Handicrafts

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Hub(s) : Kutch

Kutchi handicrafts, renowned the world over, are in abundance in Bhuj, from elaborately embroidered clothing and luxurious quilts to block-printing, heavy silver jewelry and woodcarving. Or better yet, you can use Bhuj as a base for excursions to surrounding towns and villages to meet artisans and their families, see the work being done and buy crafts directly from the artisans themselves. This allows more of the income to go directly to the craftsmen and more importantly, creates a relationship between the maker of an item and its eventual owner, in which each one meets the other, learns something about the other's life and shares a bit of their own identity and background. You will quite likely find the personal interaction more valuable than the commercial one and the memory of the visit will stay with you even if you give away what you bought as gifts.

How to get there

By road: For those traveling from Ahmedabad, the bus may be more convenient than the train, though slightly more expensive. Several private companies run sleeper buses (with a full horizontal bunk), leaving the city for Bhuj between 8pm and 11pm, arriving in Bhuj between 6am and 8am the next morning. These bus companies all have their offices around Paldi in Ahmedabad; Sahjanand Travels and Patel Travels are two recommended ones. There are also private sitting (non-sleeper) buses, and ST (State Transport) buses that make the trip for less money but considerably less comfortable seats. Once in Bhuj, ST buses go to larger destinations around the district, private jeeps can also be rented (a good option for larger parties), and some smaller places can only be reached by chhakdas.

By rail: Two daily express trains, the Bhuj Express and the Kutch Express, go from Bhuj to Ahmedabad (8hrs) and on to Mumbai (16hrs.) However, both trains pass through Ahmedabad in the middle of the night, as the schedules are designed to depart and arrive and reasonable hours from Bhuj and Mumbai, not Ahmedabad.

By air: One or more flights daily connect Bhuj to Mumbai.