Nothing excites you like the prospect of heading to a barren land - vast stretches of nothingness. Kutch – the marshy-barren, saline land is more than just that. An air of enigma pervades every nook and corner of the spatial land that epitomizes barren beauty. Little did we know that we would find the deepest voids and subliminal trenches of our existential selves being channelled and charged all the same in lands far-far away. It was like food for fodder.
After having transverse a distance of approximately 400 km from Jamnagar, we reached at Shanti Vihar (Adani Guest house) by 1:00 pm. We came to know about Adani Group and its business. We visited Adani Port and gathered information about Port’s storage capacity, total capacity of ship parking at a time and its upcoming projects. It is one of the India’s largest public sector ports. After that we visited Adani Willmar one of the well-known edible oil making company and came to know about Oil extraction from raw material, designing containers for oil, storage system and oil packing.
We also visited the West Port and noticed the operations of different machines operating within sea as well as on ground. Next, we went to visit Adani Power plant, one of the largest private sector electricity generation plants in the whole world. Here we were introduced with Adani Power display model. Then we went to control room of power generation terminal and came to know about its functionality. It was a great experience for all of us.
We then headed towards the Mandvi beach but did not step into the water. Most of it was badly polluted but we enjoyed listening to the waves crashing on the beach. For entertainment there were camel and horse rides.
We also visited the Vijay Vilas palace. It was truly magnificent. The marble work on the pillars matched that on the carpets. The dining table with its great combination of white and black colours made it look more luxurious and fascinating.
The Sunset at Kalo Dungar
Kalo Dungar (or Black Hill), besides being the highest point in Kutch, it is famous for the 400 year old Hindu temple of Lord Dattatreya, the three-headed deity encompassing the Trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva in one body. According to a localite, Lord Dattatreya was walking the earth and stopped at Kalo Dungar where he found a band of starving jackals. He offered them parts of his body to eat and while the jackals ate his body continued to regenerate. Because of this, for the last four centuries, every evening, after performing the aarti, temple priests feed prasad to wild jackals. We paid obeisance from outside the closed door and headed towards the place that offers commanding views of the Great Rann. The Great Rann beckons you to bare your authentic self-much like the bare yet marshy lands foretell existence with a soul. For brief moments, we lost track of time and all we wanted was to sit and absorb every inch of the scenic portrait that the landscape unfolded before eyes. The horizon gleamed with the sun in all its roundedness set against the azure skies like a fireball. The crimson hued shades canvassed the sky with bright golden light emanating as if to mark divine intervention. We saw the sun drop slowly and make way for the dazzling night skies. I had never witnessed a play of colours as surreal.
Such plans were interspersed by exploring the way up to Dholavira and beyond. We took a halt at Bhuj on the way to Kutch. Bhuj was a revelation in terms of the rustic Aina Mahal, the beautiful Prag Mahal and the umbrella shaped dome structures - popularly known as Chhatris which were built in the memory of the royals. On our way, we stopped by village Bhujodi, a community of artists close to Bhuj. The small area was lined by shops on either side, selling mirror-work bags, embroidered material, shawls, to jewellery and colourful chappals. Particularly known for block printing, it is amongst the most frequented areas for shoppers alike. A lot of local artisans from Bhuj working there also sell their goods in the Rann Utsav at Kutch.
Dholavira : Excavation of the Harappan Civilisation
Dholavira-Kutch, the name sounded so dulcet to our ears. We were having a trip to this mystical place as part of the culmination to our Social Science unit “Civilizations”. Dholavira, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is the fifth largest Harappan site in the Indian subcontinent, and has been under excavation almost continuously since 1990 by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The excavation continues slowly even today to bring out more hidden treasures. We were shown the archaeological site by Sir Jitu Mishra. We saw the ancient ruins, including their underground water drainage system, a stadium for celebrations, burial ground etc. We also saw a 10 feet long slab of stone believed to be the first sign-board of the world with inscriptions which has not yet been deciphered. The ancient city also had 16 reservoirs out of which only 3 are excavated. It had a very big citadel. As far as the eyes could follow, we saw mounds of brown and far ahead lay the White Rann of Kutch. We went to the Dholavira museum and saw the broken pots, tools used by ancient people, miniature models of games played in the past, jewellery, coins and inscriptions.
And the saga ends...
With a suitcase full of memories from the mystical lands of Kutch and the exotic array of History at Dholavira, we couldn’t help reminiscing the beauty that barren lands had offered.