Accommodation woes – Seek and you shall find!
We had timed our visit to Kutch around the full moon in December and finding an accommodation seemed to be an endless process. After countless hours of research on what would be a good place to stay (Bhuj, Mandvi or elsewhere), searching travel websites for B&Bs and homestays and making multiple phone calls, I came to the conclusion that accommodations in and around Bhuj , especially Tent city at Rann Utsav sells like hot cakes during full moon nights. Adding to that was some political conference which was happening in Bhuj during the exact same weekend which meant every place I called seemed to be sold out !
So we decided to move away from Bhuj as our base for stay and looked for other places. I stumbled upon this lovely homestay in a couple of blogs and reading the rave reviews, decided to check it on AirBnB. Luckily, I found it available for our travel dates which meant we had struck gold for our first night’s stay in Kutch – a haveli at a place called Devpar-Yaksh.
Bed and Breakfast – Royalty style
The tiny village of Devpar-Yaksh is an hour’s drive (40 kms) from Bhuj. The journey seemed to be a long one after an even longer bus journey from Ahmedabad to Bhuj, but is every bit worth it once you reach the palatial homestay.
We had reached the village of Devpar-Yaksh and typical of Google Maps at times (seemed like we were going around in circles), weren’t sure on which road to take at a junction/village square, so we asked this old Kaka at the square if he knew of any homestay or hotel nearby run by Mr. Krutharsinh. Kaka, perplexed and probably thinking we were crazy looking for a hotel in that small village, with a dead conviction in his tone told us “There is no hotel or room in this village” and instead showed us the way to the highway. We trusted our instincts and somehow ended up following Google Maps eventually and landed at our homestay, also called “Darbargarh” locally, a stone’s throw away from the village square.
As you enter the property, you are greeted with a haveli that exudes an old world charm with a sprawling courtyard, ornate jharonkas with green windows, pink bougainvilleas and a constant babble of children from the adjoining “White Eagles school”. We were greeted by our hosts, Mr. Krutharthsinh Jadeja, who runs the school and is related to the royal family in Kutch; and a lovely couple Akansksha and Jeet; who were co-hosting the property for this season and defined the meaning of “slow travel” for me.
As awe-struck as we were by the property what impressed us more was the generous hospitality and warm conversations with the hosts, the delicious food ( read super thin theplas, sweet pickles, jugs of “chaas”) and their super-friendly happy dog, Muniya.
Sauntering through the sleepy town of Devpar-Yaksh
After quickly refreshing ourselves and a round of breakfast, Jeet; our host, showed us around the property and walked us through the by-lanes of this sleepy hamlet telling us interesting stories about the place. An enjoyable part of travel for me is reading and listening to folklore and interesting tit-bits about a place and here is one such thing interesting folklore about Devpar -Yaksh.
Folklore has it that 800 years ago two Greek soldiers rode horseback into this village and back then no one in the village had seen horses. These Greek men also happened to be medicos and treated diseases prevailing amongst the villagers. The next best thing the villagers could do was build a temple for these exalted men that still stands on a hillock that can be seen from the village.
Another unique thing I found about this town were the doors; every door to a house was unique and coloured different, inspiring me to do a series on doors in Kutch :). Here are some of them.
We made Devpur our base to explore the coastal town of Mandvi, an hour’s drive from here. You can read more about the coastal town of Mandvi in our related post.
An evening in Mandvi – Top things to do
Devpar Yaksh was a refreshing change for us. Even if for a day, it felt nice to break away from the hustle of city life with its apartments and traffic and live in a beautiful haveli, being woken by the the chirping of sparrows, soaking in the warmth of the winter sun, meeting interesting people and experiencing the easy goingness of a typical Indian village.
TTH recommends at Devpar Yaksh:
As we found out, Kutch may have multiple villages, that go by the same name, so
make sure you look for "Devpar-Yaksh")
1) Experience the villages of Kutch, the royal way at Devpur Homestay
2) Do nothing, walk through the alleys of the village,
eat theplas, star-gaze and enjoy the
calm and peace 🙂 Highly recommended !
3) Trek up the hill to Sayri Mataji & Yaksh Bautera temple.
4) Mandvi (56 kms) and Bhuj (40 kms) are an hour's drive from
Devpar, so plan your day visits from here.