Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav

Photo of Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav by Prakhar Tewari

Visit Rann Utsav by visiting the one of the biggest district of India, Kutch. Situated on the western end of India, the Rann of Kutch can be divided into two parts, namely The Greater Rann of Kutch & The Little Rann of Kutch. The Greater Rann of Kutch plays as the host to the Rann Utsav. Started in the year 2007, Rann Utsav is a major attraction in India to the domestic as well as inbound tourist in India. After this region of the state of Gujarat was hit with an earthquake on 26th January, 2001 which caused a massive destruction to the society, Rann Utsav was started to promote tourism in this region.

In the year 2007, Rann Utsav was held for 3 days which was further extended in the succeeding years. In 2018, Rann Utsav was held for a total of 120 days. If one wants to visit the Rann Utsav, the nearest Railway Station/Airport is the Bhuj city. The Rann Utsav is mainly held near the Dhordo Village which is 85 kms approx. from the Bhuj city. There are a number of options available there including the private guest houses as well as Government Ventures (Gujarat Tourism) on Public Private Partnership module offering great hospitality to the visitor. The most trusted & visited accommodations are the one on the PPP model. Gujarat Tourism has set up two accommodation units on Public Private Partnership Model with Lallooji & Sons and the other one with Praveg. The name of the Lallooji & Sons unit is The Tent City whereas the name of Praveg's unit is The White Rann Resort.

In my point of view, if one is looking for Five star hotel like facilities, he/she may visit any of these two accommodation units which are situated near Dhordo Village. The Tent City is a resort like arrangement which consists of more than 350 tents each one being of different category. The total area of Tent is approximately 3 kms in diameter. There are three categories of tents available in the tent city:

1)A.C. Premium Swiss Cottage

2)A.C. Deluxe Swiss Cottage

3)Non A.C. Swiss Cottage

The prices of the above mentioned category vary according to the inclusions & exclusions (usually the area, electric kettle, air condition, flooring, tours, etc.) in these tents. However, there are two more categories of tents which are available for VIP/VVIP guests arrivals. These two categories are known as The Rajwadi Tents and The Darbari Tents. These tents are usually famous for the stay of VIP/VVIPs like our Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi who is also the founder of the Rann Utsav, the other guests of these tents are actors/actress like Vidya Balan who visited the Rann Utsav in the year 2017-2018 session, sportsman like Sachin Tendulkar who also visited the Rann Utsav in 2017-2018 session, and many other celebrities, business tycoons, democrats, chancellors of universities,etc. The prices of Darbari Tents are higher than those of Rajwadi Tents due to different inclusions like sitting area, dressing area, extra room,etc.. These tents offer one best in class services to the person who stays in these tents

All these tents are arranged in different clusters ranging from Cluster A to Cluster J & Toran Koteshwar also known as the P.M. Cluster, however due to high occupancy these clusters were extended till Cluster M in the year 2017-2018 session. These clusters constitutes of the above mentioned different categories of tents. Cluster F is also known as C.M. Cluster and has mainly Darbari/Rajwadi Tents/Premium Tents whereas the Toran Koteshwar or the P.M. Cluster which has a beautiful entranced gate is the host to Darbari as well as Rajwadi Tents. One of the most interesting fact about the Toran Koteshwar or P.M. Cluster is that it is Bullet Proof. The Cluster F or C.M. Cluster & the Toran Koteshwar or P.M. Cluster also has their own Dining Halls whereas the Tent City has two different Dining Halls for the guests of the other clusters.

The Tent City is also equipped with other facilities like the club house, art gallery, shopping haat, paint ball arena, skyzilla adventure tower, spa, cultural activity area, etc. Every night there are cultural performances held in the cultural activity area but these performances are same every day. Apart from this, The Tent city offers guided to the buyers of its packages which are of 1Nights/2Days, 2Nights/3Days & 3N/4Days respectively. The Sightseeing of these tours include the White Desert, Gandhi nu Gaam also known as Ludia, Kalo Dungar also known as The Black Hills, Shyamji Krishna Verma Memorial, Vijay Vilas Palace along with its Private Beach at Mandvi. Each of these sightseeing has their own significance as following:

Photo of Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav by Prakhar Tewari

