The state of Gujarat is popular for multiple reasons and that makes it a state that people love visiting too. The topography to the culture as well as the things you can experience there makes it a perfect spot to explore. The Rann of Kutch is one such popular location in Gujarat that holds a lot of importance for the tourists as well as the locals. It can undoubtedly be a treat to the eyes and the soul if you are exploring the Rann of Kutch Gujarat. What makes the Rann of Kutch even more special is the Rann of Kutch festival. This location is one of the picturesque locations that also comes with a lot of geographical and cultural importance as well.
So if you are ever visiting Gujarat then the Rann of Kutch should be definitely there in your itinerary. In this article I will mention everything that you need to know before visiting the Great Rann of Kutch. This is surely going to be a helpful read for you if you are planning a trip to this beautiful location.
Rann of Kutch
Where is Rann of Kutch?
The Rann of Kutch is located in the district of Kutch in the state of Gujarat.
Overview of Rann of Kutch
The region of Rann of Kutch is basically a massive area of salt marshland in the state of Gujarat. The word Rann means Desert and Kutch is the district that the region is located in. Located in the Thar Desert this massive area is an area of salt marshes. It covers an area of 10, 000 sq km that remains underwater during the monsoon season. This is a massive expanse of cracked earth, an inland sea that looks splendid. You can look towards the area for miles and there will be nothing, with small oases of water bodies along with shrub forests. The whole area is divided into two parts the Great Rann of Kutch and Little Rann of Kutch. These are areas with massive salt deposits in the deserts. Also these deposits are popular for producing mirages that look like optical illusions which look very real.
Along with all the natural beauty of this spot this location is also popular for breathtaking sunsets which are one of the major attractions here. People specifically love how the orangish hue engulfs the whole region making it look spectacular. And for the natural beauty that it offers this is a popular spot for many film directors as well as writers. You will find the mention of Rann of Kutch in many books. However the most popular one is the Booker Prize Winning Novel of writer Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children. In a lot of films like Goliyoon ki Raasleela Ram Leela, Refugee and Magadheera, the Rann of Kutch is featured. It is also popular as this is one of the largest salt deserts in the whole world.
Brief History of Rann of Kutch
The area of Rann of Kutch has Arabian Sea on one side and desert on the other side. It is a huge flooded grassland zone that lies in India and some part of it lies in Sindh Province of Pakistan. In India it occupies a total area of 7500 sq km. Located in between the Gulf of Kutch and Indus River in Pakistan it is one of the largest salt deserts in the whole world. At one point of time this area was a sprawling shallow area but due to the constant geographical shifts the connection with the sea closed off. Therefore this area became a seasonal marshy salt desert over the years. During the monsoon season it is totally filled with water, however in the summer season the water dries up. It is then that the area transforms into a sandy bed of white salty sand.
This region houses pink flamingos and wild asses. 200 km east of Rann of Kutch there is the Little Rann of Kutch. It is an area where you will find the Wild Ass Sanctuary that spreads across an area of 4953 sq km. Other than the Indian Wild Ass or Khur you will also find Blackbucks, Blue Bulls and Chinkara here.
How to reach Rann of Kutch
If you are travelling by air then the nearest airport to reach here is the Rudra Mata Airport in Bhuj. From there you can take a bus or hire a car to reach the location. Another nearest airport is the Kandla Airport in Kutch which is around 100 km away from the location.
If you wish to travel by train the nearest railway station is Bhachau railway station located 80 km away in the town of Bachau. The Bhuj Railway station is another railway station that is nearby at a distance of 85 km.
You can also travel by road to reach the Rann of Kutch. There are regular buses plying on this route from Ahmedabad. You can reach Bhuj first and Ahmedabad to Bhuj distance is about 335 km and takes around 7 hours to reach there. Bhuj to Rann of Kutch distance is another 85 km and you will get regular buses from Bhuj as well to reach the location.
