સોમવાર, 14 માર્ચ, 2011

Kotay Village, Kutch

35 Km. towards the North of Bhuj, Kotay can be reached by bus. One can see the architectural remains of an old city and several ruined temples of the tenth century in Kotay. The shiv or suryani temple known as Rao Lakho Fulani`s temple and ascribed to Lakho Fulani is in a dilapidated condition but its remains are an evidence of high ordered of architectural and sculptural beauty. In this temple the central area is covered with massive slabs hollowed out in the centre. The door of the temple is neatly carved. Over the lintel are the nine patrons of the planets and the jambs are carefully sculptured. In the entrance hall mandap are four pillars with a square block sculptured below the bracket and six pilasters.

The shrine door is elaborately carved with two rows of figures on the frieze. The Ganpati on the temple and the jambs are richly ornamented. The ceiling of the temples is richly carved with rasmandal and lotus. This area was famous as an Angorgadh in the tenth century.

Ahirs, Rabaris and Harijans are the main residents of Kotay. This little town has a population of only 697 people.

Kera , Kutch

Situated dramatically on the rear of the river Nagmati, Kera is about 22Km South of Bhuj on the Mundra road. It was the seat of Kapilmuni and was known as Kapilgram. Lakho Fulani built a fort which later became famous as "Kapilkor" or "Kera fort". In this fort he renovated the Shivalaya of Lakheswar. The old Shiva temple, built perhaps at the end of tenth century, was except for the shrine destroyed by the earthquake of 1819. The sculptures of the Shivalaya are attractive and beautiful. In the time of Gulamalishah Kera recovered to some extent. Gulamalishah was a descendent of Pir Sadruddin and is said to have come from Sindh. Kera is populated mainly by Kanbis and Khojas who are progressive cultivators. There are two Swaminarayan Temples. The old Shiva temple is protected by the state Archeology Department.

Dhrang , Kutch

Dhrang is about 40Km from Bhuj and it is known for the Samadhi of the famous Saint Makad Dada, who died here. Dada Makad was born in village called Nani Khombhadi. Dada Makad in his younger days specialized in rescuing people who where dying of thirst in the terrible wastes of the Rann. Makad Dada`s dog Motia would scent out the sufferers, his donkey Lalia would follow afterwards and would carry the sufferers to the shelter where the saint would care for them. Makad Dada is the St. Christopher of Kutch, the patron saint whose blessings assure a safe journey. When he became the Guru of Maharao Deshal, every one in Kutch knew that their ruler fully deserved the blessing which had come to him.

The popular Stories which describe the relationship between Maharao Deshal and Makad Dada show the Maharao exhibiting a healthy skepticism towards Makad Dada. For example when Makad Dada had taken up his duties as the Maharao`s spiritual advisor, the Maharao heard that a lady was residing with Saint. Anxious to inform himself about a situation which was causing gossip, the Maharao once presented himself before the saint`s lodging at midnight. He was admitted and he found the saint in the shape of a tiny infant, with the lady as his mother. The saint rebuked the Maharao. "We are ascetics and you are king: please never come and test us like this in our Ashram. You disturb our meditation. "The Maharao asked if he could now receive advice on his difficulties of he observed this instruction. Makad Dada told him to set up an idol, with appropriate ceremonies at a particular place in Bhuj. This idol under the guidance of the saint, would answer any questions which were addressed to it before eight o`clock in the morning and would convey to the Maharao the advice of Mekad Dada on any difficult matter. The Place where idol use to reside near Nagar Chakla is still remembered but the story goes that some mistake in procedure was made which after a short time prevented the method from working well so that the Maharao had to resort directly to Makad Dada again.

There are the samadhis of Madad Dada and his disciples including the dog Motia and donkey Lalia at Dhrang Makad Dada served the people of Kutch and won their devotion. He is believed to be a God. The followers of Makad Dada are spread over the district of Kutch, Banaskanth, Saurashtra and some parts of Rajasthan. A large fair is held on Magh Vad - 14 Mahshivratri. Dhrang has a population of 548 citizens.

Mandvi, Kutch

Mandvi is situated on the sea shore 60 kms to the south of Bhuj. It was established by Rao Khengarji in 1585. Earlier it was a famous harbour. It was connected with South Africa, Zanzibar, Arabia, Malaysia, China and Japan; Navigators of Mandvi were famous all over the world. Mandvi traders have been very popular in and around India. Mandvi Port is a site to see which is developed by Maharao Shree Khengarji-I in 1580 A.D. The kings of Kutch called the commercial people for development of Mandvi. According to Millburn (a writer), Mandvi is one of the great port of Kutch. There is a large amount of ships in Mandvi. Mandvi Port has its individual history. This port is not in much progress now but many boats and ships are made here nowadays. Today, Mandvi is known for its port and sea. Mandvi is also has a famous for its ship building yards and for its blue water serene bleaches.8 kms from Mandvi is the eye-catching summer place built in the perfect Rajasthani architect by Maharao Vijayrajji in 1929.

The other places of interest are the Ravalpir beach and the Asharmata temple which has soft sand blue water seashore. Mandvi is famous for its tie-dye, silver work and for its stunning architecture. With a population if 36,636, Mandvi has the friendliest people residing here.

Dhinodhar , Kutch

Where historical entropy is concerned, each and every town of Kutch is overflowing with material. On the highest peak of Dhinodhar hill in the north-west of Kutch is a small domed shrine of limestone and mud, plastered with cement, built by a Sunderji Shivji Sodagar in 1831. It is dedicated to holy Dhoramnath who came to Kutch in search of a secluded place where he could practice penance. He decided to make his home under a tree near Rajpur, which is on the borders of Mandvi creek. This site now occupied only by a hamlet was at one time a flourishing city as its ruins testify. Finds of Indo Persian coins are evidence of an extensive seaborne trade though it is very far from any navigable water. At the time when Dhoramnath arrived, Raipur is said to have been ruled by the Chavdas.

Dhoramnath began the twelve-year penance, which he had set himself and it was the business of his wants. But the people or Raipur were so lacking in respect for the saint that Garibnath`s hopes of alms were belied. To support his master he was obliged to cut and sell fire wood to buy grain needed to keep his master and himself alive. One poor woman in the city took pity on them and without payment baked the grain into bread adding chapattis from her own stove when the fire-wood money ran short. When Dhoramnath had completed his penance he learned what had happened and in great wrath, rather then sending the charitable woman to another town cursed her by saying "Pattan sub Dattan" meaning "May all the wealthy be overthrown."

Thereupon Raipur became desolate; its buildings fell, and its inhabitants fied to the site which is now Mandvi. The confirmation of this story is the distance the sea has retreated from what must once have been a flourishing sea port. There seems no doubt that Dhoramath caused an earthquake to destroy the city and dry up the creek near Raipur. Dhoramath repented the loss of lives in Raipur and determined to mortify himself by standing on his head on some lonely hill. A gazette writer reported. "Travelling to the north he began to climb the highest hill he could sec, but it became nano (smaller) weighted down by his sins. He chose another hill but for it too, the burden of guilt was too great and it became jhurio. "Broken down". He chose a third hill ad climbing it backwards it bore him. He called it Dhinodhar "the patience bearer" At its highest peak resting on a conical stone he stood on his head for twelve years, with a charan woman feeding him with milk, such merit and power did this penance bring, that Gods took alarm and sending a deputation to wait on him asked that his penance should cease. Dhoramnath said wherever he first looked the country would become barren. The gods arranged that he should first look at the sea. This dried up under his gaze and left the Rann. Fearing that the death of so many fish would lose him his merit, Dhoramnath moved his eyes and looking at the hill it split into two.

