The thrill of exploring the abandoned always ignites a lust for adventure in many of us. Deserted settlements, abandoned homes, townships buried under calamities, all host wonderful tales and history and most importantly, spooky ghost stories.
If you are in the mood for one such tale, welcome to Gujarat’s very own ghost town – Lakhpat.
The Geography of Lakhpat:
The nearest place of stay to Lakhpat would be at Bhuj although it is quite the long journey. The town is surrounded by 7km fort walls which are estimated to be built around 1801 by Jamadar Fateh Muhammed. The Rann is visible from atop the fort and it is a sight not to be missed.
A spiritual outlook:
The town also holds significance to India’s 3 important religions: Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. Guru Nanak, the spiritual founder of Sikhism was known to have made his final stop at Lakhpat before he went to Mecca. A Gurudwara has been erected where he camped.
The Sufi Mystic Pir Ghaus Muhammad has been buried in Lakhpat and his stone tomb holds a water tank, the water of which is said to have healing properties. His nine-domed mausoleum has also been constructed in the town.
A historical insight to Lakhpat:
Lakhpat has had a rich history in the times it flourished as a trade route in the Western end of Gujarat. The town has been abandoned since the 1819 earthquake. As River Indus that flowed through Lakhpat changed course due to the earthquake, livelihood withered and people moved away to other cities. Those who have been left behind are now impoverished and are struggling to make ends meet.
As per one of the locals, the very walls surround Lakhpat led to its despair. The town was once the settlement of millionaires as its name suggests – Lakhpati. However, it was under constant threats of robbery and the prosperity of the town eventually fell. The administration of the time (between 1786-1801) Fateh Muhammad proposed to the King, Raja III of a plan to build a wall around Lakhpat. The proposal was shot down as the town did not have sufficient funds to raise a wall.
However, Fateh Muhammad plotted to loot the nearby town, Pir, under the rule of King Mosopir. After the success of the event, the wall was built with the robbed money. King Mosopir shortly died thereafter, unable to take the pain of the robbery and what it had cost him.
18 years after the construction of the wall in1801, an earthquake struck Lakhpat. The locals have a proverb for the incident, “Moso Vayo Hajj, Ne Fateh Muhammad Ke Aayo Sajj.”
Staying in Lakhpat:
The Gujarat Tourism guesthouse is as abandoned as Lakhpat so one would have to stay inside the Gurudwara. With a little donation, travelers and tourists can be accommodated for a day or two but it is definitely worth it: to experience India’s very own Ghost Town.
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