If you are touring the Kutch region of Gujarat (India), then the Kutch Museum at Bhuj town is a must-see spot for you. In addition to being the oldest museum of Gujarat and one of the oldest in India, this museum is a repository of Indian and Kutchi arts, crafts, culture and history of this region.
Silver and Gold Work:
Goldsmiths of Kutch were renowned for their enamel and filigree work on silver and gold ornaments and articles. Exquisite pieces of this workmanship include brooches, necklaces, rings, trays, silver fans, biscuit boxes and other table items. Another speciality of this region is penknife and lock industry. Innovative pieces of this craft are also on display in the museum.
Arts and Crafts:
Tie-and-dye (Bandhani) work is one of the main attractions for tourists to this region. Going back to hundreds of years, this craft is alive and thriving even today. with a number of award-winning craftsmen engaged in this craftsmanship. The museum has a great number of eye-catching peices depicting this art. Another textile art called "rogan" work where textiles were painted with indelible colored designs is becoming rare now. Once a thriving industry, there is only one craftsman engaged in this work now. However, in this section that you can see a number of samples of this exquisite art.
In addition to some quaint pieces of weaponry in use in old days, this section has a cannon gifted by Tipu Sultan to Kutch rulers. At first glance, this cannon would seem quite ordinary but the story behind its coming to this region from a far off place would surely interest the history buffs. It is believed that Tipu Sultan of Mysore was looking for allies to fight against the Britishers and had sent this gift to the rulers of this region to rope in their support for his endeavors. It is not known whether anything came off this move from Tipu Sultan but the local rulers did use this cannon in their local wars and skirmishes.
Kutch was one of the few princely states in India to have its own coins and you can see most of the silver and gold coins of this region from the time of Mughals down to the British era up to the time when India became independent. One interesting coin in this section is the one with the name of King Edward VIII who abdicated the British throne. Edward's reign was so short that the Britishers did not get around to putting him on their own coins. But the Kutch region did. Naturally this coin has become a rarity for coin-collectors.
These are but a few notable sections of this museum which has many other attractions like paintings and stone inscriptions which are the signposts of this region's cultural and historical heritage. All in all this Museum is a worth a visit if you happen to be in this part of India.