Kachchh literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry; large part of this district known as Rann of Kachchh is shallow wet-land which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during other seasons. The same word is also used in the languages of Sanskrit origin for a tortoise and garments to be worn while having a bath.
Kachchh District is surrounded by the Gulf of Kachchh and the Arabian Sea in south and west, while northern and eastern parts are surrounded by the Great and Small Rann (seasonal wetlands) of Kachchh. When there were not many dams built on its rivers, the Rann of Kachchh remained wetlands for a large part of the year. Even today, the region remains wet for a significant part of year.The district had a population of 1,583,225 of which 30% were urban as of 2001. Motor vehicles registered in Kutch district have their registration Number starting with GJ-12.
The Kachchh district, with 45,652 km², is the second largest district in India. The administrative headquarters is in Bhuj which is geographically in the center of district. Other main towns are Gandhidham, Rapar, Adipur, Anjar, Mandvi and Mundra. The district has 966 villages.
Kachchh is virtually an island, bounded by the Arabian Sea in the west; the Gulf of Kachchh in south and southeast and Rann of Kachchh in north and northeast. The border with Pakistan lies along the northern edge of the Rann of Kachchh. The Kachchh peninsula is an example of active fold and thrust tectonism. In Central Kachchh there are four major east-west hill ranges characterized by fault propagation folds with steeply dipping northern limbs and gently dipping southern limbs. From the gradual increasing dimension of the linear chain of hillocks towards the west along the Kachchh mainland fault and the epicentre of the earthquake of 2001 lying at the eastern extreme of Kachchh mainland fault, it is suggested that the eastern part of the Kachchh mainland fault is progressively emerging upward. It can be suggested from the absence of distinct surface rupture both during the 1956 Anjar earthquake and 2001 Bhuj earthquake, that movements have taken place along a blind thrust. Villages situated on the blind thrust in the eastern part of the Kachchh mainland hill range (viz. Jawaharnagar, Khirsara, Devisar, Amarsar and Bandhdi) were completely erased during the 2001 earthquake.
The languages spoken predominantly in Kachchh are Kachchhi and to lesser extent Gujarati and Sindhi. Script of Kachchhi language has become extinct and it is occasionally written in the Gujarati script. Samples of Kachchhi script are available in Kachchh Museum. Increased use of Gujarati language is mainly because of being it a medium of instruction in schools. Often Kachchhi language is mistaken as dialect of Gujarati, however this is not true. Kachchhi language bears more similarity with Sindhi than Gujarati.
Kutch district is inhabited by various groups and communities. Many of these have reached this region after centuries of migration from neighbouring regions of Marwar (Western Rajasthan), Sindh, Afghanistan and further. Even today, one can find various nomadic, semi nomadic and artisan groups living in Kutch.
Kutch has two major Leva Patel groups and Bhanushali's , one resides in West Kutch surrounding Bhuj and two in East Kutch and Vagad Region. Most of the Bhanushalis stay in kutch which are known as vaishnav with rich land and gold / money . They are some what similar to Brahmin's. they worship god Krishna .
Rajgor resides in Bhuj,Gandhidham,Mandvi,Nakhtrana.
Type of surname in Bhanushali such as ghajra , dama , gori , mange, nakhwa, khaniya, and bhadra.
Kutch is Mineral rich region with very large reserve of Lignite, Gypsum and lot of other mineral. Kachchh got tax break for Industries for 15 years after the major earthquake in January 26, 2001. Lignite is mined only by Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) at its 2 mines in Panandhro and Mata-No-Madh. The Panandaro mines has now been reserved for GEB and GMDC power plants and GMDC has stopped supply to other industries from here. This has adversely affected local trucking business.
Kutch also houses Sanghi Industries Ltd's Cement Plant. It is the India's single largest Cement Plant. The company is now planning to increase the capacity at it's Abdasa location from 3 million to 9 million tons per annum . By 2015, the company plans to produce 20 million tons. Kandla port is also in Kutch. It is considered Gateway to India's North. It is managed by the Kandla Port trust.
Other major Industries in Kutch are Welspun, Ajanta Clocks, JayPee Cements, Jindal Steel and One of the largest windmill farms concentration. Kutch region is also a major producer of salt.
