Have you ever been to a place, looked at the innocence of the people there, and thought to yourself that how effortless it is for them to stay content & happy? I am sure many of you who trek a lot or have closely stayed with locals in mountains can relate to this – they have a hard but simple life, they want too less & always have a contagious smile on their faces. Something similar I experienced in Bhujodi, even though by all means this place is becoming a tourist haunt as we speak.
Bhujodi is a really tiny village, some 10 kms from Bhuj in the Kutch region of Gujarat. If you are from a big city, you can totally count it as another neighbourhood in the Bhuj city itself. So, why exactly it is famous? Well, it is not as well-known as it should be but what its known for is its handicrafts. This tiny village has a small number of homes, which you can count on your hand actually and almost all of them work on creating traditional crafts. They have that weaving equipment installed inside their houses (don’t know what it’s called) & they create clothes and other handicrafts throughout the year, while most of their sale happens in the tourist season of Kutch region (Nov-Feb). The locals have other income sources in the form of dairy etc.
If you compare the handicrafts here to other parts of Kutch which cater to tourists on a larger scale, you will notice that the prices of things are similar, however you get much better quality products in Bhujodi & in so much variety! Most importantly, what else can replace the joy of buying something handmade & supporting small businesses? In fact, I was a bit surprised to see almost all the local houses keeping equipment for making clothes. Precisely why I am writing this post.
I didn’t click a lot of pictures because I was too busy looking around at everything available with wide open eyes. Shawls, suits, purses, bags, kurtas for both men & women, saris, leather products, home decor & furnishings, every thing was there. In today’s time, it’s not difficult to find these Kutch handicrafts elsewhere also, however once you are there, you will understand the abundance of choices & the amazingly good quality!
Other than the products themselves, I was very mesmerized by how well these people maintain their houses. Not only were they clean & well-kept, they even had beautiful traditional decorations, probably to make their house (which also houses their business) stand out more since almost every house sells similar things! The locals are so nice, no matter how much you bargain, they will indulge you with their charming smiles & continue the bargaining game. Many of them will even force you to have tea before you leave. 🙂
On that note, I want to say that Bhujodi has been an unexpected but a very fulfilling experience for me. I am always interested in seeing handicrafts getting made, it kind of consoles me that these things are not dying. However, I was not expecting this when we set out for Bhujodi. I just thought it will be like a handicrafts exhibition. Once there, I felt like I am in a village, but instead of people chilling in a village, it’s just outsiders shopping in the village. 😀 If you love handicrafts as much as I do, you should definitely not miss Bhujodi.