Comet Impact in Indian Ocean Submerged Krishna’s Dwaraka? An Insight


The fabled city of Dwaraka (Dwaravati) was established by the brother-deities Krishna and Balarama on the western coast of India, towards the close of the Dwapara Yuga.

Dwaraka had been built at the site of an ancient city called Kusasthali, which was established by King Revata (a grandson of Manu). Kusasthali was the capital of the Anarta kingdom, roughly corresponding to the state of northern Gujarat. The city had been flooded by the sea, and remained unoccupied for some time.

When Krishna and Balarama left Mathura and arrived at Kusasthali, they reclaimed 12 Yojanas (96 Sq. kms.) of land from the sea, and built Dwaraka. In the Mahabharata, Krishna tells Yudisthira:

“There is a delightful town towards the west called Kusasthali, adorned by the mountains of Raivata. In that city, O monarch, we took up our abode. We rebuilt its fort and made it so strong that it has become impregnable even to the Gods…Thus, O king, though possessed of strength and energy, yet from the oppressions of Jarasandha we have been obliged to repair to the mountains of Gomanta, measuring three Yojanas (1 Yojana = 8 kms) in length. Within each yojana have been established one and twenty posts of armed men. And at intervals of each yojana are hundred gates with arches which are defended by valorous heroes engaged in guarding them.”[1]

It is because of the large number of gates which guarded the approach to Dwaraka that the city had been so named, for the term Dwaraka means the “gated city” or the “city with many gates”. The city was also called Suvarana Dwaraka (Golden Dwaraka) because of its many tall buildings covered in gold, and opulent palaces studded with precious gems.

The ancient texts describe Dwaraka as a heavily fortified city having four main entrance gates, with wide roads, public squares, lakes and gardens. Since the city was built on the sea coast on reclaimed land, it was referred to as Varidurga i.e. “fort in water”.[2]

The Sinking of Dwaraka 

The Mahabharata relates that 35 years after the Bharata War, all the Yadava clans of Dwaraka were killed in a fratricidal war. Krishna, then, decided to retreat to the forest for performing meditation. Before that, he sent a message to Arjuna, asking him to proceed to Dwaraka, and escort the women and children to safety to Indraprastha. He also left a prophecy:

“This city of Dwaravati, after Arjuna’s departure, will, with its walls and edifices, be swallowed up by the ocean without any delay.”[3]

After Arjuna arrived at Dwaraka, he addressed the cheerless citizens and told them,

“I shall take away with me the remnants of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. The sea will soon engulf this city. Equip all your cars and place on them all your wealth. This Vajra (the grandson of Krishna) will be your king at Shakraprastha (Indraprastha). On the seventh day from this, at sunrise, we shall set out. Make your preparations without delay.”[4]

After all the residents of Dwaraka had set out on the seventh day, they looked back and saw the waters of the sea swirling through the streets of Dwaraka and submerging the entire city. The sinking of Dwaraka happened exactly the way it had been foretold!

The underwater ruins of Dwaraka have not yet been located. Onshore and offshore explorations near the present-day city of Dwarka (at the tip of the Kathiawar peninsula) carried out by archaeologist S.R. Rao of the NIO (National Institute of Oceanography) have yielded the underwater remains of a Late Harappan port, with outer protective walls, gateways, rectangular enclosures, and remnants of a stone jetty, dating to around 1500 BCE.

Map of Gujarat

Fig 1: Map of Gujarat state, showing the city of Dwarka at the tip of the Kathiawar peninsula. Source:

Offshore explorations carried out along the eroded shoreline of the nearby island of Bet Dwarka has also revealed the structural remains of a protohistoric port town dating to around 1520 BCE. In both cases, the ruins do not correspond to the opulence and grandeur of Dwaraka described in the ancient texts, and the date of the ruins is much later than the Mahabharata epoch.

The exact location of Dwaraka, therefore, still remains a mystery. The purpose of the article, however, is not to speculate on its location, but to determine the nature of the calamity that brought about the submergence of this fabled, golden, coastal city.

A Comet Impact? 

