Road Journeys – Circulating the Kutch: Narayan Sarovar & Koteshwar Mahadev

After coming out of the Ghost Town, Lakhpat, I was anxious if we can reach another 30 km with the already dried tank. There was no hope of any assistance in case the car goes on hunger strike. The straight road ahead was on the other hand challenging to run on it, along the creek all the way upto Narayan Sarovar. Let me tell you, my wife was not aware of the situation hence, she was too energetic in enjoying the pacific dreadful atmosphere. Daringly, I started rolling on the straight single road with a/c off and more on neutral. With thumping heart, I was just praying to reach as closer as possible to any settlements or inhabited locality. But alas! We were driving through the Desert Sanctuary, popularly known as Narayan Sarovar Wild Life Sanctuary. I had recently, before planning the trip to Gujrat on road read about it and found that there is neither public conveyance nor any settlements in the entire zone.

Welcome Gate at Narayan Sarovar

Welcome Gate at Narayan Sarovar


The road was throughout single, isolated, un-inhabited and sheer windy along the creek and amidst thick long thorny bushes, but well maintained, perhaps due to military access. Luckily, the longest ever 30 km road was negotiated skillfully and we reached Narayan Sarovar before it was too dark. Later realized that we have not happened to see any wild life in the entire stretch, not even a Chinnkara or any Great Indian Bustard for which the sanctuary is meant.

On enquiries, we were informed about availability of fuel in every 2nd shops there, but at a much higher price, almost double. Helplessly, I had to pay Rs. 500/- after a bargain for 5 litres of contaminated petrol.

For information, the only accommodations available at Narayan Sarovar are the nominally paid Dharamshalas and no eateries as well. Langars at the old Dharamshala however, serve the purpose. The only public conveyance is a bus that reaches late evening and leaves early in the morning, connecting Bhuj.

Open Courtyard inside the Dharamshala

Open Courtyard inside the Dharamshala

We were provided with a room in the new Dharamshala at Rs. 200/- which included the free meal or Langar in the old Dharamshala. This was one of the most tiring and exhaustive days in our entire journey. Starting from Bhuj early morning, I drove all the way upto Narayan Sarovar in a single day after visiting amazing Kalo Dungar, enchanting White Rann and historical Fort Lakhpat, besides other short breaks on route.

Narayan Sarovar Compiled from Wikipedia

Narayan Sarovar Compiled from Wikipedia

Vishnu Temple at Narayan Sarovar (Wikipedia)

Vishnu Temple at Narayan Sarovar (Wikipedia)

Next morning, we waited till almost 8 am until the delayed sun rise, due to the extreme west location, after which we visited the Narayan Sarovar entering through the temple complex. The temple houses innumerable deities but the main shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Mythology says Narayana, another name of Vishnu has created the lake while his stay there. Also, it is popular that the holy water of River Saraswati, all the way, reached to fill the lake, thus sacred. In Hindu Mythology Narayan Sarovar is considered as one of the five most sacred lakes, others equally revered are the Mansarovar in Tibet, Bhubneshwar in Orissa, Pushkar in Rajasthan and Pampa in Karnataka. Together they are called Panch-Sarovar like the Char-Dham. The sanctity of the lake and up-keeping was again painful to witness therefore, we preferred to sprinkle the holy water for the ritual.

Stairs upto the Platform

Stairs upto the Platform

Koteshwar Mahadev Temple

Koteshwar Mahadev Temple

Original Lingam

Original Lingam

Nandi inside the Shrine

Nandi inside the Shrine

Five kilometers further is situated the very ancient Koteshwar Mahadev Temple at the dead end of the land mass beyond which is the vast salt marsh on the right and the rest surrounded by water, mockingly merging the man made boundaries. It is believed that Ravana was blessed by Lord Shiva and gifted the miraculous Lingam with a boon of immortality lest the lingam shall not be dropped on the way. The other gods, fearing supremacy of Ravana played foul by creating coerced dropping. Once put down, the lingam dispersed in crores (ancient, Koti). Out of illusion Ravana picked the imitated one, thus leaving the original at Koteshwar. Ever since, the Lingam is worshipped as Koteshwar Mahadev.

Koteshwar Temple at Dawn

Koteshwar Temple at Dawn

West-Most Tip of Land Mass

West-Most Tip of Land Mass

Soothing View at Dawn

Soothing View at Dawn

The temple is situated at the edge of the vast water body of Kori Creek hence, constructed on a high platform and bounded by stone boundary to protect damage from constant water splashing. It was a pleasant delight to glimpse the intricately built structure in lowly brightened pale yellow light of the rising sun. It was told that the lights in Karachi, Pakistan are visible from there in clear nights. Unbelievable because Karachi seems far off from there. The fishing boats of India, while sailing in the Creek bear furling Indian Tri Colour flags and similarly the Pakistanis bear their National Flags as notions of their nationality. This is perhaps to keep check on them from dare crossing the invisible boundary, drawn on water and also in identifying the intruders who are otherwise identical naturally.

The Journey Continues ……

21 Comments

  • DHANESH SHARMA says:

    SHARMA JI,VERY VERY THANKS FOR SO MANY INFORMATIVE GOOD POSTS ABOUT GUJRAT.I ALSO WANT TO VISIT THE WHOLE GUJRAT IN MY TATA SAFARI WITH FAMILY.PL.SUGGEST THE GOOD SEASON WITH DETAILED ROAD ROUTE.I WIIL WAIT FOR YOUR REPLY.THANK YOU

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Dear Dhaneshji,
      At the outset, my heartiest thanks for reading the posts and inspiring. My views, November 2nd week to March 2nd week will be better in Gujrat. Summer is very hot and dry. Road condition entirely is very nice, mostly NH-8. The SH are also nice.

