This trip is one of my favourites of 2018 and my life because I have been planning it for over two years and then finally made it happen!
Best season to visit Rann of Kutch is November – December & January – February and especially during the full moon it takes you to a completely different level of nature’s enchantment.
Our itinerary was pretty simple:
DAY 1 – Pitstop at Mumbai
DAY 2 – Arrival at Bhuj, Camel Cart Ride to the White Rann, Cultural Activities
DAY 3 – Shyamji Krishna Varma Memorial, Vijay Vilas Palace, Mandvi Private Beach
DAY 4 – White Rann Sunrise, Handicrafts Village, Kalo Dunger, Full Moon Night
DAY 5 – Bhuj Sight Seeing (Chhatri, Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal, Textile Museum, Vande Mataram Memorial)
DAY 6 – Ahmedabad Shopping
DAY 1 – Mumbai Pitstop
We took a morning flight from Bangalore around 12:30 to Mumbai and just roamed around Linking Road for a while to check out some shoes, bags and my age-old ritual of shopping and then attended a friend’s wedding in Mumbai.
I wore a Black Stripe Pants with tie up at the waist and a Mustard Top, which was very breathable for the Mumbai humid weather. When I am on the roads, I really like to keep it easy breezy and clean.
We had fully planned that we would spend our night in the international lounge of the Mumbai airport but for some or the other reason the clipper lounge kept denying customers. For all of you budget travellers, near gate 45 there are very basic sleeper sofas where you can crash for an hour or two. The best part of the international airport in Mumbai is the art installation with various artists and this particular one ranges from the ground floor to the 4th floor which is a marvel for all the art lovers in the world.
Our flight to Bhuj was at 6 am, the next day and we were picked up by the tent city organizers from the airport.
Even though I am never ever a fan of the package tour thing as it takes away the beauty of exploring the unseen areas and shortage of time, this time after a lot of research, we figured out that
· We need a lot of permissions from the BSF to go a many of places
· Also scarcity of public transport is very evident
· If you are with a family it’s still fine in a private group, but as a backpacker or a solo traveller who is on budget this package seemed very economical and worry free.
DAY 2 – Bhuj settling in
We landed at the tiny and beautiful Bhuj airport, which looked like one of the palace forts of the famous kings. Our pick-up bus was from Bhuj to the Rann Utsav Tent City – a one-and-a-half-hour ride.
I was wearing the Yellow Fusion Dress from Spoyl, which I wore the previous day of the wedding as it was easy again and not much of a hassle. I didn’t want to change much and there was less on the itinerary too.
We had a grand welcome with the drums beating and then again, a main fort gate which was beautifully done up. The way to the reception itself was so beautiful that the reception area looked like a mini palace itself. The interior of the reception was filled with wallpaper of the famous lotus print from the Udaipur place and it looked extremely royal.
On the left side was the shopping area which I could not hold myself from entering but had to keep it for later! Some photo booths were built of mud and some huts for relaxing, all these were filled with mirrorwork and stained-glass work which carried away my breath!
And mind you this was just the entrance and we are not even half way inside! Then on the way in the golf cart we saw statues of the traditional puppets dressed up in Bandini, they were oversized and on the other side; statues of a man and women in traditional Kedia and Lehenga – which was giant size. This whole set up gave me a feeling of Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
Our tents were made of flex fabric and block print just out of a beautiful fairy tale. The interiors for a basic tent was done up so beautifully! We took a nap and got accustomed to the extremely hot weather as we were tired!
The lunch area was amazing with a humongous buffet spread and we were so full that we ate for two people together. Do have a look at the images and the videos.
We thought of just having a look around the tent city, as this is one of the biggest tent city that you can find in Kutch and it was completely booked for the full moon nights.
Some of the in-house activities:
Paintball, sumo wrestling, para sailing, para motoring, sky trek and more. Also, there is a pottery making place and a mud wall tapestry area near the spa which is marvellous! Felt like the 4 days were really not enough to cover the tent city itself.
The whole area from the reception until the tents is covered with printed fabric. And just strolling through the tent city makes you wonder how magically this place is designed.
The Camel Cart Ride
Around 4pm we had our high tea and some snacks. And our camel carts were waiting for us at the entrance to take us to the mystic white Rann.
It was harsh sun initially and we were going in the camel cart for around 30 minutes in a vast area of sand on both sides and nothing else. The area is very strictly guarded by BSF as Bhuj shares the border with Pakistan.
