Travel guide to Rann Utsav: Kutch

If you are planning a visit to India anytime in the months of November – February, one of the brightest idea to experience a culturally rich event would be to attend the Rann Utsav. While the event itself takes place in a huge tent city at the White Rann or better known as Little Rann of Kutch, there is plenty to see and do in the Kutch region that will keep you busy!

We visited the Rann Utsav last year with our lovely friends at Stargazing Mumbai and spent 4 days exploring the riches of the Kutch.

rann of kutch white desert

You cannot be all sane at this insane place!

To give you a little context to the images you see next, here’s a few things you may need to know:

  1. The Great Rann of Kutch is one of the biggest salt flats in the world, spanning over 30000 square kilometres between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of Indus river in Pakistan.
rann of kutchh moonchasers

There is no other place like a salt flat! Clearly!

  1. It comprises of three distinct parts, the Great Rann, the Little Rann and the Banni grasslands
  2. Nearest city with an airport is Bhuj, 80 Kms from the tent city
  3. The Rann Utsav is closest to the village Dhordo, however stay options can be explored depending on what you want to see more and conveyance available
  4. Kalo Dungar (Black Hills) and Dholavira (ancient village excavated from the Harappan civilisation) are easily accessible from Bhuj/Dhordo
kalo dungar india bridge view

We simply couldn’t get over the fact that we were looking at Pakistan, somewhere beyond the misty Rann

6. Kutchhi food is a must try, however you can expect to find non-vegetarian food in Bhuj.

kathiyavar thaali kutchhi food

Kathiyavar Thali at Anjar town

7. Visit the Agariya at work at a salt farm, stay in a Bhunga (earthquake resistant circular huts) and wear the Kutchhi traditional dress for an epic photoshoot.

8. Local communities are rich in handicraft and artworks. More on this later in the post!

Check out our video from Rann Utsav here for a better visual of what to expect!

How To Reach?

Rann of Kutch is accessible by road from Mumbai or Ahmedabad. Super smooth roads and red dust makes it a visually enjoyable and comfortable drive. After reaching Bhuj by air, you can book a taxi to reach Kutch. Alternatively you can self-drive from Mumbai or hire a chaffeur driven car from Avis India at great prices!

Where to stay?

We found the Tent City to be opposed to our choice of stay for the high prices. However you get access to the white desert in the early or late hours if you are staying here. There are activities like paramotoring and night jeep drives along the salt flats if you stay at the venue. However, we chose to stay at a friend’s farmhouse which also doubles up as a homestay for peaceful travellers. Located close to Bhuj in the town of Anjar, Ganesh Baug is a quaint Kutchi residence with the right amount of stillness in its bounty of orchards. The host is a warm, elderly gentleman who is not only a great human being, but also is the most knowledgeable person to ask about the region and culture. The home can accommodate families/big groups in its spacious rooms. Rates are reasonable at Rs.1500 per person per day. You can book it on AirBnb by clicking on the property name.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0031.JPG

Aerial view of Ganesh Baugh

Orchard

Fruit -full orchard

What to see around?

Bhuj – You have to dedicate two full days to explore everything worth seeing around Bhuj. Plan accordingly if you are interested in history, art and handicraft! To start with, the ancient Prag Mahal and Aaina Mahal (lined with European style mirrors) at Bhuj are standing even after the major earthquake that hit this town in 2002. Spend 2 hours to explore the fort area. You can then head to Sujan – a handicraft centre (be ready to shop!) . We did a short detour to Ajrakhpur – the original home of Azrakh silks! The development of this remote region is largely dependent on NGOs forming communities and infrastruture for the local artisans. From textile to metal work, leather goods making to salt farming, there are incredible gems all scattered around Kutch.

Ganesh Baugh helps you plan your itinerary and recommends the places below as top 10 visits around Kutch:

– Visit the Mandvi beach and the old shipping yard of Kutch.

– Heritage walks through the palaces in Bhuj.

– Visiting the Banni Grasslands.

– Walk through Nirona Village, a village famous for Rogan art.

– Narayan Sarovar

– Hill Garden

– Bauter Jinalai Temple

– Jesal-Toral Samadhi, a sacred tomb where the mortal remains of Jesal and Sati Toral were buried.

– Kala Dungar (For an epic sunset and drive to India Bridge)

– Handloom sites: Shrujan, Khamir, Kala Raksha Museum, Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur.

ganesh baugh orhard

Use the orchard at Ganesh Baugh to click sunrises or star trails like Wandering Stargazer did!

kalo dungar sunset moonchasers

The magical sunset colours are best enjoyed from the view point at Kala Dungar

So what are you waiting for? Plan a trip to the Great Rann of Kutchh and experience sights you have never seen before!

