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Photographer's Note

Driving up north from Bhuj into the Rann of Kutch is like stepping onto another planet. You pass vast salt plains with wide-spread nothingness…just white! You catch glimpses of occasional creeks, and settlements with baked mud houses. Shaam-e –Sarhad is right there at the south end of the Rann.

Owned and operated by the community of Hodka, Shaam-e-Sarhad meaning "sunset over the border" hopefully heralds the dawn of responsible, community-based tourism in India. The raison d’être of Shaam is that if tourism is to be a source of income for rural people, then they need to own, manage and control the kind of tourism and the experience itself. The Halepotra tribe - originally cattle traders - built Shaam in 2004 using a grant from the Indian government and the United Nations Development Programme, which established 36 other similar projects nationwide to provide a sustainable source of income to deprived communities.

Initially it was thought of as a home stay programme. However, the village disagreed with the intrusion into their privacy. And the Shaam-e-Sarhad Rural Resort was conceived – three Bhungas or huts and eight tents set out in the pattern of a typical hamlet of the Halepotran community of Hodka. The whole resort has been conceived and constructed by the Hunnarshala Foundation’s architects, mud artisans, roof weavers, potters, carpenters, weavers, embroidery artisans, lacquer workers, and lime (chuna) specialists. 26 people can stay comfortably in this resort.

Shaam-e-Sarhad Rural Resort is an excellent example of how local communities can come together and execute a eco-tourism concept that increases awareness of local arts and crafts and employment and is a good example for other upcoming rural tourism projects in India.

The bhunga which serves as a 'Reception' was being painted over & I was lucky to have the artist painting local motifs on the white washed wall

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7754 W: 324 N: 15606] (55035)
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