Khavda Village in BhujIf you are traveling from Bhuj to North Gujarat by car then chances are that you will have to stop at the picturesque village of Khavda to refill your tank and grab some grub. The Khavda village is practically the last stop before you enter into savage salty heartlands of Gujarat.
Khavda is known for many things; its leather craft, its pottery, sumptuous Kutchi food and the colony of Flamingoes which make this village their home for a brief period of time during their migration trip.
Leather craft in Khavda VillageKhavda is one of the few places in the Rann of Kutch which has a heavy Muslim influence. Traditionally Hindu’s were against the practice of skinning animals (especially cows) to make boots and purses from their hides. 90% of the leather craftsmen in this area are Muslims and the other 10% are Meghwals (Hindus). Leather craft is practiced by artisans who practice in their home by taking long pieces of hide and fashioning it into embroidered boots, colorful purses, belts and even decorative covers.
Wood carvers in Khavda Village90% of woodcarvers in Khavda are Hindus and they peacefully co-exist with the Muslim leather craftsmen. Most woodcarvers belong to the Mewara mistry community which makes intricate designs on wood. Affluent homes in Bhuj have cantilevered balconies which have been made by the wood carver community. Patara (huge chests), Jhulas (swings) and engraved idols of Gods and Goddesses are made by wood carvers. Colorful wooden bangles and toys are also found in Khavda village.
Pottery in Khavda VillageTerracotta has always been a favorite medium of creating objects which are simple yet have a timeless appeal. Khavda houses colonies of potters who belong to the Kumbhar and Prajapati communities. The Harappa style of pottery is followed here with straight, simple lines in striking black and white against the red clay that is typically found in Gujarat.
Sometimes vessels made of terracotta are coated with lac from inside and outside so that moisture can be retained in food. Pottery items found in Khavda include the following.
- Matka or clay pot for storage of water
- Chulla or a hearth made of mud
- Kunnu and Tapelu which are cooking devices
- Ghada to be used in festivals and functions
- Diyas to light up the dark
- Dolls, figurines and clay toys
Flamingo Colony in Khavda VillageIt’s interesting to note that Khavda is one of the few places in India where Flamingoes can be found at a certain part of the year. The birds find a temporary home in the Jamkundaliya lake which is situated right near the fringes of Khavda overlooking the salt desert. It is possible to see the Flamingo colony only between the months of October to March. This is the season when birds come to this lake for breeding and feeding before they again embark on their journey in the summers. Tourists are often found riding on a camel to the Jamkundaliya lake where the flamingoes are found.
Other rarer species of birds and fish found in this lake are Stork, Pelican, Heron, Wader and Putter fish.