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TRAVEL // GUJARAT

Gujarat is in the North West of India and is renowned for its textiles and the spectacular White Rann a white salt encrusted desert plain.  It had been over 10 years since Al and I had travelled to the north and I’d forgotten how different the it is from the south, it’s drier and less tropical, but no less beautiful.  In fact the barren land peppered with the most colourful people makes for a breathtaking sight!

Al and I took a long weekend and flew up to spend two nights in Bhuj before hiring an auto for three days and heading out to the desert.   I left Gujarat with so much inspiration for my own textile designs and would love to return if we have the time as we really only scratched the surface.

Bhuj and the Kutch was hit by an earthquake in 2001 and although much
of it has rebuilt, you can still see the devastation that it left
behind.  The royal cenotaphs are still being restored.

The beautiful mud and mirror work inside the mud houses in Hodka.

So much colour!

More mud and mirror work, depicting the local tribal jewellery.

Mud wall painting
Painted iron boxes used for dowry

Breathtaking traditional tribal dress and jewellery

I studied woven textiles and uni so loved watching the guys weave.  It brought back many memories.

The White Rann
Alex photographing the beautiful women on the white rann

 

WHERE WE STAYED

The first two nights we stayed inside Bhuj.  There really isn’t much in the way of accommodation in Bhuj, and I think that if we were to do this again, we’d definitely have spent an extra night in the desert and one less in Bhuj. We stayed at the B Cube Hotel and Resort, it was a strange hotel that is really only geared towards large events.  The food wasn’t good and the service was worse.  I really wouldn’t recommend staying there.

The rest of the time we stayed in the desert at Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort.  It’s a beautiful little resort in Hodka that’s run by the local community. We stayed in a mud house complete with mud furniture…wow it was an amazing experience!  The food was delicious and the evenings ended round the fire listening to local musicians.

FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

In Bhuj we enjoyed the restaurant in Hotel Mangalam The food was great, and in hindsight, we probably would have been better off staying there too.

In Hodka we just ate authentic Kutch food at our resort.

FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO

The best thing we did was to hire an auto rickshaw from Mr Pramod Jethi (you can find him at the tourist information in Bhuj) for three days to take us out to the desert to visit the local villages.

See the Shre Swaminarayan  temple at sunset.
Walk round the Aina Mahal, especially the hall of mirrors.
Explore the tribal villages and catching a glimpse of their beautifully decorated mud houses.
Watch the sun set over the incredible White Rann
Take some time out at the ruins of the royal cenotaphs

WHAT I WORE

We spent most of our time walking around Bhuj or amoungst the little villages out in the desert, so I needed to be fairly covered but also needed to keep cool at the same time.  If you’re a regular reader then you’ll have noticed that I live in Maxi skirts in India and this trip to Bhuj was no exception. 

Scarves have quickly become my essential travel item as they make a great shawl if I need to cover up and give me an extra layer if it gets a little chilly.  Talking of chilly, this was my outfit of choice first thing in the morning. 

It really was the most colourful place I have ever been to, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

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