“Sunset, stars and stories etched on the sands of time
Perched on the edge of the Rann of Kutch One of the largest seasonal saline wetlands in the world, holding water just 0.5 to 1.5 m deep, it is located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of the state of Gujarat. After October-November every year, the water begins to dry, transforming the area into a saline desert. The wetland attracts a large number of waterfowl species like Flamingo, Pelican, Great Crested Grebe, Black Stork, Brahminy Duck, Common Pochard, Tuffed Pochard, White Eyed Pochard, Gulls, Terns, Stints, Plovers and others. The mixture of saline flats and non-saline bets, uninhabited by humans, provide an ideal habitat for many wild animals as well. Due to the presence of geologically diverse rocks, the region also features rich fossils, including prehistoric dinosaurs and trees. The name 'Rann' comes from a Hindi word meaning 'salt marsh'.
, in the heart of the Banni grassland in the state of Gujarat, Hodka is a 'vibrant' hamlet in every sense of the word. An array of distinct endowments connects the visitor to the traditional assets of the communities here; Kutch region is known worldwide for its rich cultural legacy. Architecture and arts, music and dance, textiles and cuisine, unique panoramas and topography lend a surreal magnificence to west India's boulevard of culture.
Hodka is symbolic of the distinct beauty of the Banni region that borders the Rann of Kutch. A special tourist attraction is the Shaam-e-Sarhad Resort The name means 'Sunset on the Border'. Accommodation is comfortable, simple and clean. There are three types of accommodation: Tents, Family Tents and Bhungas. The Tents and Bhungas can normally accommodate 2 people, while the Family Tents can host 4 people. Extra beds are available on request. All living spaces are designed to showcase local talent and are decorated handicrafts. Furnished with private bathroom with western-style toilet and shower, as well as mosquito nets and fans, the stay is designed to be comfortable - and of course unforgettable! Traditional food is served. For lunch and dinner, a Gujarati and a traditional buffet is served, with a range of vegetables (cooked and fresh), pulses, Indian breads, and local sweets. Only vegetarian food is served.
, which is handcrafted by the local community. Swathed in appealing ethnicity and exquisitely decorated with mirror work, textiles and a range of local crafts, Shaam-e-Sarhad is an unforgettable getaway resonating with the skills of the local Rabari, Meghwal and Maldhari communities. The experience carries over to star-gazing, guided walks, bird watching excursions, camel safaris embroidery workshops and traditional dining!
Mud, colloquially called 'Maati', is an essential material, which lends an enduring character to the Hodka village and the surrounding Banni region. The mastery of the local folk in mud craft is best reflected in the Bhungas The circular mud hut with conical roofs made of thatch is an ingenious local invention that tackles the extreme climate. The Bhungas keep cool during the hot Kutchi summers and warm in the cold desert winters. The traditional Bhunga is an engineering wonder. This sturdy structure has been known to withstand severe winds and seismic activity because of its circular design and tough mud plaster. The roof protects the walls, which are adorned with colourful geometric and floral patterns. Women use earth colours to paint the different motifs and create mud-mirror work designs, known as Lippan work.
. The desert settlement is resplendent with the colourful attire of the women folk. Camel continues to be traditional mode of transport. The excursions to Chari Dhand for bird watching and through the timeless expanse of the Rann offer unique experiences.