What makes the Rann of Kutch a spectacular destination for tourists is it’s endless marshy and salt land. Sited between the Sindh and Gujarat, it is spread through about 30,000 sq.km of earth. Since it is quite close to Pakistan, the Indian army is stationed here. The army officials keep patrolling the region throughout the day. Anyone would kill for the sunset at the white desert. The salty desert gets covered up with the sky filled in vibrant pink, orange, red, and purple.
The nomadic tribes of the Rann of Kutch are always welcoming and very rich in culture. When you visit here, make sure to catch a glimpse of the vibrant handicrafts. Even though the travel is exhausting, but you’d be amazed seeing the people and their culture. If you are intrigued by the serene nature, magical night, and nature photography, then a visit to Rann of Kutch will be worth it.
The Rann Utsav
Usually, the Rann Utsav starts in the latter part of the year, November and lasts till February. The Rann Utsav celebrates the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the region. Every year it welcomes about 5,00,000 tourists from 20 other countries. The white dessert gets flooded with the unique and rich Gujarat culture. The festival is held every year at the village, Dhordo, which is around 80 km north of the city of Bhuj.
One can witness a plethora of storytelling sessions, music, and folk dance performances, a spectacular display of handicrafts. Not to forget, Gujarat’s authentic and delicious food items available there. From hot air balloon rides to camel rides, it will surely entertain every adventurous person. If you are someone who’s intrigued by Gujarat’s culture, then attend workshops where you will learn about the arts and craft of Gujarat.
For shopaholic women, there’s a wide variety of hand-stitched and mirror embroidery work available there. The village women get together and produce numerous designs from wood carvings and block prints to seashell toys and silver jewelry. Worried about where to stay? Well, it’s not a problem. With around 400 ac and non-ac tents, you can choose that best fits your need. Also, it comes with two other options to choose from, i.e., Luxury and Swiss tent. As the festival welcomes 5 lakhs and more people, there needs to be some arrangement to stay, right?
The ancient civilization
There’s more to the Rann of Kutch than the endless white desert. The remnants of one of the oldest, ancient civilizations are found here. You must have read about Harrapan civilization in high school, right? Well, there’s a village in Kutch which held that civilization once. Dholavira is the village that reflects the Harrapan lifestyle. You’d be awe-struck to see the carefully designed water protection system and drainage system.
Signboards reflecting authentic Indus script is yet another sign of how organized the civilization was. While you explore the deserted lines of Dholavira, you’ll realize what an amazing town it was before reducing to dust and ruins. The stepwell will give you’re an idea of how water was stored at that time. Around 16 reservoirs have been found at the site, which distributed water to the whole city through different channels. Also, the town was very well fortified to defend the people from outsiders.
The civilization was donned with objects such as stone sculptures, animal figures, structures that resembled graves, bead and gold jewelry and numerous hemispherical structures. The level of planning done by the people of that civilization leaves the present world awe-struck.
The Traditional Art
While you visit the Rann of Kutch, make sure you take a round of the Nirona village, which is famous for the traditional Rogan Art. Recently, this art became a hot topic as our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a couple of handcrafted Rogan art to the American President, Barack Obama, in 2014.
It’s not just any art. A lot of time, effort, and hard work is put into the creation of this art. To make it, castor oil is heated for about more than 12 hours and then put into cold water to cool off. The next step involves the mixing of natural colors. The final step involves artists etching beautiful designs over a piece of cloth, using a 6-inch stick or pen. Delicately etched design requires determination and concentration of the artist.
Saris, pillow covers, decorative pieces, and wall decors are made using these painted clothes. Apart from Rogan art, the region also offers a wide variety of other art forms such as lacquer work, copper bells, woolen weaving, and leather art. This is the reason bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan said that if you haven’t seen Kutch, then you haven’t seen anything.
The Kandla Port
The Kandla port is one of the largest ports of India when you consider the plenteous amount of cargo traded. With appropriate permission, you are allowed to witness all the activities on the Kandla port. Right from ships getting parked to large hydraulic cranes removing the containers, you can see it all.
Initially, the port has been built with the aim to cover up the shortage of marine harbors. Post partition, more emphasis was put on the development of this port. Infrastructural development started, and once the advancements were done, Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister, inaugurated it in the 1850s. As a result, the nation achieved the feasibility of marine transportation, both outside and within the country. This has helped our nation to make its position in the list of highly developed world economies.
An alternative way to see the white desert
Situated 1400 ft above the sea level, the Kala Dungar is considered to be the highest hill in Kutch. From Indo-Pak border to the whole of Rann of Kutch can be seen from here. Another interesting fact is, the world’s highest number of Jackals are found here. Within 20 sq.km of the jungle, around 150 jackals are found. Being just 25 km away from the village, Khavda, it is easily accessible. You can hire a cab to get to this place.
Apart from the panoramic view, the hill is also famous for the Dattatreya temple that is 400 years old. The deity, Lord Dattatreya is considered to be a manifestation of the trio- Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh. There’s a common belief among the locals that Lord Dattatreya rested on this hill as he came across starving jackals. In turn, he offered himself as food to the jackals. However, as the jackals kept feeding on him, his body continuously regenerated. As a result, a temple was built in his name to mark his sacrifice.
The Magnetic Hill
Here, we’re again discussing the same hill that we’ve just spoken of above. Not only it’s popular for being home to the largest number of jackals or offering a panoramic view or the Great Dattatreya temple, but it’s also known for being a magnetic effect. The name might seem like just any other hill, but the experience it offers will blow your mind. Here, the hill doesn’t comply with the laws of gravity. Once it was noticed that the cars parked on the flat road started with switched off engines started to slide at high speed. This instance was further studied. And since then, this hill came to be known as “Anti-gravity hill” or “Magnetic hill.”
If you ever visit Kutch, make sure you do not miss out on an amazing experience that’s offered by this hill. Also, if you’re planning to come here, do not forget to bring some food for the hungry bunch of jackals.
How to reach?
Sited in the Thar Desert, the Rann of Kutch is divided between Little Rann of Kutch and Great Rann of Kutch. The preferable way to reach the Rann of Kutch is through Bhuj. Since it is a major tourist spot, all types of transportation are available there. You can take the flight as Bhuj has an airport. If you are from Mumbai, it becomes even more convenient as Air India regularly flies to Bhuj. However, if you want to enjoy your ride, take a bus from Gujarat. Looking for a day trip with friends? Hire a cab or bike from Bhuj at an affordable price. Since Mumbai is just 15 hours away from the Great Rann of Kutch, you can also take a train from there.
The beauty of the breath-taking white desert is worth witnessing once in your lifetime. The hospitality of the locals, food delights, and awe-struck natural beauty of the place will make you want to settle there forever.
Whether it is a family trip, friend trip, business trip, or a romantic trip with your partner, this place will steal your heart in every aspect. So, book your tickets today to get a life-long memorable experience. There are numerous service providers out there who are ready to customize the trip, so choose as per your requirement.