Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lakhpat | Kutch, Gujarat.

This post comes to you a good 28 months after our trip to Kutch, Gujarat in 2011;-)
I sit down to reminisce the last leg of our memorable trip on this cold spring day while staring at the steam dance on the surface of my strong ginger tea.

We had an option of driving down to Mandvi: The Port Town or Lakhpat: The Ghost Town. 
Needless to say we were greatly piqued by the latter and headed there with our driver Akhil Bhai. 

Lakhpat is a town about 140 km from Bhuj, Kutch and is enclosed by a 7 km fort wall built in the 18th Century by Fateh Mohammed. 

It derives it's name from the fact that it was once a thriving port town with daily revenue of more than a Lakh (One hundred thousand). In 1819 the massive earthquake in the Rann of Kutch changed the course of the Sindhu | Indus river which was the main source of sustenance and trade for Lakhpat.

Since then Lakhpat which had a population of 10,000 is now a sparsely inhabited town with a population of less than 500.

At the entrance of Lakhpat Fort we were greeted by Miyan Usman Bhai Khaleefa, who was to be our link to the world of 87 families that now inhabit this deserted fort town.

We drove through arid landscape inside the fort and came to what seemed like a tiny oasis. 
The Lakhpat Gurudwara. Guru Nanak, the first Guru of Sikhism is believed to have camped in Lakhpat on his way to Mecca and this is where he stayed.

It was so peaceful inside the Gurudwara. Everyone is welcome!

The hospitality and chai in tall steel tumblers warmed our hearts.

Cheerful kids of the caretaker of the Gurudwara and smile-inducing English language.

The hospitality and the warmth of the elder of the Gurudwara won us over!

We continued our journey through various doors and entrances through the Fort, trying to visualise how this town would have been during it's happy days, teeming with people and abundance!

We reached this stunning structure which Miyan Usman Bhai explained was the Sayyed Pir no Kubo or the mausoleum dedicated to Sayyed Pir Shah.

The stone architecture has mind-boggling intricate'jaali' carvings.

The weathered carvings took on some amazing hues.

The sound of temple bells led us to this charming settlement with a small Shiva Temple.

Chatted with the friendly inhabitants.

Beautiful shades of blue at the temple.

Ghaus Mohammed no Kubo or the mausoleum of the mystic Pir Ghaus Mohammed is a stunning stone structure which took 13 years to build. The body of the mystic along with his family members rests here.

The intricate carvings just took my breath away!

Lakhpat doesn't attract too many visitors due to it's distance, but if one has the time and the transportation it is definitely worth a visit. 
The ruins of once a well-to-do port town.

One of the few families that live in Lakhpat.

We finally reached the edge of the fort from where one can see the Great Rann of Kutch. Lakhpat Fort sits at the point where Kori Creek meets the Rann of Kutch.

There is a BSF ( Border Security Force) post on the Fort which faces the seaside. Not far from the Fort is the international border between India and Pakistan.

We stood on the edge of the Great Rann of Kutch smelling the salt breeze and taking in the beauty of the land.

What a memorable trip it was! 
As I sit typing the keys on my laptop, the mind is transported to a land which will always hold a special place in my heart. Kutch.

One last look at Lakhpat as we get ready to leave…
If you ever find yourself in this beautiful land called Kutch in Gujarat, India. Do make trip to Lakhpat.

( Images by Arch and are copyrighted. Reference~ Gujarat India Guide, Wikipedia and my travel notes)