It is interesting that Krishna and Arjuna had foreknowledge of the precise timing of the submergence of Dwaraka. If the sinking had been caused by seismic activity, volcanoes, or landslides, and subsequent tidal waves, there would have been no way to know about it beforehand. However, if it had been brought about by a tsunami, triggered by a deep-sea comet impact, then the calamity could have been foretold. A comet is visible in the skies for many weeks before its arrival, and Vedic astronomers could have computed its trajectory and realized that it was on collision course with the earth. This could have given them several days’ notice to make necessary evacuations.

Prof. R. N. Iyengar of the Indian Institute of Science has identified a verse in the Mahabharata (Adi Parva) that refers infighting between the Yadavas near the salt sea. The verse mentions that the Yadavas were squeezed by the “Brahma-danda”.[18]   

Prof. Iyengar points out that Brahma-danda is the name of a comet mentioned in Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita. The ancient sage Vrddha Garga describes the Brahma-danda as a “column-like, three-coloured and three-headed” comet.[19] 

Thus, it is eminently possible that the Yadavas were done in by a specifically powerful comet. Were they struck by the cometary debris, or did the energies of the approaching comet drive them into a warring frenzy? The latter option seems more likely since there is a detailed account of the Yadavas fighting between themselves. Krishna, who had witnessed the event, would have seen the danger coming from the skies and immediately understood its grave implications.

Archaeologist S.R. Rao, who had worked on the onshore and offshore explorations near the present-day city of Dwarka also believed that a tsunami may have been responsible for the sinking of Dwaraka. Talking to the Times of India, he had said, “We can’t rule out the possibility of a tsunami drowning ancient Dwaraka as the town was inundated by some sea activity. There are shlokas which talk of the suddenness of the incident and the gravity of the calamity”.[5] 

If a tsunami triggered by an oceanic comet impact was the cause of submergence, what would be its approximate date? 

Here, I will refer to my earlier article on the Yuga Cycle, titled, “The End of the Kali Yuga in 2025: Unraveling the Mysteries of the YugaCycle[6], where I had proposed that the Yuga Cycle was of 12,000 years’ duration, comprised of four Yugas of equal duration of 3000-years each, which was tracked using the Saptarshi Calendar of ancient India, with its 2,700-year cycle (called Saptarshi Yuga), along with a 300-year period of transition between the Yugas. 

A complete Yuga Cycle takes 24,000 years, and is comprised of an ascending cycle of 12,000 years when virtue gradually increases and a descending cycle of another 12,000 years, in which virtue gradually decreases. 

One of the recorded starting dates of the Saptarshi Calendar is 6676 BCE, which, I had argued, was the beginning of the Dwapara Yuga in the descending cycle. Using this as the anchor date, and the Saptarshi Calendar as the basis of computation, the entire Yuga Cycle gets unraveled, and, points to the date 2025 as the end of the Kali Yuga.

Yuga timelines

Fig 2: The Yuga Cycle Timeline

The merit of this Yuga Cycle model is that the transitional periods between the Yugas are strongly correlated with the recurrent catastrophes (Sanskrit:pralaya) that impact our planet, and bring about a total or near-total collapse of civilizations. In every case, a new phase of civilization emerges after the period of devastation. The periods of transition are also correlated with a number of important dates recorded in ancient calendars and scriptures.

The Yuga Cycle model indicates that the 300-year period of transition between the Dwapara and Kali Yuga extended from 3976 BCE – 3676 BCE. As per the archaeological and geological records, this was a time of great upheavals and changes in the course of human civilization.

In Egypt, the Neolithic Subpluvial, or the Holocene Wet Phase – an extended period of wet and rainy conditions in the climate history of Northern Africa – ended in 3900 BCE. This initiated the most recent desertification of the Sahara, and the arid conditions have continued to the present day. The Gerzean Culture which emerged in Egypt in c.3500 BCE laid the foundations of Dynastic Egypt. They started farming along the Nile which produced the vast majority of food, built their cities with mud-bricks instead of reeds, and established the first tombs in classic Egyptian style.