Other Traditional industries in the areas include manufacture of Shawls, handicrafts, and silver items.
Kachchh has a strong tradition of crafts. The most famous craft of the region is its diverse embroideries. The finest aari embroidery was carried out for the royalty and wealthy families. Traditionally women in rural areas do the embroidery for presenting in the dowries . Unfortunately many of these fine skills have now been lost though some are being rejuvenated through handicrafts initiatives. Today over 16 different types of embroideries are being produced commercially by a few societies and a couple of private corporations. Some of the finest new embroideries in the world are still being produced by over 6,000 women artisans of the region. Some of the embroideries still being produced in the region are
Jat - Gracia
Jat - Fakirani
Embroideries like Zardosi, Bhanusali, Jain etc. are today extincte and one can see old pieces in museums or with collectors only. Important resource centers for embroidery in the region are Shrujan, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS), Kalaraksha and Women Artisans' Marketing Agency (WAMA). Another important art of Kutch is bandhani, which primarily originated in the region. Women wear saris of bandhani art on festive occasions like marriages, or holidays like Navaratri and Diwali.
Kutch has a history of very fine quality Ajarakh printing. This is a very complex hand printing technique using wodden blocks and natural dyes. Similar techniques are also seen in Bardmer in Rajasthan and Sind in Pakistan. However the Ajarakh from each region has some subtle differences. Technically the Ajarakh printed today in Kutch is by far the finest of the lot. The printing is done by a lengthy process which can take up to a couple of months for the most complicates pieces. Ajarakh is being practised today in Dhamadka and Ajarakhpur villages in Kutch.
Mud work is another artwork of Kutch. Artistic wall pieces made with mud and mirror work are used to decorate homes. Hand made, copper plated cow bells which are artistically caliberated to a note are also made in the region. The bells have a very sweet and distinct sound which although very soft can travel very large distances in the open desert. These bells were traditionally put around cattle necks so that they could be easily located if they get lost. The bells are made by approximately 25 families in the villages of Zura, Nirona and Bhuj. Kutch also has many leather artisans who make products like shoes, sandles, mirrors, small pouches etc. from leather. Traditionally hand tanned leather was used but has been almost replaced completely by leather imported from outside. The very high skilled artisans decorate the articles by doing embroidery or cutting various shaped windows in the leather. These artisans can be found in the villages like Sumarasar, Nirona, Zura, Bhirandiyara, Hodko, Khavda etc. in and around the Banni region. Lacquer work is carried out by the Vadha community. This group used hand operated lathes to shape wood and decorate it with lacquer which is colored. The simple but very high skill technique creates beautiful products which are a delight to see. Kutch is also home to a school of handloom weaving. The weavers weave wool, cotton and acrylic yarn to make proucts like shawls, yardage, jackets etc. Bandhani (tie-dye) is also carried out on the shawls in some cases. The biggest center for this is Bhujodi village near Bhuj.
The majority of the population is vegetarian. Jains perform strict vegetarianism. They also refrain from eating kandmool food grown below the ground such as potatoes, garlic, onion etc. Hindus perform various degree of vegetarianism but certainly do not eat beef. In the villages, staple foods include bajra and milk. Bajra was introduced by a brave king of this region named Lakho Fulani. During his period of exile, he came to know about this grain in some tribal regions. They also extensively drink buttermilk during lunch. Milk is considered to be sacred food and offering it to somebody is considered a gesture of friendship and welcoming. Settlement of dispute invariably follows offering milk to each other as a concluding remark. In the Kutchi engagement ceremony, the bride's family offers milk to the groom's relatives as a symbol of accepting their relationship. Tea is the most popular drink in this region and is enjoyed irrespective of sex, caste, religion or social status. Tea stalls where groups of people chat over tea are invariable sights of every village or town entrance from early morning to late evening. Most people drink it with milk and sugar. Offering black tea to guests is considered to be a bad gesture. Tea without milk is offered when people are visiting host to mourn death of relatives. Tea was introduced in this region by the British as part of medicinal purpose to counteract the plague epidemic in the early 19th century. Alcoholic liquor is another popular drink, though it has been illegal to drink or possess since Kutch was incorporated within Gujarat. Most of the liquor drunk in this region is distilled from molasses by local people in villages. As a rule, women do not drink.