Kutch Nahi Dekha to Kuchh Nahi Dekha
Initially kicked off in 2005, Rann Utsav was a 3 day festival to promote tourism in the Kutch salt beds. With Amitabh Bachchan campaigning for the festival, it caught attention of lot of tourists. Now it is held over a 4 month period with much pomp, with celebrities lined up for show
How to Reach:
- By Air: Bhuj city has it’s domestic airport but Ahmedabad (300 KM from Bhuj) is the nearest Airport with frequent flights from other parts of the country.
- By Train: Bhuj has no direct trains, you can reach via Ahmedabad. An overnight journey in train from Ahmedabad is needed to reach Bhuj.
- By Road: You can hire self driven cars from major cities in Gujarat or opt for numerous private and government Volvo buses for an overnight trip to Bhuj.
Where to Stay:
Kutch White desert has been popularized by Rann Utsav. They have tent city on the very heart of the White desert, you can check their packages here. However, over the years, now several other resorts have thrown their gates open for tourists, which provide you nearly same facilities at the same or lower cost, if booked earlier. These tent or bamboo hut resorts are situated within 5 km radius of Kalo Dungar and the White desert. You can check for suitable accommodation and package from goIbibo. We were on budget trip so we opted for hotel. We stayed in Hotel White Desert which 10 mins drive from Bhuj Station and 5 mins drive from Bhuj bus stop. It took us nearly 2 hours’ drive to the White desert but we enjoyed the road trip, stopping at various points for photos.
The Day in White Desert
You must get the permission to enter the Rann. You can get it online from Rann Permit“. Please make sure you have permit for your vehicle as well. You can get permits at Bhirandiyara checkpost but usually there will be mad rush with long queues. On the way, you can visit Kalo dungar which translates to Black hill. It is the highest point in Bhuj. A camel ride can take you to the top from where you have uninterrupted panoramic view of the Great Rann of Kutch. After a quick visit to Dattatreya Temple and snack break, we went towards the India Bridge, one of the last bridge to cross over to Pakistan border. You will need to get permission from commissioner to go beyond the bridge. While driving towards India Bridge, we encountered the magnetic field at one of the loops. Vehicles literally speed up and down the slopes for a 1 km stretch at neutral gear. Incredible though it is, our car picked up 70 kmph uphill on neutral gear.
Also check the places to visit in Bhuj
With wide stretches of ravines and barren land on both sides of road, we finally headed towards Rann Utsav in afternoon. We had planned for full moon night to travel, so again there was long queues at the entry points. There is huge array of local handicrafts on display where you can purchase souvenirs. Prices are quite cheap compared to city rates. Kutch work jackets, blouses and blankets are among the top sellers. Most of the artists look forward to the festival for push-sale of their merchandise. Along with shopping, you can always relish the local delicacies specially the namkeens.
Sharp at 5 PM , we headed towards the main gate to the Rann. You can hitchhike a camel cart ride to the Viewpoint which is about 20-30 feet in height. Since most tourists thronged to the viewpoint, we decided to simply walk on the salty barren land. We were lucky to catch the amazing sunset on West and the moon rise on East. On New Moon nights, one can experience the uninterrupted vision of the starry sky. Slowly as the moon shone its full glory did the salt bed turn a pallete of silver paint, it was surreal. With cool breeze blowing and endless horizon, one cannot help but feel humble before the creation of God.
I am a firm believer in “Kutch nahi dekha to kuch nahi dekha”
Things to Remember:
- You are required to present permit to enter the Rann. You can get it online from Rann Permit. Please make sure you have permit for your vehicle as well. You can get permits at Bhirandiyara checkpost but usually there will be mad rush with long queues.
- For local sight seeing you can hire cars or auto, as self-driven car is not an option in the region.
- Make all your booking related to stay and transport in advance as November to February is high season.
- Locals are mostly dependent on tourism so you may find it costly everywhere. It will be cheap to opt for Gujarati thali.