Bhujodi Weaving Kutch

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1. Bhujodi is a major centre for woven cotton and woolen textiles, a 500 year old village and 8 kms from Bhuj. A friend told me to visit Shamji Bhai Vankar shop. U see him on right of pic. Left is an employee of a large Indian retail chain – they source from him.

2. Home adjoins the shop. Think she is Shamji’s mother. They belong to the very talented and creative Meghwal community, who originally hail from Rajasthan. This album showcases products sold by three Vankar families and the Shrujan store in Bhujodi.

3. Shamji store–think these are stoles. “The craft is said to have evolved as a need to cover against weather. At that time barter system was practiced. Rabaris being the original nomads and cattle rearers provided wool, milk products and grains to the village. Vankars took to weaving of cloth. With an indigenous technique in hand they had one success after another.”

4. Woollen carpets. Blue made of sheep wool. Grey made of merino wool. Third not sure. Shamji is son the renowned Master Artisan and National Award winner Vishram Valji Vankar. Very humble inspite of many achievements.

5. Cotton saris. A couple from a leading store from Kolkata were buying these saris in large numbers. The shop attracts buyers from far and wide. Met a lady from New York and another from Europe (I visited in February 2018).

6. I think these are Stoles. “The Vankars or the weavers of Kutch are Meghwal migrants who came from Rajasthan six centuries ago. Among the Meghwals, the Maheshwari and Marwada sub-castes were involved in weaving and leather work, the Maheshwaris have moved on to other jobs.”

7. Shawls on display. Meghwals worship Ramdevpir. Met Meghwals in a village near Barmer too.

8. Centre is Ahir community bed sheet. Right in black, in two parts embroidery, is of the Rabari community. Shamji’s contacts are 91 94083 05584, 91 283 2240723. He accepts payment through credit card and is accessible on email too.

9. Moved from Shamji shop to Devji Vankar Bhai shop ie about 5 minutes ahead. Stole on display. Loved the colours.

10. Shawls on display. What I liked about Shamji shop is you sit on the ground and see products. This shop follows a modern format.

11. Bed sheets on display. Contacts Devji 91 98242 08527 and 91 283 2241926. His son Pratap is on What’s App 91 78746 59647.

12. On the main road went to workshop cum shop of Vankar Hirji Premji. He is a National Award Winner. “The one in use today has the shuttle movement controlled by a foot-over pedal. It is the men who sit on the loom as it requires more stamina, while women take care of auxiliary processes like making yard on the charkha, laying it on the loom and adding value to women articles’.

13. Awards displayed on wall. Illustrious family. Bayaji Devji Vankar and Damji Premji Vankar received award in 2006 from President Pratibha Patil. Vankar Hansraj Devi received award from Textile Minister Maran in 2007.

14. Devji Premji Vankar received national award in 1997 for woollen shawl. Saris on display. This link shows how different parts of India drape saris fascinating http://thesariseries.com/

15. Shawls and stoles on display. Do visit the Ashapura Crafts Park where artisans showcase and sell their products. Do visit. To know how weaving is done http://gaatha.com/bhujodi-weaving-kutch/

16. Rabari woman in Bhujodi. Earlier raw materials were sourced locally from different communities. “For e.g. Rabaris supplied yarn from sheep and goats. Farming communities like Ahirs cultivated kala cotton, which produced woven textiles for shoulder cloths and headgear. Sheep and goat wool was used for veils, shirts, shawls and blankets.” The hub for raw material is now Ludhiana.

17. Next went to the Shrujan NGO workshop and store. First embroidery design made in computer. Next tenselling done as you see in picture. It means take a pin and make design on this paper.

18. Paper as seen in earlier pic is used to do printing on the cloth as you see.

19. Shrujan works with over 3,500 women all over Kutch. They are known for embroidery work. Garment peace with design is sent to ladies in villages with a Thread Kit as you see. Ladies do embroidery and return.

20. Overview of Shrujan store in Bhujodi. For a senior & super Kutch guide call Pramod Jethi 91 93742 35379. For car hire call Narendra Bhai 91 9925440072 or Meet Bhai 91 88661 94748 or 87803 77140 whom I used.

21. Saris on display. In case of any errors in captions please mail. Taken captions from different websites and books, all credits to them. To see Crafts Museum at Shrujan https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Gujarat/Shrujan-Kutch.aspx

22. Loved these bags. They have artistically embroidered spectacle and mobile cases too. I liked and bought.

23. U see different Kutch designs. Top left to right Row 1 Ahir (agriculture-do needle work), Sodha Pakko, Neran, Rabari (nomadic nature-use mirrors). Row 2 Soof (done by Sodha Rajput), Khaarak, Aari (known as Cobbler’s stitch), Jat Garaasiya. Row 3 Chakan, Chopad, Mutva Pakko, Gotaav (all Mutva-derive name from Mutva ie a subcaste of Muslims living in Banni grassland area). Row 4 Khatri, Chambra, Kudi and Jat Fakirani Muslims.