Kutch, the district of Gujarat state is the largest district of the country with its administrative headquarters located at Bhuj. Sometimes the name of the district is also spelled as Kachchh. The meaning of the term Kutch is that a place which occasionally becomes wet and dry and a large part of the district is called as Rann of Kutch. The Rann of Kutch is popularly known as the snow white desert which is full of marshy salt flats. In the ancient period the Indus Valley Civilization was developed in the region. Some of its civilised societies are still present in the Kutch district. One of the great examples of this civilization is the Dholavira, locally known as Kotada Timba which is located on the Khadir Island in the northern part of the Kutch district. In the late 13th century, Jadeja Rajputs of Samma Rajput branch founded Kutch as an independent kingdom. For the past three centuries, the place was divided and ruled by three different branches of Jadejas. Then in 16th century, the three parts of Kutch was united under the one ruler called Rao Khengarji I, whose direct decedents ruled for the next two centuries. Finally, the region went into hands of British East India Company in 1819 after the place of Kutch was defeated in battle and it was became a Princely State of Kutch. At that time the Kutch state was stabilized and flourished in the field of business under the rule of British. When India got its independence in 1947, Kutch came into the dominion of India and later constituted an independent commissionaire. After sometime on 1st November 1956, Kutch State was unified with the then Bombay state and on 1st May, 1960 Kutch was emerged as a separate district in the map of Gujarat state.
Harindra Dave, a prominent Gujarati writer and journalist of the post-independence period was born on 19th September, 1930 at Khambhra village in the district. He was honoured by the Sahitya Akademi Award (1978) for his poetry collection Hayati. He also conferred the Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak (1982), the Kabir Award (from the Madhya Pradesh Government), the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad award and the Goenka award for his journalism.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°73'N latitude, 69°86'E longitude 49 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 5.13% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses an area of 45,674 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 1st in the state and 1st in India. It is bounded by the Gulf of Kutch on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, Great and Small Rann of Kutch on the north and east. The climate of the district is characterized as the tropical monsoon climate. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 737.1mm in the year of 2019-2020.
Administration wise, the district is divided into ten talukas namely Abdasa (Abdasa-Nalia), Anjar, Bhachau, Bhuj, Gandhidham, Lakhpat, Mandvi, Mundra, Nakhatrana, and Rapar. It has 1 Lok Sabha seat and 6 Assembly constituencies. Morover, the district comprises 14 towns and 924 villages. The administrative language in the district is Gujarati.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 20,92,371 including 10,96,737 are males and 9,95,634 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 908 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 32.16% out of which 34.54% were males and 29.63% were females. The population density in the district is 46 persons per sq. km. In the year 2018 the number of live births in the district was 46,816 including 24,311 were males and 22,505 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district is 11,700 including 7,063 were males and 4,637 were females. As per 2011 census the major religions in the district are Hindu and Muslim with 76.89% and 21.14% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Gujarati and Sindhi with 54.91% and 34.92%.
Kutch is one of the economically fast growing districts in Gujarat. Kutch has abundant mineral resources. Lignite, Bauxite, Gypsum and some other minerals are found in the district in a large quantity. Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation, Panandaro Mines, GEB, GMDC, Sanghi Industries Ltd Cement Plant, TATA Powers, Welspun Group of Companies, Ajanta Clocks, Orpat, Jaypee Cements, Jindal Steel, Adani Power, etc are the vital industries in the district which contributes in its economy to a remarkable extent. Most of the natives of the Little Rann of Kutch earn their livelihood by producing salt with the help of some traditional methods.
Most of the colleges in the district are affiliated to Kutch University, established in 2003. Gujarat Technological University provides professional courses in Engineering, Pharmacy and Management. Some reputed colleges in the district are Tolani Institute of Pharmacy, Veeraytan Institute of Pharmacy, Baba Naharsingh Mahavidhyalaya, SRK Institute of Management and Computer Education, Tolani College of Arts and Science, College of Special Education, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 70.59% including 79.4% are males and 60.87% are females.
Dhirubhai Shah, a distinguished politician and the speaker of the 10th Gujarat Legislative Assembly (19th March, 1998 to 27th December, 2002) was born on 18th December, 1952 at Bela village in the district. He was also served as the chairman of Gujarat Finance Commission. Pushpdan Shambhudan Gadhavi, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 14th Lok Sabha in which he represented the Kutch constituency was born on 13th December, 1940 at Bhuj in the district. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The district has many centres of attraction which allures travellers from across the world. Narayan Sarovar, a combination of 5 holy lakes namely Man Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar is a pious place for the pilgrims of Hinduism. The Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary in the district also called as Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary of India. In this sanctuary one can found some endangered species of Indian wild ass like Khur and Asiatic wild ass species like Onager. Kutch Bustard Sanctuary is also a well known sanctuary in the district. The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the Rann of Kutch is mainly comprises forest areas, wastelands and territorial waters of the Arabian Sea. It has variety of reptiles and avifauna including crow, stork, spoonbill, osprey, sparrow, black vulture and white backed vultures. Aina Mahal (Mirror Palace), also known as the Madansinhji Museum was built by Ramsinh and Gaidhar Devshi during the period of Maharao Lakhpatti between 1752 and 1761 in the 18th century. The Prag Mahal of Kutch, located next to the Aina Mahal was built in the 19th century and commissioned by Rao Pragmalji II represents the Italian-Gothic architecture style. The two most admired ports in the district are Mundra and Kandla port.