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Monsoon Bliss: Drenched in Rain Kutch is a Must Visit (Environmental Feature)

The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green

Rann Utsav in Kutch. Pixabay

Bhuj, Sep 09, 2017: White, fluffy clouds hanging low over green hills, little pools of still water teeming with migratory birds and an omnipresent cool breeze — the semi-arid region of Kutch in Gujarat transforms into a completely different avatar during the monsoon.

And although winter — the time detailed as “ideal” to visit this region — shows you a side of hers that’s truly unique, Kutch makes for a pretty picture during the rains, perfect for a rejuvenating holiday.

Nestling on the country’s western border, close to the Arabian Sea, Kutch had recently been in the news for the cyclonic storm-induced thundershowers that lasted five days. Before that, and like the rest of the state, floods had also hit the region in July.

“Heavy showers are normal during the monsoon,” local taxi driver and long-time Bhuj resident Anwar Khatri said, indicating that the heavy rainfall was not out-of-the-ordinary. “But in the last three-four years, we have had very scanty rainfall. The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green.”

Kutch occupies an important geographical location when it comes to birds, said ornithologist Jugal Kishor Tiwari, since it falls on their migration route. His organisation, Centre for Desert and Ocean (CEDO), works on wildlife conservation and promotes nature tourism.

And although the winter is a brilliant time to spot a host of migratory birds, one can indulge in some bird-watching during the monsoon as well. CEDO, which is based out of Moti Virani village, some 400 km from Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, organises tailor-made tours of such nature.

A visit to Kutch would however be incomplete without witnessing its rich treasure trove of handicrafts. Ajrakh (block printing), camel leather craft, Bandhni, different forms of weaving, bellmetal craft, Kutch embroidery — the list is endless — and nothing beats the wonder of watching an artisan work on his or her craft.

After the devastating earthquake in 2001, several NGOs took up the initiative of supporting artisans and their art, even reviving some, and helping them find suitable markets to showcase and sell their products beyond the state’s and the nation’s borders.

There are many such NGOs within a radius of 10-15 kilometres from Bhuj — the point you will either fly down to or reach by train — and one can visit their campuses to see some of these exquisite crafts take shape and understand the story behind them from the artisans themselves. Some names to look out for would be Shrujan, Khamir, and LLDC (Living and Learning Design Centre).

About eight kilometres from Bhuj is a village called Bhujodi, which has the Ashapura Crafts Park set up for artisans to display and sell their work. Again, one can meet weavers, tie-dye artists, block printers and others here. Needless to say, it will leave you wanting for more shopping bags to fill!

From the well-known to the lesser known — a monsoon visit to Kutch would also remain wanting without a trip to one of its pristine beaches. Mandvi is the closest to Bhuj and there are many resorts close by with their own private beach enclosures. The high point of the beaches here — Pingleshwar, about 98 km from Bhuj, a hidden gem — is witnessing the marine life. Jelly fish and hermit crabs are a common sight and the multi-coloured sea weeds look extraordinary.

Also Read: History of Rigvedic river Saraswati

If the children are more in the mood for some fun and frolic, Mandvi has ample opportunity for water sports as well — which may be restricted when the weather is grey. But a ride on a camel would more than compensate for that!

With the temperature hovering on the pleasant side of the scale and a constant breeze, one can also opt for some historical sight-seeing. The Aina Mahal, with its blue tiles, Venetian-style chandeliers and walls studded with mirrors, is a must-visit. Next door is the 19th century Prag Mahal, a brilliant example of Italian-Gothic architecture.

As you travel around the place and move on the fringes of the main town of Bhuj, it is difficult to miss the vast expanses of agricultural land with acres after acres of pomegranate plantations, palm groves and cotton fields — all this thanks to drip-irrigation, which has brought about a sea-change in the region’s crop pattern. With the green hills in the backdrop, it’s a sight to behold. Soak it in, for, with the changing season, Kutch will soon reveal a different face. (IANS)

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How to Pack your Skincare for Travel

Follow these tips to pack your skincare essentials while travelling

Don’t sacrifice your skincare when you travel. Pixabay.

Don’t sacrifice your skincare when you travel long days on germ-ridden planes, clogging your pores, and drying out your skin that’s when you need it most! Instead, make a few handy swaps to ensure you’re bringing along your trusted travel skincare and avoiding any possible spills. Whether you’re off to relax on the best beaches of the world, or you’re off on an adventure to harvest your own black pearls, packing your skincare for travel can be as painless as possible. To make your beauty routine easy to travel with, we’ve gathered the best tips below. 

Pre-Soak Pads

Make a few handy swaps to ensure you’re bringing along your trusted travel skincare and avoiding any possible spills.

There’s no better feeling than coming back from a long day of travel and doing a total cleanse with toner or micellar water, but those bulky bottles aren’t exactly travel-friendly. Instead, take cotton pads and a small container and pre-soak your pads with any toners and cleansers from your skincare routine. If you can’t find a small container suitable for this, you can also use a Ziploc bag. This will keep them from drying out and is perfect for travel.

Use Contact Cases

Utilize contact cases to put small amounts of moisturizers and eye creams. Don’t risk getting your skincare products tossed by TSA with oversized products. This allows you to bring along smaller amounts of creams in fewer bottles and is best for products you only need a dot or two of. Save this trick for eye creams and ultra-rich moisturizers but skip for anything that is applied liberally.

Swap Out for Balm Cleansers

Instead of packing your oil cleaners in a pump bottle that is begging for a spill, instead, swap out for a solid balm cleanser. Pick a balm cleanser that’s below TSA regulation size for carry-ons to ensure no issues. You will guarantee no messy spills in your luggage and they are extremely easy to use. Rub the balmy texture between your fingers until you work it into an oil and use it as a normal face wash from there. The oily texture will break down any makeup and clear your pores.

Utilize contact cases to put small amounts of moisturizers and eye creams. Don’t risk getting your skincare products tossed by TSA with oversized products. Pixabay

Utilize Eye Droppers

To pack small amounts of facials oils without the messy bottles, use spill-proof plastic eye dropper bottles to travel with instead. You can find these dropper bottles easily at organizing stores or online. Choose oils and serums that pack a punch to rescue skin after a long haul flight. Gemstone inspired skincare can seriously revive dull skin after a day of travel.

Mix and Match

To save time and space for skincare, mix some of your favorite serums and creams into your moisturizer to give your skin an extra boost. This also allows you to lighten the load traveling with fewer bottles. Consider similar consistencies when you’re mixing and matching. For example, try mixing sunscreen and moisturizers. SPF should be integrated into your skincare routine whether you’re spending your vacation on the beaches of Tahiti or in the mountains skiing. 

Also Read- Follow These Ayurvedic Remedies To Make Your Hair Strong and Healthy

You don’t have to sacrifice your skincare routine when it comes to your travel plans. Instead, a few swaps here and there can save time and avoid messy spills while still having a solid routine. Skincare while traveling has never been easier!