A small town just 8 km southeast of Bhuj, Bhujodi is a major textile centre of Kutch, with the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants involved in textile handicraft production. Here you can meet weavers, tie-dye artists and block printers, most of who belong to the Vankar community. Many will let you watch them work.
A major centre of the Ajrakh block-printing technique, Dhamadka is about 50 km east of Bhuj. Some artisans have now relocated to Ajrakhpur, closer to the city, since the earthquake of 2001.
Kutchi handicrafts renowned the world over are in abundance in Bhuj, from elaborately embroidered clothing and luxurious quilts to block-printing, heavy silver jewellery 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.
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