Photographer's Note

Kachchh district (Kutch) is district of Gujarat state in western India. Covering an area of 45,612 km², it is the largest district of India.

Kachchh literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry; a large part of this district is known as Rann of Kachchh which is shallow wetland which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during other seasons.

The Rann ("salt marsh") of Kachchh has a total area of 18,000 sq km. The Little Rann of Kachchh extends northeast from the Gulf of Kutch over 5,100 sq km. Once an extension of the Arabian Sea, the Rann has been closed off by centuries of silting. During Alexander's time it was a navigable lake, but is now an extensive mudflat, inundated during the monsoons, salty and cracked otherwise. Settlement is limited to low, isolated hills.

Traditional industries & art in Little Rann of Kachchh include manufacture of Shawls, handicrafts, and silver items. There are currently 1,200 weavers who work in 210 villages of Kachchh, 800-900 practice the craft full time. Around 2,400 women are engaged in preparatory and finishing processes

The craftspeople belonging to this semi - desert land make Dhaba shawls. The shawls are yarned on the traditional loom using cotton and woolen yarns. Using threads, the design is put on the loom to shape up the product. The extracted water of rice or starch is used to wrap the desired colour directly on the loom. Traditionally the colours used are black, yellow, red, orange and green.

The number of threads is dependent on the design and is tied with pedals. Craftspeople carry out weaving the shawls using the "up and down" technique. The wool is collected from the sheep and the texture is rough.

I took this picture of the woman artisan weaving a shawl in an annexe of her house (loom workshop) in Bajana Village close to where we stayed.

The colourful Kachchhi shawls, have been woven with motifs by artisan communities for past several generations in Kachchh district of Gujarat. Claiming a 500-year-old history linked with the weaving of Kachchhi shawls in Gujarat, the Kutch Weavers' Association (KWA) has filed an application for grant of Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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