      In case you start from Delhi, I may suggest a route as:

      Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Chittorgarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad-Junagarh-Gir-Somnath-Diu-Porbandar-Dwarka-Jamnagar-Tankara-Bhuj-Khavda(Rann)-Kalo Dungar-Mata no Madh-Lakhpat-Narayan Sarovar-Mandvi-Mt. Abu-Chittorgarh-Udaipur-Jaipur-Delhi

      You may stay at:
      Day-1 & 2 Ahmedabad (Gandhi Nagar)
      Day-3 Jamnagar
      Day-4 & 5 Sasan Gir or Somnath
      Day-6 Diu
      Day-7 & 8 Dwarka
      Day-9 & 10 Jamnagar (Narara Marine Sanctuary & Khijadia Bird Sanctuary)
      Day-10 Narayan Sarovar (Lakhpat)
      Day-11&12 Mt. Abu (Mandvi on route)
      Day-13 & 14 Udaipur
      Day-15 Chittorgarh
      Day-16 Ajmer or Jaipur
      Day-17 Delhi

      A tentative 5000 km easy & smooth drive. Avoid night driving though it is safe but it is fatal driving at night on such long travels. For further details, you may refer my posts.

      Thanks and wish you a safe and happy journey. Please feel free for further assistance.

      Keep travelling
      Ajay

  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Dear Ajay,

    Very well written post. I completely engaged with it. This time I have a grudge, “The story is too short ” :-) LOL.

    Did you try to see the lights in Karachi? Or if there was load shading in Karachi? LOL

    Waiting for your next……………

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Dear Anupam,
      Wow! you grudged on same issue. Never mind, yes it is short because the subject of the next post was different and I didn’t want to elaborate more about the destination.
      Lights, as people confidently claimed are visible from Koteshwar, I doubt because Karachi is far-far. May be the lights are of the fishing boats sailing at the far ends. No. I didn’t even try watching them. Moreover, we visited there early in the morning and immediately left for the next destination which may follow soon.

      Thanks for all your support and kind words.

      Keep travelling
      Ajay

  • Vivek Kumar Srivastava says:

    lovely post and nice picture Ajay ji,

    is last three photos captured by you?

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Dear Vivek,
      Thanks for appreciating. Yes, all the pics except those, which are captioned as “compiled from wikipedia” are mine. A small enhancement prior to posting the photos make them catchy.

      Keep travelling
      Ajay

  • Venkat says:

    Another beautiful post on Gujarat, Ajay Sir.

  • Hello Ajay! Hope you doing well

    I have just read your blog and see images you have posted, nice snapshots. I must tell you Ajay Ji that your objective description will inspire all readers of this post to visit Kutch. Thank you for sharing such a nice post. Cheers…:)

  • Kailash Mehta says:

    Hello Ajay!

    Nice writeup with nice snapshots which very well explain the journey you enjoyed.

    Cheers & Safe travel.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Nikhil,
    Thanks you so much for your expert view & humble appreciation. The motive of our writing & sharing the travel stories is simply to assist readers in planning the trips effectively. If the story inspires, it is an added bonus.

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

  • DHANESH SHARMA says:

    DEAR AJAY JI,VERY VERY THANKS FOR DETAILED ROAD ROUTE AND ABOUT STAY AT DIFFERRNT PLACES.

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Dhanesh Ji,
      My honour, please visit our family, Ghumakkar! more often. Happy journey!

      Keep travelling
      Ajay

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Yes, it is a short post but it has got so many comments. :-)

    The pics, esp the last few, are marvellous. I guess the location of these places make them less attractive and hence no tourism infra is found. Did you see any other tourists ?

    And going by your details, I think it is time you start keeping a jerrycan of spirit (for the car, I mean) in the boot.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Nandan,
    Thanks a lot for praising the pics. Yes, even I was not sure of such good comments on the pics. The story was short as it was not good to mix it up with my next log, with a different landscape.

    The Spirit Idea is nice. I will follow it next time in disguise.

    Tourists, No! not a single at Lakhpat nor in Narayan Sarovar, there were few visitors at Narayan Sarovar, who were rather local pilgrims.

    Regards
    Ajay

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Amazing Ajay!

    Finally to the west ern most point!

    Love to hear the stories around the temples – Any idea where Pampa is in Karnataka?

    Photos are amazing too!

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Hi Nirdesh,
      Thanks a lot for the nice words. Though I have not visited Pampa & Mansarovar however,to quench your thirst I browsed & producing the excerpts from wikipedia:

      “Pampa Sarovar is a lake in Koppal district near Hampi in Karnataka. To the south of the Tungabhadra River, located in a valley, hidden among the hills on the road to Anegundi from Hospet. It is about a kilometer from the foothills of the Hanuman Temple. The lake is filled with lotuses, and is really picturesque when the flowers are in bloom. There is a Lakshmi temple, as well as a Shiva temple facing the pond. Next to the pond, under a mango tree stands a small Ganesh shrine.”

      Thanks for liking the post and the pictures.

      Keep traveling
      Ajay

  • Nisha Thacker says:

    If any one have contact details of narayan sarovar daramshala, please let me know soon. It’s urgent

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