The Ubaid Period of Mesopotamia came to an abrupt end in c.3800 BCE, accompanied by a catastrophic episode of flooding of the city of Ur near the Persian Gulf. In Eastern Arabia, the end of the Ubaid Period was followed by increased aridity (probably due to the 5.9 kiloyear event), and there was no human presence in the area for nearly 1,000 years – the so-called “Dark Millennium”. The period saw the development of the proto-Sumerian form of writing and the possible origin of the proto-Semitic language (c.3750 BCE). In Syria, mass graves at Tell Brak, dating from c. 3800 to 3600 BCE, have been unearthed, suggesting advanced warfare around this period.

In the Indus Valley, the period between 4000 – 3500 BCE was a transitional phase between the Pre-Harappan culture and the Early Harappan settlements. A number of archaeologists (G. Possehl, B.B.Lal) believe that the Ghaggar-Hakra River (Vedic Saraswati) began to dry up at around 3800 BCE and ceased to be a perennial river. This dovetails with the information in the Mahabharata which states that Balarama had undertaken a pilgrimage along the River Saraswati when the Bharata War was in progress, and in some places he found the river disappearing underground, only to re-emerge at a different place.[7] It must have been during this transitional epoch, therefore, that the Bharata War was fought, followed by the sinking of Dwaraka.

Interestingly, the research carried out by a group of scientists suggests that fragments of a comet may have struck the Indian Ocean during this period and triggered a cataclysmic mega-tsunami with far-reaching consequences.

A Mega-Tsunami in the Indian Ocean 

The Holocene Impact Working group is a group of six scientists who hypothesize that oceanic comet impacts during the middle-to-late Holocene are more common than what current scientific consensus suggest, and that these impacts have profoundly affected the earth’s natural systems, climate and human societies.

The scientists, led by Dallas Abbot, of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, have identified the 29-km Burckle Crater, located about 1500 km southeast of Madagascar and 12,500 feet below sea-level, which dates to within 6000 years (i.e. after 4000 BCE) as the signature of an impact event that took place in the Indian Ocean.[8] The impact triggered a mega-tsunami with 200 m high waves that created the chevron dunes found along the coast of southern Madagascar and Western Australia. 

Burckle Crater

Fig 3: The Burckle Crater in the Indian Ocean (31˚ S, 61˚ E) is the most likely source for the chevron dunes of Southern Madagascar and Western Australia, as well as the sinking of Dwaraka and the flooding of Ur. Source: Google Maps

The impact had been initially dated by Dr. Bruce Masse to 2807 BCE on the basis of interpretations of flood legends and other historical clues. According to scientists Steven Goodman and William Jungers, “No measured date is available on when the crater formed, but it has been proposed to be about 6000 years BP (Before Present).”[9] 

The scientists investigated the massive chevron dunes located along the southern coast of Madagascar. The largest of these dunes rise up to about 600 feet above sea level and are nearly 40 kilometers long. Directly inland from the dunes, there is evidence of massive transport of sediments, referred to as tsunami run-ups, which reach nearly 50 km inland.

Previously, it was assumed that the dunes were formed by wind, but Abbot and her colleagues believe that the matter in these dunes were carried in by an ancient mega-tsunami. The chevron dunes are not oriented in the direction of the prevailing wind, but to the path of refracted mega-tsunami originating from the Burckle crater candidate area.

The dunes contain marine shells mixed with sand, along with large carbonate rocks 50 cm in diameter, which cannot be carried by winds.[10]The dunes also contain an abundance of intact microscopic marine fossils. “If these fossils were blown inland by the wind, one might expect them to get broken to pieces as they bounce off the surface,” Abbott said. “However, if they were transported by the water, one might expect them to remain whole. We see whole intact microfossils, for the most part.”[11] 

Chevrons of Southern Madagascar

Fig 4: The chevron dunes of Southern Madagascar. Source: Google Maps

Moreover, the sediments in the chevrons are composed of deep ocean microfossils and impact spherules (formed when small droplets of molten and vaporized rock in the plume condense), to which are adhered particles of iron, nickel and chromium. These elements are common in chondritic meteors but rare in the earth’s crust.[12] 

