Day 2 in Kutch started out with shopping and sight-seeing in Anjar - the sword & knife capital of Gujarat. As soon as we got there, we went straight to the market as we were going to hangout with one of our acquaintances, JS, there. After spending some time with Mr. JS, we went around shopping for some quality knives, and sudi. Anjar is famous for the metal handicrafts such as swords, knives and all other kinds of metal items. We shopped at this place called Palan Sarota Works.
Store selling knives
While shopping there, these two Kutchi women stopped by for some shopping and I got to shoot them. :) It was nice to see the details of their clothes and jewelry from so up close. They were shy at first but then smiled and posed for their photos eventually.
Kutchi women in traditional Kutchi attire
More shopping needed to be done but first thing was first. That was to visit the Samaadhi of Jesal Jadeja and Sati Toral as they close in the afternoon so we headed straight to this place. It was interesting to visit this historical landmark and hear about the story of Jesal-Toral and how he (a dacoit) went to steal the Tori ghoDi (horse) at the home of Saansatiyaaji - husband of Jesal and ended up kidnapping Jesal. They spent the latter part of their lives here.
Main entrance to Jesal-Toral Samadhi
Right across from the samaadhi are little shops selling all kinds of things such as swords/knives, music, books and other collective items.
Knife & sword store
Next stop was at the temple of Ajepal (Ajay Pal) dada. City of Anjar is named after him and there's huge class of his devotees in and around Anjar.
Entrance of temple
Once we were done with roaming around Anjar for sight-seeing, it was time for shopping! First stop was at Ahemad's Handicrafts. Oh my goodness! this place has some of the most fantastic bedsheets and dress materials I've ever seen. Even the lungis were so beautiful, I couldn't help but buy three of them for myself. Now what I'm going to do with a lungi is something I still need to find an answer for. May be I'll get a top made or use it as a table-cloth or open it up and use it as a bedsheet. If you are in Anjar, don't forget to stop by here
and also at the garment shop of Katri Ismail Haji Abdul Latif. This place is THE PLACE for ready-made clothes, baandhani dress materials/saaris, purses, wall pieces, other handicrafts along with tops and many other similar things. Their gaji silk saari are totally drool-worthy and you wouldn't want to get out of there without some for yourself/your loved ones. :D
Garment store of Katri Ismail Haji Abdul Latif
After spending relatively less amount of time than what I wished, we were off to Mata No Madh. This is where they have Maa Ashapura temple. While driving to Mata Na Madh, we got to see the TV tower, which reminded me of the Space Needle tower of Seattle,
TV tower near Mankuwa
and the Lignite project plant of Gujarat Khanij Vikas Nigam Limited and a very beautiful sunset.
Once at Mata No Madh, we got some flowers and prasaad for the temple and headed inside the temple for darshan. As like most temples, this one doesn't allow photography inside also so I couldn't take photos of the outstanding intricate work on the inside of the temple. The visitor center personnel did let me take some photos from outside after I requested him numerous times.
Temple at Mata no Madh
If you're visiting this temple, make sure you are there to be part of the evening aarti at the temple. OH MY GOD! It is out of this world experience to be part of that event. I guarantee that it will be an experience that you have never had before. After the aarti, I just wish I had an opportunity to record even the audio of it but it practically transported me to this divine world and all I could feel was that every single hair on my body was standing up with happiness and feelings I can't describe. I'd go to this place just to be able to attend that aarti of Mataji. With the sounds of bells and nagara playing during the aarti, it was one of a kind experiences! It is said that when the district of Kutch had severe drought, this place was the only one where water remained and people came from faraway distances to drink water around here.
By nightfall, we arrived at Narayan Sarovar and had really nice, simple dinner of khichadi-kadhi at Shri Kutch Narayan Sarovar Annakshetra and Bhojanalay and spent the night at the dharmashala there.
More photos of Anjar & Mata Na Madh.