With an area of over 45000 sq km, Kutch district is one of the largest district in India, Inhabited by a lot of artisan communities, nomadic, semi nomadic groups make this district a “rich in culture” place. Let’s see what are the top things you should experience while you are planning your trip to Kutch District.
Stay in a Bhunga (Traditional Mud House)
Bhunga are traditional construction in district of Kutch which have a cylindrical shaped room supported by conical roof. These have been prevalent in this area since centuries and are good to save you from prevalent desert conditions in this area.
The locals often color them with local paints and then draw traditional art to decorate its walls. Sometimes these Bhunga’s may even have a window beautifully carved in wood. They exist in clutters and often one family member would own one Bhunga.
While visiting Kutch, you can also experience living in these traditional Bhunga’s which are available in various resorts in the locality. These traditional architectures often come with modern facilities these days so that you experience the art with all the luxury.
You may also find a lot of villagers providing Bhunga at a very economical rates as compare to the luxurious resort’s Bhungas, I recommend to stay in a villagers Bhunga over a resorts one because you will have a real feel of Mud House in a villagers Bhunga along with the home cooked food.
Recommended Bhunga homestay is near Khavda or Ludiya village.
Visit Craft Village
Kutch endorses 969 villages in it with each village having its own unique culture and craft. Some of these villages are more popular than others for the unique traditional handicraft that they offer. Some of these must visit villages are Khavda, Hodka, Jura, Nirona, and Ajrakhpur.
Khavda villages is in Bhuj where one could encounter famous flamingos in large colonies. The village is also home to skilled potters. The input for their craft is available in abundance from the soft clay from the Rann. The art is embarked with signature art in colors like red, black and white paints.
Hodka village is known for its colorful Banni embroidery. This embroidery is characterized by hues of red, green, yellow and myriad shades and is often embarks its beauty with chain stitched mirrors.
They create them in various forms for day to day used in home furnishings or apparels and jewelry. The patchwork is often traded across the country by various industrialists however looking at thatched roofs of these artisans it seems the relevant profits is not passed onto them for their craftsmanship.
Jura Village have unique art form of making of copper bells that are typical to this place. These bells be a part of many famous artisans of present day. The skill was brought to local from Lohar community from Sindh which was part of India in past. The bells are made from scrap metal to mold the copper into bells of various shapes and sizes. The artisans claim that never have they made two bells which are alike in their chimes.
Nirona Village is famous for Rogan Art. In this type of craftsmanship, the castor oil is bubbled until the point when it turns out to be sufficiently thick to frame strings. At that point distinctive colors are blended with this thickened oil to paint the texture. This craft is often used to prepare the trousseau of a bride.
However, these days many design companies like NIFT and NID are trying to mold this art form into commercial products which can find more customers for these artisans and develop a parallel income source for them.
Then comes Ajrakhpur village which is home for traditional block printing which is done by handmade natural colors. These dyes are made of natural ingredients like turmeric, pomegranate, ink, mud etc. Also, the printing block are crafted with skilled hands.
The Datatray temple on Kalo Dunger
The Kala Dungar is covered with meadow, scrubland, rocks and lakes that helps the local vegetation. The hill is a treat for the bird-lovers as you may encounter many typical birds of the scrubby and barren habitats in this place. The Datatray Temple on Kala Dungar is the site for a one of a kind every day occasion – when the priests of this sanctuary offer nourishment and call Lo-aang, jackals and different creatures come to and enjoy the fiest!
From the hill, you can get an all-encompassing view of the salt-encrusted Rann of Kutch. The magnetic field at Kala Dungar is yet another fascination. Stop your vehicle at point and experience the attraction as the vehicle moves down against the gravitational power. However, I have not experience anything of this sort here.
Great Rann of Kutch / White Desert
The Great Rann of Kutch is a barren land covered with all salt. However, there is not source of income for locals from this place in form of agriculture or any other form of cultivation, they do run a festival called Rann Utsav starting from November to first week of march every year where various tourists from all over the globe visit to see the enrapturing beauty of this place.
Rann Utsav, the most cultural festival of Kutch District is being organised here. It has activities like Cultural Shopping, Horse Rides, Camel Safaris, Bird Watching, Star Gazing, ATV Riding, Paramotoring, Archery, Giant Chess, – this and significantly more to celebrate the festival. You can spend all your day here to witness the hypnotizing sun rise and after that be a part of the festival throughout the day through and afterward likewise encounter the pleasant sun set.
People often plan their visits on full moon night as they say you would be in some otherworldly land when you experience the moon here.
