Godpar - The Village
Containing the only trees of its kind in the area of Kutch, probably even Gujarat - Chhamakli (Adansonia aka baobab or Dedo in local vernacular) - and surrounded by rivers, farms and forests, Godpar is situated around 20 km South of Bhuj Town and is to the west of Bhuj-Mandvi highway.
The main entrance leading to the village is off a bridge built in late 1970s over three rivers. The rivers run on the sides of the village and join up into one which flows by Kera and Kundalpur to join the Arabian Sea. For this reason, this place is known as Triveni Sangam.
Nearby there are isolated seats and seats around trees planted on the banks of the river. These have been constructed from funds donated by ex-patriots and the Godpar branch of the Bank of India. Villagers, especially ex-patriots, go to this area in the mornings and evenings to sit around Jaksh. They get to enjoy the cool breezes in summer and green environment in the monsoon and winter seasons. During the monsoon and winter seasons, the water reservoirs created by building check-dams on the rivers are full. Regular watering of trees and other maintenance such as cleaning is carried out by retired members of our community on voluntary bases.
These activities keep them both physically and mentally fit. Jaksh Baunter: What we call Jaksh were originally Iranians who sailed from their land and arrived at the Jakhau Port in Kutch around 400 years ago, because they were seventy two (Baunter) in number, they are known as Jaksh Baunter.
Upon their arrival, they helped the poor and destitute people of the area who were being taken advantage of by the rich people who made them work very hard without adequate remuneration. The Jakshs helped the poor and unwell people by providing them with food and medicine. The locals thought that God Almighty had sent these Jakshs to help them. Some time after the Jakshs had left; the local communities decided to do something in their remembrance and built Jaksh Baunter memorials at various places including Godpar, Madhapar and Kakar-Bhet. In the memorials, they installed white coloured statues of horses and their riders. The statues are coloured white because the Jakshs used to wear white clothes and rode white horses as it was very sunny and hot at the time in Kutch.
In Godpar, on the auspicious day of Jakshs, the whole community goes to Jakh, offers coconuts and spends the day there rejoicing in Jakshs memory. There is a Jaar (tree) next to the Jakshs Memorial which is the same age as the memorial - around 400 years.
The main welcoming entrance arch near the Jaksh was built from monies donated by UK Godpar community members, as was Gandhi Pool (Road Bridge over the river where it meanders from east to west) which was first built in 1989 and then rebuilt at higher level in I 998. After crossing Gandhi Pool we enter Godpar Gaam via another welcoming arch (built from donation by UK Godpar community member) and come to the primary school on the right and Gaurakshan on the left. The bus station is directly opposite.
Godpar Gaam is currently occupied by a wide range of communities, Kanbis being the majority (1400) as far as the households are concerned but for economic reasons about half the population has either permanently migrated overseas to countries in Europe, Africa and Australia or temporarily gone to work in Middle East Countries such as UAE and Seychelles. The remaining population consists of Kumbhaar, Harijans, Suthars, Vadands, Darjis, Lohanas, Rabbaris and Kolis. With the exception of some minor arguments, all the communities live in relative harmony.
According to information passed on from generation-to-generation and officially from Rajkot, Godpar Gaam, as it is currently known, was first settled in by a Lohana family in the 18th Century circa year 1745 AD.