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Road tripping through Gujarat

Discovering treasures with Mahindra XUV500

12 creators and a fleet of MahindraXUV500s set out to find wonder, collaborate and create magic over a 13-day road trip in Gujarat. Flagging off from bustling Ahmedabad the cars drove eastward to Bhuj, further on to the coast at Mandvi, heading southeast to Jasdan and back to Ahmedabad, covering a total distance of over 1,400 kilometres. Kutch, with its changing topography, diverse ecosystems and cultural riches, formed the nucleus of the trip and the longest stay on this journey of exploration.

Road tripping through Gujarat

In Ahmedabad, we saw the sky break out in colours as kites swayed high at the festival of Uttarayan. The road to Bhuj took us to vistas unexplored, and once in Kutch, on a roller-coaster ride of the rich crafts of the region.

Shaped liked an upturned tortoise, the name Kutch comes from the word kacch-bo meaning tortoise. Surrounded by the sea on one side and the barren Rann on the other, Kutch had for centuries been cut off from the rest of mainland India. No wonder then that ancient Hindu text refer to it as ‘a desert with few and wild people’. With the sea as their only outlet, the Kutchis became great seafarers, travelling far and wide, as well as drawing migrant settlers from across, who enriched the land with distinct cultures. Yet, Kutch itself remained a time warp.

We travelled back in time to this land of many hues, drinking in its many crafts, folk tunes and sagas, untold and unheard. While in Ajrakhpur we learnt the age-old craft of ajrakh printing from a master craftsman, in Hodko the richly-embroidered clothes of the village girls inspired us to capture them in a fashion shoot on the world’s longest rampwalk. Also in Hodko, we painted over one of our MahindraXUV500’s in these patterns and styles to carry them back with us on the remainder of the journey. In Rudrani, the lost folk tunes of Kutch came back to life as we collaborated with the local musicians in a symphony not heard of before; while at Rann Utsav, we lost ourselves in the festive spirit of the land. All along we met doyens, upholders and unassuming creators of the rich music and arts.

Soaking our feet in the blue waters at Mandvi, and camping at the royal grounds at Jasdan under a star spangled sky we found ourselves with arms and hearts wide open to embrace deeper loves and live greater lives.