Lakhpat City, Kutch,Gujarat

Lakhpat once a port on the Arabian sea at the junction of Kori creek and Rann of Kutch. It was abandoned after the 1819 AD strong earthquake which changed the flow of  Sindhu (Indus) River  towards further North and a natural dam known as the Allahbund  was formed due to which the Great Rann got dried up . It is in north-west corner of Kutch is an almost dilapidated old town that speaks of a glorious past. Lakhpat, the literal meaning of which is city of millionaires is now nothing, but a small village that is inhabited by a few hundreds and serves as an outpost of the India Border Security Force ( BSF) facing Pakistan. If weather is clear one can see the notorious Harami Nalah from the post

Bhuj waro Nako , Entrance Lakhpat town , Kutch, Gujarat

Lakhpat is surrounded by a 7 km fortified wall , believed to have been built by Rao Lakhpatji in the middle of the 18th century and extended further under the supervision of the Army Commander Fatheh Mohmmad in 1801 AD. to defend the kingdom as well as the port from invasions by Sindhi rulers, the walls of the fort are still intact for the most part. The Bhuj Waro Nako , gate opens towards Bhuj , collection on Toll both here  from the  visitors and traders was 1 Lakh Kori to the Lakhpat town , it was well guarded by soldiers. Near Lakhpat was Koteri (Kotri) a landing place on the bank of river  Sindhu ( Indus ) where  ferryboats regularly sailed ,  loaded with cattle and merchandise. From Koteri, the goods were transported on camels to the eastern part of the Indus delta, and distributed throughout the inhabited districts of the Thar.

 

Lakhpat , fortified walls , Rann Kutch Kori creek side

Guru Nanak Dev ji stayed at Lakhpat  during his trips to Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia). This place was a  seat of the Udasi Panth until 1972 under the Last Sevadar Baba Mool Dass Hari Dass . ( Udasi Panth  was founded by Sri Chand son of Guru Nanak Dev Ji  ) . Rare treasures are  preserved  including the “Charan Paduka” – Khadvas (wooden footwear) that belonged to Guru Nanak Dev ji.  The present structure is plastered and painted but old wooden doors, pillars and roof are intact and converted into a Gurudwara , there are few lines scripted in LariGurmukhi on walls, it came out when layers of plaster was removed, this script is no more in use. In 16th century it was an important departure point for Muslims making Hajj to Medina and Mecca  at that time Lakhpat was known as “Basta Bander”

Gurudwara Lakhpat , Kutch, Gujarat

A Sufi Saint Pir Gaus Mohammad equally respected by Hindu and Muslim community A Thirteenth Hijra century poet- lived in Lakhpat, Kutch, Sindh. He passed away in 1873 AD / 1290 AH  he was known as a great healer and for his songs about Lord Krishna. Pir Manthar Shah was a contemporary poet and an associate to Pir Ghous Mohammed also lived in Lakhpat . A black stone structure is having beautiful carvings ,  It is an octagonal, domed structure with four entrances, the inner walls are decorated with verses from the Koran using beautiful calligraphy.

 

                                                                       
Pir Gaus Mohammad Tomb / Kuba

There another beautiful white stone carvings  tomb of  Hazrat Pir Abu Turab Kadri with Central big dome and eight smaller domes , beautiful wooden carved doors and Jalis , he died in 1236 AH

Tomb of Hazrat Pir Shah Abu Turab Kadri

 

Hatkeshwar Temple Lakhpat , Gujarat

Hatkeshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva  houses fossilized shells . There are three Talavs (Water bodies) inside the fort  Brahmasar, Nagrai and Champasar ,  the first  two when over flowed  fill the third. All the Talavs receives fresh rainwater and has been a source of drinking water the first two Talav were used for bathing and washing purposes. Champasar Talav water was used for cattle and animals .

There are about 70 Muslim families and 10 Hindu families  living in Lakhpat and all Muslim and Hindu festivals are celebrated together , in particular the Navaratri festival when the entire Lakhpat performs the Dandia dances together for eight nights as told  by Abu Bhai only postman of  Lakhpat , till 2005 there was a post office which is now shifted to Gadudi 20 km away, most of the families are in fishing and few are in agriculture job .

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Kalo Dungar Rann Kutch , Gujarat

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Kalo Dungar or Black Hill also called Panchchhamayi is situated 25 Km from Khavada and  97 km from Bhuj , it is about 460 meters, highest point  in the Rann of Kutch , one can have a panoramic view of the vastness of the Great Rann and it is difficult to distinguish between the land and skyline . Tourists are not  allowed beyond this point  as being very close to the Pakistan & India International border.One can see the India Bridge built over the marshy land.This is a small neck of water channel that connects the Rann with Arabian Sea, it is from here most of monsoon tides spill over on to Rann. Army unit stationed here keeps a vigil round the clock for any undesired movement in the Rann .

