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Meet Amrut: Hand-crafting leather bags in Hodka, Kutch

The names of certain places often paints a vivid picture in our minds. Hodka village (located north of Bhuj) in Kutch, India is such place, specially for those of us who like experiential travel. It is believed that this village was set up by the ‘Halepotra’ clan of cattle herders from Sindh, followed soon after by the Meghwals. The Meghwals are traditional leather craft and embroidery craftspersons from Rajasthan who brought their craft along with them and made Hodka village their home.

Today, people across are shouting out about supporting local but this is precisely what the norm was back then. The Maldharis (who owned cattle) perhaps traded the skin of their dead cattle with the Meghwals (who converted raw hide into leather) for accessories such as weather-proof shoes, saddles, even water jugs and jackets. Over a period of time, the Maldharis stopped converting hides to leather and as a result, the Meghwals began to look for leather in the outside markets and for new customers for their leather accessories too. However since today finding customers and getting a good price for the work is becoming even more difficult with every passing day, their are very few Meghwals left who are continuing to practise this ancient craft.

One such craftperson is Amrut, who along with his family is hand-crafting leather bags, innovating with modern times, yet keeping the traditions intact. The bags you see below are a fine example of this leather craft of this region. These are the work of Amrut (an artisan in the village of Hodka) and his family.

Amrut’s family has been working with leather for more than half a century but life hasn’t changed much for them despite their products finding homes across the world. However, Amrut is optimistic for the future, for he is now able to connect with customers directly on social media and, with access to the internet, he is learning about new designs, customer requirements and current market trends. Amrut has shared some videos and pictures for you all; to give you an idea of what he makes and to let you know that he is just a phone call away, should you feel the need for a bringing home a handcrafted bag made in the Banni grasslands of Kutch.

Meet Amrut:

Watch Amrut at work:

Amrut works with leather while his father does the mirror work

 
Ajrakh and leather come together beautifully in this tote

 

If a plain bag is your thing…
Some more Ajrakh and leather, but on a sleek sling bag
Mirror work on leather

Love what you see? Speak to Amrut to order yours:

Amrut’s instagram handle: Avy_Kutch_bags
Amrut’s mobile: +91 94298 85417

 

By buying from a small business, you help put food on the table. So, folks vote with your money please and show support with your actions.


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