Craft Villages of Kutch

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1. We have albums on Bhujodi Weavers, Mud Home Paintings & Abul Pottery/Ajrakh Printing Khavda. This album includes Ashapura Arts & Crafts Park Bhujodi followed by visit to villages of Sumrasar, Nirona, Dhrobana Kala Dungar road, Ludiya and Mandvi town. Hiralaxmi Park has shop that display every type of Kutchi craft. Lady next to a cotton garment.

2. Boards like this outside stall in the crafts park. Process - Craft people weave on the traditional pitloom and shuttle loom using both cotton and woollen yarn. Dress materials, hand bag, shoulder bag, woollen shawls, bed spread, carpets are some of the main products. SHRUJAN album has them beautifully displayed.

3. About Kharad Weaving. Now days belt, aasan, wall hanging are made from kharad. It is made from goat and camel wool.

4. Kharad weavers at work. There is only family who makes them now. Unless more people buy the art will die.

5. Lady from Meghwal community doing embroidery. Kutch has become famous for varieties embroidery that have become world famous. The technique of embroidery is passed down from mother to daughter. Each community has its distinctive style of needle work. SHRUJAN is trying to document the knowledge of embroidery at its learning centre in Ajrakpur.

6. Kutch is famous for its cut knives and crackers. Artisans who made swords for the royal family earlier make knives now. Iron bars are reduced to workable small pieces. Pieces are worked upon by using a forging machine & joined by using rivets. The jointed pieces have edges which are sharpened on a grinding wheel. Sometimes tiny bells inserted inside nutcrackers to produce mellow sound.

7. Tie and Die is known as Bandhani, is a symbol of married life. Discovery of dyed cotton fabric goes back to the Indus Valley civilization. It is done by Hindu and Muslim Khatri community.

8. Bandhani on display. If you want to support artisans please buy from here. End of album has pics of bandhani available in Mandvi at the Vivekananda Rural Development Institute.

9. Block Print Batiq is done mainly by Muslim Khatris. Now days Meghwal community also started doing. In the 18/19th centuries British exported Batiq. Printing done with vegetable dyes – board has the details.

10. Batiq on display. Later on in album see batic products at VRTI Mandvi.

11. There are rooms made in local design, each room houses one type of craft. Painting on one of the walls. Loved the paintings on wall, nicely done.

12. Wood Carving. Made of Desi Baval trees in the grassland of Bani. Teak wood and local babul also used for carving. Bed posts, cradles, chapatti rollers etc main items carved. Missed seeing these in Dhordo village.

13. Mud Mirror Work is awesome. Rabari & Meghwal community women are expert in presenting their dreams through painting. Many Kutchi communities decorated their homes with a combination of mud, gum and horse dung. This craft has now been transformed into small wooden panels.

14. An example of Mud Mirror work. To see album of villages across Kutch https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Gujarat/Mud-Painting-Bhungas-Kutch.aspx

15. Lots of villages make leather products, board explains the details. Later on you will see pictures of work in village Meghpar-Khavda. He was gungo having recently returned from a government sponsored trip to Paris.

16. Leather products on display.

17. Busts of Shri Navnitlal Ratanji Shah and Shreemati Hiralal Navnitlal Shah. Complex also has a Parliament House and Red Fort look alike. Do visit this well made and maintained complex in village Bhujodi.

18. Village Sumrasar is the first village we stopped at after leaving Bhuj. Ramji Maheshwari is a tie and die expert. Shop name is Tana Bana. Number is 91 99980 82332. Very likeable and friendly person.

19. Ramji bhai at work on the loom. 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.

20. In Sumrasar is Kala Raksha, a trust dedicated to preservation of traditional arts. It has a museum, production unit, guest house & shop. Left tells you Why did Embroider? It was an expression of their culture. Rabari girls embroidered for their marriages. Centre of pic is Maru Meghwal wedding clothes. Right tells how they use embroidered pieces?

