Thursday, 26 February 2015

A day out with Mr. Jethi

Northern Kutch

Mr. Jethi is a font of all knowledge, indeed he writes the very informative guide to Kutch

We set off early first stopping at Kotay, last visited ten years ago with Mr. Jethi.  It has the remains of an old city and several temples thought to be 10th century. 

The 9th century Sun Temple ten years ago stood in splendid isolation amidst the jungle greenery and in a dilapidated condition, sand blasted and weathered over the centuries, now it has been beautifully restored. 

it sits in an area of 'gravel' soon to be made into a garden with shrubs and flowers

onwards to Bhirendiara where we have to get permits to travel north to the Great Rann.
the land is semi desert, very barren except for small shrubs, the castor oil plants and the babul trees, originally planted to preserve the land from the encroaching sand.

Bhirendiara is a small village approached along a sandy road.   The sand is so fine it is used as talcum powder, apparently!

bhungas with geometric patterns


the shop

interior of house with a shelf full of stainless steel kitchenware 
the walls are decorated with clay mixed with camel dung, kneaded and
rolled into tubes which are used to form patterns which resemble the
patterns used in embroidery.   When dry the wall is wash using a white
earth colour and small mirrors are set between the designs

a lady in the process of making a patchwork top  
unlike the rest of the ladies she was happy for me to take her photo

the villages make most of their income from tourists, and quite right too since we trample
around, looking here and there    during our visit about three groups of visitors arrived

the quality of work over the years has diminished which is not surprising - we know how long it takes to hand stitch anything!    the fabric on this piece is printed poly cotton with big stitches, something that can be made relatively quickly and sold for a good price.    The shop was interesting, although I wasn't tempted to buy

outside two little girls with a table full of scary dolls and amulets - more for the collection

with permits in hand we travelled north to the village of Gorewalli where we were to have lunch   here they have built a few bhungas for tourists

how about this for a bed?!!!  oh yes, there is a very nice western bathroom as well

the village is split into two, one half is Muslim and the other Harijans (God people) -originally known as untouchables, the name was given to the Meghwal people by Ghandi
although the two communities live apart they get on very well together

in the Muslim half quilts having an airing in the sun

in the Harijan part a very much used quilt

after lunch it was only a short trip to get to the Great Rann of Kutch, popularly known as The White Desert.    We were a little disappointed!  The Ranotsav annual desert festival has become so popular that the land is now home to tented accommodation and bunghas, complete with the NEC of the desert     it rather spoilt what should have been a beautiful experience, having visited Dholavira and the Little Rann where camps were not so visable

this lovely family invited me to take their picture
the White Desert looks a little grubby what with camel and horse rides
on the horizon it gleamed white

and so back to Bhuj after a welcome cup of chai at Dhordo

if you have made it to the end, thanks for reading!!!!

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