Other than the mesmerizing mountains and landscapes, India has beautiful salt marshes as well. These sparkling marshes are situated in the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. The Rann of Kutch is a 30,000 sq km desert in the Kutch district that spreads from the Gulf of Kutch to the mouth of the Indus River in southern Pakistan. It looks like a striking white area of salt in winters and turns into a marshy, muddy land in summers.
In 2005 Gujarat Tourism started “Rann Utsav” a festival to popularize the Rann and invited tourists from India and the world to see and enjoy the local culture and cuisine. It was earlier started as a three-day festival and is now a four-month-long festival and one of the biggest and most well-organized events in India.
Why visit Rann Utsav?
Every year a huge tent city is made between the months of November and February temporarily. The festival includes visits to the Great Rann, cultural exhibitions, traditional performances and a plethora of other activities. The pure beauty of nature with the warmth of people, delicious food, and colorful handicrafts these are the experiences that you can have at the festival.
Sights to visit at the Utsav?
• Great Rann of Kutch
This salt desert is a natural wonder that never fails to amaze people. A huge stretch packed with white salt, it glows in the light of the sun at dusk and dawn and sunrises and sunsets at Rann are amazing. A visit to Kutch is incomplete without visiting the Rann. The whole desert transforms into an eerie land with the moonlight reflecting off the surface of the white desert. It really is a matchless experience.
• Kalo Dungar
It is the highest point in Kutch. From this point, the horizon seems to come together with the white desert in the distance. From the top viewpoint, the Indo-Pakistan border is also visible.
• Gandhi Nu Gam
While visiting the festival you cannot go without buying some handcrafts. Gandhi Nu Gam is a village nearby where you can find amazing arts and crafts. From mirrored walls to copper utensils, from wooden crafts and intricately embroidered clothes, everything is available here.
Bhuj is a town near Kutch, it became famous after the 2001 earthquake. There are some buildings in the town that survived the earthquake and are a must-visit such as Aina Mahal and Prag Mahal. Each of the houses has different handicrafts.
• Mandvi Beach
The cool breezy waters and sun-kissed sand makes this beach a great place to visit. Walk on the cool seawater, take a short camel ride or watch birds and windmills. Have a relaxing evening on the beach.
How to reach:
The city nearest to the Rann of Kutch is Bhuj.
• By air: From New Delhi, you can take a direct flight to Ahmedabad and then one from there to Bhuj.
• By train: If you wish to travel by train then you can take a train from Ahmedabad to Bhuj.
• By road: Highways in Gujarat are amazing so you can easily drive through. It is 330km to Bhuj and another 90km from there to the Ran.
• Rann Utsav
The popular choice is Tent City, there are more than 350 tents and the accommodation comes with a fixed package that includes meals and sightseeing. There are three types of tents available in the tent city – Premium Tents, Deluxe AC Swiss Cottages, and Non-AC Swiss Cottages.
• Kutch Resort
The second option for accommodation is Kutch resort. It is made up of traditional Kutchi bhungas crafted and decorated with handcrafts.
Are you visiting the Kutch festival this year?