Tag Archives: Rann of Kutch

Road Trip>>>To realize the true spirit of JAI HIND!

Road Trip from Dholero to Indo-Pak Border

I ( Bienu Verma Vaghela) with Husband Mukund Vaghela taking a break from the long drive.

The lure of road trip is insurmountable; many of us have aspired for one; many of us have taken one willingly or unwillingly; many of us are still dreaming about it; many of us had given up on road trip, like me, but that was not to be. Given the avid travelers that we are, we love adventures and whenever we have aspired for a peaceful trip, adventure rather misadventure has followed us.  Given the ‘Bollywood” buff that I am, I had seen road trips in movies and admittedly have been quite fascinated by them particularly the one in Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Me and my daughter Tanya took a break to enjoy the breeze just before the border

Road trip sounds exciting but are actually taxing and painful at the same time for people like me who love to travel by train and plane! In my weirdest dream I had not imagined that Road trip would become a reality for me, though it was thrust upon us by circumstances. Howsoever exciting it may sound: Road Trip, it gets excruciatingly painful, if not planned well. ‘Planning’ plays paramount role in venturing out for a road trip. First and foremost, roads should be in great condition to drive on, amenities to be bankable, service centers, petrol pumps, eating joints, toilets etc. enroute so that we have a pleasant drive and we happily reach our destination.

We planned to embark on one such road – trip in December 2012, when we visited scenic and serene Rann of Kutch and were camping at ‘Bhungas’ (Mud Houses) in Dholero Village near Rann. It was then we were told that Pakistan Border was few 100 Kms away and it made a great sight. I, in particular became very keen to visit the border as I wanted to visit that place, which nobody had visited in my khandan or even in my friends circle. I want to boast: I have been to India – Pakistan Border. Whole night I did not sleep in excitement but to my great disappointment, driver took to illness and did not turn up.

My husband, me and my daughter decided to venture out on our own and took upon driving on us to the border. Resort owner was kind enough and noticing our disappointment, he offered his one of his staff to accompany us. Now we were to embark into a new territory, new area, new car and new destination. My husband took onus of driving on him and person accompanying him sat next to him for guidance. With lot of apprehensions in heart, we started on our road trip on chilly, breezy, wintry morning from Dholero Village to India – Pakistan Border.  But not before checking the condition of the car we would be driving to border and bring us back. I was particularly more worried as our daughter was with us. But she was quite gung-ho about it. We stocked enough food & beverages in the car which was quite spacious and commodious to accommodate four of us comfortably.  Then we went to nearby garage to get the report of condition of car, breaks, clutch, accelerator and last but not the least tyres. The Car’s condition was good and above all, tyres were in excellent condition which took good amount of worry off our shoulders.  For worry-free road – trip, you can bank on most bankable CEAT Tyres, like we did.

Packed with sufficient fuel, we embarked on the journey.

To our delight, roads were in excellent condition with proper signage’s all over which made the drive very pleasant and provided quite an experience.  Moreover, bright sunny but breezy / windy day made the driving slightly more challenging.  The remarkable part of the way to border was that it had deep marshlands on both sides. We saw many cars stranded in the marshland which looked like mirage. To describe it better, there are vast marshlands on both sides of the road when you approach border. After this adventurous but exciting drive which changed three hands, we reached Indo-Pak border which was heavily guarded by BSF Personnel who asked us to keep our cameras and mobiles in the car and then step out. The sight was so exciting, I saluted the Jawans guarding the borders and for the first time I realized under which conditions they guard our borders so that we civilians sleep peacefully. All in all our maiden trip turned out to be quite a satisfying experience. Special Thanks to my husband Mukund, our companion for the drive and taking us through Mukesh and my daughter Tanya for making my dream realize.  Though we did not anticipate any trouble spots during the journey, and did not find any but yes checking at various check posts provided breaks to the drive. But these were important for country’s safety.

Special Thanks to Blogadda and CEAT tyres to make me relive the experience. Indeed I had to stress my mind to recollect the road trip which I undertook in completely unknown terrain – The Rann of Kutch to Indo-Pak border in Gujarat – JAI HIND.

Road Safety Norms:


Everyday as soon as we open Newspaper, we get to read about atleast 2 road accidents particularly on Highways or long drive-ways people undertake. Most of these are owing to negligence about following the Road Safety trips. It is important not only for drivers but also for pedestrians so that no untoward accidents happen.

Everyone should learn the following road safety rules preferably from an early age:

  • Everyone going on the road (especially drivers) must be to the left and let other vehicles pass on the opposite direction to pass.
  • Drivers should be in slow speed while bending or turning on the roads.
  • Take extra precaution while going on the over-crowded roads and road junctions.
  • Bikers or people using two wheel vehicles must wear helmets of superior quality otherwise they should never go on the road without helmet.
  • Speeds of the vehicles should be within the speed limit and slow especially in the areas of school, hospital, colony, etc.
  • Every vehicle on the road should maintain the right distance among them to avoid collisions and accidents.
  • Everyone using road should be well aware of the road signs and must follow rules.
  • All the road safety rules and regulations must be in mind while traveling.

