We start the day with a beautiful sunrise from the Arabian Sea at Gopnath, move around the estate of the Maharaja, look at the beach and start for Janjmer.
The reason for going back to Janjmer is the Lighthouse we had missed yesterday on our way from Mahua to Gopnath. We have to go through the entire village to reach a small hill which used to be a fort to reach the lighthouse.
The surrounding as seen from the hill are incredibly beautiful.
The village has an old Vav. This is a regular well, not a step-well.
A colony of spoonbills on the way.
The next place on the way is Talaja. This is an important Jain pilgrimage centre with caves along the hill and the temples on top. It also has some Hindu temples as well. This hill forms a part of the famous Shatrunjay Hills group which include the more famous Palitana.
We cross a couple of rivers and reach the junction to Alang. This port was once credited to be the world’s largest ship breaking yard. I am not sure if it still holds the record but one can certainly see large number of vessels meeting their end along the coast at various yards.
The shops between the port and the highway sell whatever could be salvaged from the dead ships. This includes anything from dinner plates to large lifeboats.
Alang port houses a Lighthouse. We have taken it upon ourselves to create a photographic record of all Lighthouses on our route.
Between Alang and Bhavnagar the coast ( which is by now the Gulf of Khambat) has a large number of temples ( what else?) and dargahs. The most famous of the temples is the Nishkalank Mahadev Temple at Koliyaak . The temple is operational only at low tide. At high tide it is submerged preventing Lord Mahadev from blessing the large number of devotees waiting in hot sun on the shore
The beach is disgustingly dirty with all kind of waste.
The debris includes the idols of Nishkalank Mahadev’s son Ganapati immersed earlier by devotees and mercilessly rejected by the Arabian sea as unsuitable.
Between here and Bhavnagar town which is our next stop, we have two beaches and one island. Kuda beach has a temple and a Dargah. Ghoga has a Lighthouse, two jetties. There is an island called Pirambet. We make an unsuccessful attempt to visit the island. It requires permission from Marine Police, Ports Authorities and the Lighthouse authority. It would be easier to visit Pentagon. The island is uninhabited save for the lighthouse staff.
Piram Island lighthouse from the shore.
At Kuda beach we find, adjacent to the Dargah, a temple to a goddess and another dargah of a woman saint. This is the first to me. The locals reveal that the devi as well as the female Muslim Pir came from Sindh.
Here is the dargah of Mai Misra Mata. What do you call a female Pir? anyone?
1th & 12th September 2016
Posted on 15th September (on account of bad connectivity)