Dhoramnath came down, kindled a fire built a monastery and established the order of the Kanphata`s (Slitcared), so called as the disciple of this order has to slit their cars. The kanphatas have to remain celebrate and newcomers are recruited either from orphans or from boys who enter the monastery from an early age. The head is called the Pir. He usually adopts two disciples, one of whom is chosen as his successor. In former times the Pir was always presented with a robe of honour by the ruler of Kutch. Rato Raydhan, son of Lakho, sought enlists the powers of Garibnath in support of his efforts to subdue some Jat tribesmen who were giving him trouble. With help of Garibnath Rato Raydhan defeated the Jats. In gratitude he made gifts of land to the Dhinodhar monastery. These are the earliest gifts of which the Kanphata community has any record and were made in the 12th century.

In the shrine dedicated to Dhoramnath is a red smeared triangular conical stone on which Dhoramnath is conical stone on which Dhoramnath is said to have rested his head while performing penance. At the foot of the hill within the monastery building is another temple of Dhoramnath on a raised platform, facing the east, about seven feet square and with wall about seven feet high. Inside is a three feet high marble image of Dhoramnath with some small lings and other brass and stone images. A ghee lamp is always kept burning. A fair is held here on shravan Vad-8 and Mahashivratri. (Feb-March).

Dhoramnath is 60 m from Bhuj and 20 Km from Nakhatrana. A Bus leaves Bhuj at 5 P.M. 1Km near to the village of Godhiar is a Rajput sattlement. The Rajputs migrated from Pakistan during the 1971, Indo-Pak war. They do beautiful embroidery called "Soof". 10Km away is a village called Fulay where there is a bird`s sanctuary.

Baladiya , Kutch

Baladiya is about 18Km. from Bhuj and its name is derived from the temple of Baldeshwar Mahadev. A legend relates that a saint named Bhaganath once drove his cart without bullocks here. From that incident the place came to be known as Baladiya. This place is also known for the Kanphata Sadhu`s Jagir.

The Swaminarayan Saint Abji Bapa was born in this village in 1845. Abji Bapa took Samadhi here, on Ashad Sud - 5 1929. Two Chhatries containing his padukas have been constructed by his padukas have been constructed by his followers, on the bank of Krishna Talav where he was cremated. Fairs are held at this village on Mahashivratri and the Janmashtami and are attended by the locals. The village is inhabited by Kanbis. Some of them have migrated to Africa and England. Baladiya has a population of 3,893 people.

Gedi, Kutch

Holding mythological importance and being one of the oldest towns in Kutch, Gedi is a village situated towards the north of Vagad. It is believed that Gedi one among many towns that gave shelter to the Pandavs (1400 BC). With a population of only 3,729 Gedi is a place filled with historical interest.

It is also said to be the capital of the mythical Raja Gadhasingh who though for a time took the form of an ass succeeded in marrying the chief`s daughter and surrounded the city with a brass wall. Some Gadhiya (ass) coins have been found in the ruins. In course of time the place passed into the hands of a Muslim named Madan. From him, it was wrested by padaria Rajputs and from them by Vaghelas. The Vaghela chief appeared at one time to have been very powerful and to have held the title of Maharana till as late as 1476 Among objects of interest is the white limestone ruined temple Mahadev Achaleswar built in about 1579. Near the temple is the Malan well. Its half buried pillars are overgrown with trees.

According to the local story, there was merchant named Malav, in his shop one Rabari girl came to sell her ghee, but that time Malav was busy so he told to her put her vessel of ghee and come after some time. Afterwards when he poured out the ghee and put back the empty vessel on straw ring he was surprised to find the vessel full of ghee again. In this way he got lots of ghee again and again and become rich. He built the Mahavir temple, Malan well and Malaser tank. There are many hero-stone in this village. Gedi is about 40 Km. from Bhimasar. It is connected by bus with Rahpar.

ગુરુવાર, 10 માર્ચ, 2011

Kutch Carnival 2009

the salty land
Ran of Kutch
model hut of kutch

Kutch Carnival - 19th December 2010



Tera lies 85 km west of the town of Bhuj. Tera castle on the western edge of the state of Gujrat dominates the plains of Kutch from its position on the banks of Tretara (Three lakes) namely Chattasar, Sumerasar and Chatasar.
Tera Jagir consisted of 41 villages and was one of the largest Jagirs of Kutch state. There are Ramayan wall paintings in the Tera castle. There are elaborate carved and beautiful paintings on glass in the Jain temple. Bandhani (tie & dye), Block printing, mirror work, Jats embroidery are the main crafts of this town. There are many of wild life animals chinkara, Blue Bull, Wild Boar, Hyena, The Great Indian Bustard, Peacock, Black partridge, etc. A very famous Mahadev temple Pinglaswar is 35 km far from Tera.



Jesal - Toral Samadhi

Jasal-Toral fair held at Anjar on Shravan Vad 7&8 August.
      In this fair thousands of people congregate here to honor the lovers.Jesal-Toral were a sainty couple in the middle ages who have become highly famous .Jesol was a hardened dacoit whom Toral a virtuous Kathi girl reformed and later married.After marriage they lived a pious life.The Samadhis of Jesal-Toral are in Anjar.

Important Festivals of Kutch

Kutch Carnival
Drang FairHeld every year during February - March in Dhrang, 40kms from Bhuj at the Samadhi (tomb) of Mankan Dada who served the community with great dedication.
Ravechi no meloRavechi fair is held on every Bhadrapad end ie August - September in Rav village at Ravechi Mata's temple.
About Anjar
Kutch has a wealth of traditional crafts, not only in textiles, but also woodcarving, cast silver work, lacquer work, terracotta pottery. Houses are often decorated with designs made from mud, cow or camel dung, clay slip, and mirrors. The major textile techniques for which Kutch is famous are listed below:

Block printing

There are four main block printing techniques done in Kutch.

    - Direct block printing is just that. The block is dipped into dye and printed directly onto the fabric.
    - Resist block printing is achieved when the block is dipped into a dye resist paste, usually tamarind seed paste and lime, then printed onto fabric which is then dyed and the resist paste is removed to reveal the undyed fabric underneath.
    - Complex patterns can be made with both direct and resist block printing using different blocks to build up layers of images and color . Ajrakh block printing is a special style of direct block printing for which Kutch is particularly famous. Traditional Ajrakh designs can be traced back several centuries to Persia (Iran). Real Ajrakh is done with natural indigo and madder dyes.
    - Discharge block printing is a chemical process whereby the fabric is first dyed with one color, then printed with another. It is rolled and steamed which causes the original dye to disperse under the block print, giving a two color design.
    - Batik block printing is a wax resist technique. The block is dipped into wax and printed onto fabric which is then dyed and the wax removed.
Tie Dye (Bandhini)

Tie dye in Kutch is extremely fine. Designs are carefully built up in a number of colors, starting with the lightest and working through to the darkest. Designs are usually lightly printed with block made up of small dots. The crafts man or woman will then tie tiny knots where the dots are shown. The parts of the design to be in the lightest color will remain knotted throughout the process, but as each new color is applied, some of the knots will be strategically untied allowing the color to penetrate.

