You Can Trek Up To An Inactive Volcano, Visit a Temple and a Monastery At These Hills In Kutch 


The Dhinodhar hills of Kutch, Gujarat, happen to be among India's top 20 trekking spots. But what is it about these quaint, quietly abiding hills that draws so many people to it each year?

For starters, the trek is beautiful. Additionally, the hills are historically relevant especially because they're connected to the Dhoramnath Temple at top of the peak and the Than Monastery below.

All about the trek

The rolling green hills make for a scenic trek. It is quite an easy one too, with a well-laid out path marked with painted stones. The lava from the volcano has dried up to form some interesting geometric patterns. You'll find hexagonal pillars and rocks all the way up to the peak. At the beginning of the trek you encounter the Than Monastery.

If you are lucky, you can even get to spot some wild animals on your way up. It is said that there are plenty of leopards hiding in these hills. It is therefore important to be careful and keep an eye out if you're going all by yourself. You can even spot some sheep, dogs and many birds on the way up.

Once you reach the peak, you get some great views of the Rann. There's a temple nearby dedicated to Baba Dhoramnath – a saint who meditated here. To this day, the temple is inhabited saints and sadhus.

The legend behind Dhinodhar hills

It is believed that Baba Dhoramnath meditated on top of the hill for 12 years and got enlightenment, following which he built the Than monastery. Legend says that the volcano that erupted from the hill was a result of the heat caused by the saint's meditation, who was atoning for his sins. The monastery was built in the 12th century and has a fort shaped structure with some temples within it. It is still functional today with monks living and performing prayers here.

About the Dhinodhar Hills

The Dhinodhar hills are located in the Kutch district of Gujarat in this tiny village – Nani Aral. It is about 75 km from Bhuj along the Nakhtrana-Virani route. Once you get to these hills, there are about 500 steps leading up to the top and it can take you anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you trek.

Things to do around

The popular Kutch fossil park is situated close to the hill. It is filled with stones, fossils and other collectables dating back to thousands of years. It is definitely worth paying a visit to if you're into geography and geology. You can also picnic on the banks of the Bhuki river that flows next to the hills.

Cuisine on offer

While there's hardly any restaurant near the hill itself, you can sample delicious Gujarati food at one of the many dhabas and restaurants that lie enroute from Bhuj to Dhinodhar. Some items you can try include theplas, saag, and snacks such as kachori and dabeli. Don't forget to give the iconic Gujarati thali a try.

When to go

The summers can be quite harsh in Gujarat and the monsoons quite wet, which is why November to March is the best time to visit Dhinodhar hills.

How to get here

By air: The closest airport to get regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai is Ahmedabad. From there you can take a direct taxi to Nani Aral or make a stop at Bhuj from where you can get another taxi or Bus to the village where Dhinodhar Hills are located.

By rail: The closest railway station is at Bhuj, which is about 63 km from Nani Aral. He closest villages to Dhinodhar hills is the Nani Aral village to which you can reach by local buses or taxis from Bhuj or Nakhatrana. Once you reach this village, the hills lie at the outskirts for which you can use your vehicle or the local buses. You can even hire a taxi.

Where to stay

There are some good places to stay in Nakhatrana, about 16km from Nani Aral. The Infinity Resort is a great place to stay and experience some traditional culture and food. If you're looking for budget options, places like Fun and food are great too. For more places to stay in Nakhtrana, search here.

Have you trekked up the Dhinodhar hills? Have you been to the Than monastery? You can share your experiences here. Also, why should English readers have all the fun? Tripoto is now available in Hindi.