Dr. A K Chatterjee is a seasoned writer with more than 330 blogs in English and Bengali and 10 books mostly on travel, trekking and temples.
Lakhpat, the walled town
Lakhpat : Introduction
"Koli Tarana Guru Nanak Aayaa" (Guru Nanak came to save the world from the evil Koli"...
"Koli" or "Kali" (not Kaali, the Goddess) is the 10th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, and according to Hindu mythology Kali will descend to the earth at the end of the "Kalyuga"(the 4th or last of the four YUGAs or eras which is running at present) when the Evil rules the day, to destroy everything which is evil.
The Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born to show the humanity the road to be free from the evil effects of the Kalyuga.
There are so many writings about Guru Nanak-ji, that almost everyone knows at least something about the great soul. So, to write anything about him is nothing but carrying coal to New Castle, and I'm not trying that too.This article is about a Gurudwara (equivalent to a temple in Sikhism) situated at the westernmost corner of this vast land that is India where Guru Nanak-ji came thrice and stayed for more than a month. The blessed Gurudwara is "Gurudwara Pehle Patshahi", also known as "Gurudwara Shri Guru Nanak Darbar, Lakhpat Sahib".
Where is Lakhpat?
Lakhpat is a small town with very little population situated in the sub-district of the same name in the Kutchch district of the state of Gujarat, India. Lakhpat is situated at the mouth of the Kori Creek of the Arabian Sea. The small town, once a florishing port-city, is now almost abandoned, with less than one thousand permanent inhabitants and is often designated as a "Ghost City". The town of Lalhpat is enclosed by a 18th-century
high fort wall, the remnant of once glorified Lakhpat fort. The geographical co-ordinates of Lakhpat are 23.82 degrees north, 68.77 degrees East.
Lakhpat is situated about 130 km from Bhuj, the main city of Kutchch.
Gurudwara Pehle Patshai
Gurudwara Pehle Patshahi : Why should one visit?
There are thousands of Gurudwaras all over the world -- some are very famous, some almost unknown outside the local community. So, it is a natural question why should one take up so much difficulties to go to Lakhpat at the remote corner of this vast country to visit one particular Gurudwara?
The answer is not less than dramatic -- Lakhpat is the place Guru Nanak-ji came and stayed for over a month on his journey to holy places (these journeys are called UDASI in Sikh religious texts) not once, but twice. And most importantly, from this place he went to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.
So, this added an extra importnace to Lakhpat where a Gurudwara was constructed later.
A touch of History
Guru Nanak-ji came to Lakhpat twice during his pilgrimages ('Udasi'-s) -- first during his second pilgrimage to Deccan (South India) in 1506-13 CE, and again during his fourth "Udasi" in 1519-21 on his way to Mecca and Medina. It is said that he went to Saudi Arabia via Sindh from Lakhpat. Guru Nanak-ji returned to Lakhpat after visiting the two holy paces in Saudi Arabia.
Gurudwara Pehle Patshai : Nishan Sahib
A visit to Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat
One enters the town of Lakhpat through the opening in a high stone-built fort wall. On entering the dusty and almost deserted town, on your left is a signboard from the Border Security Force (BSF). Lakhpat is an important bastion of BSF, as Lakhpat is only a little over 200 km from Karachi, the port-city of Pakistan.
A liitle distance away, you can see the entrance to the Gurudwara, adorned with a semi-circular board depicting the words "Gurudwara Shri Guru Nanak Darbar, Lakhpat Sahib", and that is your destination.
High above the Gurudwara the 34 meters high "Nishan Sahib" (the holy flag) flutters in the breeze coming from the sea, and it greets the visitors, one and all.
Inside Gurudwara Pehle Patshai
Inside Gurudwara Pehle Patshahi
On entering the Gurudwara premises, one can see a hall and the office on the right, and on the left, inside a walled area is the Gurudwara proper, which can be approached throgh a small gate adorned by the saffron flags of Sikhism.
On one side of this gate is written in bold letters "KALYUG BABEY TAARIA SATINAMU PADH MANTRA/ KALI TARAN GUR NANAK AAYAA", and on the other side "BABA FIRI MAKKA GAYA, NEEL VASTRA DHAREY BANOWARI".
The last verse points to Guru Nank-ji's visit to Makka (Mecca).
The Guridwara building is stone-built, with double slanted roof. There are a number of hanging verandas (JHAROKA) on outside. The external wall contains a little decoration depicting elephants, flowers etc.
The entry to the sanctum is guarded by a heavy wooden door.
Gurudwara Pehle Patshai : inside the sanctum
Inside the sanctum of Gurudwara Pehle Patshahi
Inside the sanctum, on the left there is the holy GURU GRANTHSAHIB, the holy book of the Sikhs. And on the centre, inside a glass-box, two pairs of ancient wooden shoes are displayed. The pair of shoes on the right of the on-looker once belonged to Guru Nanak-ji, and it is said that he used these during his pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina -- a priceless treasure indeed.
the other pair of shoes belonged to Guru Nanak's son.
There is also a wooden cradle there, which is said to belong to Guru Nanak-ji, and so this is also a priceless treasure by its own right.
Gurudwara Pehle Patshai : the Langar
Gurudwara Pehle Patshai : the LANGAR
LANGAR is the community dining hall, where food is served to all and every visitor, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, and it is absolutely free. Food is simple (I ate Chapatis, rice and Dal), but clean and tasty.
Gurudwara Pehle Patshai : Conclusion
Any personal article used by Guru Nanak-ji is holy and priceless not only to the followers of Sikhism, but to everyone. So, if you are interested in seeing his shoes, and that too used by him while on a great pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, two holiest of Islamic pilgrimage sites, you must visit Gurudwara Pehle Patshahi at Lakhpat.
How to go to Lakhpat?
The best way to go to Lakhpat is from Bhuj, a big city with airport and important railways connections. From Bhuj Lakhpat is about 130 km by road. Cars are available at Bhuj.
The trip to Lakhpat can easily be added to a visit to Narayan Sarovar (one of the five holiest of 'Sarovar'-s or lakes of Hinduism) and Koteswar Shiva temple which houses the Koteswar Shiva Lingam. The other name of Koteswar Shiva is Bhimalochana, who is the consort of Hinglaj Mata, the goddess of the famous Shakti temple situated in Baluchistan, Pakistan.
Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on April 08, 2021:
Very well described, Dr. Chatterjee. You have covered very minute details and your photographs amount to Darshan of the Gurdwara. Articles of historic places with such photograph is a treat to eyes. Thanks for publishing this article.