Shawls and rugs are woven in cotton, wool, and even camel hair. Traditional designs are a distinctive style with bands of simple geometric shapes such as stripes, diamonds, triangles, star shapes, and chevrons. Although Ikat weaving is not traditional to Kutch, one weaver has recently introduced this technique, in which the pattern is achieved by tying and dying either the warp or the weft before weaving. In Kutch, Ikat is a luxury item, always done in silk.

Kutch - Gateway to Timeless existence

Kutch is a fascinating land and no visit to Gujarat is complete without a sojourn to this peninsular district . Its remoteness has kept it a place apart for centuries. The people are very sturdy, business minded and seafaring. Kandla a major seaport of the country with its single point-mooring facilities, happens to be the only free trade zone of India. Kutch produces some of Gujarat's most exquisite crafts like embroidery, tie die fabrics, enamelled silverware and other handicrafts.

The great and little Rann of Kutch are the breeding ground of Flamingo, Pelican & Avocet and the home of the rare Indian wild ass which is now a protected species. When it comes to speed and stamina few acn match the wild ass. It is a marathon runner. If lucky you could see this sturdy beast gallop untiringly for hours, reaching a top speed of 70 km/h over short distances.
Kutch is also the largest district in Gujarat. The Great Rann of Kutch lies to the north and the Little Rann of Kutch to the south. In the west its shores are lapped by the Arabian sea and tidal marshes and creeks here from part of the Indus delta.

Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan

Mr Ramsinhji K Rathod a scholar of the folk art of Kutch and winner of many state Government awards has created an excellent museum in Bhuj which is called Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan.
The museum epitomizes the rustic life styles of the Kutchi villager containing around 4500 exhibits. Also, there are more than 1500 rare books on art and culture. This museum has five major sections. In the Ethnological section, Sahitya Chitra, in the central hall can be found rare works of literature. In other sections are interesting artifacts such as leather embroidery, wood work, wood carvings, terra cotta, wall paintings, bead work, stone carvings, musical instruments, knives and swords and silver work.
Inside one of the huts is the intricately designed "Kothala" (the treasury). In olden times, ornaments money, and other valuables of the royalty were kept in the "Kothala".

Dholavira Ruins Kutch

Kutch is spelt as Kachchh also. It is a beautiful district of western state of Gujarat in India. It is said to be the most extensive district in the state of Gujarat and the 2nd largest district of India succeeding Leh. The meaning of the word ‘Kutch’ stands for something that becomes wet and dry intermittently. On tour to Gujarat you must stop at this magnificent travel destination for a while. Here you will get to see various types of interesting sites of which forts and monuments top the chart. In fact Dholavira Ruins in Kutch has been acclaimed massively among all the forts and monuments in Gujarat.

Dholavira is an ancient town situated in the state of Gujarat. It lies on the North West corner of the Khadir Island and stands surrounded by water in the monsoons. It was discovered in the year 1967 AD. The ruins of the settlement found here are believed to be more than 5000 years old. These excavation sites are one of the largest Harappan sites in India. If you are interested in knowing about the ancient history and the primordial civilization of the country then Dholavira is the perfect place for you.

Dholavira is an ancient metropolitan city of Gujarat and is a must visit on your tour to the famous tourist attractions in Kutch. The city is now in ruins and is locally famous as the Kotada Timba Prachin Mahanagar. Dholavira is one of the biggest and the most remarkable archaeological sites in India that is part of the famous Indus Valley Civilization. The Dholavira Ruins in Kutch is located on the Khadir island. During the monsoons, the place is surrounded by water.

The excavations conducted in 1989 by the Archaeological Survey of India under the supervision of Dr. R. S. Bisht at Dholavira brought some of the very significant Dholavira Ruins in Kutch. Some of the articles that constitute the major portion of the excavated materials comprise of refined urban planning and architecture, antiquities like seals, beads, animal bones, gold, silver, terracotta ornaments and vessels belonging to Mesopotamia. This apart the Kutch Dholavira Ruins reveal that Dholavira was a prominent hub of trade between colonies in south Gujarat, Sindh and Punjab and Western Asia.
Location info:
Address:Dholavira Runis Kutch,Gujrat,India
District: Kutch
Nearest City: Bhuj
Language: Gujarati, Hindi, and local dialects like Kutchi
Best time to visit: November to April
Weather of Kutch is tropical monsoon with an average annual rainfall of approximately 14 inches. In Summer temperature can reach up to 48°c. In Winter temperature ranges from 12 °c to 27 °c.
The site of Dholavira Ruins was inhabited from 2900 BC for about a millennium when it declined towards the 2100 BC. Then it was reoccupied until about 1450. The site was discovered in the 1960s and it now happens to be the fifth largest Harappan site in the Indian subcontinent. The ruins were under excavation since 1990 by the Archaeological Survey of India
Interesting things to do:
Kutch Mahotsav:
The Kutch Mahotsava is usually organised during February and March each year. Kutch, with its colourful people, historic towns and remarkable handicrafts, has much of interest to offer visitors.

Kutch Utsav:
Kutch Utsav ia a journey into history. One visits India's oldest traditional and cultural icons. For the children of urbania, an almost spiritual experience away from the stress, strife and claustrophobia of modern life.

The Day the Earth Shook--Kutch Earthquake

The gaily clad women throng the swift river,
clattering pots, sit with mouth-watering brims.
Every silhouette reflects the colors of life;
the shrines echo with the chanting of hymns.
Suddenly the eyes wake up to a wail,
"The dream was short-lived," they now muse.
Life couldn't have made them more famous,
and death has made them the headline news.
The Pipal tree still stands, but desolate;
amidst tombs of rubble, the epitaphs speak,
"Where are the sturdy men?" they rummage,
as their tears are stolen by a future bleak.
Yet life lives and laughs, so does the grandma,
a child, too, has survived the ghastly quake.
Yet the wheel stands without the potter;
the dead farmer may never return to his rake.
The chattels of life do we stock and keep,
but then destiny is not a soothsayer's word.
In a flick of a moment we lose everything,
unsung, unread, unforgiven, and unheard.