The beauty of the camel cart ride was that we kept going and we see nothing but white sand on both sides and that moment of peace was so very tranquil. There were two carts one behind the other, where the camel of the cart that was behind us was almost near our faces.
That particular camel was such a happy camel that all throughout it kept smiling and it was humming to its own Tunes of the Dunes, for all the people who have pets will know the feeling how they enjoy themselves when they are with their master.
Once we reached, my dream came true! The white sand which is not exactly sand! It’s the Dholavira lake which has been dried up and it’s a salt lake therefore the whole area has layers and layers of salt deposits. This makes the area look white washed!
Letting the facts aside, the best part was how white it was and scenic landscape of white all around. There was a camel ride and mind you I’m scared of heights! I was so sacred when the majestic animal got up and yet we went on a small ride. The camel was decorated with the traditional Kutch quilt and mirror work which made him look like a Groom!
There were vendors making people wear the typical kedia top and dhoti pants. I also wore it along with a turban. They were also playing the dhol on the sides. We all enjoyed the sunset dancing to the beats of the dhol and sat there in silence for a while taking in the paranomic view of the Great Rann.
After the sunset we went back to our camel carts now sitting in peace and taking in the view. The silence all around was eerie and very picturesque! We enjoyed the ride back to the tent city where cultural activities were awaiting us.
We had a sumptuous dinner with a lot for Gujarati varieties and then we rushed to main cultural area.
1. Jodia Pawa
3. Tribal Dance
4. Puppet show
Jodia Pawa – The typical Kutch music was being played and the symphony of it was very indeed musical. It’s something called as Jodia pawa a flute like instrument which gives out the heavenly music!
Keirwanowish – There is this art of making animals and birds out of fabric without any knots, and that is an ancient art called Keirwanowish performed by Rajendra Bhai. And this art is not taught to anyone and everyone; it’s ancestral only propagated to the sons. The performer spins on his feet like a top for around 10-15 minutes continuously without losing balance or stopping and completes making the animal in this time. This act looked like a magical dance and feels like a fabric cotton candy in the shape of peacock. This was indeed a magical performance, and Mr. Rajendra Bhai has a Guiness World Record for the spinning for the longest time.
Tribal Dance –Then my favourite part of the program was the Gujarati Tribal Dance, they are migrants from Africa who settled in Kutch village ages ago and they have a cave dance which is very captivating and somewhat terrifying and intriguing. But when you start watching and getting into the groove you can’t let them out of your sight as they spurt out fire and also break coconuts with their heads so effortlessly! We were totally awe struck with their strength and the rhythm with which they captivate the audience.
Puppet Show –A cute drama stage was built up majorly for the kids to watch and hear the age-old tales told from generations. These puppets were so cutely decorated and then the dance was so engaging to the children including me.
Important Information which can be useful for all of you !
- Best time to visit –
November to February are the best months to visit. The Rann Utasv Festival is during these months.
The winters is the best weather for sight-seeing. Its best to plan your stay at the Rann Festival ensuring the full moon night – that is catch of this festival.
The summer months like March to June/July are no no due to the excruciating heat of the dessert.
July to September also a good time to visit as it’s a monsoon season but, you might miss out on the festival and the major cultural activities.
- Websites for booking – rannutsav.net, rannutsav.com, rannutsav.org, rannutsavonline.com, thomascook.in
- Package Details – We took the 3 Night/4 Day Package which includes Lunch, High-Tea & Dinner on 1st Day, Morning Tea, Breakfast, Lunch, High-Tea & Dinner on 2nd & 3rd Day and Morning Tea & Breakfast on 4th Day.
- These Packages Range from INR 6000 to INR 25000 depending on the package you take and the number of days
- How to Reach –
You can Reach Bhuj in a lot of ways either by taking a direct flight from Mumbai or flying to the nearest city Like Ahmedabad/Surat/Gandhinagar and taking an overnight bus to Bhuj.
There are number of trains also from Ahmedabad. Bhuj is well connected as it’s a big tourist place and for all the budget travellers’ buses and trains are the best if you have time in hand. It’s just the 1st week of January people the best time is still running! Do travel before February!
Also, I have part 2, 3 and 4 coming up soon with videos. Hope you enjoyed the post. Do comment and share it so that a lot more people can visit the marvel of the White Rann.