Thursday, 26 February 2015

An Abandoned World Called Lakhpat

Lakhpat is a package of stories. It’s a majestic world that has endured the assaults of times and now rests in its unruffled glory. When I went to Lakhpat, I went to see the Lakhpat fort, but when I returned, I returned with Lakhpat – a world of its own. Besides the fact that it’s only 35 km from the Pakistan border, which intrigues you in the first place, Lakhpat has many gems to unearth.

Wikipedia - "Lakhpat is a small town and sub-district in Kachchh district in the Indian state of Gujarat located at the mouth of Kori Creek. The town is enclosed by 7km long 18th-century fort walls."

The door of Akbani Mahal

The fort is in a ruined state – the gates have fallen, the walls are broken and battered, and all you see around is bushes and barrenness. The Chhakra (auto) guy who got me there played my guide as well. He knew quite a lot of things about Lakhpat, which he kept sharing with me as I moved around. Lakhpat used to be a very prosperous land of traders before 1819 when an earthquake changed its fate. Lakhpat literally means millionaire. Interestingly, though, it still has shades of royalty in its wrecked state.  

Catching up with the BSF staff

I began my discovery of Lakhpat from the edge of the fort, where there was a stairway leading to a border outpost that had two army men on duty. I was in awe of them and the place. It was around 4 in the evening, but the sun was still blazing, which made me spend some time under the outpost shade and have a conversation with the army men. We chatted about everything from border security to Hindi movies. They were quite amazed to see a woman travelling alone and were happy to have a word with me.

The white temple in the middle of the sea was built by the producers of the movie Refugee.
Our men at the border

The glorious tomb

Later in the evening when the sun mellowed down, I bade the army guys a very reverential goodbye and moved ahead to explore the rest of the fort. As I mentioned earlier, the fort is in ruins now, I found nothing but the walls around. I just hoped to see something pleasing to my eyes. The auto guy had mentioned about a tomb and a pond, which hinted at something marvellous. And yes, it was marvellous indeed! The tomb, known as Kubo tomb, was built by Pir Ghosh Mohammed alongside a pond, which is not an ordinary pond, but is supposed to have healing power in its water. I was told by my auto guy and a young chap (who apparently takes care of the tomb) that the pond water is blessed by the Pir and can heal skin ailments. Well, I was more impressed by the tomb’s architectural beauty – it was black, yet had a divine charisma entrenched into its carvings. I liked what the young chap said to me, “Uss zamane mein logon ki ruh saaf hoti thi, nazar paak hoti thi. Aaj ke daur mein koi itni khoobsurat imarat nahi bana sakta.” (People of the olden age had purity in their souls, and thus could build such beautiful monuments. It’s not possible for the people of today to execute such pure art.)

Kubo Tomb
The reflection of the glorious past
The water of the special pond changes color - blue to white

A place where peacocks make appearances

Lakhpat isn’t the kind of a place that overwhelms you in an instant. But, if you have the curiosity to unravel its treasures, it leaves you speechless with its ‘faded’ beauty. After the tomb, I walked ahead to be enamoured by the random sights of village huts, remnants of old walls and peacocks prancing around. It was almost like when I thought that there was nothing more to see, I stumbled upon something that dragged my attention.

The existence of peacocks says a lot about Lakhpat's royal past 
The walls still stand tall
The settlement at the fort
Ruins and glory of Lakhpat
That's how you spot peacocks at Lakhpat Fort
The balcony hints at the ancient splendor 

The illustrious past

There is a broken Custom House, which was the chief administrative office for trade in the mid 19th century. It was known as the Chowk Bazaar or the Bada Bazaar. Just close to it is Akbani Mahal, which was home to an affluent trading family of Lakhpat. While I was greedily taking photos of the ruined glory of Lakhpat, a man who resided there asked me inquisitively, “What will you do with these pictures?” But as he walked along, he kind of comprehended my passion and indicated that there was so much more to photograph. Ah! Yeah, I knew. I wish I could grasp and capture all of it.

The custom house
The broken walls of Akbani Mahal
The stones at Lakhpat Fort are unique - they are known as thumri.

So yes, Lakhpat is a place where people reside; it’s a place where Muslim mosques and tombs exist alongside the temples and the Gurudwaras.    

Pir Sayed Shah Tomb

Towards the end of my Lakhpat discovery, I halted at Pir Sayed Shah Tomb that I had spotted from a distance and was already fascinated by its white exterior. All I thought in my heart was that Lakhpat was a bundle of surprises that unfold at every step of the way.