The Holocene Impact Working Group has assembled data on chevrons worldwide, and they believe that most chevrons are best explained as the result of tsunami generated from large impact cratering events. Abbot says, “In western Australia, you see carbonate-rich sands that go up to 492 feet above sea level and 7 kilometers inland. Those sites could be contemporaneous with the Madagascar event, although we don’t have enough data to say that yet.”[13] 

Scientific analysis of the chevrons along the coastlines of Western Australia (published in the journal Science of Tsunami Hazards), has revealed that many chevron dunes are not aligned to the prevailing wind directions. Chevrons continue from the coastline to heights of more than 120 m, even in a rocky environment without sandy sources. The forming forces have been strong enough to reach several kilometers inland, as well as high up on steep slopes.

Chevrons of Western Australia

Fig 5: The chevron dunes of Western Australia. Source: Google Maps

In some regions, at least two generations of Holocene chevrons can be detected. There are evidences that the coasts of Western Australia have been affected by extremely strong tsunami in the past. They have transported sand, shell, and cobble up to 30 km inland, and up 130 m in height, and have decorated several places along the coastline with large boulder fields.

The scientists in the study have concluded that, “all chevron patterns of Australia can be explained by one or two extreme tsunami.” The chevron dunes of Western Australia, in particular, can be explained by a tsunami source near the latitude of Perth. This is the same latitude as that of the Buckle crater (31˚ S, 61˚ E), which has been identified as the source of the Madagascar chevrons.[14]

Another study carried out by a group of scientists on the chevron dunes of the central-and-south-western coastlines of Australia indicates the age of the dunes:

“Here, radiocarbon dating revealed a minimum of two tsunami events: at 5700 yr BP with waves depositing sandy ridges far inland, and at approximately 1000 yr BP with waves depositing boulders originating from the marine environment. As the first dates are congruent with previously published results for the Learmonth region 500 km to the north, we assume that the same mid-Holocene tsunami hits this long coastal section as well.[15]

The radiocarbon dating of the Western Australian chevrons, therefore, gives us a specific, scientifically computed date for the impact event – c.3700 BCE – which falls in the period of transition from the Dwapara Yuga to the Kali Yuga from 3976 BCE – 3676 BCE.

This provides a strong basis to postulate that the submergence of the legendary city of Dwaraka could have been precipitated by the same impact event, for the tsunami also reached the coast of India. In fact, the sinking of Dwaraka may have been due to a combination of events. Apart from the tsunami waves, the meteor impact could have sent shock waves across the ocean floor, triggering a land subsidence. Since Dwaraka was built on land reclaimed from the sea, it must have been susceptible to subsidence.

A Global Catastrophe? 

The tsunami waves could have also traveled up the Persian Gulf and brought about the catastrophic flooding of the Mesopotamian city of Ur, at the end of the Ubaid Period in c.3800 BCE. 

Ur was a major port on the Persian Gulf in those days when the Persian Gulf extended much further inland than it does today. When Sir Leonard Woolley had carried out excavations at Ur in 1929, he had found an 11 feet layer of flood deposits at Ur over the remains of the prehistoric Ubaid Period. However, flood stratums of the same period were not found in the other Mesopotamian cities of the time. This indicates that the flood primarily affected the coastal city of Ur, and it is possible that the culprit was the Indian Ocean mega-tsunami triggered by the Burckle Impact Crater.

Abbot and her colleagues have hypothesized that the meteor which created the Burckle Crater may have come from a disintegrating comet. In one of their papers, they have written:

“Thus, we infer that Burckle crater was produced as part of a Shoemaker-Levy type impact of a comet. The fragmented comet also produced two other large impact centers, one in the northwest Pacific and another in the central eastern Pacific.”[16]

Three oceanic impacts from the same fragmented comet! Surely some fragments of the comet must have crashed into the landmasses of the world. If so, it can explain the 5.9 kiloyear event that brought the Holocene Wet Phase to an end sometime between 4000 – 3500 BCE, and triggered intense aridity in Northern Africa and Eastern Arabia. Did some of the meteorites strike Africa and Asia, converting huge swathes of wet grasslands into dry, barren, deserts?

