24 December 2014

Kutch Diaries - Rann of Kutch

Previous Post on Kutch Diaries, Kutch Diaries - Travel Plans
Our day 1 at Kutch was the tour of Kala Dungar and White Rann(Greater Rann of Kutch). Rann of Kutch(the Greater Rann/White Rann and the Little Rann) is a shallow wetland which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during other seasons. The Rann of Kutch is famous for its marshy salt flats which become snow white after the water dries up each season before the monsoon rains.
We reached Bhuj by 9 in the morning, after freshening up, we left for Kala Dungar, the highest point in Kutch. Kala Dungar is 90km from Bhuj and the road is in very good condition. But you don't have any good restaurants on the way, till Toran resort which is also 85km from Bhuj, so better carry enough munchings for your drive. At Bhirandiara, which is around 53km from Bhuj, there are two routes, one to White Rann and other to Kala Dungar.
Permit to White Rann: At Bhirandiara village you get permit to enter the White Rann, as White Rann is at the India-Pakistan border. Our guide suggested us to take the permit, as the counter was not crowded(it could also be got while returning back from Kala Dungar). The permit can also be got at the Gujarat Police DSP office at Bhuj near Jubilee Grounds(closed on Sundays and 2nd and 4th Saturdays).
Permit charges: Rs. 100 per person and Rs. 50 per car. You need to produce id proof, better carry a photo copy of your(including family members) id as well.
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Kalo Dungar, Kala Dungar
Kala Dungar or Black Hill is the highest point in Kutch, and you get the view of the white desert from here. On the way to Kala Dungar, we drove through Khavda village. Being very close to Pakistan border, this village gives you a glimpse of any Pakistani village, men in Pathani suits. We drove ahead to Kala Dungar. As we near Kala Dungar, the road up hill is very narrow, and we were said, during peak vacation season, that route is mostly heavy in traffic.
There is a temple on the top, your vehicle reaches till the temple, then after you can take a camel ride or go by foot for another 100meters. Then there are stairs to reach the peak. The peak gives you an awesome view of the desert, a white stretch beyond boundaries. But with the misty weather, we could hardly make out the horizon.
Kala Dungar, Rann of Kutch, Kutch, Kalo Dungar, Kala Dungar
View of Rann from Kala Dungar
Kala Dungar, Rann of Kutch, Kutch, Kalo Dungar, Kala Dungar
View of Rann from Kala Dungar
Kala Dungar, Rann of Kutch, Kutch, Kalo Dungar, Kala Dungar
On the way to Kala Dungar is Toran Resort, by Gujarat Tourism. While returning back from Kala Dungar, we had lunch at Toran and headed to White Rann.
We reached back to Bhirandiara and took the deviated route to White Rann. This route is full of ads by Resorts and Handicraft stores. Its another 35km drive from Bhirandiara which reaches you to White Rann.
First you get the Tent City, the temporary tents for the Rann Utsav. Then, you get the stalls selling Kutch handicrafts and food stalls(The Rann Utsav). The stores have the traditional handicrafts from across Kutch and India.
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism
The Gateway to White Rann
After spending time here we drove to White Rann. You submit your permit at the final check post just before entering the salt flat. Vehicles are not allowed with in this, while you can take camel ride, to reach the end of the road(around half a km). While we were told, you can drive till the road end, during rest of the year(when Rann Utsav is not on). The crystal clear salt flat spread through the horizon leaves you mesmerized. The white salt stretches till your sight reaches.
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism
The World's largest Salt Desert
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism
The crystal shine salt
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism

As part of Festival, they have adventure sports, and folk performance at the White Rann too. Also are camel rides and pony rides.
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism
Performance at the white desert
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism
  
Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism
After sun set, we drove back to Utsav stalls, had snacks, shopped Kutch souvenirs  and drove back to Bhuj by 9PM. Though the road is very lonely, its quite safe and as it was Utsav time, there was enough traffic.
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17 comments:

  1. Such a beauty! It was my first trip of 2014.

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    1. True Mridula, Rann is such a wonderful place. Wow, good to hear it was your first trip of 2014 :)

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  2. Amazing! I'm planning soon to visit there. Wil bisit this again for pointers. By the way, on top off your mind, can you suggest if our own tent can be pitched there? I like to carry my own tent and pitch where the night falls, I would like to pitch it here, but would it be viable and safe, according to your experience?

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    1. Jatin, I am not sure, if you are allowed to pitch your tent there. Also being Utsav time, there are tents available by Gujarat Tourism, so I doubt they would allow. You can check with Tourism dept here http://rannutsav.net/ But, Kutch is perfectly safe at any time of the day, whether to stay at tent city or travel back to Bhuj late night. There is also a check post just before entering White Rann.

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  3. Would love to visit this place.

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    1. Rajesh, its one of a must visit places of India, do plan sometime.

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  4. Beautiful pictures! Very well captured

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  5. Awesome photos, Thanks for your post.
    Happy New Year 2015

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    1. Thank you Rupam sarma.
      Wish you Happy New Year!!

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  6. Excellent pictures and nice narration!

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  7. This images are nostalgic remembering the trip we did this year during January 2015. Here is the video documentary

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXmzY8Bs8I4

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