Kutch, the biggest region and a tourist attraction of Gujarat is located in the westmost part of India. In the last decade, Kutch has become a sizzling hot spot for adventurers and explorers alike. The vibrant culture of Kutch imbibed in its mesmerizing handicrafts make this place one of the best destinations for shopping lovers.
Each pair of eyes seek something different in this world, and Kutch lives up to this by providing places ranging from conventional touristy destinations, colorful and happening, to unexplored unchartered far-flung adventures, nestled somewhere in the pristine desert.
So, before I tingle your travel buds further, let’s get started with a better understanding of tours to satisfy the traveler in you.
Craft lovers: Kutch is heaven for handy-craft lovers. The land is blessed with highly skilled craftsmen creating magical crafts manifesting the vibrant culture of Kutch. Following are some of the destinations one should definitely visit while traveling to Kutch, for an authentic shopping experience, while at the same time doing our best to support the craftsmen, who have been practicing this craft for ages.
Ajrakhpur: The ancient craft of block printing with natural dyes is being practiced in this village by the Khatri community for more than 400 years. Ajrakhpur is the hub for textile designers and fashion professionals alike, where one falls in love with the naturally dyed prints and intricate designs created with hand-carved wooden blocks. The process of printing with the hand is so meditative and captivating to even just watch it, that one cannot afford to miss this destination.
Bhujodi: A quaint village, located 10km from Bhuj, Bhujodi is the destination to buy sustainable fabric. Organically grown indigenous cotton also known as Kala cotton is the main attraction of Bhujodi village. The weavers of Bhujodi prepare fabrics with the traditional handloom and naturally dyed yarns that make this craft valuable.
Nirona: Nirona is also a prominent craft hub of the Kutch. The one destination brings the experience of Multiple crafts making in a single place, making it tourist-friendly. Making of copper bells, the Persian art of painting of Rogan art, Lacquer art on wooden objects, and leather crafts are rich highlights of the Nirona village.
Khavda: The village is located 55km north of Bhuj. Khavda is known for many things; Leatherwork, wood carving, pottery, and the delicious mawa (Milk cake). The old village still has some of the old architecture undestroyed which makes it a paradise for photographers.
Gundiyali: The pottery of Gundiyali has a very distinctive identity with minimal and simple designs. In this village, the traditional potters have been creating earthen pots with the same design as those found in Harappan excavation. Visiting this village and talking to local potters about their history can be a life-changing experience.
Kutch is a well-known place for bird watching. It is also rich in raptors, waterfowls, larks, and waders. Apart from resident birds, the geography of Kutch also attracts passage migratory birds and winter migratory birds.
Chari-Dhand: The wetland conservation reserve is a paradise for bird watchers. Chari means salt and Dhand means the shallow wetland. It is located in Nakhatrana Taluk which is around 80kms from Bhuj. The seasonal wetland becomes the temporary home of around 200 species of migratory birds in the late-monsoon and winter seasons. Some of the endangered species such as the Oriental Darter, Dalmatian Pelican, and Indian Skimmer migrate here every year in winters.
Chavda Rakhal: The protected forest reserve is a private property owned by the Maharao of State Kutch. It has 150 acres of the lake called Pragsar in the 13000 acres of total land. The lake is the home of approximately 200 Species of crocodiles and many residents and migratory birds. The place is also perfect for having a picnic accompanied by an easy trek around the lake.
Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary: The desert forest is situated in Narayan Sarovar in Lakhpat taluk. It has some of the rarest Animals Birds and Plants which attract thousands of wildlife photographers every year. It is the habitat for the great Indian bustard and black partridge. Greater short-toed lark is one of the migratory birds commonly seen in the region.
Tapkeshwari Hills: The temple of Lord Shiva is located on Tapkeshwari hills which is at a distance of approximately 10 km from Bhuj. The small hill range can take a few hours for a mini trek around the temple. The view from the top is spectacularly photogenic. During the trek, one can spot wild ass and the naturally formed caves on the surface of hills.
Dhinodhar: The less explored trek of Dhinodhar hills is the hidden gem of Kutch. After the monsoons, the landscape of kutch drastically changes from shades of brown to shades of green, making the Dhinodhar hills look mesmerizing during that time. The hills are historically relevant because of the Historic temple of Damodaran at the top and the Than monastery below that. Archeologist:
Dholaveera: An ancient city dating back to the Harappan civilization is one of the most prominent Archeological sites of India. Walking along the streets of an old destroyed civilization gives an experience which is hard to put in words-you have to be there to experience it! A small museum near the site has exhibitions of many fossils found during the excavation. The site is located at Khadir bet, an island in desert of Kutch which is 230 kms from Bhuj.
Siyot caves: it is a monastery of Chinese travelers dating back to the 7th century. It is claimed by experts that the existence of these caves can be dated back to the 1st century. The sculptures, Architecture and relics of the ancient times are very fascinating to be observed and sighted.
Lakhpat fort: The 18th century town of Lakhpat was surrounded by the fort walls which is one of the oldest forts of India. The trade route from Indus rives in Lakhpat explains the meaning name as the town of Lakhpati (wealthy people). The devastation caused by the earthquake in Kutch in 1819 changed the flow of river destroyed the trading business, eventually leading to the whole town getting abandoned, making it a ghost town. The place has beautiful old structures which will interest architects and archeologist alike.
The unexplored Kutch is full of surprises and is a tressure for travelers to be explored. Amitabh Bachchan’s quote from Gujarat tourism “Kutch nai dekha to kuch nai dekha” (If you haven’t seen Kutch, you haven’t seen anything) aptly explains the magical land of Kutch.
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