Born in the 80’s, we’re all in an age now where some friend or the other is getting married. Sure, all my friends will agree! So, here I was in Bhuj in the winters of 2013 attending one of my closest friends’ wedding. I had a blast at the wedding, what with all the amazing arrangements, bunch of crazy people put together in a resort & loads n loads of liquor pouring in. We even had the beautiful bride & her lovely groom join us for a night out, before their wedding day, imagine! 🙂 So, we went about with all the rituals, the wedding and the amazing food & then came upon an idea to just explore Bhuj. Yes, all the dreamy stuff most often happens when you’re surrounded by your girl pals who are similarly crazy like you.
A friend, her husband & I decided to spare 2 more days in Kutch to explore the vibe & culture of the place. So after bidding adieu to my friend & her husband and the family & friends, we moved on with our journey. Though the additional days were planned in advance, we hadn’t really decided on which place we’ll go to or where would we stay, mode of transport,etc. Nothing at all! It was sort of a mini adventure for me as I’d never gone on an unplanned trip before. After a lot of pondering, looking through the map & asking random & helpful people on our way we decided to head to Hodka. It is a village which is part of the several Banni villages (Banni comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Banai’ meaning made). These villages were formed by the sediments deposited by the Indus river several years ago and lie on the outskirts of the Rann of Kutch. They are of special importance as they are rich in biodiversity & are a protected area. Once we did our little research we headed to Hodka which is about 17Kms from the famed Rann of Kutch or White Desert. In all excitement we hired a cab in Bhuj and reached our destination in about an hour. Once there we met this really sweet man who offered us a home-stay at his place. We met his lovely mother, whom I shall going forward in this post name ‘Godmother’. I say this as she was a really strong woman with a heart of gold & the matriarch of the house. If we needed anything all we had to do was ask ‘Godmother’ 🙂 We also learnt that this was the only family in the entire village which sent its girls to school. Quite progressive for sure. The hospitality that we experienced there was unparalleled.
Hodka was beautiful beyond words, peaceful and tranquil. It has got a very rustic charm to it. One should not expect green grasslands & rivers flowing across. It is a rugged, brown, arid land with few shrubs around and very warm & colorful people. The place has such a positive vibe & is rich in wildlife. It was the best season that we could have visited the village in as it was Winters. In my two days there, we visited the locals of the village (who were just so amazing), purchased some handcrafted items & went to nearby places. On day 2 we went to Chari Dand early in the morning as it is known to host a lot of migratory birds, but we were a little disappointed as we thought we would get to watch the birds from close quarters but were too far. We also did the Rann of Kutch (a ‘must do’ if in Kutch), Kala Dungar & the India Bridge. At India Bridge, we met some BSF jawans who were more than happy to chat with us (they must have thought ‘some Civilians at last’)
All in all, my trip to Bhuj was one of my best memories of 2013 as it was unplanned, spontaneous & very very experiential. I realized the thrill of spontaneity & adventure. We all love to live a life full of adventure & travel, but very few of us really have the guts to leave our daily worries & chores behind for something like this. I, too am so stuck with my life but don’t plan to be anymore. So, every once in a while, we must just pack our bags and head out to the unknown. This is real Life!