Be it JP Dutta’s multi-starrer Hindi film Refugee or SS Rajamouli’s Telugu historical blockbuster Magadheera, the salt desert of Rann of Kutch has served as a perfect setting for Bollywood and Tollywood alike. This splendid cultural fest of Gujarat has an enigmatic appeal that attracts people from different parts of the country and world over. So much so that tourists plan for this event years ahead. Not surprising, it’s none other than our very own Big B, the brand ambassador of Gujarat, who invites you to this land of salt marshland in the Gujarat Tourism promo, aired on small screen periodically.
Every year, Gujarat State Tourism Nigam Limited hosts the resplendent Rann Utsav, also known as the Rann of Kutch festival (November 18 to February 23 this year). It’s a rich tribute to the Kutchi people and their culture – the several tribal communities, handicraft traditions, indigenous cuisine, heritage structures and sprawling wildlife. So what are your plans for Rann Utsav 2016? Are you totally clueless?! Rest assured as iTraveller curates a Rann Utsav itinerary for you.
Pick a Package
Wanna enjoy every bit of Kutch Rann? Check out any of the 1 night / 2 day or 2 night / 3 day Rann Utsav packages offered by Gujarat Tourism and several other private tour operators. Most of these packages comprise the following but the inclusions may vary depending on specific tour itineraries:
- Transfers from Bhuj airport/railway station to Dhordo White Desert Camp (approx. 85 km)
- Food and accommodation at Premium, AC cottage and Non-AC cottage tents
- Visits to White Rann to witness sunrise and/or sunset, Kala Dungar and Handicraft Village on the way
- Optional chargeable tour to Mandvi beach (approx 140 km from the tent city) and Indo-Pak Border (approx 160 km from the tent city)
- Departure to Bhuj with complimentary sightseeing in Bhuj: Sri Swami Narayan Temple, Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal and Handicraft Village & Craft Park.
1. Camping on White Sands
One of the highlights of Rann Utsav Gujarat is that you get to camp yourself right in the middle of the salt marshland in the Thar Desert. While you have all state-of-the-art amenities available, a true travel bug would prefer to make the most of the natural surroundings and the rustic living.
- Full moon night or the nights immediately preceding full moon will give you one of the most mesmerising views of lifetime.
- Take a joyous camel cart ride with your family
- Go for a hot air balloon ride to get a bird’s eye view of Kutch
- Experience Chir Batti (ghost lights) – an unexplained dancing light phenomena that occurs at night
2. Handicraft Heritage
From patchwork to nut crackers, the vibrant handicrafts of Kutch are widely celebrated not just nationally but also overseas. Bhujodi, Handicraft Village & Craft Park and Gandhi Nu Gaam are the must visits for Kutch tourists. These handicraft villages are included in complementary sightseeing offered by many operators.
- Embroidery items for gifts and souvenirs
- Unique hand-blocked printed paintings
- Engraved silver jewellery makes for another great personal pick/gift item
- Craftsmen of Dumaro and Ludia are known to be one of the best in wood carving in India
- Check out seashell toys for home décor
- Iron bells are any antique lovers’ delight
3. Cultural Sightseeing
Experience the cultural tapestry of Kutch, which is resplendent and earthy to the core. Whether it’s the musical notes of manjira and morchay in the air or the clay and camel dung paintings on Banni houses, Kutch is an ethnic diversity in itself. Can you believe, many tribal communities living here are migrants from present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East and Central Asia?
4. Places to See
Swaminarayan Temple, Mandvi Beach, Kala Dungar, Vijay Vilas Palace, Aina Mahal, Wild Ass Sanctuary, Chari Daand, Narayan Sarovar, Dholavira
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5. Kutchi Cuisine
Dabeli; Gujarathi thali, which generally includes chaas, dahi wada, sweet dal and papad among others; lahsooni aloo; a wide spread of street food
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