The dust clouds from the impacts could have blocked out sunlight, and led to the collapse of the existing civilizations of the period. That could be why we see a new phase of civilization emerging almost simultaneously at multiple places around the world – on the banks of the Nile, Tigris and the Indus Rivers – starting at around 3600 BCE.

This period of monumental change overlaps with the period of transition from the Dwapara Yuga (Bronze Age) to the Kali Yuga (Iron Age) in the descending Yuga Cycle.

Comets seem to play an important role in the transitional periods between epochs, bringing about an end to the old, decaying, civilizations. Many scientists now believe that the earth was bombarded by multiple fragments of a giant comet in 10,900 BCE.[17] The force of the comet impact, combined with the fire, floods, and the vicious cold snap that followed, brought about the extinction of a large number of North American megafauna and the Clovis Culture. In 9703 BCE, the cold snap ended, precipitating another global flood of mythic proportions. These calamitous events took place during the transitional period between the Satya Yuga (Golden Age) and Treta Yuga (Silver Age).

It must have been for this reason that most ancient cultures dreaded comets and regarded them as the “harbingers of doom”. Both the Sibylline Oracles and the Dead Sea Scrolls portray comets as a sign of the Last Days. The periodic cleansing of our planet, during the transitional periods between the Yugas, appear to be guided by cosmic factors beyond human control. 

End Notes 
[1] Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, Book II Chapter 13.

[2] Harivamsa (Vishnu Parva 57.5)
[3] Mahabharata, Mausala Parva,
[4] Mahabharata, Mausala Parva,
[5] Prashant Rupera, “History has it. Dwarka inundated by tsunami!” TNN, Jan 4, 2005,
[7] Mahabharata 9.33 -9.35
[8] Abbott, D.; Bryant, E.; Gusiakov, V.; Masse, B. “Largest natural catastrophes in Holocene and their possible connection with comet-asteroid impacts on the Earth” March 2010, 
[9] Steven M. Goodman, William L. Jungers, “Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island’s Past” (University of Chicago Press, 2014)75
[10] Steven M. Goodman, William L. Jungers, Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island’s Past (University of Chicago Press, 2014) 75-76
[11] Charles Q. Choi, “Monster Tsunami May Have Created Madagascar’s Giant Sand Dunes”, January 13, 2016,
[12] Steven M. Goodman, William L. Jungers, Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island’s Past (University of Chicago Press, 2014) 75-76
[13] Charles Q. Choi, “Monster Tsunami May Have Created Madagascar’s Giant Sand Dunes”, January 13, 2016,
[14] Dieter Kelletat, Anja Scheffers, “CHEVRON-SHAPED ACCUMULATIONS ALONG THE COASTLINES OF AUSTRALIA AS POTENTIAL TSUNAMI EVIDENCES?” Science of Tsunami Hazards, Volume 21, Number 3, page 174 (2003)
[15] Scheffers, S. R., Scheffers, A., Kelletat, D. & Bryant, E. A. (2008). The Holocene paleo-tsunami history of West Australia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 270 (1-2), 137-146.
[16] Dallas Helen Abbott, W. Bruce Masse, Lloyd D. Burckle, Dee Lewis Breger, Perri Gerard-Little, 2005, Burckle abyssal impact crater: Did this impact produce a global deluge?, Columbia University Academic Commons,
[17] Firestone RB, West A, Kennett JP; et al. (October 2007). “Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104 (41): 16016–21.
[18] The Mahabharata, The Bhandarkar Institute of Oriental Research (BORI) Critical Edition (CE), verse 10022205.
[19] Prof. R. N. Iyengar, “Comets and the First Flood as per Parāshara”, GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF INDIA, V.67, MARCH 2006.

This article was first published at the author’s personal blog.

Featured image courtesy (ancient Dwaraka): Rafal Reyzer.

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Bibhu Dev Misra

Bibhu Dev Misra is a graduate of IIT-IIM and an independent researcher and writer on topics related to ancient cultures, sacred wisdom, symbols, science and religion.
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