Lakhpat Fort:Narayan Sarovar,Koteshwar Temple1:44 PM
Dad looks towards the Kori Creek and The Marshland at Lakhpat
Peaking through the slightly crumbled newspaper with a look on his face as “where have we come from” as we stopped our car to ask for the direction to the only soul we saw in the otherwise abandoned village,he told us to go ahead for Lakhpat Fort.
Lakhpat was a famous port town till the 18th century,was also known as ‘Basta Bandar’ in the 6th century.The term Lakhpat meaning millionaire means the land was once so fertile that the green crops earned one lakh coins.
We couldn’t fathom the sorry state of the place and started guessing what disasters could have happened that led people to run and never come back.Anticipating the cause,we guessed could be due to excessive shelling by Pakistan in the past(due to it being super close) or due to site being some sort of Ghost town with one legendary tragic story to tell.We asked a locals we could see walking (one or two) who told us that it was a deadly disease that wiped the whole town out,while the army personal at the Lakhpat Gurudwara told us that it was the massive impact of the earthquake of 1819 that wiped out the entire village.After the earthquake the area became barren and the crops withered away due to lack of water as the river Sindhu disappeared after the earthquake.
Bhuj To Lakhpat Fort(135km,2 hours 30 minute)
As yesterday,if you remember we literally starved in fondness of Rann.Today we were determined to have some food along the way.So the first thing we did was ask where we get good food along the way.We were told Nakhatrana was we must stop for food.As today we left early in the morning with fruits in hand,by the time,we reach Nakhatrana we weren’t as hungry so we deliberately passed through.Further ahead,we saw many mustard fields,mostly fenced,though I jumped in one that wasn’t for a quick photo-op.If you are leaving early from Bhuj,the most popular thing you would find in the mornings would be Kachori to eat on road.
Bhuj To Lakhpat:Tropic Of Cancer
If you live in Gujarat,you would notice sunrise happens quite late
Due to Gujarat Being On The Western
To read previous posts on Rann of Kutch and Bhuj
It was when we were driving past this road,we saw a signboard of tropic of cancer.The tropic of Cancer at 23.3 degrees north divides India in two parts.If you look into globe,you will find this line that goes and passes through.Except at the site we wouldn’t find a line marked;to which my brother told that it is an imaginary line.Since this part of Gujarat or even whole of Gujarat is located on the westernmost part,the sunrise happens quite late by around 7:20 am everyday.So 6 am is still dark in Gujarat.
My own DDLJ moment
Bhuj To Lakhpat:Mata No Madh
Along the road to Lakhpat around 90kms is Mata No Madh,a temple of family god of Kutchis which is visited by many pilgrims who come to temple bare feet.
Lakhpat Fort And Tomb Of Gosh Mohammed
The Beautiful Tomb Of Gosh Mohammed
Now usually,I think of fort as a defensive wall in which we have some settlement or some establishment inside within closed spaces.I haven’t so far seen a fort which just has a defensive wall and inside it is a village and the tomb in the open.Climbing up a few stone stairs onto the Lakhpat Fort,we could see 360 degree views of Kori Creek,Marshland,Sand and Rann.Further ahead is said to be pakistan;As we couldn’t see any establishment on the end of our vision,we exactly do not know where it was.A few shots from the movie Refugee has been filmed in Lakhpat.
The tomb of Gosh Mohammed just in the vicinity of Lakhpat Fort is an interesting structure with bright green doors.Gosh Mohammed was a holy man revered by both Hindus and Muslims and who lived in Lakhpat in the early 19th century.He was also known as a healer and for his songs about Krishna.
Lakhpat Fort:Can Skip , If You Visit Dholavira
I highly recommend a drive down Dholavira if you have a choice to make between Lakhpat and other places.If you have been to White Rann before as we did,you wouldn’t find it as exciting.But if you have 5-6 days to cover Gujarat and at your leisure you may as well include it.But if you have just 3 days,skip Lakhpat and Narayan Sarovar and head to Koteshwar and Mandvi.And the next day Dholavira.If you do so,you wouldn’t be missing much..
