The largest district in Gujarat, Kutch is gradually growing as a favored tourist destination in Gujarat. The word ‘Kutch’ literally means something which becomes wet and dry. Most part of the district is a shallow wetland which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during summers. The district is surrounded by the Gulf of Kutch and the Arabian Sea in south and west and Great and Little Rann in the north and east. The district is famous for its uniqueness in terms of culture and traditions and is popular for famous crafts and embroidery works. Ninety-seven small rivers flow through Kutch and flow into the Arabian Sea, almost twenty major dams and numerous smaller dams are present in Kutch. Kutch has a spectacular wildlife population which can be seen in a number of wildlife sanctuaries and parks present in the district.
Where in Kutch…
The must visit list for Kutch is a long one, below are the few of the must visit places in Kutch.
Little Rann of Kutch Sanctuary:The largest sanctuary in the state of Gujarat, Little Rann of Kutch Sanctuary is spread over an area of 7505.22 sq. km. It is situated in the North-eastern part of Kutch and borders Pakistan. Some rare wild animals such as striend hyena, porcupine, fox, small Indian civet, Indian pangolin and star tortoise can be found in this sanctuary.
Kandla Port:Kandla port is a national port and is one of the 11 major ports in India. Managed by the Ministry of Commerce, Kandla is also the country’s free trade zone whose foundation was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Aina Mahal:As the name clearly suggest, Aina Mahal is a palace of mirrors built in the 18th century. It is also known as Madansinhji Museum. The hall of mirrors is the biggest attraction in the palace, which has marble walls adorned with mirrors and separated by gilded ornaments. Other attractions in the palace consists of a number of fountains, a pleasure pool and the art gallery which has pictures of Bhuj city and its rulers adorning the walls.
Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan:It is a famous cultural center which comprises of rare collections of famous Kutchi folks and crafts. These crafts and folk materials are some of the rare artefacts from remote parts of the Kutch district and have been collected by forest officials while travelling around the district.
Prag Mahal:Located next to the Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal is another tourist attraction situated in the Kutch district. Built in the 19th century, the palace is built in Italian-Gothic style. The main attractions include the Main Hall, the Durbar Hall which houses broken chandeliers along with classical statues.
Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary:The largest wildlife sanctuary in India and spread over and area of 4954 sq. km, this sanctuary is the place where the endangered species of wild ass like Khur, as well as species of Asiatic wild ass like Onager could be found. The sanctuary was established in 1972, and also houses other animal species.
Theplas and Tea:
Most of the population in Kutch is vegetarian. Bajre (millet) da Rotla with buttermilk is the staple diet of most people in Kutch. Another famous relish is the ‘Khichhdi’, which is made of rice and pulses. Apart from this, dry theplas, sev and khakhras are made and stored for travel purposes.
Tea is a prominent part of the Kutchi cuisine and is loved by all. One can find tea stalls at every corner of the district. Other famous delicacies of the Kutchi cuisine includes, Khaman dhokla, Gathia, Undhia, Kachori etc.
Like most of India, sweet dishes make an important part of the Kutchi cuisine as well. Sweets like, Adadiya, Gulab Pak, Son Papdi, Gulab Jamun and Jalebi are enjoyed by the Kutchi people.