The most incredible, naturally beautiful landscapes lie in your backyard, undiscovered, while you are busy drooling at the exotic locales in international waters. You might have often heard about the breathtaking Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia, the world’s largest salt flat but when it comes to the Great White Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, most people were unaware till Mr Amitabh Bachchan said, “Kutch nai dekha toh kuch nai dekha” in his Gujarat Tourism ads.
The best way to explore the Rann in all its glory is through the Rann Utsav held annually for three months. It Rann Utsav gives travellers the unique opportunity of experiencing the white flat salt lands while getting a glimpse into the colourful culture, performing arts, local traditions, cuisines and heritage of Gujarat. And when it’s the full moon night, the vibrant land looks all the more magical glistening under the moonlight.
With affordable packages under INR 10,000, we give you an itinerary to explore the music, folk dances, handicrafts, textiles, local people and the stunning natural beauty of the Rann in this splendid festival.
When Does The Rann Utsav Start?
Organized by the Tourism Department of Gujarat, Rann Mahotsav is a grand winter rendezvous. The Kutch Rann Utsav 2019 dates are from Oct 28th, 2019 to Feb 23rd, 2020.
1. Make a Pit-stop to Kalo Dungar
Very few people visiting Rann of Kutch know about this absolutely magnificent sight on the way. The road trip is one with the best sights – sparkling water on one side and then shifting to the other side which was nothing but a barren land. Kalo Dungar is about 90 km from Bhuj and is the highest point in Kutch. On your way, just about 20km away from Bhuj, watch out for a nondescript blue signboard that casually announces that you are at the Tropic of Cancer. The view from the Kalo Dungar is breathtaking. You will feel peace, freedom, and nature at its best in one moment. From here, the entire northern horizon vanishes into the Great Rann, the desert and sky often becoming indistinguishable. It is one of the few non-coastal locations where you feel like you are at the edge of the earth, on the brink of incomprehensible vastness that fades off towards infinity. Looking out from the Black Hills, you can understand the tremendous effort that those who undertake the crossing of the Great Rann have to make. Since this is one of the places where a civilian can get closest to the Pakistan border, there is an Army post at the top; beyond here, only military personnel are allowed. The hill is also the site of a 400-year-old temple to Dattatreya, the three-headed incarnation of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva in the same body.
Reaching the hilltop by public transport is difficult; the only bus travels there from Khavda on weekend evenings and returns in the early morning. Hiring a jeep from Khavda is your other option. Visiting in the early morning or late afternoon is recommended.
2. Enjoy a Cultural Fiesta
Of all the things to do in Rann Utsav, attending the cultural fiesta hosting folk artists from all corners of Gujarat is a must. They perform almost everywhere and every moment. You can actually live those imaginations of a bonfire in the desert while you dance to the tunes of true folk music the fervor of which, extends beyond all things to do.
3. Indulge in Kutchi Cuisine
This is a must because after all, the fabulous food options here are just what you need to make your experience more memorable. Two magnanimous dining halls at Rann Utsav serve scrumptious authentic Kutchi cuisine. Besides, there are food corners that cater to the hunger calls at the odd hours of night. In the villages, staple foods include bajra and milk, bajara na rotla with curd and butter milk is very common – must try when you are in Kutch.
4. Bask Under the Glory of Moonlight
Undoubtedly, the best experience one can have in Kutch. White expanse of serene sand under the full bloom of the moon – trust us, it gets more romantic than words. And add to that a cultural fiesta. Rann Utsav of Kutch will impress you to the core. You can spend time watching the moon and the stars as the best time to plan a trip here is during the full-moon.
Living in Dhordo has many options. You can go for the affordable huts and cottages at the entrance of the Rann, or go for the tent city which is little on the expensive side considering the category you choose. Let this perfectly planned package come to your rescue when you plan your trip to Rann Utsav.
You can reach Ahmedabad by flight and then set out for Gandhihdam or Bhuj on an overnight train or bus. (Distance: 403 kms)
Other Places to See:
Dholaveera, MandviBook this tour package
Written by: Aashima Kadakia
Creative ninja and a true follower of ‘Work, Save, Travel, Repeat’, I love to travel, experience places and bring back stories for a lifetime. Born and brought up in Ahmedabad, I like to visit the same old places, the same cliched tourist spots and destinations, but choose to see the unexplored in the old places. Always inclined towards the mighty mountains in their debate with the beaches!