The almost hidden places of Kutch, Baladia
by Shonal Jesani
A trip to India is like visiting to a whole new world. It is an experience you may never forget, with its many different cultures, traditions, cuisines and people.
It is a vast country spanning over 3 million square kilometres, which embraces a backdrop of the wonderful Himalayas. India harbours one of the eight wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, which in itself is an elegantly designed monument and stands in the heart of Agra.
When in India, many of us will usually travel to our gaam, Baladia. There we normally go to see the Temples and are more often than not caught up in the hustle and bustle with the people of the gaam. We venture out, but the furthest some of us have ever been is not far beyond the city of Bhuj. A wonderful gaam as it may be, we never see the real beauty of it and experience it as the true people of the village do. The new sports ground which has been built at the edge of the gaam is a place to see as people gather there to watch the teams play cricket.
Within and outside Baladia there truly many exciting places to visit. Kari Tarav in Chateri, the Gangaji River near the Shiva Mahadev Mandir in Baladia and the wonderful beaches in Mandvi are all more traditional places to visit.
The Shiva Mahadev Mandir holds a truly amazing story behind the origination of the temple. For before the temple stood there it was mere farmland on which a Shivaling (Symbol of Shiva) was found while the farmer was ploughing. The Shivaling began to bleed with the impact and from then on it was known as the worship place of Lord Shiva. A new addition to the temple is that of the grand murti’s of Lord Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh and Hanumanji which are visible from a huge distance away.
A few non-traditional places to visit are the gaam’s water reservoir and what I would say are like great canyons, the “Vijya Sagar” dam. It is located on Mandvi Road between Daisara and Mandvi and lasts for about a 2 km radius. It is usually full of water but most of it had dried out on our trip in December. It is an amazing place to visit with spectacular views to the horizon and beyond.
As a personal experience I would like to mention the “Shri Vijeswar Sarovar”, although it located in Manukwa, it is only a short trip away from Baladia. The legend goes that Lord Shri Swaminarayan noticed a man drowning in the lake and courageously pulled him out. There now stands a momentum of that courage, a beautiful landscape of where the lake meets the steps up to the temple which is considered a blessing.
On Airport Road going towards Khawada you will find the biggest dam in Kutch, “Rudramata” dam. When it overflows the water runs in to the “Vijya Sagar”. When “Hamisar”, a dam in Bhuj overflows, the water runs into “Rudramata.” All the dams are interconnected and they run like the veins of Kutch.
On your next visit to Baladia be sure to check out a bus map or take a guide, someone who is familiar with the village, and explore to your heart’s content. Get on a bus or train (heading out from Bhuj) to many wonderful cities such as Gandhidham and Rapar. Rajkot is one great city to see with its golden sand and amazing history, you will find a land full of ancient Palaces of past rulers. Bhuj also connects you to a network of trains running to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and as far as Delhi. Ahmedabad is a city of new found trend and also old traditions. Go there to find a wide collection of clothing and wedding garments which are marvellously elegant. From Ahmedabad you can go to Surat where the old tradition is the way of the people. In its wonderful scenery you will find some amazing Temples and some old stories which get your imagination going.
So as the 40th Anniversary celebrations continue, your next visit to your gaam should be more interesting.
|Chateri||Mandvi||Shri Vijeswar Sarovar Manukwa|