North India 2008/09 (part I): Kachchh

Kachchh, Gujarat:

landscape of Kachchh

landscape of Kachchh

In December 2008, I travelled to India for the first time in my life. The plane brought me to Mumbai, but I stayed only one night in this megacity before moving on to Kachchh (formerly spelled Kutch). I spent most of my days in this district before continuing my journey via Jaipur to Delhi.

indiamap1

So far, Kachchh and its capital Bhuj are rarely visited by tourists from abroad. The comparatively sparsely populated district is characterized by a semi-desert landscape. While there are no famous monuments here, the nature and rich culture draws those in the know to the region (Kachchh is a mecca for birders). In addition, many pilgrims from all over India come to visit the famous temple of Matanomadh.

The capital of Kachchh and the main centre for tourists in the area is Bhuj with around 100,000 inhabitants. Its main sight is the palace complex of the district’s rulers including the imposing Prag Mahal built in the 19th century in Italian Gothic style. The buildings were strongly damaged during the massive earthquake hitting the region on the 26th January 2001 claiming almost 20,000 lives. Even today, cracks in the clock tower are still visible.

The Prag Mahal is situated close to the Hamirsar Tank, the city’s major water reservoir. During the winter months a stroll along the lake can be especially rewarding for birders as it attracts a considerable number of species. A short drive south of Bhuj lies the small coastal city Mandvi with its famous shipyard. While the beach close-by is not very spectacular, it is fascinating to observe the workers build large wooden ships along the river running through town.

From Bhuj, I took the overnight train to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. But this part of the journey will be covered in this post.

14 responses to “North India 2008/09 (part I): Kachchh

  1. Wow! The Rann of Kutch (I had no idea they had changed the spelling and I live here but it seems that the new spelling has way too many cs and hs lol) is indeed a paradise for birders and I have wanted to go there for many many years but have not managed it so far- someday! Looking forward to reading your posts on Jaipur and Delhi

    • haha – thanks for your comment!! Actually, the name “Kutch” is still commonly in use, but I really believe that “Kachchh” is the official spelling…

      • That is just the government’s way of complicating lives for everyone 😦

  2. I enjoyed your photographs. Interesting captures of people, lifestyle, animals, landscape and architecture. The dead bats were quite surprising!

    • thanks a lot!! 🙂 I am happy that you like it… though I would prefer those bats to fly around instead of hanging “fried” from electricity wires 😉

      • I prefer them flying around too :-). The photographs are interesting though and they fit with some thematic elements I noticed in your images – the intersection of city and nature, and the colours and co-existence of life, decay and death.

  3. Such an enjoyable post, Matthias. Your photos are a wonderful expression of the varieties of life in India. I espec. like the one of the four country people, each with a bundle on their head. And the electrocuted fruit bat, for some reason, made me smile — it’s a quirky photo. 🙂

    • thank you very much!! I am glad you like the photos… the fruit bats look slightly like halloween decorations?! But to be honest, it’s rather sad…

  4. Pingback: North India 2008/09 (part II) | wild life·

  5. Pingback: North India 2008/09 (part III) | wild life·

  6. We visited the region in 2011. From foxes, double headed snakes, to birds (too many to count); it’s a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Your photos don’t show the ‘White Desert’ between the borders of India and Pakistan. It’s definitely worth the visit – if you come back.

  7. Pingback: India 2016 (part I): Kachchh | wild life·

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