Kutch Rann Utsav: A Complete Travel Guide to The Mega Festival of Gujarat
A dessert land by nature, Kutch of Gujarat is very famous for its rich cultural heritage. There’s a famous saying about the Rann of Kutch that says, “Kutch Nahi Dekha, To Kuch Nahi Dekha” which means, “You have seen nothing, if you have not seen Kutch.” Being a significant historical place, Kutch of Gujarat is considered to be one of the top travel destinations in India
One thing that defines the popularity of Kutch and boosts the overall Gujarat Tourism is the annual ‘Rann Utsav’. Celebrated on the mystical land of Kutch, the Rann Utsav brightens parched barren salt marsh with vibrant colors, profusion of music, dance, and frill of traditions. To experience this colorful part of India, one of its rich cultures, and the unending celebration of traditions, you must attend this Maha Rann Utsav happening every year during winter.
What is Rann Utsav?
Every year when winter is on its peak, the Government of Gujarat hosts an annual 3 day festival called the Rann Utsav (festival of Rann). Tourists from different parts of the world visit Kutch during this time of the year to experience the taste of local culture, cuisine and hospitality. All the tourists attending this Mahotsav (Mega Festival) are accommodated in specially built local houses made out of tents to experience the life of people in Kutch. Tourists can also take part in many adventure clubs and travel clubs who organize various expeditions during Rann Utsav.
The event is popularly known as Rann Utsav as it is celebrated at The Great Rann of Kutch which is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert, Kutch district of Gujarat in India to the Sindh province of Pakistan. Spread on 7,505.22 square kilometers, this place is the largest salt desert in the whole world.
Rann Utsav: Where and When?
The major tourist attraction of Gujarat is the Maha Rann Utsav which is organized each year in Dhordo Village in Kutch. The whirlwind cultural extravaganza of Kutch Rann Utsav starts from the administrative city of Bhuj from where, tourists are taken to different locations within the Kutch District and concluded in a gala finale at main destination. The journey to the small sleepy town of Bhuj can be done through a direct flight connecting major cities, by train or through roads. Tourist can reach the small town of Bhuj by train, road and flights for major cities. You can reach to Ahmadabad, Gujarat from where you can easily get bus, taxis to reach Bhuj. You can easily book your holiday package from Gujarat Tourism sites or travel agents.
Schedule for Rann Utsav 2013: 15th December 2013- 15th February 2014
Arranged by the Gujarat Tourism Department, Rann Utsav starts from the full moon time of December on the banks of the majestic Hamisra Lake. People come here to experience the highly energetic and culturally rich region of Gujarat that displays an ethnic essence of this country in the best way.
Rann Utsav: Major Attractions in Kutch
Kutch is known for its harsh terrain and colorful people, but its also stores historical forts, holy shrine, national sanctuary and soothing beach line. Make sure you visit tourist attraction given below to get the real taste of Rann of Kutch.
- Aaina Mahal: Built in the 18th century under the rule of Lakhpatji, this palace was designed in a mixed Indo-European style by Master craftsman Ramsinh Malam. He personally crafted the fountains, mirrors and glass work at Aaina Mahal. Make sure to explore the compound outside the palace, to see beautiful carved doorways, elaborate window boxes and balconies.
- Indo-Pak Border: One of the most favorite attraction of Kutch is Indo-Pak Border. This destination is only open to Indian tourists but no mobile phone or camera are allowed here. People come here to stand just 2 ft away from Pakistan Border and watch Pakistani ranger and an international border pillar.
- Mandvi: This is the closest sea shore line from Bhuj where tourists can enjoy swim in crystal blue water and relax. If you want more seclude beach then the Vijay Vilas Beach is just right for you. Relax on this white sandy beach, lovely place to swim and air-conditioned tents are also available here if you are planning to prolong your stay.
- Dholavira: Visit the most remarkable excavation of the Harappan civilization at Dholavira. See how the water conservation system was established at this ancient city when the resources were scarce.
- Narayan Sarovar: Located at the western most tip of Gujarat, Narayan Sarovar is the most important Hindu pilgrim. You can also visit Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary which is home to 184 distinct bird species, wild life species and other endangered species.
Other Things to Do may include:
- Enjoy Desert Safaris in the Little Rann of Kutch.
- Sightseeing tour of major attractions of Bhuj such as Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Hamirsar Lake, Prag Mahal and Mata no Madh.
- Relish beautiful sunset among the Chhatardis at Bhuj.
- Explore the 72 Jain temple complex in Mandvi.
- Visit Shipping Yards at Mandvi Port.
- Other major attractions also include at near by Wankaner such as Ranjit Vilas Palace, Ram Krishna Math and the Jagat Mandir.
How to Book Your Tour to Rann Utsav in 2013-14?
Rann Utsav in Kutch is hosted by Government of Gujarat to promote tourism in the state. I would advice to book directly for the Rann Utsav 2013-14 from their official website here.
There are mainly 2 types of packages available to choose from:
- 2 Nights & 3 Days Package
- 3 Nights & 4 Days Special New Year Package
There are twin sharing options available for both packages. You can get the details on the full itinerary from here.
If you are planning to book for Rann Utsav in Kutch 2013-14, then do it now. Its quite popular and many tourists flock in to enjoy the rich heritage of the Rann of Kutch. If you wait long, you may have to try next year. 🙂
Hope you find this guide helpful. Let us know what tourist attraction we should cover next for you in the comments below.