Beauty and the Beast: The peculiar Rann of Kutch Part – II


The Rann may look flat and arid but life goes on here too. On our way back we crossed groups of namds with their livestock. One group even invited us to share a breakfast of the thick bajra rotis (flat bread made of milet) and sweet camel milk in earthen cups.

The Rann may look flat and arid but life goes on here too. On our way back we crossed groups of namds with their livestock. One group even invited us to share a breakfast of the thick bajra rotis (flat bread made of milet) and sweet camel milk in earthen cups. They were also preparing their evening meal using the ‘Khaad’ method of cooking wherein the food is cooked by the heat of the sand in a pit called a khaad.

I was quite glad to be back on firm tar once we exited the Rann, because this constant shift in direction to avoid mud bogs and mirages that kept dancing temptingly close to the horizon was very disorienting. It felt reassuring to drive once more with real scenery, sighboards and other traffic which mainly consisted of regal camel herds.

Royal Legacy: Through the word of my guide Junaid

Modhera is 50km from Dasada and here lies one of Western India’s finest temples – the temples of the Sun built by King Bhimdev I in 1027. It predates the Sun temples at Konark, Orissa by 200 years and yet the two bear some resemblance. Here too the temple is so designed that the dawn sun shone on the image of Surya at the time of the equinoxes. The designs and carvings of the temple and the adjoining stepwell, the Surya Kund is a legacy of the Silavat stonemansons. They considered the perfect woman to be voluptuous and curvaceous and their mallets and chisels have given form to this idea in beautiful apsaras all over the temple. Of course, when the most unpopular tourist of the time, Mahmud of Ghazni came visiting, he showed his appreciation by letting loose a legion of sledgehammer-wielding demolishers on the temple But it is a tribute to the stonemasons who were renowned for the skill in turning even the hardest stone into delicate carvings that so many carvings remain intact even after centuries of raids led by barbarians intent on destruction.

Continued............read Part III


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Beauty and the Beast: The peculiar Rann of Kutch Part - I

We’d driven from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, part of it on the super modern Mahatma Gandhi Expressway which is without doubt one of India’s finest roads. We’d then gone bavk a couple of decades when we arrived in Dasada, a rustic little village at the edge of the little Rann of Kutch. The roads were more suited to bullock-carts, and women in colourful attire drew water from deep of wells as the womenfolk of the village had done for centuries before.

More articles: Beauty and the Beast

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