India’s largest district, Kutch (Kachchh), is situated on the western most edge of the state of Gujarat. The history of Kutch (Kachchh) goes back thousands of years and includes the Harrapan Civilization which thrived along the Indus River (3500– 1500 BC ). Over the centuries many cultures settled in Kutch (Kachchh) from places such as Sindh (now Pakistan), Persia (now Iran), Marwar (Rajasthan) and Gujarat. The region had lush grasslands, good water and attracted farmers, herders and shepherds. Today Kutch is well known for its rich cultural heritage, diverse communities and fine handicrafts.
Kutch’s land mass covers 45,612 sq. km and its coast stretches more then 300 km along the Arabian Sea. Almost 50% of Kutch’s land is the Great Rann (salt desert) of Kutch (Kachchh). Once the estuary of the mighty Indus River it is now flat and barren but it is the most beautiful territory of ‘nothingness’. Further east is the Little Rann of Kutch now the sanctuary of India’s last herds of Wild Ass. More than 950 small villages are found on the edges of the Rann and in the lush lands near Bhuj, Nakhatrana and Mandvi. Today’s population of Kutch (Kachchh) is 1.2 million many of whom are cattle and buffalo farmers, goat and sheep herders and camel breeders. Other people work in the towns or in the new industries of Kutch.
Handicrafts are an important part of Kutchi tradition and include embroidery, leather work, pottery, woodwork, batik, Bandhani (fine tie and dye), Ajrakh (block printing of Kutch), Weaving, Rogan (painting on cloth), silver work, mud-mirror work and copper bell making. Handicrafts are used for everyday life, for dowry and now for livelihood. Each community of Kutch has its own style, colours and motifs that represent nature, geometry or religion.
Communities of Kutch such as Rabari, Ahir, Mutwa, Halepotra, Jat, Megwhal and Sodha are famous for their detailed embroidery work. The Khatri community of Kutch are the dyers and produce Bandhani (Tie dye), block printing and batik (wax printing). Hand-loom weaving of Kutch by the Harijan community using wool, silk and cotton is also highly prized.
Kutch (Kachchh) is world famous for its handicrafts and for its ‘off the beaten track’ adventures. For the time of your life come and explore this magic land with me!
See you in Bhuj Kutch, where your “Adventures” begin…
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PS. Since 2008, tourism is increasing in Kutch and few villages have become bit touristy and as always creating some challenges for local culture, environment and also for visitors to find the lesser known places…. I sincerely suggest you to have a look at Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Guideline to be better prepared and I wish you the most authentic local experience in Kutch. Love and Peace xx