The moonlit salt marsh of the ‘Rann of Kutch’ is one picturesque destination on every travel list. This secluded little corner of paradise located at the far western edge of Gujarat is known for its vibrant, one-of-a-kind ‘Rann Utsav’. The rich cultural festival is an amalgamation of folk dances, musical nights along with shades of the local culture, traditional art, and so much more.
Celebrated in the Dhordo village of Kutch (85 km from Bhuj), this annual, three-month-long carnival is organized by the Tourism Department of Gujarat every winter when the moon is at its fullest. This year, the plethora of fun-filled merriment begins from 12 November 2020 till 28 February 2021.
Here’s the checklist of the can’t-be-missed experience in Kutch you’ve been looking for. You’re welcome!
The two nights three days trip to Kutch lets you soak in the tranquillity of the region.
DAY 1: Soak in the Vibe
DAY 2: Adventure calling with loads of fun sports and activities!
DAY 3: Enrich yourself in the history of the local places.
HOW TO REACH:
As soon as you reach Bhuj, you can feel the fiesta around you that only intensifies in Dhordo. Taking a flight or train to Bhuj and then commuting by road is a cost-effective option to get to Kutch.
You may also arrive at Ahmedabad and then take the luxury bus or trains to Bhuj if you can’t find a direct booking. And if you’re looking to enjoy like a local while saving money, we’d recommend travelling by road, via public transport, and shared cabs.
WHERE TO STAY?
A comfortable stay completes the experience. You can choose to stay in luxury hotels like the Rann Village Resort or the Regenta Resort Bhuj. But, the best experience comes with the tent cities, set upon the backdrop of the silvery Rann deserts. They come in three categories: the Premium tents, Deluxe AC Swiss cottages, and Non-AC, each with all necessary amenities. Loved by tourists for its cosy and surreal vibe, their one night, two-day pricing starts at INR 5,500 to 10,000/- per person. You can find out more about this on their official site for the Rann Utsav.
THE CARNIVAL EXPERIENCE!
This 90-day-long celebration is a closer look into the lifestyle and art of the local artisans. The array of performances set amidst the white desert overwhelms tourists and takes them back to the Great Rann’s cultural roots. The authentic cuisine, the exotic art and craft, the folk dances and music leave you wanting more.
A lesser-known fact is the abundant adventure activities that the Rann Utsav provides. Be it paramotoring, Atv, rifle shooting, archery, or stargazing – Rann never ceases to amuse you!
PLACES TO VISIT IN KUTCH:
Kutch can be a goldmine for all the explorers out there if you know where to go. The region is full of regal architecture and historical monuments waiting to be explored in every corner, such as:
- KALA DUNGAR
‘Kalo Dungar’ or black hill is the highest point in Kutch and, thus, a significant tourist attraction. The scenic view of the place is an unforgettable experience. It also has a 400-year-old temple of ‘Dattatreya’, who is believed to be a three-headed incarnation of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva in one body.
- AAINA MAHAL – A GLIMMERING SPECTACLE
The ‘Aaina Mahal’ or the “Palace of Mirrors” as aptly named is a historical monument built with marble and glass. Kutch’s ruler initially built the mahal in 1761 at Hamirsar lake banks, another tourist attraction.
The heavy influence of the Indo-European style of architecture is hard to miss, as the palace walls are adorned with intricate works of gold.
Among the most popular Harappan sites to be discovered in India, Dholavira marks a strong presence of artifacts and remnants of the Harappan culture. Known as the ‘Kotada timba’, the site contains ruins of the Indus valley civilization. Interestingly, it gets subsided by the monsoon waters every year, and, as the water recedes, the white sands reappear. Dholavira presents itself to be the perfect pitstop to analyze archaeological findings and historical evidence of old civilizations.
- MANDVI BEACH:
A serene getaway situated at the seashore of Kutch, the Mandvi beach, is for tourists who’d like to layback and experience a stunning sunset by the beach. Tourists often revel in long walks by the beach, trying street food, and engaging in parasailing, banana boat rides.
THE ESSENCE OF KUTCHIS
The Kutch culture stands out to be diverse with various nomadic, semi-nomadic tribes in the region. It is famous for its indigenous art, including handmade articles and clothing. The Kutchi language is the official dialect of the area.
The Kutch cuisine has a massive influence on ‘Brahmanism’ and ‘Jainism’ in its scrumptious vegetarian ‘thaalis.’ The primary ingredients in all Kutch dishes include bajra, milk, and wheat. A local fast food quick fix of the region is ‘Kachchii Dabeli’. The Kharibat and Chakrada pakwan are also popular among tourists. For those who know, the Kutchi food palate is fulfilling and as vibrant as its people!
THE ART OF KUTCH
The native Kutchi craft culture practices the Rogan art’s intricacy, lacquer art, pottery, and metal crafts. Kutch is also well known for signature leatherwork, weaving, and block printing.
The Kutch experience is an experience of the lifetime for a traveller looking for vigour. It is this magical joyride of the ‘Rann Utsav’ that allows a traveller to learn the real spirits of life up and close, right in the middle of the desert.