Living a life where days and nights never end…..Next day was planned to wander around the Western side of Kutch…Surprisingly, we hired a taxi for day excursion which was indeed not needed…. There are frequent busses to Narayan Sarovar, Koteshwar and Lakhpat. I believe there is no need to hire a private taxi for Western Stretch of Kutch.
Creek beyond Koteshwar Temple
Mata no madh temple
Western side of Kutch is more of a pilgrim’s trail with Mata na Madh, Narayan Sarovar, Koteshwar as key highlights. Unlike northern side, Western side is mostly hilly and rocky. It also borders the shallow sea and creek. Mata Na Madh, highly revered temple of Maa Ashapura, was a quick stop just after having breakfast at Nakhtrana. It was the day when we got introduced to Dabeli and Jalebi of Kutch. Dabeli of Kutch is different than what one get in Maharashtra and people say that Dabeli was first prepared in Kutch before finding its way to other parts of the country. Nakhtrana is worth a stop for a meal and offers accommodation options if you are planning to break the journey.
Narayan Sarovar Temple
We continued further to Panandhro which is striking Lignite mine and then take the turn to Narayan Sarovar which is a sweet water lake on the mouth of Arabian Sea. Narayan Sarovar is one the five sacred lakes mentioned in Hindu Mythology and lures thousands of pilgrims every year. Narayan Sarovar is adjacent to Kori creek which is a marsh land formed due to withering sea. 3 km towards the Western tip of India, lies Koteshwar temple, which is another mark in the pilgrim’s trail and known for ancient Shiva temple. Koteshwar temple overlooks the Kori creek, which is practically a shallow sea due to Tidal difference. It’s also referred as contested coastline due to ongoing confliction between India and Pakistan. Koteshwar temple overlooks the coastline of Arabian Sea which looks quite gloomy. Generally we don’t get to see this side of the sea anywhere else in the country……hostilely silent and dark….
Narayan Sarovar Kutch
Shortly afterwards, we headed to the most intriguing attraction of Western Kutch…Lakhpat… Lakhpat is close to Narayar Sarovar and the last village in this direction… Until the Indus shifted course, changing the geography of this region, Lakhpat was a prosperous port near its mouth. However due to an earthquake in 1819 AD, the area became barren and crops withered away due to lack of water as river Indus disappeared after the earth quake. Lakhpat is now an abandoned village on the edge of Great Rann and quite off the tourist trail. Shabby ramparts and ruins inside the fort glints the strong vibrations from the glorious past of Lakhpat…. While standing on the plinth of the ramparts overlooking the Great Rann, I closed my eyes.… I could still feel the sound of the ships… siren of the lighthouse….traders paying the tolls at the gate… a shipyard along the coastline… labors loading and unloading the goods…rippling of Indus at some distance… palm fringed beach line…..vibrant faces but unrecognizable to myself… it was all gray and sullen….suddenly it all disappeared…like a blowing bubble…so sudden…I found myself with eyes open gazing out to the vast marsh land…lifeless…CHANGE…not always gradual…sometimes it’s like tree starts growing upside down… that’s the way it was for Lakhpat…. That’s the way life is sometimes….
Ramparts overlooking Great Rann of Kutch
Rambling around Lakhpat had a philosophical impact which kept me tingling with the irreconcilable thought that I was there before….but when… In that state of bizarre delusions, we took the road in reverse for our journey back to Bhuj. Our initial plan was to take the road by Naliya to visit Chinkara and Bustard sanctuary but we dropped the idea after learning about the pathetic road condition on that route due to some bridges under construction. Enroute, we stopped at Punvareshvar temple which is some km from Nakhatrana on the way to Bhuj. It is located on the main road.
Punvareshvar temple Kutch
Punvareshwar temple is a synthesis of two styles. This Shiva temple, which combines elements of the Dravida and Nagara styles, is probably the oldest of its kind in Kutch. Built on a high plinth and sparsely ornamented, the temple itself is relatively small in size. But it has all the essential elements including an enclosed ambulatory around the sanctum. Parts of it appear to have been rebuilt using the original material. Punvareshvar is named after Ra Punvro, founder of nearby town Paddhargadh.
Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order