INDIA. Gujarat: Imagine standing over the vastness of the white salt witnessing a splendid sunrise or sunset. Sounds splendid, right? That’s the beauty of the great white desert of India, ‘Rann of Kutch’.
The Rann of Kutch is a large area of salt marshes that span the border between India and Pakistan. Rann of Kutch is also the world’s largest salt desert. It is the second largest district in India.
The gigantic white desert hosts the ‘Rann Utsav’ festival every year during winter. This festival was conceptualized by Prime minister Narendra Modi who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time. People from all over the world come here to enjoy this festival. This year, Rann Utsav commenced on November 1 and is expected to end on February 20.
The alluring Rann of Kutch
The divine beauty of the 50,000 sq km white desert can be seen at night when it reflects the moonlight. The moon’s radiance adds an uncanny sensation to the landscape.
The Arabian Sea floods Rann with seawater during monsoon months, and when the water retreats around October, salt farmers dig wells and pump salty groundwater into square fields where white salt crystals are naturally evaporated out.
The area was once a sprawling shallow of the Arabian Sea until a constant geological shift closed off the connection with the sea. Over the years, the region eventually became a seasonal marshy salt desert. During monsoons, the marsh fills up with water and the wetland extends from the Gulf of Kutch on the west through to the Gulf of Cambay on the east. In the summers, the water dries to create a crunchy based bed of white salty land.
The unique biodiversity of flora and fauna makes the White Rann a perfect getaway. It is one of the best spots for stargazing. The catchline ‘Kutch nahin dekha, to kuchh nahin dekha’, perfectly describes the captivating beauty of the desert.
During the Rann Utsav, cultural programs are organized to celebrate the festival. Here nature, art and culture, local traditions, and more come together to ensure that people can soak in the myriad shades of the white desert.
During the sunset, the scenic view of the white desert along with vibrant sky filled with orange, pink, purple, and red colours is a delight to watch.
Tent City: Urban city on a barren land
Staying in Tent City is another wonderful experience. It is not less than some premier resort at Dhordo, just a few kilometers from the White Rann. The Tent City is spread over an area of 5 lakh sq mt and has over 400 tents of different range with all the facilities. Both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned, it offers guests several affordable packages. Guests also attend folk dance and music programs, watch artisans at work, and buy unique handicrafts directly from them.
The Tent City also arranges transport and guided sightseeing to the Rann. Adventure sports and other activities at the Tent City are also up for grabs.
How to reach
To visit this amazing place, one has to first reach Ahmedabad. From Ahmedabad, Bhuj is the closest air and rail node to Rann of Kutch. Bhuj is approximately 335 kilometers away from Ahmedabad and the distance between Bhuj and Rann of Kutch is around 85 kilometers.
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