RANN OF KUTCH
Rann of Kutch is a remarkable place that is basically a salt marsh in the Thar desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India. The region is called Kutch because it means ‘ intermittently wet and dry ‘ for good reason and Rann meaning ‘ Desert ‘ in Hindi.
The region is broadly divided into two distinct areas – The Great Rann and the Little Rann. The Great Rann of Kutch lies to the north of the Tropic of Cancer, at the top of Kutch district. It is best known for its marvelous silvery landscapes while the Little Rann is a home for wildlife and salt farming. Northern Gujarat is a very desolate place, with huge empty spaces between towns. This is where the white salt desert, Rann of Kutch is. Between November to February, Rann dries up and presents us with the endless white landscape.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Salt desert is underwater during the main monsoon season in India so this place can be explored only during the remaining eight months of the year. The tourist season runs until March as Rann begins to dry up in October every year. The accommodations nearby close at the end of March and don’t reopen until November. So to enjoy a peaceful and surreal experience it is advised, to go towards the end of March. To avoid the scorching heat of the desert one should visit it during the early morning or evening otherwise the salt can be blinding.
As Bhuj is the nearest accessible city, resorts present in that area arranges transport for tourists from Bhuj. There are a number of ways to get to Bhuj.
Bhuj has great connectivity from Mumbai in terms of railway and airways travel.
- Bhuj has a domestic airport. Air India has regular flights from Mumbai.
- If considering a train, it’s most convenient from Mumbai.
- Buses are available from many places like Gujarat to Bhuj, stating the roads are in good condition.
The Rann of Kutch is a sensitive area, due to its proximity to the Pakistani border. Therefore, a permit is required to visit the salt desert. It can be obtained in a place called Bhriandiyara village checkpoint, about 55 kilometers from Bhuj. The amount is 100/- for an adult, 50/- for a child aged six to twelve years, 25/- for a motorbike and 50/- for a car. A photocopy of ID needs to be submitted and the original has to be shown. Indian citizens can get the permit online as well.
ATTRACTIONS OF KUTCH
To have a memorable holiday in Kutch tourists should visit this place during full moon nights when the white sand desert gets illuminated during nights. One of the main attractions is the very well know festival called ‘RANN UTSAV’. This festival is held and organized by the Gujarat Tourism Department, which begins at the start of November and extends until the end of February.
- A tent city with hundreds of tents is set up near the Gateway to Rann Resort at Dhordo for visitors.
- Many handicraft stalls along with food stalls are lined up as refreshments.
- Some exciting activities are presented like camel rides, ATV rides, paramotoring, rifle shooting, etc.
- There are arrangements for cultural shows as well.
- Apart from the festival in Kutch, there are several places worth admiring like Aina Mahal, Museum, Swaminarayan Temple, Black Hill.
- Kala Dungar, also known as the Black Hill is the highest point (also known as the sunset point) in Kutch at 462m. The ideal time to visit this is after 5 pm where visitors can get a breathtaking view of the white desert.
To have a glimpse of the Rann festival, do watch this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZoXjJvAdKI