More you know Kutch, more you appreciate its historical and ancestral perspective. We come across several instances of Kutch as we delve deeper into the history. This goes on to show that Kutch was known across the world since the ancient times. Since the reference list is likely to be too lengthy, we would take a snap view here.
Kutch is a Sanskrit word, equivalent to tortoise in English. Even as the name is derived from its geographical shape, the Indian mythological epic, ‘Bhagwat’, describes one incarnation of Lord Vishnu as ‘Kacchap’, thereby adding religious ancestral sanctity to the nomenclature.
Kutch also gets a mention in ‘Vaayupuraan’ along with other regions, as: ‘Bhanu-Kutch, Saraswat, Kutch, Surashtra and Aanart – are the regions near river Narmada, having linkages to the hilly region of Abu’.
Indian Mythology refers to Narayan Sarovar as one of the four major lakes of ancient India. It is said that sages used to practice their penance here.
Poet Kalidas has also referred Kutch in the description of the passage to Alkapuri in Meghdoot (કન્દલીશ્યાનુ કચ્છમ).
Kutch is also discussed in Amar Kosh as well as in ‘Paanini Ashtaadhyayi’.
The jain epic ‘Bhagwat Sutra’ states that: ‘The region surrounded by river waters and having trees, is Kutch.’
The review of literatures reveals that Ram, Laxaman and Sita seem to have travelled to Narayan Sarovar during their forest-sojourn. Places known as, Well-of-Ram, Garden-of-Sita, Cave-of-Ram, Cave-of-Laxman, still exist. It is also believed that temple of Koteshwar is built on multi-crore fragments of Shiva-Statue, ostensibly broken up when Ravana placed it on the ground near Narayan Sarovar during his return journey.
It is also believed that Pandavs of Mahabharat had stayed at ’Gedi’, near Rapar, during their last incognito year of the exile to the forests. A place known as ‘Bhim-gudo’ exists even now in that region.
Megesthanis also refers Kutch as Isle-of-Abyss. It is also believed that King Alexander had passed through Kutch in his return journey. Plin, the first century B.C. traveler, has described Kutchis as ‘odumbary’. Bactrian writer Strubo describes Kutch as ‘Crown Nation’, probably on the basis of which Moghul historian Abul Fazal mentions Kutch as “the Shining Crown’
Tolumi, Periplus, stone-writings of Xatraps, Hue-en -Sang also refer to Kutch.
All these go on to demonstrate that Kutch is ancient and has existed ever since.
— Translation of Chapter ‘કચ્છ કેટલું જૂનું?’ @ pages # 72-73
From the book: “કચ્છઃ વિહંગાવલોકન”
First Edition: July 2011
Author: Haresh Dholakia email@example.com
Publishers: Goorjar Granthratna Karyalay firstname.lastname@example.org
ISBN 987 -81-8480-596-3