My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University

Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University or KSKV University is a regional university established to promote higher education in the region of Kachchh in Gujarat. The university, which began with 10 colleges in 2004, has more than 15000 students receiving higher education in the faculties of Arts, Commerce, Science, Education, Law, and Technology. The university is named after Shyamji Krishna Verma of Mandvi, the great freedom fighter.
Educational Streams
Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University is gradually expanding its scope. Departments of Gujarati, Sanskrit and English conduct postgraduate and doctorate courses. Professional job-oriented courses on subjects like Commerce, Journalism and Management are also conducted. Course on Earth and Environmental Sciences have steadily grown in popularity. The university also conducts courses in Law, Economics, Education, and Chemistry.
Separate hostels for boys and girls have been built in the university campus. Central library of the university has large number of books to support the students. A Computer Centre with internet access is also available for the students. Training and Placement Cell assists the students post their education. Students of the university are encouraged to participate in sports and culture activities.
Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University was established by an Act published in the Govt. Gazette in March 2003. On 22nd June 2004, all the ten colleges of Kachchh district previously affiliated to the Gujarat University were affiliated to the Kachchh University. The University was recognized by the UGC on 3rd February 2004, under section UGC 2(f).

  • Faculties of Arts
  • Faculties of Commerce
  • Faculties of Science
  • Faculties of Education 
  • Faculties of Law
  • Faculties of Engineering
  • Faculties of Pharmacy

બુધવાર, 9 માર્ચ, 2011

Ashadhi Bij

 Hey Ashadhi Bij! We are Waiting for You,

hey GOD of shower(rain) bless our KUTCH (our Place)!

Outskirts are also waiting for the sound of your footstep,

We are egerly waiting for u Dear!

Please Listen to our request,

Please Solve the problem of Rain for my dear land Kutch!

We Kutchis Always Waiting for The Water of Rain,

Please feed us the water of rain as Holy Mother!


Rao Khengarji -I    
Rao Bharmalji -I       
Rao Khengarji - II
Rao Raydhanji –I
Maharao Pragmalji-I
Maharao Godji -I
Maharao Deshaiji -I

Bharmalji – I (1586-1632)
In 1617 Jehangir, the Emperor of Delhi visited Ahmedabad. He held a Shahi darbar there. The rulers of Kutch participated and Rao Bharmalji also attended. Honours were exchanged. He was very impressed with the aged Rao Bharmalji and gifted him with an elephant, a she elephant, jewel studded sword and rings.
After that he asked his painter Govardhan to paint a picture of Rao Bharmalji. Now this picture is in the State library of Berlin. It is written below this picture that " this Ra Bara is the most powerful of the rulers of Gujrat and he is not presented before any ruler on this earth".
After Rao Bharmalji, Rao Bhojrajji, Rao Shri Khengarji II, Rao shri Tamachiji, Rao shri Raydhanji I, Rao shri Pragmalji I and Rao shri Godji I became the rulers of Kutch for a period of 100 years but without much happening. However in 1654 to 1662 in the rule of Rao Tamachiji, Jehangir died and his son Dara, the brother of Aurangzeb, took shelter in Kutch. Along with him a saint of Bukhara Shah Murad also set foot in Mundra. This saint is known as a Peer in Kutch and was respected by the rulers of Kutch for his all religion tolerance policy. At this time the British set foot as business men.

Maharao Lakhapatji
Maharao Godji -II
Maharao Raydhanji-II
Maharao Bharmalji-II
Maharao Deshalji -II
Maharao Pragmalji-II       1860-1875 
Maharao Khengarji-lll
Maharao Vijayrajji
18 Maharao Madansinhji March '48- June'48

    In the time of Rao Raydhanji I, the districts of Ahmedabad had sent Muazim Beg a sardar to Jehangir for reversal of tax collection. And after the mediation of Peer Shah Murad this became possible. This matter is significant in political circles. Muslim influence was at its peak in the time of Rao Raydhan II. But one must agree that in the ruling history of Kutch right from Mughal emperors to Muslim peers, sultans, Fakirs, Auliyas, and Senapatis have played an important role. Ignoring a few setbacks Kutch communal harmony and unity has prevailed.
As it is there is disintegration among the Sammas and the Lakhiar viaras have tried to set their foot. During the rule of Rao shri Pragmalji I i.e. 1667 to 1715 he gifted many parts of the land to his kith and kin and landlords and in this way a new part was played by them against the established landlords of the land. This problem had to be solved by the Britishers and then by the Kutch government and then by the Gujrat State government.
Pragmalji I defeated Morbi’s Kayaji and befriended Navanagar’s Jam and the Jadejas of Kutch and in return the fort of Badamba was given to him and thus he became a powerful ruler of Kutch and he became Maha Rao.
Rao shri Lakhpatji : During Godji state rule to amend his father’s mistakes and in the process he got back from Haloji the districts of Mundra, Anjar, Chovisi and Kanthi. In Kothara in Abdasa, Nagrecha and Kotdi villages he helped in agriculture there.
In this time the agricultural progress of the Kutchi people happened. Despite this the collection of the rulers was meager. This meager income was from the villages of Miyanipat, the growth of Tuna port and Rapar’s Ravri land. As stated earlier, the ruler of Kutch compared to his counterparts in our own land and abroad was even in the humble circumstances was ahead of his brethren. He never had an organized army. His only strength came from his close brethren, relatives and elders of the community. Nobody had the strength to replace the throne of Bhuj. The ruler was a big brother to the brethren of Kutch. Rao shri Deshalji and his dewan Devkaran with their mediocre power and the support of their brethren defeated Kesarkhan and Sher Bulandkhan the muslim extremists. Also they defeated the evil designs of Sindh’s Nagarparkar. Deshalji I preached ‘Deshra Parmeshwara’ and inspired his people by this love and religion. For example Rao Lakhpatji among the rulers of Kutch with his support of his brethren and landlords improved his status and moralized them. Lakhpatji further improved foreign trade, Industry and Ship movement. Art, literature and music and dance were the favourites of Lakhpatji and it is alleged that the vast fortune given to him by Deshalji was finished due to his lavish attitudes.
Despite his lavish attitudes he favored the setting up of industries in Kutch by Ramsinh Malam.

