Updated date:

Lakhpat in Kutchch - a Semi-Ghost-Town With a Difference

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 : a lonely town

Lakhpat - almost deserted now

Lakhpat - almost deserted now

lakhpat-in-kutchch-a-semi-ghost-town-with-a-difference

Lakhpat : a "Ghost City" with a difference


What is a "Ghost City"? A city where ghosts live?
Actually, the term is used to denote an originally well populated town or village where very few people live at present. A town or village becomes a Ghost City when due to some reason or other all or majority of the dwellers leave the area.
This type of Ghost Cities can be found in many countries, and there is a long list of such towns in the internet, just google to find the list.
In India, a well-known Ghost City is Dhanuskodi in the state of Tamilnadu. The coastal town of Dhanuskodi became deserted after a severe cyclone destroyed a large part of the town in 1964, and people left for safer areas.
A lesser known Indian Ghost City is Lakhpat in the Western Indian state of Gujarat. Once a flourishing port-city on Kori Creek of the Arabian Sea, close to the mouth of the mighty river Indus, Lakhpat was deserted after a severe earthquake in 1819 diverted the mouth of Indus further north, resulting in the loss of importance as a port. This caused a severe loss of trade, and by 1851 almost all trade and the majority of the inhabitants left Lakhpat making it an abandoned place. Now very few people live here, except a contingent of Border Security Force (BSF) of India.

Lakhpat : where is it?


Lakhpat is situated in the Taluka of same name in the district of Kutchch. It is on the mouth of Kori Creek, a portion of the Arabian Sea. It is roughly 130 km from the district headquarters Bhuj. Lakhpat's co-ordinates are 23 degrees 82 minutes North, 68 degrees 77 minutes East.

Lakhpat : the fort wall is seen at background

Lakhpat : the fort wall is seen at background

Lakhpat : the entrance now

Lakhpat : the entrance now

Lakhpat : a touch of History


Lakhpat was once a flourishing port-city. It is said that the daily revenue from different trades conducted here was more than one Lakh (one hundred thousand) "Kaurie", the coin used for trading here. There is a legend that the name "Lakhpat" came from this "Lakh" of Kauries.
Lakhpat is said to be founded in 13th century CE by Rao Lakha, the ruler of Kutchch at that time. The name "Lakhpat" has probably come from the name of its founder.
Lakhpat was on an important route connecting Gujarat with the state of Sindh, now in Pakistan.
Guru Nanak-ji, the founder of Sikh religion, on his pilgrimage (called UDASI) travelled to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia in the 16th century from Lakhpat via Sindh.
In 1801 CE, Fateh Muhammad, the Army Commander of the Jadeja Rajput rulers of Kutchch, renovated and fortified the old fort of Lakhpat. He is credited with building the 7 km long high wall of the fort. At that time 15,000 people lived in Lakhpat.
But in 1819 CE, a major earthquake struck in this region diverting the mouth of the river Indus, and the rest is said above.

Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

Hatakeswar Shiva temple; Lakhpat

Hatakeswar Shiva temple; Lakhpat

Hajrat Kamal Shah Dargah; Lakhpat

Hajrat Kamal Shah Dargah; Lakhpat

Maqbara of Hajrat Peer Sayed Ghaus Muhammad with my driver-cum-guide Gulam Hussain Sema in front

Maqbara of Hajrat Peer Sayed Ghaus Muhammad with my driver-cum-guide Gulam Hussain Sema in front

Lakhpat : why should anyone go there?


Lakhpat may be a near abandoned place now, but there are a number of important landmarks there to be seen. The most important of these are Gurudwara Phela Patshahi constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak-ji, the Maqbara (Mausoleum) of Hajrat Peer Sayed Ghaus Muhammad, an ancient mosque, a Dargah in the memory of Hajrat Kamal Shah, a famous Muslim saint and Hatakeswar Shiva temple. Moreover, the experience of visiting a Ghost City is also a major attraction.
Let's have a virtual tour of Lakhpat.

Lakhpat : the Walled City


The town of Lakhpat is surrounded by a 20 feet high and 7 km long stone built wall with 24 of watch-towers and 7 gates. On the western side, the sea is just beyond the wall.
The town is dusty, and though there are some dwelling houses, is almost deserted. Few buildings and temples can be seen here and there, and trees or foliage is sparse. There is an open stage constructed in recent years by the Tourism Department of the Gujarat Government on the western limit of the town.

Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

The wooden shoes of Guru Nanak-ji (on the right) and of his son (on the left); Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

The wooden shoes of Guru Nanak-ji (on the right) and of his son (on the left); Gurudwara Pehle Patshai, Lakhpat

Lakhpat : The Gurudwara


Guru Nanak-ji visited this place twice during his pilgrimages (called UDASI-s in the Sikh Religious Texts), once in 1506-13 CE, and again in 1519-21 CE. As already said, he travelled to Mecca and Medina from here via Sindh. A Gurudwara (Gurudwara Phela Pathshahi, also called Lakhpat Sahib) was constructed here in his memory. This Gurudwara has the wooden shoes of Guru Nanak-ji and his son, thus making this a very important religious place not only for the Sikhs, but to all.

I've previously written a full article on this Gurudwara in the Hubpages, and anyone interested may follow the link given below :
https://hubpages.com/travel/Gurudwara-Pehle-Patshai-Lakhpat

Lakhpat : the Maqbara ( mausoleum)

Lakhpat : the Maqbara ( mausoleum) 1

Lakhpat : the Maqbara ( mausoleum) 1

Lakhpat : the Maqbara ( mausoleum) - decorations in stone

Lakhpat : the Maqbara ( mausoleum) - decorations in stone

Exquisite stone carvings --  Maqbara (mausoleum), Lakhpat

Exquisite stone carvings -- Maqbara (mausoleum), Lakhpat

Lakhpat : the Maqbara ( mausoleum)


This Maqbara is a fine example of architecture of Kutchch. Dedicated to the memory of Peer Hajrat Sayed Ghaus Muhammad Kadri, a noted Sufi Muslim holy-man, this stone built structure is a nice example of architectural style of Kutchch. This structure is locally known as KUBO.
Built in 1855 CE after the death of the Peer over his tomb on a 7 feet high stone platform with dimensions of 54 feet by 54 feet, this 63 feet high octagonal structure with 4 doors is decorated with exquisite stone work of floral and geometric design.

Lakhpat : the mosque

The medieval mosque; Lakhpat

The medieval mosque; Lakhpat

Lakhpat : the mosque


This medieval mosque with nine domes is deer to the local Muslim community.

Lakhpat : the Dargah

Dargah of Peer Kamal Shah; Lakhpat

Dargah of Peer Kamal Shah; Lakhpat

Lakhpat : the Dargah


The Dargah is built in the memory of Peer Kamal Shah, a famous Muslim saint. There is a popular legend about the Peer. It is said that Peer Kamal Shah was an inhabitant of Koklia village near the port city of Mandvi. Before his death, he expressed his wish to be buried in Lakhpat. Accordingly, after his death his body was brought to Lakhpat, but the administrators of the town refused to let his dead body in. A disput ensued, but suddenly the Peer rose from the dead, and asked permission to enter and stay in Lakhpat. The administrators, thoroughly shaken by now, allowed the Peer to enter the town. Peer Kamal Shah lived in Lakhpat for one month, and "died" a second time. He was buried there, and later a Dargah was constructed over his tomb.
The single domed Dargah, though simple in appearance, thus bears a great religious significance.

Lakhpat : Hatakeswar Shiva temple

Hatakeswar temple; Lakhpat

Hatakeswar temple; Lakhpat

Shivalingam; Hatakeswar temple; Lakhpat

Shivalingam; Hatakeswar temple; Lakhpat

Idol of Lord Ganesha; Hatakeswar temple, Lakhpat

Idol of Lord Ganesha; Hatakeswar temple, Lakhpat

The second Shiva temple, Hatakeswar; Lakhpat

The second Shiva temple, Hatakeswar; Lakhpat

Lakhpat : Hatakeswar Shiva temple


Actually, this is not a single temple, but a temple-complex with three members -- the main temple dedicated to Lord Hatakeswar, a Durga temple and a second slightly smaller Shiva temple.
It was built in 1850 CE by local Nagara community.
The main temple is built in North Indian style -- a domed Mandapa in front, then the sanctum with a tall Shikhar (spire). There is an idol of seated Nandi the Bull in the hall. The sanctum houses the Shiva Lingam and a picture of Lord Shiva's consort goddess Parbati.

The secondary Shiva temple is similar, though a little smaller.
Beside the main temple, there is a small temple dedicated to goddess Parbati.

Lakhpat : Conclusion


The most striking thing in Lakhpat, at least to me, is the environment of communal harmony. Gurdwara of Sikhism and temples of Hinduism stay side by side with Islamic mosque , Dargah and Maqbara, and in complete peaceful harmony.
Lakhpat is situated in a remote place at the western-most tip of India, and is largely unknown. A little endeavour from the Tourism Department of the Government will definitely help in tourist influx which may someday revive the economy of Lakhpat, thereby re-establishing the past glory of this lonely town.

Related Articles