We visited Habai as well, a village about midway between Bhuj and Than. It is home to Ahir tribal people, dairy farmers who came from Pakistan.
The Ahir men's pants consist of an 8-metre piece of fabric, drawn up with a drawstring. Most of the men were away from the village when we visited, but this older man was eager to share his clothing with us ~ even helping Richard to make sure everything was done up correctly.
India has a long history of textiles ~ calico, chintz and muslins all originated in this country. In rural communities, in Gujarat and Rajasthan especially, a very high emphasis is still placed on hand embroidering and weaving.
Each of the villages that we visited near Bhuj specializes in a different type of design ~ some work with mirrors, some just with coloured threads. It was all quite beautiful and we were lucky enough to have hired a guide who wasn't in the trip for commission.
Rabari women all have extensive tattooing on their necks, arms and legs. The patterns are done in black and consist of animals, plants, crosses (to ward off the evil eye) and other geometric shapes.
Rather than single images, the tattoos are repeated in alternating rows. Sammee, the other woman on this road trip, and I both had tattoos of our own to share. The Rabari women could hardly believe it ~ a whole crowd gathered around us. . .exclaiming and chattering amongst themselves and rubbing at our skin. An interesting twist to the visit. . .