At Gurudwara Pehli Patashi
If you still happen to travel the way we did,do not forget to visit the Lakhpat Gurudwara also called the “Gurudwara Pehli Patashi” meaning “Gurudwara Of The First Master" where Gurunanakji visited the place on his way to Mecca Madina many times and stayed there for a few days.In old times,Lakhpat was part of Sind(Pakistan).From Lakhpat Guruji crossed to Somiani port in sind for his famous journey to Mecca Madina in Saudi Arabia.Several rare treasures are preserved here including the “The Charan Paduka”(wooden footwear) of Gurunanakji.
The Lakhpat Gurudwara was where we met many army personal and discussed the current state of Lakhpat.After the darshan,we had langar with sumptuous home type cooked prasad and food.Free langar and tea are served to the visitor around the clock. You need to wash your own utensils at the gurudwara but the food was really yummy! You can also stay at the Gurudwara at visitor’s sleeping room.
Lakhpat To Narayan Sarovar[35 km]
Colors That Sparkle
It was said to be coming in between Lakhpat and Koteshwar,and hence we chose to visit it,but you can easily skip it if you have not much inclination to religion.Narayan Sarovar is a very sacred place for hindus.Narayan Sarovar stands for lake of Narayana aka Vishnu,
But you can still skip Lakhpat and Narayan Sarovar and choose Koteshwar and Mandvi instead
There are 5 sacred lakes and Narayan Sarovar is built on one of them.As per the panditji,the Sarovar is dry for last 3 years.The road is straight from Lakhpat taking us to a bit of roller coaster with up and down slope along the road.We liked the colours on the temple,however the temple was closed during our visit time i.e 1:30pm.The temple closes from 1-4pm.We were told to visit Koteshwar as it is open throughout..
The black camel who was reluctant to pose but was captured by my brother in the dried up Narayan Sarovar
Narayan Sarovar To Koteshwar Temple[4km]
Koteshwar is a name of ancient Shiva temple and the legendary story goes like…(from wikipedia)
The view from Koteshwar Temple
1)The story of Koteshwar begins with Ravana, who won it as a boon from Lord Shiva for an outstanding display of piety, this Shiva linga of great spiritual power. But which Ravana, in his arrogant haste, accidentally dropped and it fell to earth at Koteshwar. To punish Ravana for his carelessness, the linga turned into a thousand identical ones, some versions of the story say ten thousand, some a million. Unable to distinguish the original, Ravana grabbed one and departed, leaving the original one here, around which Koteshwar Temple was built. The temple is also known as Kotilingeshwar Temple.
This is by the middle of sea,the water stands quite shallow
2)Another version of story says, when Lord Shiva was delighted with the worship and forfeit of Ravana, he gave him a Ling-full of religious power. Lest Ravana should become endless as a result of this advantage, all the Gods united together and conspired to gain the Ling from Ravana through dishonesty and installed it as Kotilengeshwar. It looked to me like a popular site,as all along the way was signboards of Gujarat Tourism.Surrounded by shallow sea on both sides with the view of the light of Karachi on a clear night,Koteshwar once was an ancient port which now is a fishing village famous for Koteshwar Temple/ There in the temple,you would see Shiv Lingas but also Nandis and Kurma.I was surprised to see a Turtle being prayed. Kurma or Turtle is the second incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu.The avatar was taken by Vishnu to help the Devas acquire the amrut during Samundra Manthan.
Mannat of Bindi Tree for jannat in present life
One more thing that you would see is the tree with Thousands of Bindis as part of mannat by several women.I even saw a few ladies sticking bindis to the tree.
Why 'Kurma' or the turtle is prayed..
Koteshwar Temple To Bhuj:Drive Back
As we drove back from Koteshwar we saw a diversion in the middle onto our right towards Mandvi for 121km.We decided to head back to Bhuj as even the time we would be reaching Mandvi would be evening. However,as suggested by one of my brother’s colleague,Mandvi is a beautiful place with beach by the windmills and Vijay Vilas Palace where sequences of movie Hum Dil De Chuke Was Shot.