16 December 2014

Kutch Diaries - Travel Plan

Am back from my short trip to Kutch and have lots and lots to share. The Rann of Kutch, its heritage, the Kutchi food, the handicraft, wildlife and more. So here is a series "Kutch Diaries" about Kutch, which I will be sharing in next few posts.
I can't even recall since when Rann of Kutch was in my 'to visit list'. I had been waiting for months now, for this trip. Mr. Bachchan's ad on TV and "Revealed - Rann of Kutch", the new series on Discovery Channel, everything just added to plan my trip soon. When I told my mom, I was planning my trip to Kutch, the first thing she asked me was, "Is Kutch the name of a Place?". She knew Kutch from decades as the thread work which she had done on her dresses, during her college days.
 
Mr. Bachchan's ad on Kutch, makes anybody fall in love with this place(I loved the Hindi version, watch the English version here)

Kutch district in Gujarat state is the largest district of India, with Bhuj at the center being the administrative headquarters of the district. Kutch literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry, a large part of this district is known as Rann of Kutch(the Greater Rann and the Little Rann) which is 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. Kutch is also known for the treasure of handicrafts the place offers, embroidery(Kutch work, patch work and more), block painting, bandhani(tie and die), mirror work, bead work, weaving, pottery, leather work, brass bells. Kutch is also a treasure of wildlife and migrant birds. Detailed posts on Kutch in following posts.

With long Christmas weekend, we planned our trip for 24th to 28th Dec, but I missed my train ticket booking just by few hours, and my booking went to waiting list. So all I had to do was, to connect my Kutch trip with Ahmedabad, if I had to travel by bus. We gave it a thought, a 2days trip to Kutch along with a day's halt at Ahmedabad. But, then we instead planned for just 2days trip exclusively for Kutch during the second weekend of December, as train tickets were available for all weekends except Christmas.
So we were ready with our train bookings, Bhuj/Kutch Express 11th Dec to 14th Dec. Me and daughter joined hubby at office and left for Bandra Terminus to catch our train. Our train itself gave us a glimpse of Kutch, with so many people from Kutch in the traditional Kutch attire.

Travel Plan:
Travel Tips:
  • Bhuj is around 335km from Ahemadabad. Its well connected with rest of India by road, rail and air.
    • GSRTC buses connect Bhuj to other places of Gujarat.
    • Bhuj is 16hours journey from Mumbai by train and 8hours from Ahemadabad.
    • Bhuj has airport, with regular flights connecting to major cities of India.
  • Best time to visit Kutch is December to March, during Rann Utsav which this year is 1st December to 5th March 2015 and ends on Holi festival with celebration.
  • Climate: The temperature was as low as 14 degree at night when we visited, which compared to Mumbai was very much chill. The temperature during summer reaches as high as 50 degree Celsius.

Itinerary:
Day 1: Kala Dungar, White Rann/The Greater Rann of Kutch
Day 2: Bhuj city tour, Mandvi city tour
You should definitely go for two separate day tours for Bhuj and Mandvi, but we didn't have time. Since we were there during Rann Utsav, we came across all the artisans working at the Rann Utsav stalls, else you would need one complete day for Bhuj city and the villages around Bhuj, to get a glimpse of the Kutchi artisan's work. Do check out About Travel web-page if you would like to visit the handicraft villages.
Kutch, Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav,
Rann of Kutch

