Posts Tagged ‘Kutch’


Gujarat is better called Manchester of the East. It has been involved in textiles since centuries. Almost all parts of the state have a unique style of textiles, weaving and embroideries. All the creations have a versatility that makes the embroideries famous all over the world.


The most important centers of embroidery work of Gujarat are located in the Saurashtra and Kutch regions and are admired for their creative excellence. Kutch, being a desert, there are less chances to celebrate life. But the way people live is really varied and appreciable. The women add colors to life and create innumerable opportunities to celebrate everyday life through their arts. A striking feature of the Kutch embroidery is that at a very early age, the girls acquire the embroidery skills and they prepare their own wedding garments. These exclusively created embroidered works are then sent to the in-laws for closer examination, which is one of the important criteria for deciding matrimonial alliances!

Saurashtra, on the other hand, is home to the oldest form of embroidery, Kathi, which is known for its romantic motifs.
The designs and the techniques vary with the communities and regions. Apart from this, the embroidering is a source of second income for most of the nomads, wives of the herdsmen and agriculturalists of Gujarat.


The artisans of Gujarat use an array of stitches that are used to decorate the items. The embroidery of Gujarat is highly praised for the distinct quality of raw material and the creations follow an excellent technique. The embroidery work done by the people of Gujarat thus displays the artisanship of the local artisans. These deserve promotion and acceptance.

Whenever we visit Kutch or Saurashtra, let’s make it a point to bring home these colors of life!

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Gujarat is a land of rituals and traditions. It is full of hospitality and warmth. It is a place where people move ahead with times, without forgetting their customs. One such custom is sitting on the floor. Be it for the purpose of having meals, socializing or performance of some ritual. And what can be a better treat than a hand-made rug to form the floor covering. A Namdah carpet is one of the known floor coverings made from hand-made woolen sheets and are decorated with traditional embroidery and appliqué designs.

Namdah is an Urdu word, a Kashmiri styled carpet adopted by the felt artisans of Kutch. These artisans earlier used to put together animal saddles for royal families. There are many myths attached and many legends narrate that art of making Namdah originated during the time of Chengez Khan, the Mongol. It is said that the king used to carry sheep everywhere he went. His soldiers used to create makeshift beddings for him even at the battlefield. These were made simply by laying layers of wool on top of each other. When they got dirty due to constant use, they were washed with cleansing agents. This resulted in natural felting of the woolen fibers. Thus, the process of felting evolved. Once this process evolved, it was further refined and passed on to the next generation of soldiers.

Another folklore has it that a subordinate weaver first wove a Namdah for the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s horse. It was made in order to save the animal from cold.

The Mongols and the Mughals were the pioneers of the Namdah art in India. As their rule spread, so did this art. They continued this craft in order to have an identity related to that of their rulers. This led to the sowing of the seeds of Namdah craft in Gujarat.

The Pinjara community of Gujarat is known to practice the Namdah art and later they are being known as the Namdagar as well.

Felting is one of the oldest form of fabric known to humankind, predating weaving and knitting. All wool shrinks and entangles itself more and more with other wool fibers when heat, moisture, friction or pressure is applied on them. This results in what is called felting. Felt products are made from coarse wool with or without mixture of any other animal, vegetable or man-made fiber.
Namdah is one such felted textile product. It is made from sheets of beaten wool. It applies non-woven techniques of felting to create these sheets. Layers of compressed wool are then stuck together with natural gum. After being completed, embroidery is executed in woolen yarn. Namdah is well known for its chain stitch embroidery. The chain stitch is worked with silk wool or cotton threads, and the stitches are done with a crochet hook (known as an ari) instead of a traditional needle. This hook can cover a much larger area than a regular needle in the same amount of time and is, hence, more economical to use.

With the advent of competition, pure wool has given way to waste wool in making of the Namdah.

Gujarat is famous for making Namdah that is appliquéd, printed or embroidered. Many motifs like floral themes, amplified birds, human forms, animals etc. are used. Mesmerizing ones even display tree motifs with hunting scenes. Yarns of white, brown, grey, beige or black natural wool are usually used.

The unique technique, natural effects of the woolen texture and the bright colors give an earthy appeal to the Namdah. It is an all-purpose article, indispensable to daily life. It can be used as a floor bed, pillow, dining table, wall hanging, sofa throws or even corner mats. Apart from these, Namdah products are in high demand in the cold countries as they work as insulators.

Much to the delight of the buyers, Namdah carpets are less expensive than the contemporary woolen ones. They are equally warm, stylish and durable too. Usually, the high proportion of wool marks the high quality of a Namdah.

Namdah is a labor intensive art. It uses almost no modern form of technology. It is a dying art and today just 3-5 families of Gujarat are into it. The dwindling numbers are allegedly due to lack of resources and support from the Government. Also, it is a tedious job and takes at least 15 days to finish a product involving around 10 artisans. So the young generation is not interested in taking up Namdah as a career.

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Walking in white salty Rann of Kutch in the full moon night, visit to India-Pakistan International Border, newly declared protected wetland Chhari Dhand, India’s western most point Lakhpat fort, Handicraft villages, ethnic culture, Kutchi music, Gujarat’s oldest museum at Bhuj, watching Rann of Kutch from the top of Kutch’s tallest mountain: Kalo Dungar, Foxes being offered food by saints, visit to Mandvi’s traditional ship making industry, Mandvi beach, visit to palaces… Ah, these can the best annual bash this year-end. These and many more are the celebrations lined up for the Rann Utsav 2010.

