Mornings in Gujurat

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Donkeys in Gujarat

This time last year, I was road-tripping across the Indian state of Gujurat.  Each morning seemed to herald a new world, the day’s beginning apt for a new year. It was not my first time in India, and each taste and sight of the morning bustle in towns and along the roadsides evoked sweet memories of an earlier stay in the country.

Dad and kids on a motorcycle, Ahmedabad
Dad with his sons on the morning commute, Ahmedabad

Gujurat’s charms are understated, and take time to discover. They can be hidden within a dilapidated façade, down a dusty alley, or behind the permit required to visit tribal villages scattered around the Rann of Kutch.

The region is a bit ragged around the edges, especially where damage from an earthquake more than a decade ago lingers. Other parts are pristine, filled with wildlife–also the understated sort.

Look closely, and there are sterling moments to be had here. I look back on mornings in Gujurat with great pleasure, for their own sake, and for the magical days they foretold.

Mornings in Gujurat: the Little Rann of Kutch

Morning light at Sham-e-Sarhad Resort in Kutch
The morning sun cast dramatic shadows against the painted façade of locally styled bungalows at Sham-e-Sarhad Resort in Kutch, and glinted off tiny mirrors embedded in the walls.
Artisanal bell, Gujarat
Artisanal brass bells hang over the dining platform at Sham-e-Sarhad Resort, They take on a copper hue in morning light.
Breakfast thali, Gujarat
A vegetarian breakfast thali at the village-owned Sham-e-Sarhad Resort prepared us for a morning of exploring the Little Rann of Kutch: birding, chasing the elusive wild ass, and visiting tribal villages renowned for their fabric arts.
Gujarati fabrics
Public spaces at the resort are hung with squares of local fabric in bright colors.
Cattle in Gujarat
Along the roads of rural Gujarat, cattle belong to Ribari herders lope off in search of their own breakfast.

 Mornings in Gujurat: Ahmedabad

In the capital city, I took a sunrise walking tour of the pols, or traditional neighborhoods, and highly recommend this as a way to discover aspects of life in Ahmedabad that are mostly hidden from view of visitors.

Ahmedabad sunrise
In Ahmedabad, the rising sun illuminates the delicate carvings on once-fine homes, now crumbling under a smoggy sky.
Street market, Ahmedabad
Traders set up shop near in Ahmedabad, along a street that will soon be packed with motorcycles, cars and buses.
Working elephant, Ahmedabad
A temple elephant and mahouts head to work along an Ahmedabad street.
Morning light, Ahmedabad
Cardboard signs front businesses in Ahmedabad, everything brightened at sunrise.
Three on an Ahmedabad motorcycle
Ladies heading off on a motorcycle stop to show off the youngest family member. They stopped to let me take a quick portrait.
Loudspeaker, Jami Masjid mosque, Ahmedabad
The morning call to prayer at the Jami Masjid mosque in Ahmedabad blares out over this loudspeaker.
Breakfast for cows, Ahmedabad
At a street corner in one of the Ahmedabad pols, or traditional neighborhoods, local residents feed the community cows.
Street vendor, Ahmedabad
A vendor pushes her cart down a narrow street in an Ahmedabad pol. She will set up shop on a more-trafficked avenue nearby.
Morning news paper, Ahmedabad
The morning news in India can be baffling. I’m sure this newspaper headline made perfect sense to its Ahmedabad readership, but I had no idea what it was saying. Always good to start the day with a chuckle over breakfast!
Masala Dosa, House of MG, Ahmedabad
Masala dosa with chutneys, tea and fresh juice at the atmospheric House of MG hotel in Ahmedabad provide a hearty send-off for the drive to Poshina.

Mornings in Gujurat: Poshina

Cornmeal chapattis, Gujarat
These unpromising disks are cornmeal chapatis, set out to dry atop a roof in the northeast Gujarat town of Poshina.
Poshina street vendor
Locals queue at this Poshina street vendor’s stall, eager to snap up popular honey-dipped snacks. These fellows would not accept payment, just wanted to be sure I tried at least one of the addictive sweets.

So many pleasant morning memories to take along, as we set off for Rajasthan!

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