A tour exploring the places rich in culture and history is always an exciting journey and when the place is in India, you have the most to reveal as a history buff. The presence of local craft and art forms, mostly the ones passed on from one generation to another makes the journey more interesting and unforgettable. If you are somebody who is keen to know about the local art and craft forms of various places in India, we would suggest you to start the tour from Kutch in Gujarat.
Kutch is an amazing hub of everything related to crafts and craftsmen. The region is replete with craft villages preserving the local arts since years now. You will find locally made goods by the villagers which define the exquisite way of the art of life. From Copper Bell, lacquer Art to Rogan Art, Kutch has got everything for visitors like you. Check out these fantastic crafts villages in Kutch you must visit.
Khavda – famous for clay pottery and ajrakh prints
Khavda is one of the unique crafts villages in Kutch, located close to the Indo-Pak border. The village is known for producing ajrakh clothes and clay pottery. As soon as you see a Rabari or Khandaru wearing an ajrakh cloth, be it a turban, a lungi or just as a cloth wraps around the shoulder, understand you havce reached the region of Khavda. The making of the fabric is a 16-step method that involves decorating the fabric with different geometric patterns of considering the Islamic architecture as an inspiration.
Talking about the clay pottery in Khavda, Saraben’s family is popular for making bowls, small urns, plates, pots and glasses out of local clay. The clay utensils are colored distinctly with red collected from geru. Geru is a natural die applied using a cloth on the clay objects. The locals make blue black and white designs on the pottery, bringing it to life. You can buy and see these beautiful clay items at the showroom in Saraben’s house in Khavda Village. The village is located only 72 kilometers from Bhuj, a distance easily covered in car or bus.
Hodka – famous for leather bags and quilts
Have you ever been to Rann of Kutch? If you have seen young girls roaming around wearing embroidered hand-made clothes, you are in Hodka of Kutch district. In this craft village, men go out for grazing cattle while women and young girls invest their time in making beautiful embroidered fabric that is sold as bedspreads, quilts, hair accessories or kanjiris or long blouses.
You will find many people of the pastoral community living here and leather is available in abundance in this small crafts village. To stand by the demands of shoes and harnesses, the local men of the village belonging to Meghwal community started making leather goods with a Kutchi touch (the geometrical pattern designs and color of leather). You can meet these groups of leather craftsmen moving ahead from the houses of the working ladies in Hodka. Buy mirrors, file holders, mobile covers and shoes from the village. Hodka is situated at a short distance of 64 kilometers from Bhuj and is well-connected to various cities of the state by road.
Ajrakhpur – famous for Ajrakh designs
Ajrakhpur, as the name suggests, is the origin of the Ajrakh work in the state. The art form involves block printing and tie-dye with beautiful contrasting colors with dull hues of desert. It was by the Sind Muslims, that the now popular traditional art form was introduced in this village 400 years ago. It has been growing ever since teaching Kachchi women and men residing here the art of ajrakh designs. On visiting this crafts village, you will get to know various stories from the locals of how sometimes a cloth is washed over 20 times to bring out the finest ajrakh work. You can see them making ajrakh designs on cloths an also buy some for yourself.
Nirona – For kitchen ware, copper bells and Rogan
Nirona first got the spotlight for being an important crafts village in Kutch when our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi gifted a Rogan to the US President Barack Obama. Rogan is an art of cloth printing or painting that reflects fine craftsmanship from the state. The culture in Gujarat is showcased in these crafts villages and Nirona is one significant place you must visit on your Kutch tour.
Rogan painting or printing involves special kind of paints made from castor seeds’ oil and other kinds of vegetable dyes found in the area. The village is also known for producing copper bells or ghantadi that is usually used to tie around the neck of cattle as an identification mark to help the herders. The village is situated at a distance of around 50 kilometers of Bhuj. So, if you are planning a trip to Rann of Kutch in the time of Rann Utsav, you can easily cover Nirona to know about the interesting art forms and you can also buy yourself a Rogan!
Bhujodi – famous for handloom textiles
Everyone knows Gujarat is a hub of handloom textiles and Bhujodi is a village on the outskirts of Bhuj that produces the finest fabrics in the region. Vankar Community is the makers of handloom textiles in the village of Bhujodi in Kutch. They are involved in weaving, block printing and tie-and-dye. You will also come across the Rabaris here who supply fleece to Vankars for making shawls. The Vankars are friendly hosts who welcome all kinds of visitors, the ones who buy handloom and also the ones who are keen enthusiasts to know about the art form. You are going to love their live demonstrations! Bhujodi is located just 15 kilometers to the east of Bhuj.
If you are planning a trip to the rann of kutch festival 2020, do plan a visit to these craft villages in Kutch. It will give you an amazing experience of learning about the unique art forms of the state and know about the lifestyle of the locals.