Published On: Wed, Feb 21st, 2018

Wildlife, Tribes, and Textiles of Kutch Region

The Kutch region of Gujarat is a fascinating place to visit, with interesting people, beautiful textiles, and a variety of wildlife.

Wildlife, Tribes, and Textiles of Kutch Region

Tribes of Kutch

The Kutch region is dotted with many different tribes, such as the Rabari, Ahir, Jhat, Koli, Harijan, and Wada tribes. Each differs in dress, habits, religion, work, and crafts.

Visiting Tribes of Kutch – Guide vs. Independent Travel

Many travelers use the capital of Bhuj as a base to visit the surrounding tribal villages, some of which can be easily reached by public bus. Others choose to hire a guide for a day trip to visit several villages in a certain region. Having a knowledgeable guide is a great way to learn more about the various tribes and to see some of the smaller communities.

A guide with a rickshaw can be hired for a full day for around 1000Rs from the tourist office at the Aina Mahal in Bhuj. A guide with a car can be hired for a full day for around 1500Rs through City Guest House in Bhuj. These tours are tailored to the interests of the travelers. It is also possible to include the ship-building port of Mandvi on a day trip, visiting small villages on the way.

Visiting more than one village is recommended, as the experience is different with each one. Some villagers are quite shy around tourists, some are welcoming and friendly, and others are more involved in selling their crafts. Talking with villagers, taking photos, and observing people creating skillful handicrafts is easier in some villages than others. Visiting multiple villages also offers opportunities to see and learn about several different tribes.

Crafts and Textiles of Kutch – Embroidery, Bandhani, Weaving, and More

Kutch is well-known for its variety of hand-made crafts and textiles. Beautiful embroidery created with various forms of unique stitch-work, mirrors, and beads can be found here. Tie-dye (bandhani) and block printing are also popular styles of fabric design, and it can be quite interesting to learn more about the process of each. Other crafts in the region include woven shawls and rugs, colorful wood-carved items, copper bells, and various leather items.

Wildlife in the Little Rann of Kutch – Wild Ass Sanctuary

The only place to find the majestic Indian wild ass or ghudkhar is in the area known as the Little Rann of Kutch. The sanctuary is also home to blue bull (antelope) and chinkara (gazelle), the rarely seen black buck, and many smaller creatures.

The Wild Ass Sanctuary, which fills with water during the monsoon (July-September), dries up in the following months leaving behind a film of salt. The terrain becomes very dry, and the cracks that form throughout the ground create the appearance of stepping stones in the dirt. Small pools of water remain, attracting huge numbers of birds, such as flamingos, cranes, king fishers, black-winged stilts, pied avocets, Indian rollers, and many more.

The Wild Ass Sanctuary can be accessed with a guide from the town of Dhrangadra or Zainabad, the latter offering more options with higher tourist satisfaction. There are several places to stay in Zainabad that offer guided jeep safaris to the sanctuary.

Salt Production in the Kutch Region

During the monsoon, much of Kutch’s desert region fills with water and mixes with the salty waters of the Arabian sea. When the monsoon season is over and the land dries, massive amounts of salt are left behind making this a prime region for salt production.

Those who visit Kutch in the winter months will see large pyramids of salt lining the landscape, especially on the bus route across the state to Bhuj. Those taking a safari in the Wild Ass Sanctuary may ask their guide to visit some salt pans or a bagging area to learn more about the process.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at knowledgeherald@gmail.com

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