Hodka, Gujarat, India
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Meeting the Meghwal people of Kutch
I never dreamed I would ever visit Gujarat. I had no inclination until my cousin moved for work and I ended up visiting her. I discovered small villages, talented award winning weavers, and NGOs working to resurrect a dying art - weaving. Hodka is one such village located in the Rann of Kutch area. I stayed in the village for a few days and was lucky enough to meet Ramji and his family in their home - pictured in the photograph. Ramji makes hand woven bedsheets that he then sells to boutiques and stores around India and even in places such as New Mexico. Hand weaving is a dying art in these areas and Ramji along with his family is trying to keep this trade alive with help from local NGOs such as KHAMIR. Meghwal people are traditionally weavers and even today live in small hamlets of mud-brick huts decorated on the outside with mirror inlays. Ramji is a tall, humble man and invited me inside his home - one of many small huts - and offered me ginger tea. What struck me was that they were so hospitable toward me and my cousin, yet I never saw many women around Hodka. I learnt later that women are typically not seen around the village and they have low status in traditional Meghwal society. You'd never have guessed from the way they treated me. To meet Ramji, ask anyone in Hodka for his house. He will gladly welcome you. Tip: you can bargain a little bit and if you don't speak Hindi or the local dialect you should take a translator with you. http://www.hodka.in/
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