The Indian Border Security Force was raised to protect our borders from unfriendly neighbours after the 1965, Indo-Pakistan war. Till then it was the responsibility of the local police to safeguard the interest. The war exposed the vulnerabilities of the local police in times of international incidents and the need was felt to have an independent armed police force for protecting thousands of kilometers of Indo-Pakistan borders including the Nadabet border, Gujarat.
It was good that BSF was born when it did, as they played a most important role during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, which was instrumental in giving birth to Bangladesh, which till then was called East Pakistan.
At Nadabet region, BSF not only deterred all enemy transgressions but also managed to capture more than 1000 Sq KM of Pakistan land and held it till the Simla Agreement after which the captured areas were returned.
To relive and recount the stories of courage and Valour of the BSF , Gujarat Government and BSF decided to create a destination commemorating the life and legacy of BSF and their Jawans.
The Story of Nadabet Border battle in 1971
In March 1971, when East Bengal (Bangladesh or East Pakistan) declared independence, it was clear that Pakistan would launch an offensive not only on Bangladesh but also India as India was supporting the cause of Bangladesh.
By October, based on intelligence reports, India had become fully prepared for war and the army was brought in to work with BSF, including Bhuj- Kutch border regions of Gujarat.
By the end of November 1971, a full-scale war was inevitable, but still, India decided not to fire the first salvo. As it happened on 3rd December 1971, Pakistan Airforce (PAF), flew into Indian airspace with a view to destroying 12 forward air bases and radars with limited success.
It was just the trigger required by India to put their plan into action. While IAF and the Indian army were executing counter-offensive, the 3 Battalions of BSF in Palanpur Gujarat, moved towards the Bhuj-Kutch border. This is now called the Nadabet Indo-Pak Border (shown as Narabet in the bottom right corner of the map image).
The second battalion slowly but steadily moved across the Rann of Kutch (salt desert) and in just about a few days captured major cities of Pakistan such as Nagarparka, Dhangaon, Virawah among others. All in all, the BSF Palanpur base had captured over 1000 square kilometers of Pakistan territory!
BSF and Gujarat tourism have created a complete experiential destination, called Guardians at the edge, to let us live the story, one of valour and extraordinary courage.
Nadabet border is about 25 KM from another visitor experience complex near Nadeshwari Mata Temple, Sui village, at what is now called the T-Junction.
The story goes that this temple was built by BSF and the soldiers worship here before embarking across the arduous and treacherous desert often taking help from local Rabari cattle herders. Remember the road is fairly a new addition.
The single-lane road laid on the desert is in itself a marvel. One needs BSF permission to drive on this road. Once the destination is officially inaugurated, then only the official air-conditioned buses will be allowed to ply the visitors. The BSF personnel was most polite while checking the permits and answering our queries.
Hard Points en route to Zero point
Since the 25KM stretch of the road is a single lane, every few hundred metres there are places where the road is a bit wider to allow vehicles, even buses, to cross each other.
There are 8 war exhibits including guns, missiles, and tanks. Everyone, including children, immensely enjoys exploring these equipments. The hard stop which has the T55 Tank is a must-stop as there is a tall observation tower from where one can have an unrestricted 360 degrees view of the Rann of Nadabet. It is also a great place to capture the sunset, as I did. 🙂
The Zero point is the closest one can get to the border because of the layers of barbed wire fence and a road alongside, which runs all along the Indo-Pak border from Bhuj all the way to Kashmir.
When I touched it, I shivered and got goosebumps. It was as if the entire Nadabet Border story passed in front of my mind’s eye. Please go ahead and touch it and let me know how the experience was!!!
The actual border lies 150 Metres from the fence and is accessible only to BSF personnel for patrolling, maintenance, and managing the no-man’s land.
The ceremonial flag hoisting and flag-lowering are done every morning and sundown respectively. There is an amphitheater for the visitors. However, at the time of writing not many visitors were around. I was immediately reminded of the time when we had witnessed The Retreat Ceremony at Wagah Border.
Return home with a rejuvenated spirit and march with your head held high.
The permits are again checked on the way back. Be careful!. No one wants to spend the night in the salty dest of the Rann of Nadabet in Kutch, Gujarat.
Useful Information about Seema Darshan at Nadabet Border
How to reach Nadabet Border
By Air: Nadabet (also called Nada bet) border is about 260 km from the nearest airport of Ahmedabad.
By Train: Nearest railway stations to Nadabet Border are Bhildi which is 120 km, Deesa at 140 km and Palanpur 170km.
By Road: Ahmedabad to Nadabet T Junction – 245 km; Gandhinagar to Nadabet – 220 km; Mehsana to Nadabet – 160 km;
Nadabet border is another 25km from the T Junction.
It takes about 4 to 5 hours to drive from Ahmedabad.
Where to stay?
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