Gujarat is a state of India far off the beaten track and not a regular destination on the tourist route of Northern India, but it’s a gem and shouldn’t be discounted in any itinerary of the subcontinent.
Ahmedabad, its largest city and former capital, was once known as the Manchester of India, and Gujarat is still the largest producer of cotton in India. In the 1950s, the Textile Mill Owners Association commissioned Le Corbusier, the famous Swiss-French architect to design and build their offices. It is an amazing building where private viewings can be arranged.
Corbusier went on to design and build three other buildings in the city, all very different but equally exciting. Gujarat was the birthplace and home of Mahatma Gandhi and the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad is a must see. It also happens to be the home State of India’s new President Narendra Modi.
Today, Gujarat it is still renown for its sensational hand-crafted textiles, with numerous textile communities scattered all over the rural areas, so many that one could spend weeks here.
When I visited recently with a friend, we really only scratched the surface when we visited Bhuj – a six-hour drive from Ahmedabad. We were privileged to meet Bandhari artisans, the Rabaris and visit the village of Bhujodi, where we met award-winning designers and weavers proudly displaying their beautiful crafts.
The Rann of Kutch is remarkable and worth the journey to experience the breathtaking landscape, and to see how the locals inhabit this “White Desert.” This immense salt marsh, in the Kutch district of Gujarat, is one of the largest seasonal wetlands in the world. It is also home to an annual festival, which includes textile demonstrations and a market place.