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Also called the Kutch Utsav, the tourism authorities of Gujarat organize events in Kutch to showcase the rich culture of this district, one of the largest in India. It is a three to four days of cultural extravaganza organized at different locations within Kutch. The fair is like a mirror to the traditional art forms and culture of Gujarat. There is a perfect blend of enthusiasm, creativity and spirit of celebration that glorifies the magnanimous aura of Rann Utsav.

Celebrating Rann Utsav year after year and adhering to the high standards that it has set for itself is no mean feat, but the people of Kutch have managed to do it admirably for years together and the present year is not going to be an exception either. The 2010 version of the Rann Utsav will be the longest till date, with the event slated to last one whole month this time. The celebration is being organized by the State Government and the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd.

The Rann Utsav will be held from December 19, 2010 to January 18, 2011 while the main event will be organized between December 19 and 22. The village of Dhordo, where the permanent tents are set up, is expected to see an influx of tourists during the Rann Utsav 2010 which is expected to be an elaborate affair.

Kutch is a unique manifestation of nature’s blessings along with the talents gifted to the people. Also, the people of Kutch are known for their hospitality and warmth of conduct. And the spirit of these Kutchi people comes alive in this festive environment of the Kutch Rann Utsav. The people of Kutch are defined through the creative ingenuity of the artisans and craftspeople, assorted array of folk music and performances, mixed representation of culture and communities and a vast diversity in ecology.
Apart from the local residents, the festival is visited and enjoyed by more than 8000 tourists from all over the world. This is the only time when natives of the region and travelers along with Government administrative officers come together to celebrate the mystical magic of Kutch and its diversity.

The celebratory festival begins in the Bhuj city and goes around the district with a grand finale again being held at the preliminary destination. It is an unparalleled showcase of the ethnic, widely different yet hugely diffused spectrum of Gujarat’s traditional art forms. The grasslands of Banni, a semi arid area also showcases the wide range of arts and crafts of the region, a feat that the people are justifiably proud of. The most enchanting experience in the festival is the presentation of different art forms, dances and music during the shade of Full Moon and in an aura of chilling winters. The spirit of the Kutch region is depicted with style at the festival with the aid of dances, music and pageantry which is colorful to say the least. Generally coinciding with Shivratri, colorful fairs are also held near the beach or the banks of a lake.

New Year celebrations will also be a high point of the Rann Utsav, 2010 with water sporting events being organized at the Mandvi Beach and a photograph gallery being set up at Kutch. Ten food stalls will also be engaged in serving authentic Kutchi delicacies which will undoubtedly make celebrating Rann Utsav a memorable event compelling the visitors to come back for more every year.

Other attractions are palaces, museum and royal cenotaphs of Bhuj, the beaches and palaces of Mandvi, the holy lake of Narayan Sarovar, the craft villages of Banni, bird rich marshes, rural lifestyles and beautiful handicrafts, it is a potential paradise for the tourist. Plenty of colorful dancing, music concerts, ‘Sindhi bhajan’ performances, ‘Langa’ desert music, folk arts and craft demonstrations, ballads and other ethnic shows are some of the many highlights of this festival. Stalls sell embroideries, jewellery, woodcarvings and other regional handicrafts.

Rann Utsav is an ideal occasion to be part of the region and experience the zeal and uniqueness of the people through a celebration of life! It is an ultimate combination of fair-trade, relationship and sharing of life & ideas among people from different places. Kutch has got some of the unseen places to visit which you may cherish all your life! If you have missed it until now, don’t regret, start packing your bags. The D-days are at a stone’s throw.

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India was the proud owner of three prestigious awards at an international travel mart ceremony held in Macau recently on the 17th of September, 2010. The Ministry for Tourism bagged the prizes for its eco-tourism and rural projects.

The splendid function was held by PATA – Pacific Asia Travel Association. PATA, founded in 1951, is a nonprofit membership association that works for the development and betterment of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. Every year, the PATA Travel Mart gathers tourism stakeholders from around the world to network and seek business opportunities. PATA’s membership boasts more than 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, over 50 airlines and cruise lines, and hundreds of travel industry companies.

Our Ministry of Tourism has won the PATA Grand Award and two PATA Gold Awards. The Grand Award was under the category of Heritage, received for the Rural Tourism Project at Hodka village in Kutch District of Gujarat; while the Gold Awards were allotted for marketing of the products in an innovative manner.

About the Gujarat project, the organizers said: “The scale of this project is very welcome and could have major positive impacts on the community.” The project that won the Grand Award is managed as well as owned by the Village Tourism Committee of the people of Hodka village. The place is basically a rural resort that boasts of a scenic surrounding. It is a blend of all the latest and modern facilities and is amidst the natural surroundings of Kutch. Here, the art and craft of the local villagers are sold, this provides livelihood to a number of local people.

The two Gold Awards were given for the Marketing Media – Travel Advertisements in the Print Media and the Marketing of the Government Destinations. The Eco-tourism Marketing Campaign, which won India, the Gold Award under Primary Government Destination was judged as an “Excellent Objective”. The idea of targeting the World Climate Summit held in Copenhagen was considered innovative to contribute to the Summit’s Debate.

The award function took place at Macau Government Tourist Office. The three day event was attended by over a thousand buyer and seller delegates from across the globe. The awards were handed over by the Chairman, CEO and Director of PATA. The Grand Award for India was received by R H Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, who headed the Indian delegation and Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, received the two Gold Awards.

Every year, the PATA Travel Mart gathers tourism stakeholders from around the world to network and seek business opportunities. And a fourth award for India is that the Travel Mart 2011 will be held in Delhi in September.

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