Walk on Mandvi Beach
Mandvi beach is one of the most sought after beaches which is present along the coastline of Gujrat. It also composes of private beach which is part of Maharaos estates and is kept completely safe, and secured from outside visitors. The great whether makes Mandvi Beach a perfect holiday destination.
The beach itself is embarked by calm and clean environment which makes it a perfect getaway from city hassles. One can sit and relax on the beach for hours while watching the retreating waves through the silky-smooth sand of Mandvi beach. Another attractive item to watch on this beach are windmills.
In nearby places, you could also visit VIjay Vilas Palace. Many Bollywood blockbusters have found their perfect shooting locations in the balconies of this palace.
More disconnected than the others, the Vijay Vilas Beach has pleasant white sand, flawless spots to swim and accommodation accessible in aerated and cooled tents along the shore though you might have to pay a little fee for enjoying it.
Visit Ghost Town – Lakhpat
Lakhpat is house to abandoned fort near the sea on Indo-Pak border. The name Lakhpat is derived from the apparent income of one lac koris that this place use to generate. However, the place now has a sparse population of 108 households. it also houses a Gurudwara which is famous from the story that Guru Nanak rested here during his journey to Mecca.
A 7KM wall fort is the major attraction in Lakhpath, and you will get a mesmerizing view of endless dessert from the wall top.
You can find BSF jawans and their posts spread everywhere and thus makes a good contrast for photographs. The place has faced many force majeure like a massive earthquake in year 1819 and once flooded due to Indus river changing its course in year 1851.
While in lakhpat, you should not miss visiting Pir Ghaus Mohammad tomb. The water tank opposite his tomb is believed to have miraculous powers of healing skin diseases.
Koteshwar Mahadev Temple
Koteshwar Mahadeva temple is a famous temple of lord Shiva which is located near the mouth of Kori Creek in Kutch.
The temple almost lies in the middle of sea however now is connected through a road. The temple is famous for it is believed that Lord Shiva fulfils all the desires of his devotees on their visit. The word Koteshwar signifies ten million gods. The legend goes like this that the temple of koteshwar was a gift of Shiva to his devotee Ravana due to his massive prayers for thousands of years.
However, after his wish being fulfilled Ravana got arrogant and somehow dropped the linga. As it fell on earth it broke into one crore pieces, hence Ravana was unable to distinguish the original one from them. In haste, Ravana just grabbed one and departed however leaving the original one in Koteshwar Temple.
Archaeological site Dholavira
Dholavira is home to extracts of ancient city of Harappa which sprawls in hundreds of acres. The otherwise also, the place gives you beautiful site of Great Rann and you can spot wildlife like chinkara gazelle, nilgai, falmongos and other bird life.
The place is a point of interest with Archeological Survey of India since 1961 why have been excavating it ever since to discover various ancient artifacts. They have found artifacts like ancient terracotta pottery, beads, gold ornaments, seals, tools, and ten large stones with Indus Valley scripts encarved over them.
You can also encounter the world’s earliest water conservation system excavated on this site. Dholavira is one the largest Harappa sites in India.
Palaces and local market in Bhuj City
Bhuj itself is a city full of various tourist attractions and offer various places to visit in its nearby vicinity. People also like to visit Bhuj to see how city have developed after it encountered a massive earthquake in late nineties.
Being in the center of Kutch District, Bhuj is the prime stay location for most of the travelers. You can visit places like White Desert, Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Mata no Madh, the famous Darratreya Temple, Great Rann of Kutch, Desh Devi Maa Ashapura, Bhujja Hill, Kranti Tirth for Shyamji Krishna Varma, Kutch Museum, Chattardi, Prag Mahal Palace, VIjay Vilas Palace, Mandvi Beach and many more location from Bhuj city.
Do not forget to explore the local market of Bhuj as you may be finding every famous craft thing in the market available at various shops if you are not able to visit the craft village in person.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the wild life sanctuaries in India which spans in an area of around 7500 square kilometers. You can see the colonies of flamingos nesting and breeding here. Along with flamingos you can also site mammals like hyenas, jackals, mongoose, spiny tailed lizards, porcupines, nilgai, sambhar.
The place is also home to various other bird species like black vultures, gulls, and raptors.
Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
As the name suggest, this sanctuary is home for most sought-after ass and was established in the year 1973 to protect endangered Indian wild ass. The sanctuary is spread in a huge landscape of 5000 square kilometers. Other than wild ass you can find 32 other mammals in this location. This may include chinkara, desert fox, jackals, nilgais, wolves and hyenas. Along with mammals you can also site various birds like bulbul, stone plovers, ducks, and pelicans.
The sanctuary also en-route the migration route of many birds and because of this, Wild Ass Sanctuary is a important location for the birds to feed and breed.