Kabirvad is a small island in the Bharuch district of Gujarat rumoured to be Saint Kabir’s residence several hundred years ago. Located along the banks of the river Narmada, the island promises you a calm and serene abode underneath the humongous canopy of Banyan trees that Kabirvad is most prominent for. What started as a single Banyan tree in Kabirvad has emanated into over 3000 trunks currently, with the mother tree believed to be over 600 years old, interestingly the tree populous has grown manifold to such an extent that it is impossible to distinguish the mother tree from the other trees at present. The canopy of the Banyan trees envelops a massive area of 17,520 square metres with its perimeter extending up to 641 metres. And while the natural wonder remains the most alluring attribute about Kabirvad, the legend and local folklore around it only add to the island’s mystical charm and aura.
The island of Kabirvad is surrounded by a host of myth and legends. The most illustrious one says that during his time of residence in Kabirvad, Saint Kabir threw his Datun(a twig used as a toothbrush) onto the ground and a Banyan tree sprouted from it and the tree then later multiplied into over 3000 trees. The island also draws its name from the two of the central components of this legend, Saint Kabir and Vad(Gujarati for Banyan)
Another tale suggests that Saint Kabir meditated under a Banyan tree, the tree never aged and propagated into a thousand more trees.
Places to See
The island of Kabirvad houses a Kabir Temple with a shrine devoted to the great poet and philosopher Saint Kabir. The temple is a circular structure with pillars on all side upholding it. The temple is the perfect place for people who believe in the ideologies of Saint Kabir and a spiritual abode for others alike.
2. Golden Bridge
The golden gate bridge is an architectural paragon built during the days of the British empire. It was initially known as the Narmada Bridge, but later got nicknamed Golden Bridge due to the heavy expenditure on it. The bridge connects the Ankleshwar and Bharuch cities and is over 1.4 kilometres long and perfect for a drive, ride across the golden bridge and take a close look at the architectural wonder that still stands tall after 132 years despite being subjected to floods and earthquakes.
3. Shri Swaminarayan Temple
A beautifully constructed temple, about 13 kilometres from Kabirvad near the Zadeshwar Chowkdi area in Bharuch. The temple is devoted to Lord Swaminarayan and is a calm and peaceful place that sees a mix of locals and tourists alike, it also has a sprawling garden spread across the front where you could sit and spend time in the tranquil ambience of the temple. The temple also serves meals in the afternoon and evenings for the devotees visiting.
4. Nilkanteshwar Temple
The Nilkanteshwar Temple is situated on the banks of the river Narmada in Zadeshwar Chowkdi around 13 kilometres from Kabirvad. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and the walls of the temple are adorned with inscriptions of 1008 names of Lord Shiva. The waterfront at the temple makes for the best views during sunsets, you can also take a boat ride in the river. The temple has a lawn and a peaceful praying area, the Aarti time during the evening is when it receives maximum visitors. The temple also has arrangements for food and accommodations for devotees visiting from afar.
5. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
This is a fairly new temple approximately 13 kilometres from Kabirvad, with intricate carvings along the temple walls making it resemble an older structure. The temple has a shrine of Sai Baba. The temple also houses a small pond with walkways for devotees. People usually visit the temple and seek blessings from Sai Baba and then take a walk along the pond to experience the soothing ambience of the temple.
6. Gayatri Mata Temple
The Gayatri Mata Temple is another temple located along the banks of river Narmada 13 kilometres from Kabirvad, the temple is devoted to Goddess Gayatri Mata. The temple has ample seating along the river ghat with spectacular views of floating diyas(earthen oil lamps) on the river Narmada and the new Sardar Bridge. The temple also has an area where the devotees can take a dip in the river and pay their respects. Once a year, a Maha Aarti takes places when a 1000 diyas are lighted and set afloat on the river Narmada making it the most visited time of the year.
7. Narmada Park
Narmada park is a huge garden on the coast of the river Narmada 13 kilometres from Kabirvad, it is perfect for a leisurely stroll in the evening with views of the peace laden Narmada river and the upcoming Narmada bridge. The garden also houses a separate play area for kids making it a perfect spot for the whole family.
Things to Do
The island is a haven for nature lovers, you can take a walk around the area and just spend your time under the Banyan tree canopy and have a picnic on the lawn. You can also take a swim in the Narmada river, close to the shore.
Kabirvad is a natural wonder, with its unique ginormous canopy of Banyan trees. It is a secluded little getaway in the middle of the sea offering all its visitors solace and sanctity. With a rich legend and deep rooted history, quite literally, Kabirvad makes for a great day trip especially for all the history lovers out there.
More on Kabirvad
Tips For Visiting Kabirvad
1. Don't stay back at the island after dark, the island has a bat infestation and it may be unsafe to stay after dark 2. Avoid getting down into the river in the monsoon months, the water gets murky and can be dangerous. 3. There aren't a lot of food options available on the island apart from some fruits and corn sold by a couple vendors. So, if you plan on staying there longer you would be better off carrying some snacks of your own.
How to Reach Kabirvad
The only way to access the island is through a 10-minute boat ride from Kabirmadhi in the Shukaltirth area to Kabirvad. You can reach Kabirmadhi by your private vehicle or get a taxi from Bharuch which is the nearest bus station.