Stating the infamously famous tagline by Amitabh Bachchan for Gujarat Tourism saying “Kutch nahin dekha toh kuch nahi dekha.” actulaly hold true if travel is something you really crave for. Once you land here, you really know how true this line is. Culture, landscape, people and more makes what Kutch is known for. Situated in the northwestern part of Gujarat, India, the very mention of Kutch makes one visually travel to Rann of Kutch – the salt marsh in the Thar Desert.
This eclectic piece of land called Kutch mostly denotes something which gets wet or dry very quickly. As I was making my journey to Kutch all the way from Ahmedabad, the dry barren land and its vastness literally created a mirage in front of my eyes. For a stretch, if few kilometers ms there was nothing to be spotted. When I say nothing; I literally mean it, while the sun played colourful hues with the rising moon. The Great Rann of Kutch was something that I had always dreamt of and wanted to visit this place to see the nothingness and beyond.
Though this place is a backpacker’s delight but I had booked a cab from Devpur. As I made my way towards this barren land which at regular intervals I could spot buffalo or cow herds while villages with traditional mud huts popped up a few kilometers apart. I can vouch for the fact that the heart of Kutch lives in its rustic villages and the people residing there. Don’t dare to go exploring them on foot. Not that easy a task.
These villages here are a storehouse of local art and crafts form like Rogan Art, Bandhni, Ajrakh Blockprint and more. It will not be wrong to mention Kutch as the Art heritage center of India with all complexly patterned fabrics embroidered and with more than 10 art and crafts style having taken birth here.
While walking through the artistic Kutchi villages I happen to see that each of these villages have their distinct art forms. The Hodka Village boast of their colourful Banni embroidery while Jura folks show their expertise in the art of copper-bell making and not to miss Nirona Village that’s home to Rogan Art, a technique seen in bridal wear. It’s a delight to see the craftsmen at work with such precision. A small tip of advice- Avoid buying from there, prices will be steep or you need to be great with your bargaining skills.
Not only are they great craftsman but also their houses see the intricate painting done on the walls like the Mud relief work is one forte of village dwellers where they decorate their houses with small mirror work and paintings. This I mostly saw around Rann of Kutch. If you feel walking around them one would get tired, yes you might at times, but rest assured these people are much hospitable.
Though I was in Gujarat for the Rann of Kutch festival, but I truly found it very overrated. But not miss the Rann- it’s mesmerising in itself as you halt your eyes over the horizon and watch the setting sun. It’s a sheet of endless magic. The unique phenomenon where the White Rann sees hues of orange, pink, purple and blue meet the white desert at the horizon either at early morning or evening makes this place worth the visit at least once. But try to see it from a point which has less tourist footfall.
Summing my Kutch memories I can vouch that every village here has something to offer as The beauty of Kutch lies in its villages. And if you are confused where to stay then most of these villages have Mud Huts or Village style restorts for your comfy stay.
Pointers to Kutch exploration-
Kutch sees 11 villages are the major tourist attraction. Few of the famous ones are-
Almost around an hour and a half’s drive from Bhuj is Dhordo. For access to Dhordo one needs to stop at the Police Station in Bhirandiyari with a photocopy of your ID proof to get a permit to visit the largest salt desert in the world. Price for the permit is Rs 250.