History of oswal caste and it's migration in kutch

The name oswal is derived from oayaspur or osnagarThis was developed by the son of king bheem of ujjainfrom parmaar generation,mori branch in the seventh century.As this city was in ujjain it was named oayaspur or osnagar.
As time passed oswad city comprised of only paarkar ,sodha of uparkot, bhatti's of jesalmer and rathod of jodhpur.The main goddess worshipped by the people of this city is osiyadevi because she is the kuldevi of the king and shatriyas af osnagar.
After lord Mahavir in the vikram sawant 723 oogotan suriji gave his brilliant &capable students suripad in the maarwad region at bhinnamal nagar near vad village in the south direction under a vad tree,hence they were called vadgutchh.among these 84 suris, every suri got a particular gutch name which was named by the village they entered first while migrating.In this way vadgutchh branch has 84 gutch.
Bhinnamal nagar had seen a lot of ups and downs.According to the old scripts,in the year 1111 "Bodimugal",a muslim King had looted this nagar &destroyed it.
In the year 772 in the Shankeshwar gutch Acharya Udayprabhusuriji in Bhinnamal nagar addresed shrimali Brahman caste's 62 naqgar seth& pragvaah brahman caste's 8 seth.Hence Prabhanandsuriji student of Udayprabhusurijiwho addresed 70 villages acquired Suripad & his family was recognised as Nanakgutchh.(from the name Nanakpur).
In the nanakgutchh in the year 1133 Jaysinghsuriji gave Aacharyapad to Vijaychandra Upadhyay and alloted the name Aryarakshitsuriji and in this manner Aanchalgutchh was established.
In the Vallabhigutch in the year 1309 inthe 15th paat Aacharya Sinhprabhusuriji became the Aacharya of Aanchalgutchh. As a result Vallabhigutchh branch was over and that gutch's family was included in Aanchalgutchh(Vidhipakshgutchh).           
After veerprabhu, 52 years later ,Ratnaprabhusuriji became Aacharya in Parasnathji's 6th paat in the upkesh gutchh. In the year 1222 he travelled in Marwaad where he addressed a lot shatriyas thereby creating anaffection for Jain religion.After that he came to Osnagar(osiya village). In this village he gathered whole Marwaad, Sindh, south Punjab, Mewad, Parkar region's Jain shatriyas.In these shatriyas among branches of parmaar,chauhan,solanki,etc 18 kuls were present from 36 rajkuls.From these Thakore,Sawant, Sardar, Patavat,etc, Thakur, Rav, Raval,Ravat designations were possessed.
Suriji gathered all these shatriyas and decided some common clauses.In these clauses various Aachar, Vyavhaar,traditions& cultures were included.The clause included all the programmes related to religion & of public interest.
In this manner the whole group of shatriyas was given the name as Oswad derived from the oswad region which was later named as "Oswal".
In this manner established oswal samaj's leaders established "'Mahajan-sangh's" in their own regions.Each sangh was recognised as "Oswal Mahajan Sangh".As new shatriyas came Oswal caste's population started increasing.

The Legislative Council and Kutch.The Legislative Council and Kutch.

In India’s Council, late Bhavanjibhai Arjan Khimji represented Kutch. Inspite of this an economic professor Shri K T Shah represented Mumbai in the Council. Professor K T Shah before independance helped Jawaharlal Nehru. Late K T Shah of Bhomka in Mandvi and revolutionery late Shyamji Krishnavarma have received recognition not only in India but abroad also. When this temporary council was made into a parliament, late Gulabshankar Amrutlal Dholakia was elected to the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the Chief Commissioner. Shri Premji Bhavanji Thakkar was elected to the Council of States. In 1952 there were two seats for Kutch in the Lok Sabha. Later on the same was reduced to one and till today it is the same. To represent Kutch in the Rajya Sabha the credit goes to late Lavji Lakhamshi Thakkar, late Dr Mahipatrai Moolshankar Mehta and Shri Kishorbhai Mehta of the Congress. From the independants late Dr Biharilal Naranji Antani and of the B J P Shri Anantbhai Dave.
Before the start of Panchayat Rajya in Kutch, the District Local Board first chief Shri Hirjibhai Kotak was the head. Late shri Kantiprasad Chandrashankar Antani became the first chief of Kutch District Panchayat. After that late Moolshankarbhai Kunvarji Gaur, Shri Jethmalbhai Vishanji Madaiyar, Shri Shivdasbhai Govind Patel, Shri Veljibhai Bijal Humble enjoyed the post. Today Shri Gopalbhai Dhuva is the present chief.
In 1965 Kutch bore the brunt of Pakistani Attack. In 1971 also the borders of Kutch were rocked by the same enemy. The Pakistani demand of Chhadbet resulted in giving away a part of Kutch due to the Hague Court. After all the turmoils and turbulences Kutch today relives as the princess of the 21 st century

Miracle in 1995 – Sureshbhai as Chief Minister.

In 1990 the rule of Janta Dal and B J P Combine came, and Shri Chimanbhai Patel became the Chief Minister and Shri Sureshchandra Roopshankar Mehta became the Industries minister of Gujrat. This government appointed
Shri Narendrasinh Jadeja as the Wool and Sheep Minister who was the first Kutchi chief to head this post and Dr Nimaben Bhavesh Acharya was made the state’s chief of Women’s Economic Development Nigam. These two were from the non ruling party.

In Samvat 2051 in the place of Keshubhai Patel, a Kutchi Shri Sureshchandra Roopshankar Mehta is sworn as the Chief Minister. This is a glorified status for Kutch in which Kutch saw its peak in the development.
Political representatives.
Since 1956 till today the important people who matter in the Kutch history are late Premjibhai Bhavanji Thakkar, late Smt. Trilochanaben Ushakant Dholakia, late Zhumakhlal Mehta, Shri Jamiyatrai Gulabshankar Vaidya, Shri Kundanlal Jaswantlal Dholakia, late Gulabshankar Amrutlal Dholakia, late Jadavji Raghavji Morbia, late Premchand Morbia, late Naushir Dastur, Shri Virji Bhimji Dafda, late Dr Mahipatrai Mehta, Shri Mulji Purshottam Thakkar, Shri Bhupendrasinhji Jadeja, Shri Madhavsinhji Mokaji Jadeja, Shri Khimji Nagji Patel, Shri Kanubha Madhubha Jadeja, Smt. Nirmalaben Gajwani, Shri Harilal Nanji Patel, Shri Sureshchandra Roopshankar Mehta, Shri Maheshbhai Harjivan Thakkar, Shri Champaklal Chunilal Shah, Professor Nemji Kenia, Shri Jaykumar Sanghvi, Shri Kharashankar Vithaldas Joshi, Shri Mohanlal Nemchand Shah, Shri Kumudiben Pancholi, Shri Navinbhai Shastri, Shri Babulal Meghji Shah, Shri Khimjibhai Jesang, Shri Meghjibhai Motharia, late Harirambhai Kothari, Shri Valjibhai Danecha, Shri Parbatbhai Sodham, Shri Tarachandbhai Chheda, Shri Mohanlal Nemchand Shah, Shri Pushpdanbhai Gadvi, Shri Mukeshbhai Zaveri and Smt. Neemaben Acharya.
Late Premji Bhavanji, Shri Virji Bhimji Dafda, Shri Sureshchandra Mehta, Shri Harilal Nanji Patel, Shri Meghjibhai Motharia, Navinbhai Shastri, Kundanlal Dholakia, Parbatbhai Sodham and Shri Khimjibhai Jesang were elected to the Vidhan Sabha for more than once. They were elected from different parties such as Congress, Independants, Janta Morcha and B J P.

