Kutch is a Greek word that signifies wet and dry. It means something that becomes wet and dry. The word represents the vast shallow wetlands which get submerged during the monsoon and remain dry the rest of the year. The natural landscape resulting from its climate is the reason why Kutch is considered a special and famous destination for explorers. It is without exception flooded with tourists once a year during the festival “Rann Utsav”. A unique blend of rich culture, beauty and heritage, this place is worth the visit!
#Fact: During the monsoon, the Kutch gets completely submerged under the water and blends into the Arabian sea. When the water evaporates after the monsoon, the salty marshes brought in by the rains solidify their salt crust and form the pristine white sands of Kutch!
Kutch, also written as ‘Kachchh’ and pronounced [kə́ʧ] in a single syllable as “Kuch” (similar to cutch), translates to tortoise in Sanskrit. The villages dwelling in this harsh climate have a charm that truly represents the cultural diversity of India in a way that leaves one awestruck.
#Fact: The Rann of Kutch passes through the Tropic of Cancer. And its northern boundary is the border that runs between India and Pakistan!
According to the epics and literature, Kutch existed during the time of Mahabharata and some reports indicate that it existed even before that, dating back to 5,000 BCE. Shreds of traces have shown Kutch was related to the Indus valley civilization and similarly evolved on the banks of river Godavri. The great king, Alexander, has also mentioned Rann of Kutch in his writings. According to these writings, Kutch was in complete control of the Greek ruler before it became a Mauryan territory.
Kutch was been ruled by many powerful dynasties, like the Chalukyas, Chavdas, Guptas, and Jadeja brothers. Jainism and Buddhism have also had a stronghold in the area. Eventually, the Mughals invaded India and we can spot many mosques and monuments built in Kutch during that time.
#Fact: Rann of Kutch was also called the “Dominion of India” and was later declared as a part of Gujarat in democratic India.
Kutch has a rich and diverse culture which is famous for its festivals, art and language. The villagers worship nature and deities related to their own village. Narayan Sarovar, a pious worship pond for the Hindus, is situated here. The culture of Kutch has different communities, such as nomadic, semi- nomadic and still living. They also have a very fascinating language known as “Kutchi Language”. This language is closely related to Sindhi. The houses are very artistic and well-civilized. It's a marvel of creative thinking and imaginative living.
Arts & Craft
We can find numerous crafts that flourished in the region of Kutch. One of them was Lacquerware craft where coloured lacquer is applied to wood in layers and chiseled to create designs and effects. Semi-Nomadic families of the Vadha tribe have expertise in this skill. Bandhani, the craft of tie and dye, dates back to the 12th century. The artisans used local, natural resources like mudder and pomegranates. The most revered type of Bandhani is Gharcholu, which is traditionally worn by Hindus and Jain brides. Similarly, Chandrokhani is worn by Muslim brides.
Mud Work known as Lippan Kaam was done by Rabari, Kumbhar, Marwada Harijan and Mutwa communities of the region. This craft was used to embellish the walls of mud houses with repetitive geometric patterns showing the simplicity of the craft and tradition. If you want to learn Lippan Kaam using authentic materials from Kutch, click here.
Any region is incomplete without music and being such a culturally rich region, people of Kutch have their own folk music. You will see an array of local instruments used by the Kutchis like Nagara, Murli, Janjhra, Nagfani, Bhorrindo, Flute, Dholak, Damru and many more. Bhorrindo is a very unique instrument used by Kutchi tribes. It is egg-shaped with three holes forming a triangle. Another well-known instrument is the Jodia Pawa. They are a pair of flutes of similar size that are played together by the musician.
Kutch truly represents the vibrant culture and tradition of India that has hosted all kinds of communities, religions and dynasties—and celebrated them!
Tip: It is not that hard to reach Kutch, as it used to be. Kutch has an airport called Bhuj Airport that connects the world to it. You can also reach Kutch by car or train!
#Mind-BlowingFact: The Bhuj Airport was bombed several times in two weeks during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. It was rebuilt in only 72 hours during the war by 300 women from the nearby Madhapal village!