord Krishna. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna is one of the manifestations of Lord Vishnu.
Padma Purana explains that in one kalpa during Lord Sri Krishna’s Bhauma Vrindavana (earthly) pastimes, the Vraja-gopis went near Dwarka to dance with their beloved in a secluded forest beside the sea, 20 km north of Dwarka on the night of Sharad Purnima (full moon) and once again danced with him. Krishna secretly left His palace, abandoned His royal insignias, robes, opulent crown and other trimmings of a King, and again adorned Himself in his gopa-vesh, simple dress of a Vrindavana cowherd boy – with a red turban and peacock feather atop His head, a flowing lightning gold dhoti and diaphanous yellow chaddar, a yellow karnikara flower stuck above one ear, a gunja berry necklace swinging from His neck, and His indomitable instrument – flute (murali).
After hours of wonderful dancing and transcendental expressions, Lord Sri Krishna took the Gopis to swim in a nearby lake to relieve their fatigue. All the body powders, unguents, oils and pastes of sandalwood, musk, jasmine, saffron and various colored minerals washed off their transcendental bodies as they splashed each other and played about. Unable to part from Krishna, the Gopis offered their lives to the soil of this land and merged with their beloved. It is said that they turned into yellow clay, known as Gopi Chandan. For the last fifty centuries Krishna bhaktas have been using this clay known as Gopi Chandan (it is golden color just like Radhika’s splendid limbs), to apply tilaka. The soil of the Gopi talav is extremely smooth and yellow in color.
Another pastime is related with Arjuna. After the battle at Kuruksetra, Arjuna thought himself to be the best warrior of the world. To eliminate the pride in His devotee friend, Arjuna, Lord Krishna asked him to escort his queens to Bet Dwarka. On the way, just near this pond, Arjuna was attacked by people of Kaba community, and Arjuna was defeated. The queens understanding this left their Body in this pond to go back to Goloka (Abode of Sri Krishna). So it is called Gopi Talav (pond). The famous phrase ‘Kabe Arjun luntiyo,vohi dhanush vohi ban’ reflects this incident.
Located just about 20 km to the north of the holy town of Dwarka and around 5 km from the famous Nageshwara Jyotirlinga Temple, Gopi Talav is easily accessible from all modes of transport and also falls en route Beyt Dwarka. One can easily find local transport like auto rickshaws as well as buses to reach the sacred pond from the main town