Travel Blog India
White is the first word that comes to mind when I think of The Rann of Kutch. As serene as a picture of Paradise in my mind, visiting Rann is an extraordinary experience that cannot be summed up in words, or thoughts in mind. It is a picture to be remembered and cherished with eyes closed and mind calmed. And with an honest attempt, let me try and take you to a land where the horizon never ends and the eyes never soak enough! This is my journey through fertile land, mass barren stretches, arid mountains, dry air, colorful attire, huge head wear and abundant smiles. I have eaten through the highway on my plate, passed through rural India, crossed cars with Delhi, UP, Rajasthan and Gujarat numbers, smiled at The Aravali range, walked through changing topographies- landscapes- flora & fauna and huge windmills on either side of the road. And I have realised there is a life beyond the madness of Delhi which is calm, serene, simple and astonishing, where people have time for each other, where people are breathing and realising at the same time.
The journey was started to the Rann of kutch on the 28th of December’2013 at about 9 in the morning. Me and my husband K sat behind the wheel and honked our way through the most loved Delhi on a journey of 3 days to reach Gujarat. This was a ride through 3 states- Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat. It took us an hour and a half to cross over and reach Manesar, to get the first feel of getting on the highway and the outskirts of Delhi. With a zig zag through the main highway, we bypassed Jaipur and halted for lunch at The Hotel Highway King on the Ajmer road. The elaborate food menu and a namkeen lassi was enough to take my non stop driving blues away. I could still see and eat my Delhi food, I have a big time food syndrome and how much I may love to travel, it’s difficult adjusting when it comes to food. More so being a vegetarian. Post a full stomach lunch, we were on the road again to reach Hotel Chitvan, resort hotel at Ajmer. I would definitely recommend this property. It’s on the outskirts and one doesn’t have to enter the main city. The resort is upbeat with all the required facilities + absolutely neat & clean. The food is quite good too. We saw the Dargah and after that came back to the resort. The night was called in time to start the next early day.
The 2nd day was again an almost non stop journey to reach The Little Rann of Kutch by night. Our night halt was at Bhavna Resort and Farm. A very Gujarati home stay concept. Not recommended by me if you are looking at elaborate food and clean toilets and beds. I almost cried at the sight of the room. We had to book the place since everything else was already booked. The food was buffet with limited options. I snacked something to survive the night. Also, after my husband’s deadly gaze, I didn’t utter a word about the suitability of the place. We all slept by 12 and woke up early to be on the way to the Wild Ass Sanctuary, Dhrangadhra. The open Jeep safari was an experience to cherish. The sight of running asses was a delight. This was followed by bird watching for 2 hours. It was a stunning sight to spot The Lesser Flamingos, common cranes, Pelicans, eagles and vultures. The wet land becomes a haven for migratory birds in the winter season. This was followed by a visit to the Salt processing unit where we jumped on mountains of crystal salt. The 2nd half of the day was spent on our way to Bhuj. By evening, we checked in at B-Cube hotel & resort, a nice and comfy hotel. The 4th Day was spent in seeing Bhuj- Prag Mahal, Aaina Mahal and a visit to the local market to buy handicrafts. This was followed by a drive to the Pingleshwar beach, a secluded beach where we saw the last sunset of 2013. The mesmerising sunset gave ample opportunities of photo clicking. After bidding adieu to the evening, we made our way back to the hotel. The sumptuous food made way to midnight and we welcomed the New Year with open arms.
Day 5 saw us on the tarmac to The Great Rann of Kutch. On our way, we pit stopped at the The Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary. To our disappointment, we could not spot the bird but it was another experience walking through a huge grassland in the Rann of Kutch. By night we reached The Great Rann of Kutch, decorated for the annual festival in elan and splendor. After checking in the Mud Bungas, we saw the fair and took a dip into the folk and dance of the Gujarati state. At night we walked into The Great Rann for photography and an experience of seeing the white salt desert at night. The breeze was strong and I shivered with every bone. Post midnight, we got back and closed our eyes.
Day 6: Next morning was quite an adventure. We drove over the desert till the car was permitted. I camel safari-ed over the white Rann and halfway walked to absorb the absolute serenity. With Karachi in 150 kms span, the tales of love across the salt desert resonated in mind and spirit. With so many myths and fables, this was an experience too true to truth. The white sand, the never ending horizon, the purity and calmness around, the fragrance of our land- this was an enigmatic concoction. By afternoon, we started retreating for Delhi. We stopped over at Hotel Lajwanti, Palanpur for the night halt (Hotel not at all recommended). Next day we crossed over non stop to reach Ajmer where we stayed again at Hotel Chitvan. We reached the hotel by evening and took it easy from there. Next morning, post breakfast, we again got non-stop on our way to reach Delhi by evening.
- Route Taken: Delhi- Jaipur Bypass- Ajmer- Beawar- Udaipur Bypass- Abu Road- Little Runn- Bhuj- Greater Rann- Palanpur- Udaipur- Ajmer- Delhi. Total kms driven: 3200.
- Carry enough woollens. The Rann of Kutch gets very cold at night and is windy during the day.
- Spend a full day at The Rann of Kutch to catch its various looks & moods during morning, afternoon, evening and night.
- The Rann provides ample opportunities for photography. It’s a photographer’s delight.
- If you are on a road trip, be tight on targets. Divide the journey into days and kms and adhere to it.
- Enjoy the food and delicacies of Gujarat on the way. Do not miss the Dabeli, snack food of Gujarat. It is available at all road side hawkers and tastes best from them.
- Enjoy ample chai/tea on the way.
- There won’t be any food problem on the entire route as it’s well connected and well maintained.
- Do not carry alcohol to Gujarat. It’s banned and there is ample checking on the way.
- Gujarat is a beautiful, well organised state. You can look at all it’s splendour on the way and how it is technically well groomed.
- The Great Rann of Kutch can be done via train and a plane ride too. Nearest train station & Airport is at Bhuj.
- The Great Rann of Kutch festival is from 15th Dec- 15th Feb every year. It attracts local as well as foreign tourists.
- The Tropic of Cancer passes through Kutch between Kalol and Mahesana on the Ahemdabad Palanpur Road.
- Places to visit in Kutch: Kalo Dungar village, Bhuj, Great Rann, Little Rann, Wild Ass Sanctuary, The Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, small villages on the way for textile and handicraft.
Hope you have enjoyed the Travelogue. If you have been there, do share something about your trip or if you are planning to go, do not hesitate to ask any question…