Dwarka, an ancient city believed to be lost beneath the sea, is getting a new lease of life through submarine tourism: underwater explorations that will allow tourists to witness its myriad marine wonders. The Gujarat government has signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Mazgaon Dockyard Limited (MDL) for this tourism project.
It will offer unique underwater adventures around Bet Dwarka, a small island off the coast of Dwarka — the city of Hindu Lord Krishna — and the lost city of Dwarka, which has submerged in the Arabian Sea.
Taking cues from the submersible expedition to the Titanic shipwreck in the Atlantic Sea, this project marks India’s first-ever submarine-based tourism. Dwarka is believed to have been created by Lord Krishna and stands as a centre of spiritual growth and mythological importance in Gujarat.
Currently, the city’s Dwarkadhish Temple, also called Jagat Mandir, stands as a landmark of cultural and religious relevance. The submarine project will further bolster tourism in the region, adding elements of marine biodiversity and archaeological insight.
The forthcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, slated for 10 January next year in Gandhinagar, is likely to be the platform for the official declaration about the submarine tourism project.
This will be the first underwater tourism facility in India through a submarine. As per the current plan, the government aims to operationalise the project before October 2024.
The Gujarat government and MDL will collaboratively work to construct a submarine estimated to weigh approximately 35 tonnes, with the ability to carry 30 passengers.
More about the Submarine to explore submerged-Dwarka
This submarine will feature seating for 24 passengers in two rows, each seat equipped with a window view, enabling passengers to enjoy the oceanic beauty at 300 feet deep with ease.
Sanjeev Singhal, the Chairman and Managing Director of MDL, stated that even though the MoU is already signed, the commencement of the submarine’s construction will only take place following the final decision from the state government.
“We have entered into an MoU with the government of Gujarat. We are still at the MoU level and until something is finalised, we cannot go ahead with the construction of the said submarine,” Singhal was quoted as saying by Times of India.
Why Dwarka out of all places?
The mystery surrounding the existence of Dwarka, its prosperity as a city, and its eventual sinking, has fuelled many archaeological investigations along the Indian shoreline. These explorations have revealed submerged walls that were once components of a fortified city, as well as pottery, sculptures, and other artefacts.
Dwarka remains a well-known destination for spiritual journeys. The renowned Dwarkadhish Temple of present-day Dwarka, also referred to as Jagat Mandir, serves as a significant place for devotion and a notable landmark.
The initiative of the state government to launch a submarine tourism project in Gujarat has the potential to change the state’s tourism industry. Apart from reshaping the tourism landscape, it also holds the promise of generating employment prospects and luring investments to the region.
What if Dwarka Exploration becomes Oceangate 2.0?
This is something unprecedented in the entirety of the country. Under-water tourism is an industry which has been untapped due to life-threatening risks and other complications. However, MDL have revealed that they are aware of what happened with OceanGate and are doing everything that should have been done in the latter.
This submarine will be a bigger in size and capacity as compared to the OceanGate. There will be multiple checks and experiments done before making it public as confirmed by the MDL chief. The statement also included that if the project seems riskier for the public it can be forfeited with immediate effect.
The journey underwater would quick and swift unlike OceanGate. According to the sources the journey is not anticipated to be longer than 1 hour and multiple shifts in a day would be preferred to increase the volume.