The struggle of Ekvir against political degradation

This degradation of Kutch was stopped by the strong voice of late Dr. Mahipatrai Moolshankar Mehta who as an M.P. evoked the clause 371 (2) for Kutch against the Centre and against his own party, the Congress Party. His dream to bring the Kutchis of the World together in Mumbai was defeated by the sudden demise of the Governor of Mumbai, Shri Ali Yavar Jung. The Order of Indira Gandhi for an independant Kutch Vikas Board was revoked by the late Morarji Desai. Dr Mehta as a leader of the Gujrat Pradesh Congress Committee was the first leader to be elected to this post. But due to internal strife he had to leave this post as well as his Congress membership and he had to start a new party in the name of Gujrat Rashtriya Congress which became a state party in 1982.
A sea change in 1975 – Kundanbhai as president.
In 1975 Gujrat witnessed its first non congress government and ShriKundanlal Jaswantlal Dholakia became the Speaker.
That also because of non congress rule. In return, the 100 days old congress rule gave the post of chief to Shri Harilal Nanji Patel. Kutch could get only a symbolic importance. Ramji Raghavji Thakkar could not become more than a Deputy.
Whenever Kutch meets with success it is at the time of non congress rule. In 1985 Shri Shastri could become cabinet chief for three months only. When Madhavsinh resigned and Shri Amarsinh Chowdhary took over congress, Kutch could not get any significant place in the four and half years of his rule. Not only this but in the 84 nigams, no one from Kutch could become the Chairman or Director.
It is significant to note that from 1985 to 1989 out of the six Vidhan sabha seats five seats went to the congress. Shri Shastri once again became cabinet chief for two months in Madhavsinh cabinet and in the end in 1992 in the cabinet of Chimanbhai.

The events after establishment of Democracy

After the death of Sir Khengarji, his successors Maharao shri Vijayrajji and Madansinhji finished the Jadeja rule in thier short span of power. Kutch was joined in the Union of India in 1948. After that Kutch was given K status and the Chief Commissioner became the ruler.
As the people’s representative, late shri Bhavanji Arjan Khimji, late Gulabshankar Amrutlal Dholakia, late Premji Bhavanji, Late Krishnadas Punjwani, late Kantiprasad Antani, late Khimji Mandan Bhujpuria and late Ranchhodbhai Nathabhai became his official advisors.
The history is before us
As the last ruler of Kutch Shri Madansinhji was very close to Jawaharlal Nehru and he became the Ambassador to Norway representing the huge Kutch ruling family. In 1962 his brother Shri Himmatsinhji became the member of the Lok Sabha representing the Kutch community.
Party change : Intellectual symbol
Kutch has with the world and especially with Europe directly and indirectly fought with destructive forces. In the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajgopalachari defied the congress policies of economics and free market and made his own independant party. This party got immense response in Kutch and all the constituences in 1962 be it Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha got good response from the people. In this wave of anti congress, late Gulabshankar Amrutlal Dholakia left congress and won with a majority as an independant candidate.
Beginning of the process of Political degradation
The political history of Kutch and its speed look strange. The destiny of Kutch is sometimes an ant and sometimes like a lion. A semi-independant state at one time, becomes a state of Central rule, Premji Bhavanji Thakkar and Jamiyatrai Gulabshankar Vaidya become Chief and Deputy Chief
Ministers and advisors to Chief Commissioner and in 1956 Kutch becomes a part of Mumbai and becomes its one of the District and late Premji Bhavanji becomes the Chief Minister. In 1960, when the Gujrat state came into existence, Premjibhai alone is taken and that also as the Chief Minister of Gujrat.

This was the beginning of the political degradation in Kutch. From 1960 to 1967 leaving aside Premjibhai, Navinbhai Shastri became Cabinet Cheif in 1985.

Sir Khengarji : Comparison with present arrangement.

Sardar was right. After his tour of 1925, Gandhiji had also remarked that there are no motorable roads in Kutch. Railway is even less. Villages were difficult to access. One should think of the treasury of that time. Today in the name of progress, State Govts., Corporations, Panchayats and Municipalities are levying huge taxes and enjoying at the cost of the common man.

With limited resources, name sake taxes, 139 guarantee holders landlords divided have taken initiatives to improve agriculture. Kandla Tuna to Bhuj railway line is laid. To select the Kandla Port they went on horsebacks and camels. Today the Kandla Port is ready and it was seen that sweet water is got from the Vadi village. This programme is effective even today. When Sir Khengarji started this in 1930, sixty five years have passed since.
To date millions and billions have been shelved out by the common man of Kutch and let us evaluate the progress thus far.
In the first five year plan since 1956 in the first eight years for the development of Kutch out of Rs. 3,24,78000 Rs. 2,86,70000 were released. In the next figures they touch millions and billions but in return what has been achieved is break down of dams, break down of bridges in every rain, defective walls, cracking plasters, etc. Inspite of good rains, the position is that of draught and or semi draught.
Strict evaluation of History necessary
It does not mean that Maharao Khengarji’s rule was ideal, his speed was proper and his approach was always flawless. From 1901 to 1950 there was no rainless year. The slow policy of Khengarji was in tune with Gandhiji’s slow policy.

The touch of modernization in Kutch

After Deshalji, when Pragmalji II came to power, the trend of state funded education started. The civil and army laws were framed and from 1860 to 1875 his rule came to an end. In the meanwhile modernization set foot in Kutch with the appointment of Non Kutchi Dewan Dewan Bahadur Krishnaji Tulkar, Police Commissioner Pandurang Shivram, and as the Chief Justice Shri Vinayakrao Bhagwat.

Uptil now only Kutchis were appointed on key positions but under the guidance of British this change came to be implemented. The glory of the Kutchi Maharao was kept intact inspite of British supervision. The time of Pragmalji means High Schools, Libraries, Prag Mahal a type of Gothic and Italian Palace, Port Police, Special cell for minerals, Forest officers for forest protection. The first Bhuj Municipality was formed at that time only.

Khengarji III and the feel of freedom
After Pragmalji able rule was given by Sir Khengarji. In his time i.e. 1876 for a long period of time National freedom struggle could be felt in Kutch also.
Not only in Kutch but also outside Kutch in Bombay, in 1926 Late Shri Shoorji Vallabhdas’ first session, in 1927 in Mandvi Shri Laxmidas Ravji Tershi, in 1930 in Anjar Mr Yakub Hussain, in 1934 Shri Mulraj Karsandas, in 1937 Shri Biharilal Naranji Antani and In Mundra Yusuf Meheralli and in Bhuj and Koday Shri Gulabshankar Amrutlal Dholakia’s presidentship in 1945 and 1948 Conferences were held. In 1938 in Kutch Young Workers Union came into being.

The Indian National Conference made various demands before the ruling Council. In these days Jawaharlal Nehru also came forward before the nation’s ruling provinces to fight against the British.

The beginning of British rule in Kutch

Rao Raydhan and Jamadar Fateh Mohamad died in a span of 25 days in the year 1813. In the next seven years under the leadership of Rao Bharmalji,  the Union Jack of the British established itself on the soil of Kutch. Captain Mc Mardo set the British rule in Kutch.  He made the Landlords of Kutch and their rulers agree to British rule. At this time there was one strong person whose name is Dewan Laxmidas Kamdar. Let us talk about the present  history of Kutch in view of Deshalji. In 1819 the Company rule limited the powers of Kutch’s rulers by a treaty. They removed Bharmalji from the throne, and put  Deshalji on the throne.
                They put the British army in Kutch.  They put the ports of Kutch to British use. They stopped the drinking of milk by Kshatriya new born girl children. They gave separate rule to the Jadejas and the landlords to give effect to their ‘Divide and rule’ policy. After removing Bharmalji from the throne, the Child king Deshalji’s name was used but actually  the Regency Council ruled the state under the leadership of a British resident. Cow slaughter and peacock killing were banned in Kutch.

