Shopping in the Colorful Markets of Bhuj

Anticipation mixed with pleasure as I read a sign that announced our arrival in Bhuj, headquarters of the Kutch district. I was finally going to the land of my ancestors after many years. Over a period, I had heard about Bhuj & the region of Kutch from my various relations & though I had visited Mandvi (another town in Kutch), travel to Bhuj had eluded me. Bhuj has witnessed a tumultuous history of earthquakes & civic troubles but had risen up resiliently every time. In fact, the 2001 massive earthquake caused heavy damages to life & property. Would the markets of Bhuj after so many ups & downs still hold promise? I would soon find out.

Though, I had heard praises about the varied delicious street food available at Bhuj, I was unsure about the markets. As, I went around the by-lanes of Vaniyavad & Saraf Bazaar, I had no doubt that the pleasing melange of colors & handiwork available at Bhuj was worth the visit.

Vaniyavad Market:

Shops after shops vie for attention at Vaniyavad, one of the busiest markets in Bhuj. Ethnic handcrafted products can be found in abundance here. Artisans from in & around areas from Bhuj brings their products for sale here. Beautiful hand embroidered quilts (starting from INR 2000), embroidered garments for men & women- especially colorful ensembles like Chania cholis (hand embroidered start from INR 7000), kutchi blouses, Kurtis & more for women & embroidered jacket & caps for men can be bought.

Home d├ęcor items like cushion covers (INR 300 onwards), wall pieces (INR 700 onwards), torans (door hangings) & bed sheets are also available.

We saw a variety of handbags & fell in love with these little wonders. Available in all shapes & sizes with intricate Resham (thread), mirror & bead work they were worth a buy.

We saw an interesting mix of traditional Rabari work on leather & picked it up to pair it for a fun fusion look. Be ready to bargain.

Another good buy are hand embroidered Kutchi shawls & stoles, available at Bhujodi. A few stores also sell colorful Bandhani sarees in vivid colors.

One can also shop at Old City Market if time permits.

Saraf Bazaar:

A mecca for silver lovers- Jewellery & artifacts alike. Though the tribal women of Kutch buy their silver Jewellery from in house jewelers of villages like Hodka, Banni, Khavda & more, tourists like us can head to Saraf Bazaar for feasting their eyes on intricate silver items. For many communities across Kutch, wearing silver is a mark of identity & individuality and is considered more than embellishment. Its a form of investment, worn with pride & guarded with a watchful eye.

Few shops sell tribal Jewellery- bangles, earrings, anklets & necklaces in intricate deigns embellished with beads & embossed work called Meena. Prices start from INR 2000 for bangles & anklets & depend on the design & weight of the piece.

I fell in love with a pair of silver traditional anklet  at first sight!!! The delicate work on the anklets culminated into small ghungroos that would make a musical tinkling sound while walking.

We also found beautifully carved Kalash (a metal pot used extensively during holy ceremonies), silver tea service sets, silver water jug & glasses & more.

Though there are other jewelers in & around Bhuj, Saraf Bazaar is a great place to shop for silver Jewellery.

I left Bhuj feeling ecstatic after taking in the busy sights & sounds of the markets. The shopkeepers are polite & prepare to have endless cups of tea as they show you their colorful wares.


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