India’s Cultural Gujarati Tomorrowland
A grand celebration of epic magnitude takes place in one of the largest salt deserts of the world, Rann of Kutch. “Let the white desert drench you in its eclectic colours” is the perfect analogy for the festivity called the Rann Utsav. The seemingly barren land comes alive, flaunting the region’s culture and vibrancy, at this 3-month long event from Dec to Feb.
What and Where: A handy guide
‘Dhordo’ is the village near which an entire Tent City, complete with every last detail, magically appears, as if out of thin air. Kudos to Gujarat Tourism for resurrecting it every year on this ochre land.
What to Expect:
As you enter the city, you will find yourself mystified by the cultural representation of art and craft, food and flavours, and the hospitality, of course.
Where to Stay:
Camp under the stars in Swiss Tents which exemplify the perfect blend of contemporary conveniences cocooned in luxury and extravagance. After settling down in your tent, go around exploring this sojourn which has so much in store.
What to Buy:
The shopping arena has a display of handicraft products that include iron bells, engraved silver jewellery, sea shell toys, hand-carved wooden items, Bandhani sarees, 300-year old Rogan art textiles, hand embroidered wraps of styles of Suf, Khaarek, Paako, Rabari, Garasia Jat and Mutava, and many more interesting gifts and souvenirs.
What to Eat:
Relish the delightful variety of authentic Gujarati cuisines and snacks including the Kutchi specialities. Do try masala cone, Dabeli and double roti.
What to Witness:
As the evening descends, musical notes from the Manjira and Morchay enchant you while folk dances cast a hypnotising spell whenever you set your eyes on the stage. And during the change of acts, you can see the stars through a telescope for free.
What Activities to Try:
Expanding the list of options for indulgence, Triker, Golf Cart, ATV Ride, Camel Cart Excursion, Paramotoring, Meditation and Yoga hall, Spa and Kids zone are also available. Take an exciting hot air balloon ride since the aerial view is the cherry on the top of the cake called Rann.
Hop Around: There’s more than meets the eye
It is a black rock mountain where you can get a mesmerising panoramic view of the Rann. Witness the sheer magnificence of dusk turning into night and the highlight of this transcendental experience is the 5 min sunset, whose beauty is just inexpressible in words. Also, take time out to see the Dattatreya temple and India Bridge where the distance between Indo-Pak border is the shortest.
The beach is a dreamy affair during the Kite Flying Festival on Jan 13, Makar Sankranti. You get to see colourful kites flying in the sky of different shapes and sizes calling out to the kid in you. The Irony: It is probably the only beach that has a graveyard at the entrance of the lane leading to it.
Bhuj, being the district headquarter of Kutch, is the gateway town to the Rann Utsav. What you definitely should tick off your bucket list are the 18th century Aina Mahal and Prag Mahal.
Also, try to fit these in your itinerary : Nirona Village, Bhujodi, Handicraft Village and Craft Park and Gandi Nu Gaam, where you can see for yourself the magic that goes into making the beautiful handicraft works. Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch is definitely a treat for the wildlife enthusiasts.
Additional Pro Tips:
- You need to get a prior written permission for each traveller to visit the Rann of Kutch. You can get it from:
- The BSF post in Bhirandiyara which is on the way to Dhordo village for 100 bucks.
- The DSP’s office in Bhuj, near Jubilee Ground. The office remains closed on every 2nd and 4th Saturday and on Sundays, so plan accordingly.
- Take along some winter clothes as the temperature at night drops to 8 °C.
- Taking food items to Kala Dungar is not allowed to maintain the pristine beauty of the Rann.
Now that you’ve already imagined yourself being there, go experience it for real and tell us how it was in the comments below.