Following the above rules, you are not only ensuring your safety, but others too and following duties of a Good Citizen. And…and don’t forget to have Ceat Tyres in your dream machine!!

‘I’m chronicling my road trip adventure for CEAT Tyres in association with BlogAdda.’


When we dropped by Bhujodi in Kutch, Gujarat, India

Unique Ilkal innovations in saris, dupattas, shawls and stoles, hand woven by Bhujodi weavers showcased in Mumbai which we visited in last December…later an account of our visit to Bhujodi.

Bhujodi to Bagalkot team-0170 copy

The first night the weavers of Bagalkot left their village, a panicked call came to Nilanjan in Kutch. There was trouble with their train tickets and they couldn’t speak Hindi to the ticket taker. They were suddenly facing a huge unknown world outside. Seven months later, these brave young weavers presented their collections of innovations on their beloved Ilkal saris to the world of Mumbai.

T white stole 2 - low res

Initiated by Somaiya Kala Vidya, an institute of education for artisans based in Kutch, founded by Somaiya Trust, the project demonstrates the effective and efficient power of design in sustaining traditions. The innovation is the artisan-to-artisan approach. Carrying artisan design into the next phase, Designer Weavers of Kutch were the designers and mentors for less exposed weavers from the Bagalkot District of Karnataka.

Hand weavers of Bagalkot are imperiled. Their well-loved Ilkal saris today face severe competition from power loom versions. Handloom wages are meager. Many weavers have left their profession to work in granite quarries. Meanwhile, jacquard looms were introduced to make copies of Varanasi saris, a solution that is costly in terms of equipment and skill development, and devastating for the cultural heritage of Ilkal sari weaving.

Hand weavers of Bhujodi, Kutch, have a fifty-year history of innovating within their traditions for new markets. Since 2006, twenty-three weavers have graduated from a year-long design program pioneered by Kala RakshaVidhyalaya. These weavers have become remarkably successful in reaching high-end markets in India and abroad, and adept at articulating and presenting their work.

Somaiya Kala Vidya paired these artisans for a quick, live demonstration of sustainability through design. There were challenges. The looms were no longer geared to cotton, the weavers had used synthetic yarn so long they did not understand cotton properties, and sources for appropriate materials and colours had to be found.

Seeking solutions in Karnatak villages, the weaving partners bonded. “We explored,” Chamanbhai related. “I saw Jayantibhai doing research, asking questions about tradition, probing. We didn’t know we had so many different skills!” Elder Bagalkot weavers were so happy that cotton had returned that they invited the Bhujodi team to dinner.

Driven by the desire to rejuvenate a wonderful tradition, this exhibition confirms that artisan-to-artisan, traditions will not just survive, but flourish.

While writing their proud achievement, I fondly remembered our trip to Bhujodi Village in Kutch last December. We were on our last leg of trip to Rann of Kutch and other surrounding areas, (we were driving down from Mandvi to Bhuj), and this is when our driver who had sensed our love for Kutch-Gujarat handicrafts suggested Bhujodi. Tired and exhausted, we were reluctant to take another break but he almost insisted. Voila! What an experience! My daughter Tanya who is fond collector of handicraft articles from all over the place, felt she was in the haven of handicrafts. Bhujodi Village is a Handicraft Park established by Gujarat Government for promoting and showcasing the cause of weavers and artisans of Kutch.

This is a small town just 8 km southeast of Bhuj, Bhujodi is a major textile center of Kutch, with the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants involved in textile handicraft production. Here we could meet weavers, tie-dye artists and block printers, most of whom belong to the Vankar community. Many of them let us watch them work; just ask around. The visit to this handicraft park was an amazing place to visit where we could see traditional handicrafts in their original forms, where weavers were weaving sarees, shawls, dupattas, kurtas…what not, not only this it very well livens upto its name. It is modelled like Mini Gujarat with wall adorning mirrors work, mud work, greenery, pond with swans and some interesting eating joints. We could pick up some fascinating stuff from there besides enjoying ourselves amidst craftsmen and weavers.

Hope you enjoyed photographs of our memorable trip to Bhujodi, Kutch.

Kutch Nahin Dekha to Kutch Nahin Dekha…

Rann, Indo-Pak Border, Mandvi Village…fascinating, mesmerizing!

Indeed the December 2013’s outing was planned by watching heavy duty advertising by Gujarat Tourism featuring Amitabh Bachchan taking viewers all across Gujarat be it Somnath Mandir, Gir Forest, Adalaj or Rann of Kutch. What caught my fancy in a big way was white Rann of Kutch with Amitabh Bachchan taking stroll on a moonlit Rann which couldn’t have looked whiter than that.

