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Dhordo Village, Kutch, Gujarat: UNWTO's Best Tourism Village



  Oct 28, 2023

Dhordo Village in Kutch Recognized by UNWTO as 'Best Tourism Village 2023'


Dhordo village in Kutch, Gujarat, has achieved international recognition from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2023. It has been included in the list of 'Best Tourism Villages 2023,' 'becoming the sole village in India to earn this distinction among 54 villages worldwide.
 

UNWTO's Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development

The UNWTO launched this initiative in 2021 with the aim of promoting sustainable tourism development on a global scale. The award is granted to villages that excel in rural development while preserving landscapes, cultural diversity, local values, and food traditions.
 

Ceremony Held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

In 2023, the award ceremony took place in the third week of October in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Apart from Dhordo, other villages honored included Shirakawa from Japan, Filandia from Colombia, Cantavieja from Spain, and La Carolina from Argentina.
 

The Rise of Dhordo Village and Rann Utsav

Dhordo gained prominence when the Rann Utsav, Gujarat's flagship tourism event, was inaugurated by then-Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2006. This event, hosted near Dhordo in a tent city managed by Gujarat Tourism, spans approximately four months during the winter season and attracted 242,000 tourists in 2022-23. In 2023, the festival is scheduled to run from the first week of November to the end of February.
 

Initial Concerns and Local Appreciation

Initially, the Rann Utsav faced opposition from locals and environmentalists who feared it would disrupt the region's fragile ecology. However, over time, it has become a vital source of income for the region, earning local appreciation.
 

The Beauty of the Great Rann of Kutch

The Great Rann of Kutch, a part of the Thar Desert bordering Pakistan, is known for its breathtaking beauty. Tourists can enjoy colorful attire, dance, and music against the backdrop of salt-covered mudflats. Camels adorned with mirror-work handicrafts and locals in traditional attire offer desert rides. During monsoons, the desert turns into a shallow lake, attracting migratory birds, including the famous Flamingo City.
 

Handicraft and Local Crafts

Dhordo is renowned for its hand-embroidered mirror-work, especially on chaniya-cholis. This craft has gained international recognition and is even used in Western and fusion apparel by leading fashion brands. Additionally, locals from the Mutwa community excel in their distinct appearance and the Kutchi dialect. Mud-based mirror-work decorating houses is another cherished local craft that has seen a resurgence thanks to tourism.
 

Overcoming Adversity

Dhordo and the Kutch region faced challenges, including a massive earthquake in 2001. Tourism has played a vital role in revitalizing the area, transforming it into a symbol of beauty within an otherwise arid landscape. The famous Gujarat Tourism advertisement featuring actor Amitabh Bachchan further popularized Kutch, emphasizing the slogan 'Kutch nahi dekha to kuch nahi dekha (You have seen nothing if you haven't seen Kutch).''The UNWTO's recognition has added prestige to this memorable slogan.
 
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