The trade of Kutch, Sea trade, Industries and agriculture got a very big setback during British interference but later the same got stabilized. Deshalji although 18 years of age took the management of law in his own hands. The trade with Africa especially Zanzibar improved significantly. Slowly and steadily the industrialization in Kutch got a set back which was started by Lakhpatji and Godji.

History of KACHCHH

The history of Kutch is very old. Traces of the Indus valley civilization (3000 to 1500 B.C.) have been discovered at Dholavira – Kutch. When Alexandra the Great reached these parts in 325 BC Rann was not an arm of the sea. The eastern branch of the Indus emptied itself into the Rann which made it into a fresh water lake.
The Mauryan empire broke of the Gujrat Kutch and Sindh passed under the rules of Greeks from Bactria in 140-120 BC. Bactrian rule over Gujrat, Kathiawad and Kutch was ended by Sakas in the 1st Century and ruled upto the 3rd century. After that Samudragupta attacked the Sakas and ended their rule.

At the end of the sixth century, the great conqueror king  Sahiras of Sindu found Kutch and easy conquest. A Chinese traveller’s evidence shows that Buddhism was in fact declining and Jainism was gaining ground in
Kathiawad and Sindh.

At the end of the seventh century the Arabs conquered Sindh.Samma Rajputs of the hindu clan settled in Kutch. Some of the chiefs also settled in Sindh and were allowed by the Arabs to be independent rulers there. In the early ninth century the chief of that clan was Lakho Ghuraro, who had two wives.
After the death of Lakho Ghuraro his eldest son Unnad succeeded, but Unnad’s step brother Mod and Manai plotted against him and killed him. Later on Mod and Manai conspired to kill their uncle Vagam Chavda and declared themselves the kings of the area. That time Patgadh was under the rule of seven brothers of the Sandh tribe "Seven Sandhs", who threatened to avenge the murder of Vagam. Later on Mod and Manai killed the seven sandhs and became the masters of the city and of its dependant territories.
 At that time Dharan Vaghela was a ruler of these areas. Mod made friendship with him and he got his son Sad married to Dharan’s sister. Mod and Manai’s death in the ninth century weakened Sad’s position. Dharan killed Sad and wanted to kill Ful, Sad’s six month old son, but he was saved.

When Ful grew up he challenged his maternal grand father Dharan Vaghela to combat. Dharan Vaghela by now an elderly man preferred to make peace by giving one of his daughters to Ful in marriage. But Ful never forgot that Dharan had murdered his father.
After a few years, Ful killed Dharan. Hearing this, Ful’s wife committed suicide. She was then pregnant and her unborn infant was brought out alive from her dead body. He was named Ghao (born of the wound). After this incident Ful changed his capital to Angorgadh, near Habai. He married his second wife Sonal from the Rabari tribe who gave birth to a son Lakho in 920 A.D.

Lakho Fulani was a powerful king. He was very famous in Kutch and Gujrat. He shifted his capital to Kera and built a fort. He died fighting on his friend Grahripu’s side at Atkot near Rajkot.
 After Lakho Fulani’s death his nephew Jam Punvaro succeeded to the throne without opposition. He built a fort called Padhargadh near Nakhatrana. However he was so cruel that the people hated him. Punvaro was killed by the Jakhs. After Punvaro’s death the Solankis and Chavdas ruled over Kutch.
     In the middle of the 12th century a Samma prince named Lakho decided to seek his fortune in the Rann of Kutch. This Lakho had been adopted by a childless Samma chief named Jadeja. Lakho arrived in Kutch in 1147 with his twin brother Lakhiar. By then the Chavda power had decayed and they built themselves a new capital Lakhiarwara, about 20 miles from the ruins of Padhargadh.
After Lakho’s death Rato Raydhan came to the throne. Some Jat tribesmen who had come to Kutch before Lakho Lakhiar gave him trouble. With support of the saint Garibnath Rato Raydhan successfully subdued the Jats and made gifts of the Land of the Dhinodhar monastery to Garibnath.
After the death of Raydhan in 1215 his territories were divided between his four sons. Deda, the eldest one was given Kanthkot, Odha the second son remained ruling Lakhiarwara, Gajan was given Bara and the fourth one Hothi was given twelve villages near Punadi.
In 1510 Rao Khengarji I descended from the old line of Odha assumed power with the full approval of the Ahmedabad Sultan and took on the title of "Rao". For the next 438 years Kutch was ruled by the Jadeja dynasty till its merger with the Indian Union in 1948.

મંગળવાર, 8 માર્ચ, 2011

How Kutch happened…

Sanju first planted that name in my head. The statistical sound to it was so different that it stayed back to echo in my subconscious till I googled it and reached www.60kph.com. The view from the Outside was cool. I wanted to check out the Inside so went knocking at their door at yahoo groups. Gaurav, the gatekeeper opened with a bouncer @ 180kph asking who you, what for, why us?! My defense was a suitable googly @ 100kph. Voila... the door opened and I was in, cruising @ 60kph
Romancing the Roads! Hmm... with the road in-laced with bouncers. I wondered how the romance would be? Soon I found out. This wasn't going to be the easy, let's ride down the road types. An agnipariksha (trial by fire) was waiting in the form of a long long ride to the Little Rann of Kutch. The scowling faces of my family popped up in my head; IBM was standing there hitting me with an attendance register; incredulous friends were shouting - "Oye paagal hain kya?" (are you mad?) and standing in front of them all was a giggling Sanju. Tugging at my hand saying "chal yaar, main hoon naaa..." (come on buddy, I'm there with you). If all that pressure was not enough, the Kutch virus invaded the emails. The run-up to the D-day saw Kbs of email exchange, several weekday and weekend meetings with Sanju, lots of shopping trips to JC road for spares and a primping for Titli and Dhanno at the Bullet workshop. Hectic it was and I was feeling a bit under the weather.

I had planned a Hit n Run strategy for home. After I finished packing, I quietly told Dad - "I'm leaving for Kutch tomorrow morning". He said calmly "OK, since you have already planned for this, I won't say anything. Next time, you talk about a ride, I will ask for a transfer to my native place". Then came the clincher - "When are you coming back?". I muttered, "in 15 days". The Hit was done! He looked away and turned slowly on his heel without saying one word. And it was time for me to... Run!
Poor dad. With me turning into the local atlas ever since Titli thumped into my life, he must have thought that Kutch was some place I discovered on the outskirts of Bangalore which is why he agreed to it in the first place. 15 days floored him. That was the last time he spoke to me. In fact he continued like that for a few days after my return as well! He's calm now.

KHAVDA – Rugged Rann

It was already 15:20 hours and I had to rush to my third section of the Rann – Khavda. The route I planned initially got flopped as the locals persistently discouraged me as the road was damaged by the recent flooding of the Rann. Therefore I had to miss the “Haji Pir Ki Dargah” and the adjoining Rann. ‘That evening when I rode to Khavda’ can itself become a full-fledged ‘landscape’ article. The unique thing about the landscape of the Rann is that it can be silty or flooded. Imagine Sun going down or rising far at the horizon on a clear sky. As good as looking at the Sun on Sea or Desert. Superb views coupled with quiet evenings and mornings.