Practical Information: Lakhpat is 134 km from Bhuj and 90 km from Devpur. It is advisable to hire a taxi to get to Lakhpat as the journey is quite long and tiring.

Have you been to a place that left you totally awestruck?

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32 comments:

  1. The Pir Sayed Shah Tomb looks really interesting. That's the best part of traveling - discovering things you never knew existed. Keep going, fellow traveler!

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    1. Yes, the tombs at Lakhpat were extraordinarily beautiful. It was an awe-inspiring experience.

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  2. Amazing blog complemented with equally amazing pictures. Nice to know about such places which are so anazing but rarely covered by conventional magzines or travel blogs. Kudos to you for such a great work 😃👍

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    1. Thanks so much, Rajiv! Yes, Lakhpat was an amazing discovery. It's a great place for photography, too.

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  3. Great post. I missed Lakhpat during my Kutch trip and glad that I experienced it through your words. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks! I am glad that my post could show a glimpse of Lakhpat to you. Hope you make it there someday.

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  4. A run down fort, dilapidated and photogenic...this is my kind of place Renuka. Great story!

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    1. Thanks Corinne! :-) I am glad that you enjoyed the post. Lakhpat is photogenic indeed!

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  5. Lovely post on Lakhpat. It was a nice read, Renuka.

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    1. Thanks so much! Lakhpat was a treat for the voyager in me! ;-)

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  6. When you close your eyes and put your hand on the stone of a tomb like that, it speaks to you with thousands of voices from forgotten times.

    The peacocks are fantastic! It seems you had a splendid journey.

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    1. It was, Antonina! :-) Lakhpat is an unusual place with unusual stories.

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  7. Charm, History and mystery; Lakhpat seems to have it all.
    And the white temple in the water seems to go with the character of the place.
    Nice account and lovely pictures.

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    1. You put it perfectly! :-) Thanks so much!

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  8. Glad to hear you are having a great trip and enjoying yourself. I love coming over to your space and being transported to these beautiful places :)

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    1. Yes, Kutch has been an amazing experience. I am glad to be inspiring you and of course, I love reading your travel tales, too! :-)

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  9. Wow, I didn't know that Lakhpat has so much to offer. Its indeed a good post with great pictures. I am happy to know that your are having a great time at Kutch.

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    1. Thanks Pooja! :-) Yes, Lakhpat has many gems to unearth, and Kutch has really treated me well!

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  10. Great post Renuka! Love the opening with the photograph of closed door...very dramatic! Your photos are as usual fabulous. :)

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    1. Thanks so much! I am so glad that the pictures left an impact. Lakhpat is a dramatic place that gives photographers a chance to extract their imagination.

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  11. This place looks like a real hidden treasure. You're right, it's fascinating that it's so close to the border anyway, but it looks so lost in time too. And that inland sea - wow!

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    1. Yep. Lakhpat is a hidden treasure indeed! There are so many interesting facets to it - being close to the border is one of them.

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  12. It must be an enthralling experience to live the old-world charm of Lakhpat. Thank you so much Renuka for bringing such lovely yet secluded places into notice. I am in complete awe with this place and its credit primarily goes to your magnificient writing.

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    1. Thanks so much, Anushakti! :-) I tried my best to translate the authentic charm of Lakhpat on my blog, and if that appeals to my readers, I am satisfied.

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  13. What a great find! Bhuj has been on my radar but nothing beyond that. Love the peacock pics. The contrast of military, history, present day and nature is a huge part of the intriguing complexity of India.

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    1. Absolutely! India is truly diverse in every way! Ah! Yes, Lakhpat was a great find as a traveler and as a photographer!

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  14. Put these words at the starting on your article: "Lakhpat is a small town and sub-district in Kachchh district in the Indian state of Gujarat located at the mouth of Kori Creek". Half way down the article i didn't know where lakhpat is even though i am an indian.

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    1. I am so sorry about that, Abhi! Thanks for bringing that to my notice. Yes, I should have introduced Lakhpat properly. I got carried away as a writer. :-) But just to bring to your notice, I have linked the first word of the post to wikipedia for detailed info on Lakhpat.

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  15. Wow, this place is so mysterious! I absolutely love it!

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    1. Yep. Lakhpat definitely has a mysterious element to it.

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