It is located on the mouth of Kori creek towards west of Kutch coastal Gujarat. It is approximately 180 kms away from Bhuj via Narayan Sarovar. It is almost the end point of Gujarat and over looks the vast expanse of sea with borders of Pakistan distantly visible. On a clear night i believe the street lights on the Sindh province are visible at Koteswar.
The ancient temple of Shiva was literally cut off from the mainland because of the marshy land but however after a BSF post was created for patrolling a well laid road was constructed from Naryan Sarovar towards Kosteswar. It is located just 5 kms away from Naryan Sarovar.
The earliest mention of this place is found the travel diaries of Huein Tsang ( 602-664 ) who undertook 17 year journey through the silk route to India. He was on look out for all the Buddhist center whether it maybe monasteries or stupas located in Indian sub-continent. He describes Koteswar as a huge trading port on the boundary of the creek which even today stands as it is but not much of trading activity barring fishing. He mentions there were more than 40 monasteries and around 3000 monks lived in it. There were around 10 temples in the midst of the monasteries amongst which the Shiva temple was the most famous.
MYTHICAL REFERENCE :
Ravana was granted a boon after years of penance by Lord Shiva for his outstanding devotion. He was gifted with a Shivling which had miraculous powers through which he could fulfill all his wishes and desires. Ravana was arrogant by nature he wanted to utilise the powers to vanquish his enemies and exhibit his powers on his people. He hurriedly took flight and dropped the Shivling at Koteswar which multiplied into crores of Linga. Ravana in a hurry picked a replica of the original Linga and rushed to Lanka. Thus Ravana was tricked to part with his powers for his evil inclination and desire. At the very spot this kotilingeswar temple in dedication to lord Shiva was built.
Currently a renovated modern temple stands in place of an old temple. There are two other small shrines dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Lord Ganesha. The temple is neatly maintained and well designed since it overlooks the creek and port. One can be seated on the verandah to soak in fresh air and light and click beautiful photographs after the dharsan at the temple.
The original temple were built by Khers of Golay, now they are all converted to Muslims. The rebuilding of the new temple was undertaken in 1820. In 1863 Pragmalji sponsored the crown made of silver to be placed on Shiv Ling.
One can see the magnificent sunset from Koteswar since it is unpolluted land’s end. Overall a visit to this holy place, wherein the ashes of the dead are immersed too by locals, gets one re-juvenated. Fortunately the crowd flow of vehicles etc are strictly managed by the BSF post located at the entrance of the temple. The temple looks like a fortress with huge walled structure facing the creek.
Ack : Map and photo courtesy Bing