All the villages in Banni grasslands in Kutch are called Jheel, referring to the potable water availability. Hodka Jheel was named after 'hodi', meaning a boat, as hodka jheel is shaped like a boat. Overtime, several nomadic tribes have settled in Hodka. The village holds various cultural assets which sets it apart from other villages in the region.
Hodka-Kutch
gujarat
3397
Sindhi, Gujrati, Hindi
September-March
Via Bhuj(Get Directions)
All places at walking distance.
Sham-e-Sarhad
Bajari ki roti, Khichdi, Kadhi, Buttermilk, Gud

History

The village was set up by 'Halepotra' clan from Sindh around 300 years ago. They were cattle herders, who in search of pastures ended up in Hodka. There on, communities of artisans, craftsmen from north have settled in Hodka.

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Geography

The nearest Airport is Bhuj (65 km). Kandla (150 km) also has daily flights from Mumbai. There are daily trains from and to Mumbai and Delhi via Ahmedabad as well from Bhuj. Gandhidham, (145 kms) has weekly trains connecting it to several parts of the country including Pune, Bangalore, Trivandrum, and more. Ahmedabad is well connected by air and train with the rest of the country. Bhuj is about 350 kms from there. There are comfortable overnight sleeper buses from Ahmedabad to Bhuj and back daily.

Environment

Hodka village is on the northern boundary of Banni, along the Rann, is a land-locked patch of mangrove forest, which presents a unique phenomenon of ecological adaptability. This mangrove patch is nearly 50 km from the present coast line, probably formed several hundred years ago before the sea coast receded due to geological transformations. It still survives without any direct contact with sea water. Locally known as 'Shravan Khavadia' (after the famous mythological character Shravan), the local community regards this area as sacred. In fact this mangrove patch is thriving thanks to the combination of the micro-environmental conditions provided by the saline Rann and the protection that it is given due to its mythological significance. There are more such land-locked mangrove patches in the same stretch westwards, closer to Lakhpat.

Infrastructure

Hodka village holds 687 households; the village has adequate supply of water and electricity. It has become major tourist attraction because of various indigenous crafts forms and scenic beauty of Banni grasslands. Hodka village tourism committee has established a village resort in Hodka named 'Sham-e-Sarhad' meaning sunset at border. 

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Architecture

Mud, or, to be more colloquial, Maati, is the essential material to which every Kachchhi in Banni relates to. Centuries of experience have given the people of Banni mastery over maati and their Bhunga (circular hut) demonstrates a deep understanding of the ecological, social and aesthetic features of architecture.
The thick maati (Mud) walls, which keep the interior cool during the hot Kachchhi summers and warm in the cold desert winters, terminate in conical roofs made of thatch. The roof protects the walls which are adorned beautifully with colorful geometric and floral patterns also created from hand shaped maati. 
Women use earth colors to paint the different motifs and create mud-mirror work designs (LippanKaam ) to decorate the exterior and interior walls of the Bhunga.
The traditional Bhunga is an engineering wonder. This sturdy structure has been known to withstand severe winds and seismic activity because of its circular design and tough mud plaster.

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Culture

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People

The Halepotras - belonging to the bigger group called Maldharis, or cattle breeders - believe their ancestors originated from Saudi Arabia and reached Kachchh via Iran, Baghdad and Sindh in search of pastures for their cattle.
The Meghwals- also known as Marwada Meghwals- believe their ancestors came from Marwar, Rajasthan. They are traditionally leather craftsmen and settled in Banni which was rich in livestock. Today there are 8 nokhs (sub castes) of the Meghwal community residing in Hodka.

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Famous For

Hodka village is famous for the beauty of its terrain. There is a village resort Sham-e-sarhad managed by village community. Hodka crafts are also quite famous for their leather products, embroidery and ceramic works. 

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