Stay and Food: We had booked our stay at Lalchand Thavar Jain Mahajan Wadi(contact 02832-222369), a Jain guest house, but open for Hindu too. They also have Jain Bhojanalay, where they serve Gujarati Jain food. The guest house is just next to Bhuj Bus station and around 3km from Railway Station.
Tariff(Double Bedroom):
Non A/C: Rs. 500
A/C: Rs. 800
Delux A/C: Rs. 1000
Kutch, Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav,
The traditionally crafted Kutch Bhunga(mud huts) at Toran Resort near White Rann
  • There are many hotels around Bhuj Bus Station, and Swami Narayan Temple Trust is another place where you can stay at, at budget.
  • There are lot of other Resorts, in and around Bhuj city, which offer luxury stay options, Rann Village, Toran Resort are few of them. 
  • During Rann Utsav, Gujarat Tourism set up the Tent City, offering accommodation near White Rann. Most of these Resorts offer you pick-up and drop facility, to and from Bhuj station. 
  • You should definitely taste Kutchi food when you are in Kutch. Most of my meals were Gujarati, for the two days. There are many South Indian, Punjabi and Fast Food centers in Bhuj as well. Market road in Bhuj, is the place to taste street food, most of them are Dabeli though.
  • Gujarat is a dry state and alcohol is prohibited.
Kutch, Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav,
Yummy Gujarati Food
Tour: We had booked our taxi with Hari Om tours and Travels for both the days.
Tariff(this might vary during peak season):
Maruti Swift Dzire, for 4 people
A/C: Rs. 8/km, mini 300km per day(Rs. 2400)
Non A/C: Rs. 7/km, mini 300km per day(Rs. 2100)
  • Its better to hire taxi to visit Rann of Kutch. 
  • Bhuj city and near by villages can easily be explored by autorickshaw as well. 
  • The other option for Mandvi is, take GSRTC or any private bus service from Bhuj to Mandvi and hire an autorickshaw at Mandvi for the city tour.

Shopping:
  • If you are visiting Kutch during Rann Utsav, the best place to shop is at the stalls set up at White Rann. 
  • There are many Handicraft shops in Bhuj.
  • Craft Parks set up at the near-by villages, Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft Park at Bhujodi village(around 10km from Bhuj) is one of the option.
Kutch, Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav,
A stall at Rann Utsav
PS: Extended Tours in Kutch from Bhuj:
One Day tour to Dholavira, which contains the ruins of the ancient Indus Valley civilization/Harappan City. Dholavira is around 220km from Bhuj.
One Day tour to Little Rann of Kutch, which is world's last refuge to Indian wild Ass, and the area is declared as Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. This is around 230km from Bhuj well approached from Ahmedabad than Bhuj.

Updated on 20th Nov 2015
Rann Utsav 2015 - 2016 is from 18th Nov 2015 to 29th Feb 2016

Next post on Kutch Diaries Kutch Diaries - Rann of Kutch

24 comments:

  1. Highly Informative for Visitors to the Area!

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    1. Thank you Sir.
      There is limited information on net abt travelling to Rann of Kutch, hope this post helps travelers plan their visit..

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  2. Thanks for the information..:)

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    1. You are welcome Uttpal, thank u for dropping.,

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  3. wow. I will be go some day with my bike .

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    1. Wow, I would like to hear abt your trip..

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  4. Gujarat is in my wish list.....thanks for sharing with us.

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    Replies
    1. Grt, wish, u visit soon, n would love to hear abt your visit :)

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  5. Very useful information, thanks for sharing this!

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    Replies
    1. Welcome Chaitali, thank you for dropping by..

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  6. Nicely written. Loved the pics.

    Himanshu
    www.everythingcandid.com

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  7. Great post! We had gone for a 5 day ride through the entire Kutch region.. Here are some photos from the trip :-) http://www.coleswa.com/kutch-ing/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Swati, how I wish I could go for a longer tour. Might b I need to visit again soon..

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  8. Replies
    1. I like Gujarati food too, thank you for dropping by Sanjayji..

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  9. I have heard a lot about Kutch and I always wanted to visit this beautiful location. People don’t know much about the Kutch culture. The art and culture of the Kutch is an integral part of the Gujarati culture.

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    1. True, Kutch is so rich in art and culture. Rann Utsav, is a great platform to explore its art and culture..

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  10. Thanks Meghana for the post. Planning to visit the place this Dec. The pains you have taken to provide the details have made my planning job much easier. Thanks once again.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for Rajesh, do share your travel experience with us after your visit.

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  11. Great information... I will plan soon now a trip to Kutch...
    Thanks for sharing..

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  12. http://www.tripoto.com/trip/kutch-bhuj-chapter-56af7c29b5f86

    my journey to Kutch Bhuj of 4 days ...evry detailed i had captured

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  13. nicely written, impressive, very helpful, keep it up, much appreciated.
    Good Luck!

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  14. wow...very informative post....planning to go in this November....

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