Hodka and its surroundings offer unique experiences for the crafts expert, naturalist, birdwatcher, or the simply curious. The village tour in the company of local bhomiyas (guides), who provide seasoned information on the social and cultural life of the village, is an apt introduction to the unrivalled craftsmanship of the region… explore typical village houses, meet different artisan families and admire the finest embroidery styles and leather crafts.
Visitors may participate in the Handicraft workshops, organized upon request, to learn a range of skills directly from the artisans.
Adventures galore! For sky gazers, the clear desert sky offers a dazzling opportunity. Bird watching enthusiasts are in for an exquisite treat too! Located here are the Chaari Dhand wetlands, which are reputed to support over 250 species of birds and over 100 species of migratory birds including endangered species such as Dalmatian Pelican, Oriental Darter, Blacknecked Stork and Indian Skimmer, apart from water birds such as pelicans, cranes and flamingoes.
Gujarat itself is on the migratory route of thousands of bird species making it the ideal stopping point for bird-lovers. For a complete listing of resident and migratory birds found in Gujarat visit www.birdsofgujarat.net. Terrestrial animals are found aplenty as well, as the Banni region is well regarded for its cattle and a large segment of the community is involved in animal husbandry.
Exploring the villages and windswept lands of Kutch is a thrilling experience. Visitors can also take trekking and camping trips to the Rann of Kutch One of the largest seasonal saline wetlands in the world, holding water just 0.5 to 1.5 m deep, it is located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of the state of Gujarat. After October-November every year, the water begins to dry, transforming the area into a saline desert. The wetland attracts a large number of waterfowl species like Flamingo, Pelican, Great Crested Grebe, Black Stork, Brahminy Duck, Common Pochard, Tuffed Pochard, White Eyed Pochard, Gulls, Terns, Stints, Plovers and others. The mixture of saline flats and non-saline bets, uninhabited by humans, provide an ideal habitat for many wild animals as well.
. An overnight camel safari or jeep safari through the Rann is another great adventure in the offing. Wildlife abounds, and the wild ass (rare), foxes, jackals, Chinkara, hare, blue bulls, wild boar and wolves can be seen just off the road.
A visit to the neighbouring villages like Dhordo (cluster of traditional mud houses), Bhirnadiyara (a small settlement of Muslim shepherds), Ludia (painted mud houses, embroidery and wood carving crafts), and Khavda (pottery work) is a great way to understand the depth and dimensions of the Banni region.
Interesting excursions organised or customised according to visitor interests include visit to Than Monastery, a dip in the beaches of Mandvi, a day trip to Dholavira, (India's largest archaeological site belonging to the renowned Indus Valley Civilisation), visit to India bridge (last civilian point of India-Pakistan Border) or Karo Dungar (Black Hill) for the sunset or a drive to the Dattatray Temple (best views of the Great Rann).
Visit several artisans in Bhuj city and surrounding area adept in textile techniques: block printing with natural dyes, Ahir embroidery, single Ikkat weaving, and Tie and Dye. Explore the lively and colourful Shroff bazaar, where you can also purchase traditional jewellery.
On the northern boundary of Banni, along the Rann, is a land-locked patch of mangrove forest, nearly 50 km from the present coast line, locally known as 'Shravan Khavadia' (after the famous mythological character Shravan), regarded sacred by the local community. A combination of micro-environmental conditions provided by the saline Rann and the protection bestowed owing to the mythological connection has sustained this unique phenomenon of ecological adaptability.