As we stepped out of the bus, A vibrant display of handicrafts arranged at the courtyard (Angan) of the traditional Kutch houses (called Bhungas) welcomed us. Women were dazzling in traditional attire and jewelry (Abha or Kanjari)”
For a moment, it felt like we have landed on a movie set. Was all this real? Everything looked perfect! Splendid colors, shimmering against the white backdrop, beautifully dressed artisans, friendly locals, neatly constructed houses, some of them beautifully painted too. It was much more than you could expect from a typical Indian village. Indeed, a model village.
No doubt, our guide requested us to take permission before clicking the pictures of the locals. As he anticipated, it was difficult not to get carried away by the picture-perfect vibes.
Rann Ki Kahaniyan (Stories of Rann)
My recent trip to Gujarat was an enriching experience. This trip has enlightened me to the untold stories of the Kutch region, Rann Ki kahaniyan as they like to say.
A few weeks back I shared with you the story of Nirona village in Kutch and today I am sharing a story of another very special village.
Gandhi Nu Gam – A hidden gem of Kutch, Gujarat
Welcome to Gandhi nu Gam, a small village in the Kutch area of Gujarat State.
Gandhi Nu Gam, a hidden gem of Kutch, is one of the finest examples of a model village. A handicraft village where local artisans practice traditional Kutch art on articles like clothing, Jewellery, wooden artifacts, and much more!
Gandhi nu Gam/ Ludiya village – An inspiring story of rising from Ashes!
Gandhi Nu Gam was not always like this. Behind the kaleidoscope of colors and happy vibes, there is a devastating story of destruction and an inspiring story of resurrection.
On the morning of 26th January 2001 as the entire nation was celebrating Republic Day, a massive earthquake hit Gujarat. Kutch district was the epicenter of this earthquake. This natural calamity raised the havoc of destructions. Many lives were lost, properties destroyed. Ludiya was one such village, devasted from this calamity.
Post destruction, the process of rebuilding started. Various stakeholders including Government organizations, NGOs, local communities worked collectively to rebuild Kutch villages. This is how collective efforts and perseverance gave rise to the current model village named Gandhi Nu Gam.Now the village has 455 residential units, a school and all other important amenities.
Gandhi Nu Gam: Sustainable development: Keeping the Local culture alive
The best part is, this redevelopment process was carried out sustainably, preserving the local culture and tradition of the village.
The housing units resemble the traditional Kutch houses called Bhungas and are constructed from locally sourced material.
Traditional Bhunga/ Kutch houses at Gandhi Nu Gam
Bhungas are the traditional circular houses with thatched roofs, unique to the Kutch region. These houses are earthquake-resistant and eco-friendly. Designed from locally available material, their circular walls give them stability, and their design help to keep the interiors cool compared to the outside temperature. The houses are beautifully decorated and the artisans will let you have a look around.
Traditional Attire at Gandhi Nu Gam, Kutch
Another striking feature of Gandhi nu Gam was traditionally dressed, local artisans. Especially the women looked gorgeous in the colorful mirror worked attire and Jewellery. The ethnic dress is called Chaniya choli, which includes a long blouse beautifully embroidered with mirror work, called Abha or Kanjari, a long skirt, and odhani to cover the head.
Meeting Kheta behen, the woman with her picture printed on Indian Stamp
Have you met anyone whose picture is printed on the stamp of a country? As if we were less impressed by the vibes of Gandhi nu Gam, we met a special person, just before leaving the place. Kheta behen, one of the artisans of Gandhi nu Gam, has her picture printed on one of the Indian stamps. She tells us, this was 20 years back when she participated in one of the handicraft exhibitions in Delhi the national capital. Proudly displaying the framed picture of the stamp, Kheta Behen let us take her pictures. Her toothy grin was infectious. Meeting her was the icing on the cake.
What to shop at Gandhi Nu Gam?
Artisanal Stalls at Gandhi Nu Gam offers a plethora of handicraft options to shop. Infect if you love traditional work and handicraft, you will have a tough time deciding what to pick and what to leave. Do check out colorful quilts with mirror work, Stoles, Skirts, handbags. You can also pick traditional jewellery.
How to reach Gandhi Nu Gam
If you are planning to visit Kutch, do include this beautiful village in your itinerary.
Gandhi Nu Gam is situated 70 kilometers from Bhuj city. It is about 27 kilometers from the Tent City in Dhordo, which is the hub of Rann Utsav.
Bhuj is the nearest airport to Gandhi Nu Gam. However, limited flights operate here, so the next best option is to land in Ahmedabad and travel by Road to Kutch.
You can either use public transport or a taxi to reach the village from Bhuj or Dhordo.
The nearest railway station to Gandhi Nu Gam is Bhuj.
Where to stay while visiting Gandhi Nu Gam
If you visit Kutch during Rann Utsav, you can stay at The Tent City, Dhordo, where the Rann Utsav takes place. You can also stay at many other resorts and Homestays at Dhordo village. Finding a hotel/ Resort or Homestay at Bhuj is another option.
We left the village with a mix of emotions. Proud, inspired, emotional. It’s hard to explain in words.
That was all about the beautiful village Gandhi nu Gam, a living example of Rising from ashes and perseverance. If you love to explore the countryside and rural areas, this village will leave you awestruck.
Save it ! Pin it!