Travel to India’s Creative Havens To Celebrate Ugadi

From a medley of religious festivals to the organised chaos of markets, India offers ample scope for intriguing adventures. So, this Ugadi/Gudi Padwa, why not welcome the new year with an offbeat trip to experience India’s rural diversity? The country has several art villages that are renowned for their handicrafts, handlooms, and artefacts. Visiting one of these places will expose you to the unique culture and broaden your perspectives. As an added incentive, you will not only be away from the hustle bustle of your city during the busy holiday weekend, but also relatively safer at places where fewer people would make it easy for you to practice social distancing.

Since Ugadi/Gudi Padwa falls on April 13 (Tuesday), skip work on Monday and enjoy a four-day weekend (April 10 to 13). Here’s a list of villages you can consider visiting:

Andretta, Himachal Pradesh

If you’re looking for a truly rustic vacation amidst an artistic setting, Andretta is the place to go. It’s an oasis of tranquillity set against the backdrop of the Dhauladhar range, bamboo thickets, and dense forests. The scenery isn’t the only attraction; if you love art (especially pottery), Andretta is the place to visit. As you walk down the streets, you’ll find small cottages on either side. These have been made by well-known artists using material like mud, slate, and bamboo. While there, don’t forget to catch thespians, musicians, artists, and theatre performances from around the world. If you are interested in learning pottery, enrol in one of the classes. Other attractions in and around the place are Sobha Singh Art Gallery, Norah Centre for the Arts, Chameli Niwas, and Andretta Pottery and Craft Society.

Andretta is 475 km from Delhi and barely a half-hour drive from Palampur. During the drive, your Ford EcoSport will exceed all your expectations. With more than enough boot space – 346 litres that can be expanded up to 705 litres, you can carry all your travel essentials and the many souvenirs you’ll purchase.

Pochampally, Telangana

While every corner of India has something unique to offer, there’s one thing that unites the country – a love for sarees! One place famous for its weaves is Pochampally. This little town in Telangana is renowned for its world-famous ikat designs and materials. The art of making Pochampally ikat – tie-dyeing to produce jagged geometric patterns – traces its origins back to the 18th century. While in Pochampally, you can do more than just admire sarees. Stop by the small weave museum, or check out the many temples, open-roofed (chatrasala) houses, ponds, and tanks.

From Hyderabad, you will need about an hour (43km) to reach Pochampally. If you are worried about navigating through the narrow village roads, your Ford Figo will make the drive effortless. Its compact design and powerful engine enable easy manoeuvring. It is also equipped with Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Brake Force Distribution, to offer better control and grip during tricky driving conditions.

Pipli, Odisha

Pipli is a small town near Puri, just 45 km away. As you approach the village, a kaleidoscope of colours welcomes you. If you love bright colours, the town’s appliqué and patchwork will be an absolute treat. Back in the day, appliqué artists would craft canopies, fans, and umbrellas, typically for temples and palaces. Soon the craft spread far and wide, and craftsmen started making a diverse range of appliqué items such as tablecloths, lanterns, pillowcases, cushion covers, bedspreads, etc.

Once you have checked out handicraft and have picked up gifts for yourself and loved ones back home, you can visit the many temples in the vicinity. While driving to and around Pipli, your Ford Aspire will make the journey a pleasant one with features like the Automatic Climate Control and touch screen infotainment system. This way, you can keep your eyes on the road while enjoying music, audiobooks or podcasts.

Hodka, Gujarat

This village is popular for its leather work and craft, which has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s a major source of income for the locals while also preserving tradition. Apart from leather, Hodka is also known for embroidery work on quilts, skirts, purses, tassels, etc. Artistry is seen even in the patterns and structure of the houses. When in Hodka, you can stop by Chhari Dhand’s wetlands – a perfect place to spot different species of birds. The more adventurous can go on an overnight camel safari.

Hodka is 390km from Ahmedabad and 60km from Bhuj. And with the Ford Freestyle, you don’t have to worry about the fluctuating temperatures tiring you. Just turn on the Climate Control feature, and you can enjoy a comfortable drive no matter where you go.

Explore, but cautiously

Every region in the country has a rich and proud legacy of art and craft. Generations of families master these art forms to produce some inspiring pieces. On your next trip, weave some culture and heritage into your itinerary by visiting these unique craft villages in India. That being said, it is also important to keep in mind the ongoing pandemic. So, take all the necessary precautions. For instance, make sure to travel in your own car to limit contact with anyone else. Follow social distancing and other hygiene practices and don’t take unnecessary risks. And ensure you are in good health and prioritise your safety over everything else.