The Dattatreya Temple: The Temple on Kalo Dungar, The Highest Point in Kutch (2021)
The Dattatreya Temple is on the Kalo Dungar Mountain, the highest point in Kutch. The Kalo Dungar is about 100 KM from Bhuj and about 25 KM from Khavda. The Dattatreya Temple is more than 400 years old and finds references in Indian mythology. It is also one of the most popular tourist locations in Gujarat and India. If you plan to visit this place, read this article to know what to expect.
The Dattatreya Temple Experience
The road to the Dattatreya Temple is a scenic view and has a story of its own. The road is a gravity hill, where the slope is steeper than the traveler can understand. The total number of steps that one has to cover to reach the top, to the entrance of the temple is about 10000 steps. You will have to go through the city on the hill, the Revatak Parvata. There are some well-maintained steps, but make sure that you have the stamina to climb these. There aren’t specific rest stops, but there are places that you can sit and take a breather, at the side of the steps. All along, you will also get to see the scenic beauty of the Girnar hills. Somewhere in the middle, you will see a Dharmsala made of stone. Even on your way up, you will see small, local shops that sell you beverages, snacks, and fast food. The locals sometimes refer this as the Dutt temple.
If you are wondering what would happen if someone can’t climb the steps, then the answer is the local’s ingenuity. There’s a makeshift palanquin, but the villagers charge with a unique calculation, where they charge according to the person’s weight. The tariff is according to the weight per rupee and vice versa.
Along the way, you see two Jain temples, the Amba Mata temple, and a Gaumukh temple. As you proceed further, you get a beautiful, top-down view of the Jain temples.
One unique post here is the Bhairav Thampa, from where the devotees used to jump more than 1000 feet down. The temple is small in size but has unique mythology attached to it.
The Dattatreya temple is mostly white and orange and has several arches that invite the devotees inside. The Sanctum sanctorum has an idol of Lord Dattatreya. The idol is a three-headed one and is well decorated. A railing in front doesn’t allow the devotees to come too close. There are no specific rules about photography here, but make sure that you do not disturb the locals and other devotees while trying to photograph the temple or the vicinity.
You will be able to spend about half an hour, and at the outset, it seems to be a typical Hindu temple. However, like every other one, it has a unique myth connected to it.
The Dattatreya Temple Myths
According to legend, the Lord Dattatreya made his camp here for a while. One day, some wolves came over to the camp, and Lord Dattatreya sensed that they were hungry. So, he cut off his body and started feeding them. According to legend, the wolves continued coming to the place every evening, and some legends say that Lord Dattatreya’s body started rejuvenating and reviving as he fed the wolves. Even today, there’s a platform here where wolves come to feed at the temple. The temple authorities feed khichdi, a local dish for the wolves even today.
The visit to the Dattatreya temple is a complete and wholesome experience because you get to spend time in the Rann of Kutch as well. So, you can look out for camel rides, photography options, and feeling one with nature with all the dunes around you.
While the visit is a quick one, one still needs to climb several steps, and that too in the punishing Gujarat heat. So, back whatever you’d need to shield yourself from the heat. The best time to visit the Dattatreya temple is either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. All along, you will see local villagers in the shade of the trees singing devotional songs. If you have some time, make sure that you listen to these songs, and they have unique lyrics, and you won’t hear them anywhere else.
You will see many locals here. Some of them come to visit the Dattatreya temple. Yet others come to take the view from the top of the hill. Some of them come to do both. Because this is a place of religious importance, make sure that you dress appropriately, and this goes for both men and women.
Accommodation Options Near Dattatreya Temple
While the visit to the Dattatreya temple is a quick one, you will take some time to reach the temple from wherever you are. So, plan to stay for at least a day in the vicinity, so you can drive to and fro. Several hotels offer accommodation for all budgets. Prices for the rooms at these hotels start from 1000 rupees. If you plan to book these hotels online, make sure you read the rules and regulations. Some hotels don’t allow unmarried couples. Some of the other hotels don’t allow groups of only men. And because you are in the Kutch area, which is a rural one, you might not get the kind of cuisine that you are accustomed to. So, make sure that you pick and choose the hotel that you wish to wait in.
Places Near Dattatreya Temple
There are several places that you can visit in the Kutch area, and all you need is the will to do so and the time to add to your itinerary. You have the Dholavira Excavation point, one of the most important excavations during the Indus Valley excavations. If you plan to spend some more time in Girnar, you can visit the Madhavapur Beach, the Tulsi Shyam Springs, the Shri Swami Narayan Mandir, the Jatashankar Mahadev Temple, and several other places of religious and tourist interest.
How to Reach Dattatreya Temple?
The Dattatreya Temple is in Girnar, Junagadh, which is three hours from Gujarat. You can either hire a cab to cover this distance, or rely on public transport. The nearest railway station is Junagadh Railway Station. The nearest airport is the Keshod airport, though Girnar is connected to the Ahmedabad airport as well as the the Rajkot airport. The Rajkot airport is a 100 KM away from Girnar.