Underwater robots to search for washed away Dwarka city

New Delhi - The devotees, some among them historians, believe that after Krishna's death a great flood washed away the city.



By C P Surendran

Published: Sun 2 Jul 2017, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jul 2017, 12:53 AM

 In India there is no telling when myth turns history.
The Hindus who believe in deity Krishna, have no doubt that the deity, with his tribe of Yadavs, travelled from Mathura in north India to build a new kingdom of gold in Dwarka at the western tip of the Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat.
The devotees, some among them historians, believe that after Krishna's death a great flood washed away the city. The date of the event is not clear. But there seems to be some consensus that it could be 1500 BC. To find the truth of the city, the government is pressing into service underwater robots.
The modern version of Dwarka is at the opening of the Gomti River on the Arabian Sea. The famous Dwarkadheesh temple is located there. Every year during Janmashtami (the birth anniversary of Krishna), thousands of devotees from all over the world converge on the city.
The Department of Science and Technology is actively considering to entrust the mission to robotic vehicles that will go down into the sea near Dwarka to look for the fabled city and collect information.
The programme would involve organisations such as the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa. The Chennai institute has already built robotic vehicles that can withstand the massive pressure of 5,000 metres deep underwater, and function. The NIO too has previous experience in marine archaeology.
Excavations at Dwarka have been going on for some time now. Nearly a decade ago, the underwater archaeology wing of the Archaeological Survey of India discovered copper coins and fragments of granite structures. Dwarka clearly was once a port city, and finds mention in ancient Greek texts.
In the process of the hope for discovery, the government also expects to test several technologies, such as underwater imaging, the mapping of the ocean floor with sonar waves, and dating of old stones and implements.
The first excavations at Dwarka were supervised by Deccan College, Pune, and the Department of Archaeology, the Government of Gujarat, in 1963 under the direction of H D Sankalia. Over the years, it has thrown up pottery that suggests that the city could be 3,000 years old.
The Modi government seriously believes that many things mentioned, like flying machines and versions of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), in ancient texts like Mahabharat and Ramayana are for real, and that the Indian civilisation was very advanced then.
The underwater robotic expedition is in keeping with that belief. In case evidence is found for the existence of Dwarka, it would be a great boost to the BJP-led government: they would have historical basis to the idea of Hindu myths and their professed faith in things ancient.
This isn't the first attempt by the government to search for evidence for mythological structures. In October, a committee of geologists, archaeologists and hydrologists said it had found evidence for the course of the dried up Saraswati, a river mentioned in the Rig Veda and in Hindu mythology.
The study was commissioned by the Water Resources ministry and led by Professor K.S. Valdiya of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.
His report said evidence suggested that the Sarsuti-Markanda rivulets in Haryana "were  water courses of the eastern branch of a Himalayan river". It was not clear what that river was.
It is possible that once the underwater expeditions in Dwarka succeeds, the robots will have more work coming in their way.
Will they find flying machines in city of gold?
Robotic vehicles have been built by Chennai's National Institute of Ocean Technology.
New technologies, like underwater imaging, the mapping of the ocean floor with sonar waves, and dating of old stones and implements will be tested.
The government believes flying machines and versions of In Vitro Fertilisation mentioned in ancient texts are for real, and that the Indian civilisation was very advanced then.
Nearly a decade ago, the Archaeological Survey of India discovered copper coins, fragments of granite structures, and pottery which suggests that the city could be 3,000 years old.


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