Shaam-e-Sarhad

Shaam-e-Sarhad

“Shaam-E-Sarhad, which means ‘sunset by the border’ is a stunning village stay with an exquisite initiation story, that offers just that - a vast open land and a marvellous view of the sun.
Starts from Rs 2000/ Night

Shaam-E-Sarhad, which means ‘sunset by the border’ is a stunning village stay with an exquisite initiation story, that offers just that - a vast open land and a marvellous view of the sun. Here, comfort, and luxury meets the culture, rural architecture and the warmth of the people - all to bring about a positive change in the villages nearby. It began with 3 tents in 2004, when the ministry of Tourism joined hands with the village panchayat, and has now turned into a luxurious replica of the village hamlets in the vicinity. Inspired by the architectural and cultural values of the nearby villages, Shaam-E-Sarhad was a pioneer tourism village stay in Kutch that started with the intention to provide livelihood or recurring labour opportunities to the same village communities, and to this day, a large chunk of the income generated is invested back into uplifting the people. The architectural and logistical needs of the stay ensure there’s recurrent labour opportunities be it laundry, lipan work, milk or milk products’ delivery or any local, ethnic artefacts made available for tourists. More than 40 families are directly or indirectly benefitting from Shaam-E-Sarhad, owing to this, 11 of them being the people in the staff itself. Your stay and experience at Shaam E Sarhad, too, is inadvertently helping these 40 plus families.

Designed by Hunarshala, a venerable architectural NGO that has done extensive work rehabilitating villages in Kutch post the earthquakes. The entrance echoes design expertise and beauty that parallels resorts in the cities, as much as it does culture. Let your eyes follow the roof, which was thoughtfully designed as a collage of local prints and colour schemes of coral, green, reds and pinks. The dining area a lovely replica of gathering spaces in the village, as is the veranda.
Shaam-E-Sarhad offers four types of accommodations. The first being luxury tents with double occupancy. These are well equipped with a sturdy bed made of mud and gobar, two seating chairs opposite it, whimsically designed lamps, topped with a local, hand embroidered comforter for the cold nights. It also has a spacious attached bathroom with western toilet, shower and hot water (boiler) facility. What’s really interesting is the inclusion of a little porch and veranda for each tent, for guests to enjoy a sense of exclusive seating where from they can wave at the neighbouring verandas too. The standard Bhunga that is a circular mud house, with a conical thatched roof, comes with an attached bathroom and the same facilities.
2 quadruple rectangular mud houses which have one double bed and two single beds, make for a great stay for a family traveling together. These too, have a porch of their own and are at a slight distance from the tents and Bhungas for added privacy, yet social inclusion.
The most interesting though, are the premium Bhungas, inspired by Rajwadi design. The circular room, at the centre of which is an organically made bed, comes with a set of windows and seating on one side - looking out at the common area, and a balcony on the other side which opens into a secretive backyard where you can sit for hours and look at the stars without interruptions. What’ll take your breath away is the walk to the bathroom - which itself is a treat in terms of design and architecture with two of its sides bare; with glass, lending it a sense of vastness. All of Shaam E Sarhad’s bathrooms are at a distance from the rooms, be it two steps out or ten, with an alfresco way - so for the seconds that you spend reaching it, you are reconnected with nature.

The scrumptious food at Shaam-E-Sarhad is prepared for you by an experienced chef who’s travelled through the western and central part of India. His food is, therefore, influenced by a lot regional flavours, so with the morning sun, you can enjoy Mumbai’s adrak ki chai toPunjab ki dal as the stars start peeking through the night sky. The first meal after check-in is lunch which comes in a gujarati thali with 2-3 sabzis, roti, dal, chawal, and gud & gheeor sewaiyafor dessert. Dinner is served in the form of a kutchi thali with rotla, khichidi, kadi, 2 sabzis, and generous helping of gud for dessert. Both, the lunch and dinner come with a refreshing glass of chachch.

Shaam E Sarhad is designed so beautifully, that hours could be spent hearing about its inception, the idea behind it, the story behind its architecture - of why the tents and Bhungas and the rectangular mud houses all have a glimpse of one another, or why the right of the entrance seems like a miniature sand dune. At the village stay itself, one can shop for local artefacts or traditional kutchi embroidered clothes, handmade duvets or bedsheets of Ajarakh print. The guests should definitely take a tour around the village and witness local artisans at work as they concentrate on placing bead after tiny bead and turn that into intricate jewellery; or watch them stitch together the local, ethnic outfit that takes months to be complete; or the flawless leather work that’s sustained generations after generations.
Apart from a cultural village tour, one can choose to go to Chari Dhan and bird watch - this place is home to thousands of flamingos.
Kala Dungar, locally referred to as India Gate, is literally so, as it offers a glimpse into the Indo-Pak border and beyond. It also houses a temple where jackals greet you with their presence for some prashaad. People can either trek up here or take the vehicle all the way up.

By train: The nearest railway station is Bhuj, from where you can take a chakra to the bus station. The 2 hours long bus journey to ‘Khavda’ is the cheapest option, with less than Rs.100 for the fare. The frequency is at 3-4 buses a day, for Khavda, and hourly for a nearby village called Bhirandiyara. Another option is a direct bus to Hodka village (which you’ll have to pre-book), but the frequency of these buses only increases with the peak of the Rann Utsav.From the Bhirandiyara check post to the stay, one can easily find Bolero campers that run on a sharing basis at the price of Rs.70-100 per seat.
Bikers can hire bikes from Bhuj for this smooth ride towards White Rann.
The easiest, most hassle free way to get here is by hiring a chakra or a car, which will drop you at the stay, for a price of Rs.2000-Rs.3500 per day of 12 hours or up to 300kms, subjective to the vehicle and the season.
By air: The nearest airport to the village stay is Bhuj. From here you could take an auto or a chakra to the stay or follow the instructions as mentioned above.

At Shaam-E-Sarhad, we are proud to say that the youth of the village is your host. Every member of the staff, from the kitchen, housekeeping to security - is a local from nearby villages. With most of the adolescent population dropping out of school before 10th standard, you’ll realise most of the staff is in their 20s. Highly appreciative of the life they get to lead because of the employment, your hosts are generous, amiable and ever so polite and smiling. The service is exemplary as the locals have been professionally trained to ensure the guests get utmost care. So be it from the 18 years old boy getting a bucket of boiler heated water to your room in record time, the 25 years old chef ensuring they knock at your door if you ask them to wake you up at the break of dawn, to the kind Lal Mohammadji, the security guard, offering to drop you to your doorstep if you’re a lone traveller, and the head chef who’d exchange stories with you of his travel and yours. Their only sense of pride resides in their sense of hospitality, in making their guests feel at home, and rightly so.

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