A bonus tip for a completely offbeat item on the list. Read on!

lyari rock formation flickr

Lyari River Rock Formation. Image Source: Flickr

Is that a lion about to pounce ? Deep inside the Kutch region of Gujarat, India, you’ll find a dried river bed in winter months. The river is called Layari and it dries up completely in winter months only leaving white salt sediments, making a large area of amazing rock formations accessible to humans. Hardly anybody goes there. The local villagers are blissfully unaware of this amazing attraction. Millennia of water, wind and sand had sculpted spectacular shapes here. A landscape of mineral rich rocks sculpted by the monsoon fed Lyari River, Kutch. The river originates in the Banni Grasslands – a vast oasis for wildlife on the southern edge of the salt-flats of the Great Rann of Kutch. If you are there just after sunrise then it’s a surreal experience. The colours look so soft that you feel your fingers will go through the rocks. It’s indeed hard to believe that People from India go to antelope canyon but never visit this place.

Disclaimer: The Moonchasers were hosted by Ganesh Baug however we only write what we experience.

If you want to know more about the places we recommend, you can:

Read our reviews on Tripadvisor

Follow us on Instagram

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel for cinematic travel vlogs

Join our Facebook community

6 ways to have a Green Diwali this year

Diwali is the festival that the whole of India celebrates together. Celebrated across many Asian countries with much fervour, diwali is a celebration of love and light. A promise of success and prosperity, diwali has also essentially been celebrated with bursting wonderful looking firecrackers. We remember this from our simpler childhood in the small town of Durgapur,  when the rising AQI wasn’t in our peripheral understanding of the world.

Today, only about 10-15 years from those fiery, happy evenings, we are worried, concerned about leaving a planet with insufficient breathable air to our next generations. Let us admit it that we all caused it. In small ways, however, if each of us can start making changes with their personal choices, the world would definitely try to breathe again. So this Diwali, like the last few, we will celebrate only with candles and lights instead of burnt paper and gunpowder producing poisonous gases and adding them into our ecosystem. As it is, the others are not going to stop, are they?

We bring a few recommendations of saying no to one time use products and instead choose a #GreenDiwali for yourself and your family this year. Hoping to be the first of many years to come.

Go cracker free – This is the most basic item on our list and should be on yours too. We know it feeds the mouths of little children in remote villages, but it also worsens the air they will grow up in. Make a choice, Say no to crackers. If not just for the air, for the poor pets who are currently preparing to get under the couch or crawl up on the bed to feel safe. Choose #poonchoverpataka this year instead!

Say NO to chemical products and offer healthy gifts to friends and family. Choose cruelty free products from The Eco Trunk – India’s first vegan, cruelty-free portal for lifestyle products that is kind to animals and humans alike. You can purchase a variety of products from apparel to home decor on their website.

organic-queen-bed-sheet-set-theo-dune-brown

Price Range: Rs. 190 – Rs. 7,500

Gift Plants!

Make your home’s air pure with some plants. You can get them potted or choose to buy your own style of pots that goes with your home decor. Spoilt for choices, get a pack of air purifying plants from online websites or from your nearest nursery. We are nurturing our plants and they add much needed greenery and positive energy to our home.

nurserylive-set-of-3-shining-peperomia-plants3_600x600

Price Range: Rs 600 – 1500

Availability: Nursery Live or Ugaoo

Personal Care with love

Box-Open-1-min

If you are looking for a personalised gift boxes that resonates with someone who loves using Ayurvedic items, check out Amrutam Official’s self love gift collection. Amrutam Self Love Gift Box contains Ayurvedic recipes for your skin and hair care, made with a blend of more than a hundred herbs. Each of them carefully chosen for your health and beauty. A personal recommendation, once you use their products, you will not want to go back to your shelf products.

Availability: Amrutam Official

Price Range: Rs. 500 – 3800

Consumable Gift Hampers

Diwali with Marriott

With the festive fervour setting in, Marriott has curated a selection of indulgent festive delicacies to celebrate the season with its unique offerings under “Diwali with Marriott”Handcrafted to perfection by Marriott’s own chefs, this bespoke limited-edition artisanal hamper will raise the temptation quotient for the perfect celebrations.

From pralines, bonbons, cookies, florentines, tarts to traditional favourites like the Nankhatai and Laddoos, this uniquely crafted delicacy box features an array of interesting and creative fusion of modern and traditional treats. The hamper is available for a limited period at select properties in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Bengaluru & Pune for INR 5,000++.

Availability: Call on +91 90046 16506 or log onto www.diwaliwithmarriott.com

Celebrate with candles and lamps instead of wasting electricity. Use battery powered LED lights and cruelty free rangoli colours to add festive touches to your home!

And something special for Delhi since they will be engulfed in dangerous smog post the celebrations:

41290-medium-dettol-original-imaeymgnhqfzgxrt

DETTOL SiTi SHIELD  PROTECT SMART MASK  AND MICRO FAN

Have a very happy, safe, prosperous and green Diwali! 🙂

Love,

The Moonchasers

If you liked reading this post, please help us by sharing it on your social media.

Alternatively, you can follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our Youtube channel.