I reached Khavda at around 19:00 hours. There was a small cluster of shops and few locals were sitting and chatting beside the road. I stopped my bike before a shop and asked the folks for a place to stay. They started enquiring me. Few moments later, the guys revealed themselves as Intelligence officials. They informed me that I couldn’t stay in Khavda as I have not brought the permission from Bhuj. I explained them that I had no information about the permission. They asked me to go back to Bhuj and bring permission. This seemed ridiculous to me as it was already 7:30 pm and Bhuj was 160 kms away and that too involved riding in the night on a bumpy road. I asked them for the nearest BSF post. They got furious over my query and said, “Tumse bola naah! Wapas jaao aur permission leke aaao”. As if I am not an Indian. I left them then and there and headed straight to the STD shop. The shopkeeper showed me the way to the Govt. guest house. Raoji bhai is a friendly fellow in his fourties. I asked for a room and he gave me one after identification. I thought it best to explain him what happened with those intelligence officials because they may trouble him later. Raoji bhai, though feared those officials, suggested me a way to protect the mutual interests. In the next few moments, Khavda found me in the BSF camp, 5 kms off the town waiting for the ‘Chief’. It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Leeladhar and Mr. M. K. Rana, his junior. Both BSF officers not only welcomed me but also assured me a visit to some ‘restricted areas’ near the Indo-Pak border after verifying my identity and learning about my interests. I returned to the guest house and asked Raoji Bhai to talk to the officers. At around 9:30 pm I went to the town to scour for food. I was lucky to find a local who took me to another local’s house. I had a sumptuous gujarati meal, the one normally taken in the ‘fast’ as it was the night of the pious Mahashivratri.

The room was excellent and I had a very good night’s sleep. Next day I was ready by 8:30 am and kept waiting for the two officers till 10:00 am, when they finally turned up. They regretted the late arrival due to some off late instructions from the headquarters and we were off to the one of the most unexplored regions in the western India. They left me at the India Bridge where no civilian could step except some privileged or authorized ones. Oh! What a sight. Unforgettable! On one side the Rann and on the other a small pool of rainwater flooded by flamingoes feeding on the algae. Five kilometers beyond that is ‘Anda Bet’ which is accessible only on the camel back till recently. Anda Bet is the place where Flamingoes lay their eggs in the GRK. And mind it. All this I enjoyed under the deafening noise of the engines of the Military trucks which kept on trailing one another, incessantly, till the time I bade goodbye to the guard at the India Bridge.

Mr. Leeladhar earlier informed me that had I brought the permission from Ministry of Environment or Defence, Indo-Pak border would not be an issue. Then I headed towards ‘Kala Dungar’. I was informed by the locals that ‘Dungar’ means a hill in ‘Kutchi’ language. “Kala Dungar” is the highest hill in the whole Kutch region, most beautiful and very critical with security point of view. It took me around an hour to climb to the top. A temple of Lord ‘Dattatreya’ has recently been renovated. It has a strange but true tradition. The food prepared in the temple premises is taken to a small hillock twice a day and the priest beats the plate and shouts – “Lome” many times. The priest informed me that a fox comes and eats the food and then only we have our food. Water shortage is the main problem there but a lot of construction activity was going on. Hill is heavily guarded by the BSF, Army and Air Force, though the latter has temporarily moved out from there.

I had little fuel (petrol) left in my tank and I knew fuel is not available till Bhuj. I approached Army guys and explained to them my problem. They were very friendly and chatted with me. After some initial hesitation, they asked me to come after one hour. They asked me to explore the hills till that time. After some rock-climbing, I was treated with some breathtaking views of the Rann. You can guess my enchantment with the Rann by the fact that I clicked at least ten snaps there. After one hour, when I returned, I was drenched with sweat. Army guys offered me food which I humbly declined. They gave me 1.5 Liter of petrol. Not even a single vehicle of theirs runs on petrol. I thanked those extra-ordinary men in the uniform. In fact I bowed before them, not for petrol but for the spirit with which they shared their precious resource without a fee. Believe it or not!

Then I came back to Khavda, took the rest of the luggage from the guest house, thanked Raoji Bhai for all the help and hospitality and headed straight for Bhuj.
On the way, I was struck with a sight which was a lesson for me. To tell you the truth, I never believed the ‘lome story’ of the Dattatreya temple at Kala Dungar. And look at this. What I saw running across the road was a full-fledged FOX. Yes buddy! A Fox, and that I saw for the first time in my life, never saw even in a zoo. Dark brown coloured – a camouflage – and very afraid of me and my machine. Kept running deep into the Rann taking brief halts to watch for me if I am following.

I never found time for the Bhuj city. I left the city at around 6:00 pm and stayed in Varahi, little short of Radhanpur. Next days halt was at my Bua’s place in Pali. There I interacted with some school children and local leaders. Next day’s news paper had a news article on my journey and arrival.

Lakhpat - Abandoned Legacy

I started driving along the Kori Creek towards Lakhpat area as I was missing the Rann badly by then. After a few kilometers, the road runs parallel to the sea with the shore being only few hundred meters away on the left. Lakhpat is famous as a fort township. Presently, only a majestic wall encloses the township. The creeky landscape, with sea & land playing hide & seek, gives Lakhpat a unique look. It was a busy sea-port as the large delta of the river Sindhu enabled ships to reach deep into the land and leave the port easily with tides. Lakhpat got developed due to the sea-trade and, in fact, was named so because the daily income from it was one lakh koris (the local currency). The whole western creek is called Kori Creek.

Gradually, with time, heavy siltation occurred due to the tectonic movements of the earth. This shifted the course of river Sindhu away from Lakhpat towards Karanchi in Pakistan. The place eventually has become the meeting point of the sea and the Rann, though it is difficult to make out where the Rann ends and Sea starts. No more trade turned the, once flourishing sea-port, into an abandoned legacy. People left the place slowly and now the total population of Lakhpat is hardly one hundred, spread in a total of fifteen families, excluding a Police Station. The town has one old and architecturally beautiful mosque, a few Shiva temples and a Gurudwara. Lakhpat is a tourists delight but without amenities. As I visited some of the Shiva temples there, I came to know that only left occupation is little bit of agriculture but that too is dwindling.
BSF posts dot the whole creek and there is one Center of Water Adventure Sports of Indian Army. I checked it out and was rewarded by the view of a fantastic seashore alongwith a few fishermen. There was a huge Guard Tower. The guards spotted me from a distance but didn’t say anything to me. As I proceeded towards the Rann, I wondered, how Lakhpat would have bustled with activities in its heydays. Although, the Rann is visible from the fort wall as a very wide empty stretch of flooded land, a more satisfying look can be had by zooming northwards from the fort to a nearby BSF post. The thing that makes this terra all the more interesting is the virtual absence of avian fauna, especially waders. Flamingoes, even otherwise, are known to prefer non-marine marshes.