There is a serene beach at Madhavpur on the road to Somnath from Dwarka. It lies on the seashore, close to Porbandar. We stopped here to enjoy the beach for a moment and to have a look around. There are a few shacks and some vendors in open selling green coconut. We had green coconut at the beach. The coconut water tasted sweet. We opted for the ones with flesh too. The flesh was also nice.
Madhavpur isn’t much well-known. However it is a very important pilgrimage for Hindu Vaishnavas.
According to folklore, Lord Krishna kidnapped princess Rukmini (Rukmini haran) and eloped with her to prevent an unwanted marriage at her request and saved her from evil Shishupala. Lord Krishna married princess Rukmini at this village while returning to Dwaraka. She is the first and the most prominent queen of Krishna. Rukmini is also considered an avatar of Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune.
Daughter of king Bhishmaka, Rukmini was a woman of great beauty. She belonged to the city of Kundinapura in the Vidarbha kingdom and hence was also called Vaidarbhi. Her five powerful brothers, especially Rukmi, sought a powerful political alliance through her marriage. Rukmi was particularly interested in forging a match between his sister and Shishupala, the prince of Chedi. But Rukmini had long given her heart to Krishna.
Vaidarbhi’s first brush with Krishna’s magical charm occurred in Mathura. A face-off between the arrogant Rukmi and Balarama became the backdrop of a romance for Rukmini. Krishna, whose tales of beauty and valour she had grown up hearing, was suddenly a reality and she fell in love with the dark cowherd prince. But the occasion made her brother an avowed enemy of the Yadava princes.
When the time for Rukmini’s marriage came, a swayamvara was organised. However, it was no more than a farce as Rukmi had ensured that only Shishupala would emerge victoriously. Shishupala was also a vassal and close associate of Jarasandha and hence an ally of Rukmi. Rukmini was livid at the idea of such treachery, and would never accept it. She wrote a secret letter to Krishna and sent it to him through a trusted priest named Agni Jotana. In it, she declared her love for Krishna in no uncertain terms and implored him to abduct her.
Rukmini resolved to marry only Krishna or drown herself in the palace well. Bhishmaka gave in but Rukmini, who had overheard the conversation was horrified and immediately sent for a brahmana, Sunanda, whom she trusted and asked him to deliver a letter to Krishna. She suggested that they have a rakshasa vivaha – a frowned upon yet recognised form of Vedic marriage where the bride is abducted. Krishna smiled in acknowledgement.
Rukmini got ready for her upcoming marriage. She went to Indrani temple on the day of Jyeshtha star (ruled by Indra) to pray but was severely disappointed when she did not see Krishna there. As she stepped out, she saw Krishna and he soon swept her into his chariot with him. Seizing the opportunity, Krishna swiftly lifted her on to his chariot and made a getaway. Those who came after them met arrows of the Yadava army waiting at some distance. But an angry Rukmi did not relent and continued to chase Krishna’s chariot. Vasudev almost let loose his fury on him but was stopped by Rukmini, who pleaded him to spare her brother’s life. Krishna let him go with just a humiliating head shave.
In the memory of that event, there is a temple built for Lord Krishna aka Madhavraiji and Lord Balaram aka Trikamraiji. A celebration of this event is held at Madhavpur in memory of this marriage every year in a cultural fair for five days from the day of Ram Navami.
The original 15th-century temple of Madhavraiji was badly damaged in attacks by Muslim invaders, however a ruined structure is still present. A newly temple constructed adjacent to the old one is used for worship now.
Madhavpur is also culturally significant due to one of the seats of Shri Vallabhacharya. He narrated here the teachings of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
After getting refreshed by cool sea waves and nice tender coconut, we proceeded for Somnath.