Kalo Dungar , Kutch , Gujarat

 

View of Great Rann from Kalo Dungar

On top there is a temple  dedicated to the Lord Dattatrey  the holy Trimurti ( Trinity) of Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Protector) and Mahesh/Shiv (Destroyer) in one body. Twice in a day, wild Jackals are offered boiled-rice as  Prasad  this ritual is being followed  for over four centuries , Jackals really comes by a very interesting sound screams Ang Leo by the Local Pujaari,   Prasad is distributed only after feeding the Jackals .

Lord Dattatreya temple, kalo Dungar, Kutch , Gujarat

Legend about Jackal feeding is , once Lord Dattatrey  stopped at Kalo Dungar and saw a pac of hungry Jackals  , Lord offered his body parts to feed them and the body keep regenerating the parts . Another legend is once there was a King who did penance at Kalo Dungar , Lord Dattatrey wanted to test him and appeared in front of him as a hungry Jackal and asked for food , the King prepared boiled rice and offered to them , the Jackal said we are flesh eaters and can’t eat the rice , to this the King offered  flesh from his own body , Lord Dattatrey pleased with the devotion blessed the King and since then Jackals are fed boiled rice twice every day.

 

Wolves feeding point, Kalo Dungar, Kutch , Gujarat

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Rann Utsav Runn Kutch Gujarat 2014 – 15

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The Great Rann of Kutch is in district of Kutch , Gujarat state of India , between the Gulf of Kutch and the Mouth of river Sindhu  ( Indus) in Pakistan , in between there is a vast flat land which is filled with sea water during the monsoons and when dried up around October a white sheet of salt gets deposit on the sea bed .The Rann Utsav which started in the winters of 2012 gained lots of success due to the activities available and close proximity to Rann  , this year the celebration are  starting from 06 December 2014 will go on till  05 March 2015 .

This festival or Utsav is organised to enjoy the  various colors of the Rann as well as get a taste of the local culture, cuisine and hospitality. Specially built local houses are also used to house tourists to give them a taste of Gujarat and Kutch to them.

                                              
Rann Kutch , the vast land of salt

 The beauty of Rann Kutch is enjoyed during the full moon nights when the wast land of salt sparkles like a white sheet all over up to where the eyes can see  . Full moon nights are 06 DEC 2014, 05 JAN 2015, 04 FEB 2015 and 02 MAR 2015 .

 

Sun Rise at Great Rann of Kutch

The Sunrise and Sunset at Rann are equally beautiful when Sun shows its different colors and white salt sparkles  with the changing colors

 

Full Moon Night at Great Rann of Kutch

Best is to stay during  full moon and increasing moon nights when the sky with full moon light and  the Rann with white surface gives a magical glow appearance

Stay in tents near Rann Kutch

Accommodation are available at the venue in Swiss tents , Luxury tents and nearby villages are always ready to accommodate the guests with their huts called Bunga specially prepared keeping in view of the requirements of an urban tourist , they serve the ethnic Kutchi delicacies served with Chach ( butter milk) Rotra ( Milet bread) White butter with local available vegetables .

Stay in a Bunga ( Kutch hut)

The Bunga are the huts constructed by using the mud and thatched roof , the interior walls and floor are plastered with mud mixed with caw dung and walls are painted with geometrical and flowers designs with a use of vegetable colors and small mirrors.

Mud paintings on wall of a Bunga ( Kutch Hut )

From here one can have the sightseeing trips to Pacham the island within desert surrounded three side with saline water with the highest point   Kalo Dungar peak one can enjoy the vastness of Rann from here  , Pakistan Border , Mandvi Sea Beach , Kot Lakhpat along with the Wildlife Safaris , Rann Safaris , Kutch Villages Dhordo and Hodka , villages famous for their finest embroidery styles , leather crafts and beautiful Bungas , one can also see the  the ancient process of water harvesting in the Banni dry-lands  .

The Chhari Dhand , shallow water bodies are locally known as dhand, jheel or talav , these attract lots of migratory birds in winter , with an area of almost 10 sq km. at Chhari Dhand there are more than 30,000 birds species like Dalmatian Pelican (Pelicanuscrispus), Oriental Darter (Anhingiarufa), Black necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchusasiaticus) and Indian Skimmer (Rynchopsalbicollis) migrate through these wetlands every year  32 species of Raptors have been recorded here, together with a large number of Common Cranes.

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