The Wild West of India; off the beaten track and largely unexplored by outsiders, Kutch is a treasure trove of ecological and historical wonders waiting to be discovered.
Stretching along the Tropic of Cancer, from Rajasthan to the Arabian Sea, Kutch covers more than 45,000 sq km and is one of India’s largest and most geographically distinct regions.
Distinguished by striking geological features, Kutch hosts a variety of unique ecosystems, from the seasonal wetlands and salt flats of the Rann, through large swathes of untouched grassland and open expanses of desert, to the lush tropical greenery and salty mangrove forests of the coast.
These breathtaking landscapes are home to a wide variety of species, from flamingos and swimming Kharai camels to the endangered Indian wolf and leopard, many of which are rarely seen elsewhere.
Evidence of human settlement here dates back to the stone age. At Dholavira, remains of one of the first great cities of the Harappan / Indus valley civilization can be found, dating back 5000 years.
From that time, the striking geography of Kutch has attracted a wide variety of settlers from different tribes and the attention of many great civilizations, from the Greeks of Bactria to the Mughal conquerors of Sindh, the tales of heroism and romance in Kutch are as vast and numerous as the grains of sand in the desert.
Eventually, the Rajput Jadeja dynasty seized control of Kutch, ruling for 438 years, from 1510 until the time of independence in 1948.
Each influx of tribes and ruling kingdoms has contributed to the rich tapestry of Kutchi culture, leaving a legacy of distinctive styles, architectural wonders and artisanal techniques passed down through the generations. Even today, Kutch is famous for its craft traditions, a land of creators working with wood, metal and cloth, weaving, dying and printing some of India’s finest textiles by hand, using methods passed down unchanged through hundreds of years.
Kutch is paradoxically a place where one can see the imprint of a range of distinct cultures from different eras, and yet, a place where it sometimes feels as though time has stood still, the peaceful rhythms of village life and the nomadic pastoral traditions of more than ten distinct tribal peoples continuing today just as they have done for hundreds of years before. One of the best rural tourism destinations in India, the simplicity and quietness found here is a striking contrast to the frenetic pace of modern urban life. Inspiring and humbling, Kutch is an amazing place to visit remote villages and tribes, learning from them and witnessing a completely different perspective on life.
Vast and ancient, colorful and culturally diverse, this is an enchanting and mysterious land where ancient traditions live on and every great epoch since the dawn of time has left its footprints in the sand.