The trip was planned by good amount of research done on Kutch particularly Rann for which not much information was available to firm up my decision of going to Kutch. After lot of research and based on whatever information was available I made up my mind to shun foreign locale and instead head out for rustic, rural, rann…in Gujarat And I am very proud to say it turned out to be an incredible experience. Not knowing anything about this part of India, I had to start from the scratch right from searching the nearest station, airport for Kutch.

Incidentally I interacted with lot of people in my circle to check if they had visited Rann and believe me none of them had, not even their relatives. Hence, the thought, why have I chosen this God forsaken place for my outing this year? Now I started interacting with Gujarat Tourism people who erected this tent city on Rann and offered stay as package to the tourists. After chasing them for two months and getting the same reply, bookings not open yet…I made up my mind to chuck them. As I was unable to decide on some other destination as well. If not this, then what?

I made one last attempt and came across Mr Mahendra Bheda of Kutch Travels who was most prompt in responding to my query and there I was on December 21, 2013. All credit goes to Mahendra Bhai and his daughter Prachi who made it a very pleasing experience. Now I started interacting with Mahendra Bhai who offered me a package of 3 Nights and 4 days which included stay, transportation, sight-seeing and food etc. He worked out an itinery for us which I changed many times but he did it smilingly, not even once complained. When we reached Bhuj station Mahendra Bhai was there with his daughter Prachi to receive us and an Indigo car was waiting for us there. Now the excitement was palpable… we had nice Gujarati Thali in a posh restaurant in Bhuj and set out for Hoduko village in the resort. It will be a misnomer to call it a resort, it was a Bhunga – mud house with modern amenities inside and attached bath etc. The Bhunga was exactly as per our specifications…spacious, airy, well-lit, big sleeping places. The owner and his family members were really nice and accommodated us for all our genuine and sometimes ingeniune demands – like a cup of tea in the midnight due to cold etc.

The weather was breezy but pleasant, after all the sultry weather of Mumbai, it was a great welcome. Mornings and nights were excessively cold where as day was pleasant. Unable to contain our excitement, we headed for Rann same evening which was good 20 Kms ahead in Dhordo village which is the last village on Gujarat Border. It gave us good insight into the village life of Kutch which was something novel for us, experienced by us for the first time.

I must mention that roads are smooth, village was well electrified and Gujarat Tourism had done a wonderful job of creating the ambience there. As we entered Rann, we were just mesmerised by the whiteness and expanse of place where we could see endless white salt. It looked as if the land was covered with white bed sheet with moonlight falling on it. The weather became colder with setting sun and breeze stronger. When sun was setting we could see the horizon…

I remembered the lines from Hindi Movie: Yeh Aasma Jhuk raha hai zameen par, yeh Milan hamne dekha yahin par!

My daughter Tanya was highly excited about Camel rides on the Rann which had heavy booking and she was disappointed instead she opted for mule ride and in the meantime our time came for camel ride. Even I was so excited…to watch Rann from such a height…incredible. We had walked for over 30-minutes and had come very far away on Rann. By the time it had turned quite dark and cold. Now tired and exhausted we walked towards the parking lot though with a heavy heart as 5 hours spent there looked not good enough. Now we drove to Craft Bazaar and Food Courts erected for tourists selling Kutchy embroidered stuff like shawls, Kurtas, Jholas, clutches, jewellery what not…mesmerising. I wanted to buy many more…but what advised to buy from the villages outside. While in the food court, we saw camel carts parading…what a sight it was. Camels decked up in all finery were ferrying tourists to Gujarat Pavilion which had on display all tourist places of Gujarat.

This was an experience of a lifetime which I will always treasure, most significant part was closely watching Indo-Pak border which is high security zone, thought why these borders, why these dividing lines, why so much hullabullo on visiting our brothers and sisters across borders. Now with http://www.zindagitv.in and #jodedilonko we can share our world’s / lives with them.  Eagerly look forward to June 23 when we will able to catch the glimpse. Kudos to this initiative of Zee Media Corp.

Personally very much appreciative of initiative of our newly appointed PM Narendra Modi on inviting Pak PM to India and work he is doing towards improving Indo-Pak relations so that both countrymen can rejoice!

Now we were back to Bhungas…where nice hot delicious Kutchy dinner was ready for us along with Bonfire on the side. We were really feeling cold, eating in the open but meal made for all that cold. Other families in neighbouring bhungas played antakshri whole night ….

Contrary to our expectations, stay at Bhungas was really warm…we did not feel cold in the night thus we were ready for the next morning’s adventure…

I was accompanied by my husband Mukund and daughter Tanya.

Our driver Prakash bhai needs a special mention here who tirelessly took us all over the place smilingly…more of a guide for the tour and friend for life. Drove incessantly and made sure that we don’t miss any destination which we would like to visit.

Hamne bhi Guzaare kutch din Gujarat mein…

Photo-Essay of our wonderful trip to Kutch…enjoy!




















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