Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Koteshwar-Lakhpat-Narayan Sarovar - Mandvi - places to visit from Bhuj

From Bhuj, Koteshwar is 152 km by bus. It is the holiest Shiva Temple in Kutch, Koteshwar is famous for Kotilingeswar Mahadev Temple. The deity is on the dome-shaped main dais. Beside this there is Kalyaneswar Temple. Near to it there is a Kund. Pilgrims offer prayers for their fore-fathers with the holy water of Kund.

Down below flows the Arabian Sea, the beach is resplendent. On the way 2 km ahead at Narayan Sarovar is the walled up fort-like Temple Complex, which is highly decorated with Narayan, Gobardhannath, Dwarkadhish, Lakshmi-Narayan and other temples.

There are 4-holy Sarovars (lake) as mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagabat Gita : Manas, Bindu, Pampa and Narayan Sarovar. But due to change of Sindhu's course Narayan Sarovar was lost. The present one is beside the old Adi Narayan Temple.

There are also other deities. Although not in flocks but there are visitors at the sarovar. One can opt to stay at the Temple Guest House. During the festival of Kartick, the Bengali month, (November) pilgrims come from far and wide and participate in the festival.

Koteshwar is a military base and therefore military is active there. 2 km from Sarovar is the Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary where one can see reddish antilopes or Chinkara.

On the way, 80 km from Bhuj at Matanomodh there is the temple of Ashapura Devi or Devi Ambika, the boon-bestower.

From Koteshwar to Garuli is 34 km via Narayan Sarovar and 19 km from Garuli is the old port city and Sikh pilgrimage Lakhpat. Guru Nanak, on his way to Mecca, spent a night here. A Gurdwara has been set up to commemorate. There are various temples and mosques is Lakhpat too.

The Darga of Ghaus Muhammed, died in 1850, is an important place to visit.

The walled fort city of Lakhpat is situated on the coastal beach of the Kori gulf. The name is derived from Rao Lakha. Arguably, millionaires were abound in Lakhpat, hence the name. But during partition the helpless trader communities moved away to other areas in search of safety. The mute past stands amid sandy expanse.

Buses ply on this route. There are only a few shops but no hotels are available. One should hire a jeep/ambassador and make a day's trip to Koteshwar-Lakhpat-Narayan Sarovar - Mandvi and come back to Bhuj.

Mandvi is yet another important spot of Bhuj 60 km to the South West. Since Kandala, the latest modem port of Kutch came into existence, the walled up old port city of Mandvi has been converted to a beach resort. The knitted sarees of various prints and styles are available in Mandvi shops and sales counters.
8 km west of city on the sea beach stands Kutch Maharao's Summer Retreat—Vijay Vilas Palace. Recently, the Palace has converted into a hotel.
Hourly bus services are there from Bhuj to Mandvi take 1 ½ hours to reach. Share taxi is also available.
Hotels at Mandvi:
To the west of bus stand Sahara Hotel, Vinayak Guest House, Shital Guest House
2 km from the city, Government Guest House.
At Mandvi, GTDC's Toran Beach Resort, Jahajwada Rd, Ph: (+912834) 230516 is nice place to stay.

This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel

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