Permits for visiting Rann of Kutch
Due to the close proximity of the area with the border or Pakistan the Rann of Kutch is considered as a sensitive area. You will however need a permit to visit this area and you can get it from the Bhirandiyara Village Check Post on your way which is about 55 km away from Bhuj. It would cost you Rs. 100 for adults and for children of age 6 to 12 years the cost is Rs. 50. To get the permit you will have to submit a photocopy of your valid Photo ID Proof. And along with that you will also have to produce the original document as well. The office is open from 11 m in the morning. However during the off season the office remains closed.
Best time to visit Rann of Kutch
From October the Rann of Kutch begins to get dry and steadily transforms into a desert from a marshy land. From then till the month of March is the ideal tourist season. This is the peak time when a huge chunk of visitors visit here. Also the Rann of Kutch Festival takes place from November to February that also records a huge footfall. But if you are interested in having the desert to yourself then you can visit here in March. However remember that by the end of March most of the accommodation options closes and only reopens again after October.
For a day trip you can opt for visiting here during the months of April or May but these are the hottest months so it can be a little uncomfortable. Furthermore you will also not find many basic facilities in the off season like food, accommodation, water so that can be a hassle. Do not visit here during the monsoon season as everything remains under water during that time. So plan your visit accordingly.
Rann of Kutch Festival
Entry fee: For adults the entry fee is Rs. 100, for children of 5 years to 12 years the fee is Rs. 50 and for children below 5 years of age the entry is free. There is an additional charge for vehicles here. For the four wheelers the fee is Rs. 50 and for two wheelers it is Rs. 25.
The Rann of Kutch Utsav is one of a kind of vibrant festival that celebrates the colourful culture of Gujarat and Kutch region. It is a three month long festival that happens from November to February. The current date of Rann of Kutch festival is from 1st November 2023 to 25th February 2024.
This is a unique festival that appreciates and promotes the skill of native artisans in Gujarat. You will find captivating handwork here like embroidery work, mirror work, bandhani prints and much more. The festival spreads over an area of 5, 00, 000 sq meter and has beautiful tent accommodations. In the tent city the Rann Utsav is like a cultural extravaganza with a lot of preparations. Before the festival it takes more than 2 months just to set up the ground for the festival. With a vibrant parade, colourful exhibitions and stalls, folk dance and songs, performances on foot tapping music it is a ground where you will be able to witness the creativity of the natives.
One of the most attractive things to witness here is the Full moon Rann of Kutch. Full moon holds a special place in this festival particularly. On a full moon night during the Rann Festival the century old traditions and culture of Gujarat is something that the people celebrate. Star Gazing, Camel rides are other activities to enjoy on a full moon night as well. Other activities popular here are ATV Rides, Rifle Shooting, Spa Treatments, Paramotoring, Cultural Shows etc.
Where to stay in Rann of Kutch
In the recent few years the Rann of Kutch has become a much commercialized area and that in turn has resulted in the formation of many hotels and resorts as well. Some of the popular ones that you can check out are
Shaam-E-Sarhad Village Resort, Kutch
Address: Hodka Village, Banni, Kutch, Gujarat
Email: [email protected]
They have Premium Bhungas which are mud huts, Eco Friendly Mud Tents, Standard Bhunga and Quadruple Family Cottages here. The cost ranges from Rs. 3400 for mud tents to Rs. 4800 for bhungas.
Toran Rann Resort
Address: Dhordo Village, Banni, Gorewali Post, Bhuj, Gujarat
Email: [email protected]
Rann Resort Dholavira
Address: Khavda Road, Dholavira, Gujarat
AC Bhunga and Non AC Bhunga Rs. 7280
Rajwadi Suite Rs. 10, 000
White Rann Resort
Address: Dhordo, Kutch, Gujarat
Email: [email protected]
Visiting a location like Rann of Kutch Gujarat can be a well enriching experience for sure. Geographically, culturally as well as historically these regions hold a lot to itself. And if you are visiting here you would surely not return empty handed. The experiences that you would gather from the picturesque visuals would stay with you for a lifetime. However, try to visit during the time of Rann Utsav and you will be able to enjoy a beautiful side of the state. And if you are only interested in the desert then you can visit during the off season too, so you can plan accordingly. Let me know when you are visiting this beautiful location. Also let me know if this article is helpful for you in planning a trip to the beautiful region of Rann of Kutch.