This is part 2 of my Kutch post. If you haven’t read the first part, click here.
On the way back from the Great Rann we decided to visit a Kutch village by name Nirona which is famous for Rohan Art products. In fact Nirona is the only remaining place in the world to make Rohan Art. I will tell you about Rohan Art later.
It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and we were cruising towards Nirona. Suddenly Prashant claimed to have seen something moving in the bushes and Akbar bhai brought the car came to a screeching halt. He grabbed his camera, jumped out of the car and ran into the bushes. I screened the location to see what had provoked a sudden reaction from Prashant, but didn’t see anything. But then, wild life photographers see things that others don’t normally see. Did I tell you that he’s a wildlife photographer ? He is and a good one at that.
I remained in the car since I’m not that keen on capturing wildlife. For the next half an hour there was only silence. No bushes moved and nothing moved behind the bushes either and strangely no sign of Prashant. I called out his name at the loudest pitch my sound pipes allowed. But I didn’t get any answer from the bushes. I dialed his number and it said he was out of coverage area.
I took out my camera and took a photo of the location where he disappeared:
But before my anxiety could further rise, Prashant resurfaced on the road a little ahead of the car. He was following a wild horse, he told and also told he heard me calling him, but was so close to the horse that he didn’t want to annoy the animal.
It was extremely sunny outside, but the wind coming in through the windows was moderately cold and I fell asleep. In my sleep I dreamt of traveling on a boat on a tumbling sea, and one giant wave threw me out of my seat and my head hit the roof. I landed back with a thud – on my car seat, wide awake. I had just hit the roof of the car. Actually we were traveling on a bumpy mud track through a bushy desert. The track didn’t appear to be heading anywhere in particular as it twisted and turned and tore through the bushes. The strange road and the non-existence of any hints of human existence was enough to send the alarm bells ringing in me, but Akbar bhai looked assured and relaxed. And then, out of the bushes, a village emerged.
The village is a kind of a small settlement but it is not the Nirona Village of Rohan Art fame, this is some other village, somewhere in the middle of nowhere! I didn’t ask the name of the village because I never thought I would be writing a post on it. But it’s an interesting place nevertheless.
The villagers make handicraft items from bangles to bags, dresses and carpets. We were given free rein to walk into any house and photograph anything we wanted, but the cooperation rendered to us had a hidden cost to it. We were cajoled into buying some of the handicrafts.
At the end of the short visit I realized, contrary to my initial perception, that they aren’t that far away from modern civilization or time. They know about internet and watch Airtel Digital Tv. The people are smart in dealing with tourists and in selling their products. I’m sure Akbar Bhai might have taken a lot of people there before us, and he may have earned a lot of commission as well.
Since I don’t know the name of the place or it’s location in the map, there’s no way I can offer any guidance to anyone who may want to visit this village. All I can tell you is, ask the taxi drivers in Bhuj and some of them may know this place. Perhaps, the only clue is, the place is about an hour and half drive from white desert and the village of Nirona is an hour away.
This post is longer than I expected, so Nirona shall wait – until the next post.