It does not fall into the category of typical tourist trails because this destination is not only different from others but also a part of the hottest region of India. Now the obvious question is that can a part of a desert attract tourists? Well, the first images that usually come in mind, when someone thinks about Rann of Kutch are of the majestic White Salt Desert and shimmering glimpses of a mirage. Nevertheless, there is more to the largest district of India than that, and one has to explore this barren but beautiful land to savor its many charms and attractions – from intricate art, fabulous carvings, and birds, to the ethereal natural beauty. Rann of Kutch is divided into two regions: The Great Rann of Kutch and The Little Rann of Kutch. The main attraction of the Great Rann of Kutch is its seasonal salt marsh that covers around 7000 sq kms of land. The Little Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh land only also a home to the endangered Indian Wild Ass. Let us look at the attractions of this desert and other important things, which set it apart as a tourist destination:
In Gujarati, Kalo Dungar means the black hill and it is also the highest point in the district. Well, this hill provides a great panoramic view of the entire Rann of Kutch and nearby Indo-Pakistan border. Besides savouring the majestic glimpses of this desert, one can also visit the ancient temple of Dattatreya, which is built near the Kalo Dungar. This grand temple is dedicated to Dattatreya, who is considered as the third incarnation of the Lord Buddha.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
However, it is a part of a barren land, there is a wild sanctuary here, which is known as the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary – famous for its massive breeding colonies of the flamingos and as a last refuse of the endangered Asiatic wild ass. Spread across an area of 4,950 sq km, this saline land is also a home to a considerable population of jackals, nilgai, and snakes. In fact, many exotic varieties of birds also reside in this sanctuary and attract many tourists, especially during winters, when the temperature stays comfortable.
The most outstanding thing about this village is that it is the only place in India, where you can find the most consummate artists of the Rogana Art. The entire village is like an exhibition of art, as you can behold some great illustrations of Rogan Paintings on the walls and metals. In fact, there are many artists in this village, who are known for their awe-inspiring metal and lacquer works. This place is a heaven for anyone searching for exotic handicrafts.
The pristine Mandavi beach is the place to be if someone is seeking tranquillity. Besides enjoying the enthralling view of this place, one can also indulge in bird watching. The Vijay Vilas Palace is not far away from here. Take a camel ride to the palace amidst rotating windmills, which further augment the overall beauty of Mandavi Beach.
The Bhuj city is a part of the district of Kutch. This city is known for its ancient temples and architecture. Here, you can find the artists of the notable bandhni or tie-dye work. Besides that, it is a culmination destination to explore the culture, food, and art of Gujarat.
The Rann Utsav is an annual three-month-long festival, which is organised by the Government of Gujarat. This festival is all about the celebration of life through various cultural activities and festivities of Gujarat. One can savour the stunning views of various colours, sprinkled on a desert in a mesmerizing manner. The Rann Utsav gives you an opportunity to enjoy the flavours of Gujarat and hospitality of Kucchi People. This festival also works as a platform to keep the old arts alive and to revive various traditions, which are associated with this region.
When: 18th November, 2015 to 29th February, 2016.
The best time to visit Rann of Kutch is October to March every year.
How to reach:
The nearest airport is Bhuj, which is 50kms away. Ahmedabad International airport is 93kms away.
The nearest railway station is Wankener, which is 65kms from Rann of Kutch. Other nearest railway stations are Gandhidham and Bhuj.