Day One

TheBlueDrive Our expedition along the coast of India started yesterday, the 59th Independence Day of India. The starting point is the place Lakhpat in the district of Kutch in Gujarat. We started off after the flag-hoisting on the fort in the hands of Mr. K B Zala, the police inspector in charge of the place

 

flag

One interesting information we received here is that the flag hoisting on the Lakhpat Fort and Red Fort at Delhi has to take place precisely at the same time. Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Zala have therefore to act in great harmony and precision. I hope they achieved it.

Now, why Lakhpat? Is it the westernmost point of India? No. the westernmost point is Guhar Moti which is a little down south in the same district. Is it the northernmost along the sea? Perhaps not if you consider the Arabian sea proper. The sea is starting a bit down south again but the creeks and marshes along the coast can be easily considered part of the sea. The Sir Creek is the disputed boundary with Pakistan.

What made us to decide on Lakhpat is the fact that it is a named village with a civilian road nearest to the westernmost point of India. And then this place also has a lot of history and a huge fort.fort2

Lakhpat used to be a prosperous town which acted as a border between Gujarat and Sindh provinces of colonial India with the Sindhu river flowing near Lakhpat. Looking at the terrain now, one can’t believe this place was used for rice cultivation in a big way. After an earthquake 197 years ago the Sindhu river decided to change her course and flow from a more northerly place in Sindh, leaving Lakhpat and its surroundings a desert which now forms a part of great Rann of Kutch.  2011 census recorded 566 souls inhabiting the village in the fort. One cement factory (or its remains) lie abandoned not far from the Fort. The places beyond are under the care and control of Border Security Force, being close to the Pakistan Border.

fort1

The small village boasts of a Fort with 7 Kms. long walls (1801 vintage) couple of Tombs of Sufi saints, a temple and a Gurudwara. The last is quite interesting. It is said that Guru Nanak stayed at this place on his way to Mecca for Hajj. It is not clear if this was a route for Hajj pilgrims in those days in the 16th century AD. Perhaps it was used to get into Sindh and then proceed towards Arabia by land route or simply to reach one of the Gujarat ports with sea route to Arabia. The Gurudwara hosts the palkhi and the wooden sandals of Guru Nanak.gurudwara 1

We stayed here the night of 14th August. The Granthis and others in the Gurudwara are very hospitable and helpful. We had lunch and dinner at the Langar. This was our first time to be in a Gurudwara.

gurdwara2

When did Guru Nanak visit this place? According to the Granthi at the Gurudwara it was in 1512-13. I guess he meant the round trip. When asked how the Guru travelled, the Granthi said it was by way of the Arabian sea, ruling out the possibility of a land route. 

We are at a place called Naliya in Kutch. The internet connectivity is bad. Cant upload pictures. Will try again to-morrow with the remaining part of this blog.

16th August 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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