Lakhpat is a small town located close to the western most tip of Gujarat. Historically, Lakhpat used to an important port city. During its peak trading time, the revenues used to cross more than one lakh koris (Kori was a monetary unit being used at Kutch during those times). In fact, the town derives its name due to this reason (land of one lakh koris). The port used to connect Kutch with the now Sindh province of Pakistan.
Town of Lakhpat
Lakhpat has had a strong history during the 1800s. The prominent landmark that we can still see in a fort within which the trading used to happen. This fort was constructed in 1801 by Jamadar Fateh Muhammed. The fort has huge and thick walls. The whole town is enclosed within the 7 km long wall. The northern side of the fort had the Indus River flowing in its full glory, and separated the Sindh province with Kutch. The western part of Lakhpat has the Great Rann of Kutch.
In the early 1800s, Lakhpat started growing tremendously. Over a couple of decades the population within the fort tripled and about 15000 people resided within it. It was then, in 1819, that a devastating earthquake (that measured over 8 on Richter Scale) stuck Lakhpat. Lakhpat was shattered. The earthquake was so devastating that the course of the River Indus shifted completely. The river that used to flow next to the fort, now flows in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The older course in now an just extension of Great Rann! What was once a thriving trading port slowly started turning into a ghost town. People started vacating the place in search of better place, better shelter, better amenities. Today, the town has only about 700-800 people residing!
Great Rann, after River Indus changed its course
Inside the fort
The ruins of the fort is the main attraction of Lakhpat today. While the inside of the fort bares a deserted look, and has many ruined buildings from the bygone era, the wall of the fort still stands tall. The fort has several gates and bastions that can still be seen. You can also see several buildings that are recently built!
One of the prominent constructions that catches your eye is a tomb of Ghaus Mohammad that is built with the black stones available locally. Ghaus Mohammad was believed to have supernatural powers and used to have many followers. After this death in 1855, his brother Bava Mia built the tomb with the contribution made by his followers. The tomb, locally known as Kubo, is octagonal in shape, and is richly carved.
Lakhpat is also a pilgrim centre for the Sikh community. This is because, it is believed that Gurunanak Devji had visited this site while he was on his way to Mecca. The house, which is built on the site he had stayed, is now converted into a Gurudwara, and also has collections of some of his personal possessions.
While wandering around the town, you can find several steps that lead to the top of the fort wall. If you climb up the wall on the northern side of the fort, you can get a view of the huge Great Rann. The Rann bears a marshy look during and post monsoon season, and remains completely dry during the rest of the months.
Overall, if you are interested in exploring a ruined town, Lakhpat is a good visit. It will be a long walk inside the fort, and hence it is a good idea to hire/drive/ride a vehicle to explore the town in more detail.
Where to stay?
- Few basic hotels at Narayan Sarovar
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