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Rann of Kutch – A Travel Guide to the White Desert

Winter is the time for travel for many, especially to places that are difficult to enjoy during summers. Kutch is one such place which welcomes you during winters. The places, people, clothes, handicrafts are all exotic which by itself will want you to experience more of it. The word ‘Rann’ translates to ‘desert’ in Gujarati and Kutchi. Rann of Kutch is divided into 2 major parts –  the Greater Rann of Kutch and the Little Rann of Kutch area. The White desert lies in the former. My blog post ‘Rann of Kutch – A Travel Guide to the White Desert’ will want you experience something that is so amazing in this country of varied heritage and cultures.

Camelsonroad
Camels on road

What is the White Desert?

The White Desert is nothing but giant salt marshes that get formed every year after the monsoon rainwater evaporates. This lies in the Greater Rann of Kutch. It is said that thousands of years ago this area used to be a portion of the Arabian Sea but due to geological uplift the land’s connection to the sea got disconnected. This has resulted in it becoming a shallow salt lake which turns into a salt desert once the water evaporates.

White desert
White Rann

When to visit Rann of Kutch?

Mid-Nov to February will be the best time to visit Rann of Kutch where the temperatures range between 12°C to 25°C. This is also when the Rann Utsav happens. During summers it is burning hot and visiting any desert is out of the question.
Note: The salt will get crystalized in November but still you will see water patches in the marshland.

How to reach the White Desert?

First stop to reach the desert will be reaching the Bhuj town which is the capital of Kutch. You can board buses or hire cabs to reach Dhordo from Bhuj. There are few other places of interest on the way to the White Desert like Rogan Painting in Nirona, Kalo Dungar and India Bridge which can be visited as well.

People on road
People of Kutch commuting

Clothes to wear in Rann of Kutch

You will find many people wearing colorful Kutchchi clothes in the desert especially the ones with Bandhani pattern. The nights and early mornings in Kutch get very cold especially in the winters. You will need to carry jackets, socks and anything that can keep you warm.

Aarthy on road
Empty roads

What to shop?

  • Bandhani sarees, chudidars, koti, dupatta, tops
  • Kutchchi slippers
  • Ornaments
  • Purses and bags
  • Handicrafts
  • Keychains and much more

Where to shop?

Bhuj, Bhujodi, Ajrakhpur, Hodka, Kalo Dungar and Dhordo

Where to stay?

If you are on a budget trip, then staying in Bhuj is the best option available. You can stay at mud houses in Dhordo or Hodka which is what I did. There is a government Rann Utsav Tent City (put up between Nov-Feb) in Dhordo which is very expensive, but comes with access to exclusive activities, cultural programs and shopping.

Mud house in Hodka
Mud House in Hodka
Hodka Mud house
Mud House

What are the places to visit in Rann of Kutch?

Kalo Dungar (Black Hill)

Kalo Dungar is the highest point in Kutch from where you will get the view of the entire White Desert. It is located at 90 km from Bhuj and takes approximately 2 hours to reach. The fun part about Kalo Dungar is the slopy roads which will give you an adrenaline rush. There won’t be a need for the driver to press the accelerator. ?

Kalo Dungar View Point
Kalo Dungar View Point

India Bridge

India Bridge is just a bridge with salt desert on both the sides. You can reach India Bridge any time before 5.30 pm without a permit. There is nothing more to see at the bridge apart from acknowledging the fact that you are very close to Pakistan. India Bridge is at 17 km from Kalo Dungar and 80 km from Bhuj.

If you want to visit Indo-Pak border at Vighakot which is 70 km further from India Bridge you will have to get permission at least 10 days before from the Bhuj DSP office. Photography is strictly prohibited 500 m from the India Bridge check post.

White Desert

Dhordo is approximately 80 km from Bhuj and it is where the Rann Utsav takes place and also where the Tent City will be located. Permits have to be gotten either online from https://rannpermit.gujarat.gov.in/ or offline at the place where the Utsav happens. You will find many stalls offering different items to be sold. You can comfortably take a camel ride in the desert.

Camel ride
Camel ride in White Rann

Permit Cost:
Adults (above 12 years) – Rs.100/-
Kids (6 to 12 years) – Rs.50/-
Two and four-wheeler vehicle – Rs25/- and Rs.50/- respectively.
You will have to show original ID proof of at least one member when in a group.

Rogan Art

It is an ancient textile art having its origin in Persia. The centre for Rogan Art is in Nirona, Kutch. It is the only place in the world where you will find this. The art is living because of the last Rogan Art artists’ family called the Gafur Khatri family.

Notes

  • The Tropic of Cancer passes through Kutch. You will see a sign board signifying that on the way to Dhordo.
  • Little Rann of Kutch lies around 350 km from Bhuj, towards Ahmedabad. It is known for its wildlife and birds.
  • People of Kutch, especially Kutchi women have so many different looks which you would have never seen before. They are mostly shy. If you want to click pictures do make sure to ask their permission.

Rann of Kutch is an interesting place and when in Gujarat it is something that is worth visiting.

Click here to read my other blog posts from Gujarat.

Aarthy Chinnaiya

Hola, you travel-prying soul! Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by! My name is Aarthy Chinnaiya, exploring new places, food and people gets me excited. I focus on budget travel and exploring places to the fullest in limited number of days (being a Software Engineer I don't get much leaves you see :P). Follow me for a constant dose of my travel stories, experiences, tips and much more.

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