The Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, USA has been famous among bikers and motorists for speed walks, thanks to the sweeping expanse. As a matter of fact, the salty plains formed by the drying up of lake around 14,500 years ago covers an area of nearly 100 square kilometres and is one of the most renowned racetracks in the entire world. And the emptiness on this salty stretch is loud. One can stand in the middle of the white desert and can look as far as possible and see nothing except the white sands smoothly merging with the clear skies in the horizon. The void predominant in the desert is splendid and can detach us for some time from the stresses of the daily routines. Luckily, we Indians don’t need to travel all the way to America to immerse our souls in such mystic void. We can experience the same right within our country, at Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch.
Rann of Kutch, India
The Great Rann of Kutch is a salt mire nestled in the Thar Desert in Gujarat’s Kutch District. Also, it is one of the biggest salt deserts in the world. It is larger than the Bonneville Salt Flats and is spread across an area of nearly 7,500 square kilometres. Parts of the salt plain are blanketed with mangroves, marshes and wilderness. A breathtaking silence prevails in the deserted expanse of Kutch. Every monsoon, floods take over the region. When the rains stop, the dry spell resumes again. On first sight, the land looks like snow. Step on it and you will feel it crunch under your feet.
Here are 5 compelling reasons why the Rann of Kutch can easily make you forget about the Salt Flats of Utah:
1. The Magical View Of The Full Moon Over The Mirage
The white desert on a moonlit night is yet another dream come true. The silver moonlight touching the cold and white sands creates a view that can easily wash off the stresses of the eyes. The best way to experience the White Rann is to stare into the moon, sit by yourself and take it all in. For just a few minutes of soaking in the pearl moon bobbing overhead a spotless white scape extending before us, we can travel across the world.
For a moment you might feel that you’re sinking on the clouds and watching the moon. If you visit the place with your partner, this can turn out to be one of the most romantic moments. Remember those lines of the song by Travis? “Under the moonlight with the one you love, Under the big sky for the one you love!”
2. The Vibrant Art And Culture
Where else other than India would you find decked up camels walking on the white sands led by locals wearing traditional attires? The local huts too, which quaint motifs on the walls, speak of the rich rustic culture of India. You might also hoard some handicrafts as curios and this, in turn, will help the local economy.
3. Relishing The Desi Cuisine
Going to Kutch and not trying its authentic street delicacies will make your trip incomplete. Droolworthy desi food options at Kutch include Kutchi dabeli, thepla, locho and bhungra. You might also try out the elaborate Kathiyawadi Thali which incorporates bajra roti, ghee roti, bataka nu shaag, sev tameta nu shag, khichdi kadhi, chaas and more.
4. A Camping Experience To Remember
Camp close to the desert for the genuine feeling of tranquillity in the midst of an enormous space. Most of these camps have all the modern facilities and there are swiss tents available in air-conditioned categories as well. The tents are comfortable with self-contained bathrooms. On that note, you can explore 10 best camping spots in India.
Taking a halt inside these tents, you can feast your eyes on the captivating nightfalls, when the white desert gradually transforms into an expanse of pink, orange and red.
5. The 3-Month Long Rann Utsav
It’s ideal to plan a trip to the Rann of Kutch during the gala Rann Utsav. During winters, the Gujarat government organizes this 3-month long festival. The Rann Utsav takes places at the Dhordo village, which is nearly 80 kilometres from Bhuj in Kutch. Rann Utsav not only allows tourists to experience full moon on the barren desert but also get a flavour of the local culture, cuisine and hospitality.
The celebration is marked by several folk performances, singing, and dancing, though, camping under starry sky is the major attraction.
A fair takes place during this time showcasing local handlooms, handcrafted decorative items and more. A camel cart is the best mode of transport at Rann Utsav.
Best Time To Visit
There are special times to enter the Rann of Kutch. Visitors are allowed entry to the salt flats only during sunrise and sunsets. One will also need to have permissions from the Border Security Force. Entry permits for Rann Utsav. can be easily availed online for a meagre fee. Alternatively, there is a checkpoint on the way by road at Bhirandiyara village, 55 kilometres from Bhuj where it can be obtained. However, it opens after 11 am only during peak season. Also, there is a special watchtower an one end of the white sands from where the panoramic view of the barren expanse can be enjoyed. Meanwhile, did you know that there’s a mini Gujarat in London too? Check out this video to explore more: