Bhuj it is!
As we got down the rickety GSRTC bus, the Bhujjiya fort wall appeared to be welcoming us with its hands wide open. It took us half a day to grasp the wonder of Aina Mahal and enjoy sweet corn by the Hamirsar lake at Bhuj.
Our main idea was, of course, to visit the handicraft villages around Bhuj. The whole of the Kutch region is segmented so that if one town is famous for leatherwork, the other would be famous for their tinkering bell, yet another for block prints.
So Bhujodi is famous for its weaving. Bhujodi being the closest, we hopped into an auto and chugged along into the village.
Shopping In Bhuj
The small village was more or less a single straight street with shops lined on either side. Nestled among them were the houses of the weavers themselves.
The beauty of Kutch is that wherever you turn, you would find art—be it decorating a camel or the women folks dressing up or the houses painted with beautiful designs and mirrors shining on them—everywhere there is art and beauty.
The first shop we stumbled on had batik collections, beautifully beaded hats, mirrored handbags and clutches and an array of belts. Our next stop was a shoe shop. There were Impressive designs at such a reasonable rate! I wanted to pack a bunch of them right away, but my giant feet were not happy with the elegant sandals. Sadly, I had to let them go. We proceeded to walk further down the village.
As we walked by, we peeped into a house and asked, “can we come in?” Just like in any home in a village, we were warmly welcomed in. To our luck, it turned out to be the weaver’s workshop cum house! Imagine my joy!
The artisan was busy weaving a shawl while in another corner, a man was spinning thread. Both of them enthusiastically explained how they buy cotton, turn it into yarns of thread, starch them, store them, die them, wash them and weave them.
Bundles of threads were lying around, and the charkha was in non-stop motion as the weaver picked pieces of cotton and spun them into thread. On another side, the weaver had rows of thread stacked in his loom.
“Did you visit Vishram bhai’s shop? If not, you have to go there.”, said the weaver while his hands were swiftly moving between the close strands of thread, creating beautiful designs. We took his advice and went to the said shop.
As we entered Vishram bhai’s shop, we saw an old Kutchi lady sitting in the courtyard making vivid embroidery patterns over a stitched quilt.
Vishram bhai’s shop is something you should not miss in Bhujodi. Why? Because he has the most beautifully designed shawls, carpets, bedsheets, quilts at all rates. He has also won a national award for his craft. He was patiently showing us his various creations despite realizing we were poor travellers who could not spend much. However, we gave in and did purchase a few pieces.
After gulping down a tumbler of Chaas, he again checked on us for some coffee!! Well, the warmth of their hospitality is still lingering on in my mind.
By now, I had exhausted the budget allocated for shopping! But we were told that block printing in Ajrakhpur is pretty famous and only a few kilometres away from Bhujodi. So we decided to go there as well.
There, they used natural dye for the clothes! Did you know that? There were mixtures of old rustic iron and jaggery giving a deep black shade, jamuns from the babul tree providing a deep red dye, and mixing them with another shade! Genius!
The cloth used by them goes through various stages before finally coming under the block. It needs a lot of concentration to put the blocks in the correct pattern one after another. They are also famous for the traditional Bandhani (tie and dye) suits. Again, the friendly people of the village were giving us a tour of how block prints are made.
Again! Our purchases exceeded our budget. Ah! These tempting wholesale shops in the villages and houses!We had to skip the extensive handicraft showrooms. There is something for everyone to buy at Bhujodi. Don’t miss purchasing here if you are on your way to Rann Of Kutch.
Looking for a stay at Bhuj? Find here
How To Reach Bhujodi:
I hired a full day auto rickshaw aka Indian tuk tuk from Bhuj and went around the nearby villages..