It is exciting and fresh to visit places that are rich in history and culture, and what makes this experience even more enriching is the presence of local art and craft forms, especially those that have been passed on from generations. These tell us the story of a family, a community, and even an entire region. Learning how a particular craft came into being and evolved over time and the impact its surroundings have had on it over the years, is truly fascinating.
Imagine visiting such a place, with the opportunity to not just interact with the craftsmen, but watch them work their magic and bring exquisite pieces of art to life, and then actually being able to buy these pieces from them! Now that’s something!
A region in India that offers all of this and then some is that of Kutch located in the state of Gujarat. Occupying the westernmost tip of India, Kutch is a hub of all things art and craft. While the cities in the state offer a variety of these locally made goods, the Kutchhi villages present an experience like none other. From silver jewellery to Lacquer Art to Copper Bell and Rogan Art, various artistic styles thrive in these small towns and hamlets.
So, if you find yourself planning a holiday to Gujarat, do consider visiting these villages in the Kutch province. Get a glimpse into the life of the locals and shop for unique and vibrant handicrafts!
Bhujodi is one of the most prominent and popular craft centers in the area and is located at a distance of 15 minutes from town of Bhuj. With the presence of the Hiralaxmi Craft Park that houses items from almost all the nearby villages, displayed in traditionally designed shops, Bhujodi is the perfect place to indulge in some souvenir shopping. You can buy footwear, bags, cloth pieces and other small bric-a-bracs. There is something for everyone, but strictly no bargaining!
About 40 kms from Bhuj is Nirona, another important village with as many as three distinct and thriving art forms. Copper Bell Art, Lacquer Print and Rogan Art call Nirona home. It is a small village, easily accessible by road. Once here, park your vehicle at the village entry and walk around to meet the talented craftsmen in their homes, where you can watch them hard at work, creating one masterpiece after another. The locals are warm and friendly, so it will be great if you could strike up a conversation and learn about the history of the art form and some technical details of its creation. There are items available for sale at prices lower than that in the market with room for negotiation.
One of the most interesting villages of the region is Hodka. Located at a distance of about 64 KM from Bhuj, Hodka is known for its silver jewellery, along with other crafts like lamps, wall hangings, mirrors etc. These items are made by the artisans in their huts, called Bhungas, and sold directly from there. The Bhungas also are also works of art in their own right, made with mud and then decorated with mirrors and paint. If you are planning to adorn your house with some intricate designs from the region, Hodka is the place to shop from. The more you buy, the less you pay.
Other than these villages there are also others like Dhordo, Khavda, Ludiya, Ajrakhpur and Bhachau that offer plenty to choose from.