21. This pic tells you about embroidery styles. The trust focuses on the embroideries of Kutch, works with over 1,000 artisans from 25 villages. It is 25 kms from Bhuj.

22. Very impressive. Their site is www.kala-raksha.org Numbers 91 02808 267237/28 and 91 94277 59701 and 91 80009 09790.

23. Village Nirona came next and is a must visit. This is ROGAN ART. Process – castor oil is boiled to become jelly that jelly is called Rogan. Add stone and pigment to make colours. Rogan means oil base. Yellow colour comes from haldi, black from coal powder, red from pigment provider, brown from stone.

24. Rogan art awesome. Brothers started again – their father had stopped. Very likable. Have pictures with lots of big names. Contacts Rizwan Khatri 91 96013 24272, 91 99749 46371, email sunogan74@gmail.com

25. Bell Art shop again must visit to see. This is called Morchang. On fields farmers used it- gives a musical sound which kept cows & buffaloes silent. Concept is similar to Bhagwan Krishna who used flute to collect people. Contact Luhar Faruk 91 95580 69627. To hear video of how Kachi Morchang sounds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBPIhRNs6jo

26. In Nirona village also saw Wooden Leker Work. U see products on display. Contact Suresh Bhai 91 98258 40733 and Jaytee 02835 294126.

27. Family of Suresh and Jaytee Bhai. Belong to Meghwal community. Note ladies dress and jewellery.

28. About 20 minutes from Khavda is village Dhrobana on Kala Dungar road. We visited Narsingh Bhai. This is worn by ladies during Navaratri, cost Rs 10,000/. Homes close to theirs belong to the Meghwal community and do similar work. Was lucky to meet them as the date we visited was an auspicious marriage day, they were leaving for a wedding.

29. Loved their bags (bought two) and purses. They have a stall at Rana Utsav. He told us because we came to village was selling at lower price.

30. Quilt. Contacts Narsing Bhai Sanjot 91 99133 95481 and Deva Bhai Sanjot 91 87583 54016. They do all types of Kutchi handicrafts, mud works, making of traditional Bhunga, leather and embroidery work. Do visit. Good stuff and nice people.

31. Not too far away was Ludiya Gandhi Nu Gam. We show work of Puna Samar Marvada. He is into Mud painting, Mud work, Wood carving, Bhunga and wooden furniture. This is a door made by him. Belongs to the Meghwal community.

32. Wood work by Puna. Came across as a dynamic person. During season ie Nov to about mid Feb said very busy. During off season goes to bigger towns to work as a carpenter.

33. Toran at his shop. Not all goods on sale made by locally, some purchased from Bhuj. He offers customers large variety of products.

33a. We had lunch at his place. Super bajre ki rotlo. We requested him, his wife cooked fresh for us. We paid what he asked think Rs 300/ for two of us. Like in Nirona he asked us to give the money to his mother.

34. Puna took us to a relative home who make leather footwear. They are three brothers, buy leather from Bhuj & make. Village is Meghpar-Khavda. Contacts Alabhai Devabhai 91 94291 70223, 91 87580 35684.

35. Pic of Abdul Pottery guy in village Khavda. There is a separate album on him.

36. Ajrakh printing village Khavda. Details in Abdul pottery album.

37. In Mundra is Vivekananda Institute (VRTI) i.e. into handicrafts and women employment. Earlier they made in-house. Now they have created independent units for different things and made people entrepreneurs. Entrance to their shop.

38. They make and sells shawls, salwar suits, saris, bed sheets, bags etc. Bought salwars for my wife, she loved them. Contacts 02834 230651 & vgsbatik@rediffmail.com. You see different type of salwar. Bandhni and batic stuff very good.

39. Bed covers at same place. Bought the red one. Looks lovely. In February 2018 cost Rs 750/.

40. A five minute drive from VRTI at a place where batic stuff is made. Shop there sells these beautiful purses and garments.