Narayan Sarovar & Koteshwar Mahadev Temple.
After a delightful 38 kilometres’ journey through the post-monsoon greenery of the Kutch scrub forest, we reached our next station- Narayan Sarovar. In fact, this part was designated a wildlife sanctuary but was later on de-notified to accommodate Lignite mining. A 250X2 MW power plant can be seen from the road towards the west. The highlight on the vegetation side are these white mushrooms seen almost everywhere. Later on we were told that this is an edible species of mushroom.
Narayan Sarovar has quite a bit of history and religious significance as it is claimed to be one of the five Holy Lakes of Hinduism. However, there is not much of water because of changes in the landscape.
More visible and equally important temple is one of Koteshwar Mahadev, 2 Kms. from Narayan Sarovar.
Before starting from Pune, we had checked on this place on the internet. The Wikipedia article provided the valuable information that it is an ancient Shiva Temple. There is a tendency to call most temples ‘ancient’. It is high time we define the term ‘ancient’. The more damaging information provided is ‘ Koteshwar Shiva is said to be Bhairava of Hinglaj Mata residing at Hinglaj. The virtuous devotees are therefore recommended to visit Koteshwar after they have visited Hinglaj Mata’. This looks quite simple until you learn that Hinglaj Mata currently resides 250 kms north-west of Karachi in Balochistan. As this place is beyond my means to visit, I decide to become a non-virtuous devotee. As an atheist I am entitled to this non-compliance anyways.
The seashore near the lake is an important fishing harbour. The boats however are laid off for the Monsoons. They will back to the sea on 17th the full moon night.
The place between the two temples have a specimen of a more modern architecture- a Lighthouse. This lighthouse happens to be the western-most and northern-most on India’s coast. Presently under the guard of Border Security Force and one cannot possibly go up to see the view from the top. We were shooed away.
After the previous night at a Gurudwara, we spent this night in the accommodation attached to the Narayan Sarovar temple. Neat and clean place and at Rs. 200/-, thanks to the donors to the temple. Food is free for all twice a day, hence there are no eateries except small tea & snacks stalls.