The first stop we make on this route is Okamadhi. It has a very long stretch of beach and little else. One wonders why this beach is not developed and commercialized.
The next major place along this 110 Kms stretch is the place generally known as Harshad. It has two important temples. The first is by the side of the creek and is dedicated to Harsidhanath Mahadev. One has to enter the temple from under the clothes hung for drying by the God’s devotees who had come here the previous night.
The other temple is on a hill nearby is for Mata Harsidhi popularly called Harshad Mata.
(Those of you who remember late 1980s and early 1990s, a similar temple was proposed to be built to honour Harshad Pita at Dalal Street, Mumbai. The plan had to be shelved when they found that the Pita had already ruined at least two banks and several thousand investors)
The view from the hilltop is really nice.
A mobile vegetable shop was found near the temple. The man moves around 100 Kms. a day to various villages vending vegetables.
We cross this bridge and get across the creek into Porbandar District leaving behind Devbhoomi Dwarka.
A very ordinary looking structure on the roadside attracts my attention for using a tree in a very innovative way. It is flying a green flag and could have been mistaken for one of those many Dargahs that dot the Gujarat landscape. It happens to be a temple to a Sati. We stop to find a bundle of innovations here:
The first one is that what you see as roof here is provided entirely by a tree, the stone pillars are supporting the tree branches. The second innovation is that it is a self-service establishment. The prayers are recorded and play automatically- canned prayers, hygienically packed and good for spiritual health
The third one is that Jai Jivi Sati Ayi has been used as a Brand name for Paan being sold at the rear side. Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck surely did not bargain for this when he tried to abolish Sati.
We move forward making enquiries about another temple known to be present in the area. This one is to the creator of the universe- Brahma. It takes us a few enquiries to ascertain the way to the temple. We are told to take a right turn at the Essar Petrol Station. It is a pity that the we have to depend on Shashi Ruia’s property as a landmark to find the Creator of the Universe.
The temple is right on a beach formed on the creek. The idol looks good, the beard looks artificial though.
The trustees of the temple have made commendable progress in the art of Pigeon Management.
We reach the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in the early afternoon. As good citizens of the country, the first thing we do is to is visit the actual birthplace.
I was expecting Porbandar to have many more things than it has. In terms of architecture it does not have much to offer. The palace of the ex ruler is a huge seaside property but does not offer any splendour which is expected of a 13-gun salute state. Moreover it is not maintained well.
That leaves us with the various temples around the town and the two Lighthouses. The old one was commissioned in 1876 by the Porbandar State and was in use until 1983- 107 years of service and is not even looked at by anyone.
The new one is a little outside the town. We are surprised to know that one can actually go up the Lighthouse on payment of a fee of Rs.10/-. But this can be done only at 6.30 pm in the evening and Photography is not allowed. Still after so many earlier refusals this looks refreshing news.
I need to learn how to correct this.
As there is very little in the town we look to places a little away from the town but not far from the coast. We find a place called Ghumli which we are told have ruins of a medieval kingdom. We drive 45 kilometres to find a find a fine specimen of architecture. We are told that this is ‘Solanki’ architecture and belongs to the 12th Century AD. This temple is for Navlakha and is accompanied by a temple of Ganapati which is in ‘Saidhava’ style and belong to the 8th/9th Century.
On the way to Ghumli we come across this Islamic structure which appear to have an unusually large number of minarets. I need to find out it is.
On the way back from the western side we see a small fort but do not bother to go up as it is 40+degrees outside. Climbing is not exactly an activity one does at such times. We are dashing for the green coconuts back in Porbandar.
In the city we find this carving in stone on the office of the Superintendent of Post Offices, Porbandar Division, M G Road ( No, not even here they call it Mahatma Gandhi road). Can you please identify the characters?
1st & 2nd September 2016
Posted on 3rd September 2016.