Sunday, January 22, 2012

Embellished dwellings in Kutch...

Kutch is a mystical land.
Intriguing. Exuberant. Enthralling.

...and all I believe is to do with the people who have migrated from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Himalayas, Northern India and Central India.

Each community bearing different names like Jats, Meghwals, Rabaris, Mutwas, Sodhas, Ahirs but bound together by the land.

The land that is dry, arid and harsh. The land that has seen years of drought and earthquakes.

Great admiration surges in my heart when I see the people of Kutch who have overcome these hardships by painting a vibrant colour-scheme on a dull, unyielding landscape. Their palette saturated with colours adorn they homes, their attires, their work and their lives!
May your days be filled with smiles this New Year:-)

Sharing with you few frames from their humble but grand dwellings. The dwellings which are fabulous examples of aesthetics & functionality. They are practical yet beautiful. They are small yet roomy. They are organized yet exuberant.
Chitra kaam on a Bhunga...

inside a Bhunga near Ludiya...

Inside and outside a Bhunga in Gandhi Nu Gaam near Ludiya, Kutch.
painted entrance...

Mutwa community dwelling...

Inside a Mutwa community dwelling in Dhordo, Kutch
Bhunga near Dhordo...

Interiors of another Mutwa Bhunga at Dhordo, Kutch.
lipan kaam...

Sculpted clay 'Lipaan' work on the exterior of the Bhungas.

A Meghwal family in Hodka Village, Kutch.
Bhunga in Hodka...

Inside a Bhunga of Meghwal community. Everything one needs is neatly organized.
painted doors...

Painted doors.

Vibrant patchwork quilts.
Bhunga near Hodka...

Look at all those quilts they have been sewing neatly stacked.

Smiling in spite of all the hardships.
painted doors...

Art in every wall, every corner, everywhere.

...and it warms my heart to see art, embellishments, beauty winning over this harsh land of Kutch.

(Images by Arch)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shaam-E-Sarhad, Hodka Village, Kutch.

Little did I realize that while I had posted about this resort from a magazine, way back in 2007 and the subsequent posts about NGOs working in Kutch, that I was actually laying invisible foundation stones for a trip to Kutch, Gujarat in December 2011, a good four years later.

Shaam-E-Sarhad is a eco-resort built in a Kutchi village-style setting using locally sourced materials and crafts of the region. It is owned and managed by the Hodka village community and is open only from October to March.

The resort promotes Endogenous Tourism where one travels not just for pleasure, but also to appreciate local community and their life in rural Gujarat.

"The Endogenous Tourism Project in Hodka village seeks to promote local culture and craft based tourism for sustainable livelihoods and integrated rural development. Its aim is to improve the local people's quality of life, by creating more livelihood options, while preserving and allowing the community to develop their unique culture and share it with visitor."~
The reception area is adorned with 'Chittar Kaam' patterns and designs in earthy colours.

The use of local architectural style, the intricate art & crafts is very evident as soon as one enters Shaam-E-Sarhad (translated 'Sunset at the border')
Hodka village is not very far from the Rann of Kutch region which shares the border with Pakistan.

The dining area is below a multi-hued canopy of bright local fabrics patches...

A sit-out made out of a mixture of smooth mud and dung. Beautiful patchwork quilts made by local artisans spread their colours on an otherwise neutral colour-palette.

A Kutchi cloth doll with traditional dress swings gently in the breeze from the wooden poles..

Even the switch board is made using locally crafted wooden plank.

There are a few Bhunga mud houses and many tents where you can experience sustainable living.

Orange dawn from our tent on the first day of our stay at the resort.

The next day we moved to the Bhunga house:-) The resort is very popular with travelers who come to visit the White Rann of Kutch, Dhordo, Hodka and the wildlife sanctuaries.

This is Pandhi Bhai with another local gentleman. Pandhi Bhai plays the Morsing on cold star-studded winter nights sitting on that 'charpouy' in the previous photograph.

Bhunga is a house that is circular in design, made of mud plaster, dung and twigs, it has a light dome-shaped bamboo and thatched roof. A glorious mud structure that is resistant to high windspeed and earthquakes.

The thick walls keep the interior cool when the temperature rises to 46 degrees celsius in summer and warm when it drops to two degrees in winter.

A fabulous example of Kutchi architecture and eco-living.

The 'Chittar Kaam' or Mud paintings convert the exterior of the Bhungas into art canvas' as well.

The 'Lipan Kaam' or the sculpted mud-mirror work frame the wooden windows.


'Lipan Kaam' at the entrance to our Bhunga with lacquer work wooden door.

The interior of the Bhunga with stunning patchwork bedspreads and curtains.

The purple seating glows as the light filters in.

Utterly, deeply and completely in love with the woven curtains.

The intricately carved wooden window shutters.

Sitting under the canopy of rainbow colours, watching the dusk envelope the Bhungas at Shaam-E-Sarhad, we sat sipping our hot Khullad chai and just being in the moment.

(images by Arch, the last one by Mr. Husband)

Monday, January 02, 2012

The House of MG, Ahmedabad.

Our journey to the colourful state of Gujarat began with Ahmedabad. Having read so much about the architecture, the heritage and the people we chose a place which would be a gateway to all these.

The House of MG in short for The House of Mangaldas Giridhardas is a heritage mansion built in 1924 and belonged to the wealthy textile businessman. It has been converted to a beautiful hotel which still retains it's old world charm.

It is located in the Old City of Ahmedabad just walking distance from the 'Teen Darwaza' the oldest gateway of the city established by Sultan Ahmed Shah.
Antique photographic shrine of Sri & Srimati Mangaldas.

The whiff of subtle floral incense sticks along with the stream of winter sunlight welcomed us into this heritage mansion and I at once knew our stay here would be a memorable one.

Floating rose petals spreading their fragrance in the open courtyard.

Geometrical patterned tiles lead us into the heart of the mansion and the past seemed to come alive with the corridor walls forming a canvas of vintage portraits of the Mangaldas family.

Portrait of Champagauri.

On catching the glimpse of the antique swing against the terracotta walls a soft squeal escaped my mouth which triggered a giggle from my daughter.

Managed to photograph this stunning piece of furniture without capturing my reflection and followed the patterned path wondering at what else the mansion was going to unravel.

Wooden staircase leading to the various rooms.

Entrance to one of the fourteen luxurious rooms in the mansion.

The central courtyard with smooth ceramic mosaic work.

Outside our room
The walls are peppered with black & white photographs of the Malgaldas family.

Inside our room.

We had a traditional Gujarati swing in the room!

Loved the lighting idea, it's a yellow tube light fitted on a wooden plank with holes. The effect is that of spotlights!


Tastefully done up corners of the room.

The lobby area has a small idol of Lord Krishna seated on a swing and the oil lamps illuminate the space as the sun sets on the old city of Ahmedabad.

A family portrait of the Mangaldas family then and now...

The air fills up with the heady fragrance of incense inside while there is hauntingly beautiful 'Adhan' call for prayer from the Sidi Saiyed Jali Mosque opposite the House of MG.

This post is probably the longest one on Rang Decor till date and really hope all of you like it as much as I have loved sharing it with all of you:-)

You can see the slideshow of photographs of The House of MG here.

( Images by Arch)