I had read, scientists have researched that our DNA can be reprogrammed with words and frequencies. Amazing and unbelievable! Right? Now just ponder on this that even after so much advancement humans cannot control nature or make water. This is the reason whenever nature takes its turn what is left behind is the remnants of the opulence which existed there. Same was the fate of a small town in Gujarat which has turned into an abandoned town with just one blow of nature and couldn’t stand back. A glorious town of Kutch which nobody before 1819 would have thought would turn into a forbidden place, The Lakhpat Fort – Grandeur lost in history.
Yearning for the Unsung history
It is said that life is between birth and death but what about a place which exists beyond that and still the barred town of broken houses and the mighty fort wall has some inexplicable enthrallment. When I went to visit Rann Utsav like a tourist I had planned to visit Aaina Mahal, Parag Mahal, Hamirsar Lake to see the migratory birds, Kala Dungar and other eminent places. But as usual after discovering the whole area my sulemani Keeda probed me to know the lesser known places. This urge made me enquire about such place from the locals and this is when I got to know about the Lakhpat Fort. The story which they told me about this deserted place lost in history was enough to call me to the western edge of our country.
Back in 1800’s and before, Lakhpat was just not a town but a significant trading post which connected Gujarat to Sindh. Indus (Sindhu) river flowed in Lakhpat flourishing the city with prosperity. Believing the tales told by the people whose forefathers used to live in Lakhpat, the town used to have an income of 1,00,000 Koris everyday just from nautical activities. It is said that 15000 people lived there whose ancestors had actually migrated to Lakhpat in around 1028 AD to dodge the Muslim invasion and live peacefully as a Hindu. You would be amazed to know that during 1818 these people generated an annual income of Rs.60,000. (In Rupees not in Koris) This is quite evident from its name which reflects the grandeur as it means lakhpati or the town of lakhpati’s.
Upheaval by Supreme
With great wealth crops in the fear of losing, I believe this why Ruler Fateh Muhammad rebuilt and further expanded the Lakhpat fort in 1801 with a 7 km fort wall covering the whole town within itself. But who knew that these walls would stand still and watch the glory diminish to become extinct. In 1819, 36 shockwaves of earthquake stroked the Kutch region which is alleged to be over 8 in magnitude. Do you remember the earthquake in India and Nepal in 2015 that smashed Nepal and killed over 9000 people? That earthquake was of 7.8 magnitude. Now you can imagine what disaster earthquake must have brought to Lakhpat and its environs.
Yes, the loss was huge. The Indus River changed its track and shifted westward as a result of the formation of a natural dam, known as the Dam of God, Allah Bund that extended over 80 Km, Rice cultivation which yielded 80,000 Koris to Lakhpat was not possible now. The port which benefitted the town with the trade was now snatched away by nature and just the sand and broken boats were left behind on the parched riverbed. The magnificence of Lakhpat got vanished and most of the people with time left it all alone. I noticed one thing while I was going to the lonesome place that desert wildlife still befriended the place. You will surely have an encounter with monitor lizards, different birds and Nilgai as if they are keeping an eye on you.
Are you thinking when the place is abandoned and all you would see is broken houses then why to go there? Then just hold on, there are still many places you can visit in Lakhpat fort. Do you remember refugee movie? Yeah, I know it was a flop movie and who would remember that but the entry sequence of Abhishek Bachan was shot on the grand wall of Lakhpat fort. So when you come here apart from the Bollywood linkage, when you climb the wall, the saline flat desert of Rann of Kutch lures you strangely with its emptiness.
You will even be amazed to visit the Ghaus Mohammed no Kubo because of the complex stonework and to know that the water tank near the tomb is enigmatic and can heal the skin diseases. The other buildings which remain are Lord Shiva’s Hatkeshwar Temple, Sayyed Pir Shah Tomb and Lakhpat Gurudwara Sahib. The Gurudwara is believed to be the resting place of Guru Nanak Ji when he went to Mecca and the shrine still has some relics preserved.
At the end, I would say Lakhpat fort may not be a place commonly known or visited but sometimes to find yourself and understand the bitter truth of life you need to pay heed to a place like this. Otherwise, what would be the difference between you and the search engine optimisation tool?
How to reach Bhuj
Bhuj is a destination with some top-notch tourist destination like Rann of Kutch, Dholavira, Aaina Mahal, Parag Mahal, Lakhpat Fort and reaching here very convenient.
By Flight: Bhuj has its own airport which is connected with all the major cities and towns with regular flights.
By Trains: Bhuj is also well-connected rail network. There are many direct trains to Bhuj and via Ahmedabad which runs between Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi and other prominent junctions.
By Bus: You can also get regular buses which ply between Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Jodhpur.