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Kona of Kutch

Kutch, a district in the western most state of India is home to numerous ethnic tribes. Some of them are nomads, while some over the period of time have evolved their lifestyle. Rich in handicrafts both men and women are artisans of the highest quality. Tourism has also greatly transformed their livelihood. I visited this beautiful place four years ago in the most rainiest of months, it was an incredible experience meeting some of the most talented and beautiful people.

When you travel you meet some people who change how you see things, your perception towards the world at large changes forever and some even touch your heart. You make memories for life. I have felt this way most of the times I have traveled, this story is one of those memories.

This photo essay is dedicated to Kona, a beautiful and lively 8 year old girl. Her smile was most incredibly the sweetest and genuine one. She lives in Hodka village, there were many small little communities within this village close to the Rann of Kutch (endless white crystallized salt land). She belongs to the Meghwal tribe, geographically they are spread across Rajasthan and Pakistan as well. Their women are known for their elaborate costumes and jewelry. My next post (a thread of this post) will be about their culture, craft and lifestyle.

When my friend and I reached we were welcomed by the head of this community Basar Busra, a very humble man and a warm host. And within no time we were flocked by a dozen kids, I was astonished how beautiful they looked in their exquisite garments.

Hodka village

The Meghwal women and children.

Introducing Kona.

Hodka girl

Basar and his wife were kind enough to give us their own 'bunga' a round shaped room made with mud. This gentleman has been to Germany to teach the techniques of making bunga. The government sends many artisans to other countries as an exchange programme. Here the couple can be seen enjoying some family time.

Hodka Gujarat

The younger daughter in law of Basar making dinner for us. It was one of the most delicious meals I ever had.

Beautiful little girls everywhere.

Hodka handicraft

All the women here know how to weave and make their craft, they stitch their own dresses and blouses. These are some accessories which they have started making specially for tourists. Kona persuaded me to buy one of those cute clips, it reminds me of her every time I wear it.

A happy memory with the girls.

Hodka handicraft

Kona with one of her friend.

Its been four years since I last saw her, she must be 12 years old now. When ever I think of her I wonder what is she up to in life? Its a bit scary to think she can get married any time soon. I wish she had a better life, maybe this is her life and this is where she belongs.


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