The meaning of Rann is a silent place usually referring to the silence that is after death caused by war. The total area of Rann is 18,000 sq. kms. out of which 7,500 sq. kms. is the White Desert which is also known as Safed Rann (in hindi). The White Desert or Safed Rann is formed due to three reasons. The first one being the earthquake of 1819 which was the reason for climatic changes thereby creating the backwater in the certain area. However, it not a complete backwater; it is a partial backwater of sea. The water comes from 150 kms. away from the side of Koteshwar to area of Rann Utsav and creates a white patch on the brown land. The second contributor to formation of White Desert is the rainwater. The third and last part is the water which is formed due to direct sun-rays on the existing salt, this salt dilutes and leaves the water in this area and at last when this water is evaporated due to extreme heat when the temperature is of approximately 50 degrees Celsius, this area is left with just a layer of water which starts freezing from the month of October-November thereby forming the White Desert or Safed Rann. The formation starts from blue color of water followed by the light pink color which finally turns into white desert. The tent city takes its guest to a private area with the permission of BSF at the time of sunset whereas it takes its guests to the Zero Point at the time of sunrise. Zero Point is the area where there is a watch tower that gives a beautiful glimpse of White Desert at the time of sunrise. During the Full Moon time, the tent city takes its guests to their private point area one day before & after the night of super moon whereas the VIP/VVIP guests are taken to the zero point. However, during the ending days of Rann Utsav, all its guests are taken to the zero point. There is one helipad near the the White Desert and it is approx. 1.5 kms from the Tent City. The White Desert also has factories of Agrosel, Celorel, etc. These factories use to store the water that contribute to the formation of White Desert and they convert this salt into bromine which is further used as a fertilizer in agriculture. So, the conclusion is that the whiteness of the White Desert is due to the presence of salt which is formed by conversion of water from the above mentioned sources and this salt available on land is not suitable for eating as it requires a total of eight times purification before it is made suitable for eating purpose.

Photo of Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav by Prakhar Tewari
Photo of Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav by Prakhar Tewari

The Kalo Dungar or The Black Hills is approximately 55 kms. from the Tent City and on its way lies the Gandhi Nu Gaam or Ludiya village. If you are thinking that Gandhi Nu Gaam is the village of Mahatma Gandhi, then you are completely wrong because Gandhi Nu Gaam was established by Gandhi Ashram which is situated in Ahmedabad after the earthquake of 26th January, 2006. The NGO re-established this village after the earthquake and provided the villagers with the Bhunga's or the round circular huts made by mud. Due to the material used in its construction these huts are temperature controlled. The women of this village have decorated their huts with Mirror-Mud Work which can be seen by the visitors. Apart from the mirror mud work, this village also excels in handicrafts work. The male category uses to do the wooden carving & the ladies use to do the embroidery work whereas the little girls use to sell the beads work. One needs to take permission from the villagers before taking the photos because they may object if you take the photos of the females of the village. This village is also famous for Kheta Bai. She was elected as the most traditional lady from the western India in the survey conducted by India Post in the year 1997. She has her photo on a postal stamp of Rs. 6.

Photo of Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav by Prakhar Tewari

The Kalo Dungar or The Black Hills are famous for its sunset and the magnificent view from its top. Its top is also decorated with Lord Duttatreya Temple. It is said that when the earlier residents of this place use to go the Sindh region (currently in Pakistan) for trading, it would be the time of evening when they use return back home. As the Rann is of 18,000 sq. kms. one cannot make any mark in this region. So, when they use to see these Hills from a distant region, they appear to be black in color thereby acting as a landmark for these traders. By having a look at these hills, these traders came to know that they were near their village. So they use to call these Hills as the Kalo Dungar in Gujarati meaning The Black Hills. It is also said that Lord Dattatreya was on his way to Hingalaj Mata temple (now in Balochistan) and it was time for his evening prayer when the Jackals tried to attack him. But before the attack, Jackals produced same sound due to which his worship was breached and he was angry on the Jackals; but before Dattatreya would have cursed the Jackals, they apologized and told him that they were hungry from last 3-4 days so tried to attack and prey on him to which Dattatreya retorted by saying "Lo Ang Lo" and was about to cut his one hand to offer it to them, the Jackals refused to his offer. Then, Dattatreya offered them with some sweet rice which was eaten by them. It is seen that after every Aarti in the temple, the sweet rice kept on a platform and is eaten by the Jackals till now. The Kalo Dungar offer a beautiful sunset along with the magnificent view from its top to the visitors. One can have a look at The India Bridge, White Rann, The Great Rann of Kutch Lake, etc. from its top. On the way to The Kalo Dungar, there is also a Magnetic Field which pulls the vehicles & one may see it practically working.

Shyamji Krishna Verma Memorial also known as Kranti Teerth is a memorial of the Shyamji Krishna Verma who was the freedom fighter and played a vital role in the independence of India. He used to live in England where his house now known as India House was used as the hub for planning the revolutionary activities to be taken up in India. Many freedom fighter have stayed in India House. This memorial has a replica of India House and the Veeranjali Gallery where his ashes are being kept. His ashes were brought to India by Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, then the Cheif Minister of Gujarat; in the year 2003 from Geneva, Switzerland where Shyamji Krishna Verma signed a lease with their government of 100 years as he wanted his ashes to be taken to Free India. He left for heavenly abode in the year 1930.

The last sight that is covered by the Tent City is the Vijay Vilas Palace. It was made by Maharao Khengarji III. The total area of this palace is approximately 700 acres but the built up area of palace is very small. The palace is known for the shooting of movies like Lagaan, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Commando, etc. along with other magazine shoots. The palace also has its own private beach which is one and only private beach in India. The beach is very clean as compared to the public beach. For the tent city guests, their lunch is organized at this private beach after which they are free to enjoy & leisure at this beach.

After the end of the package, the Tent City guests have an option of complimentary sightseeing during the time of their checkout drop at Bhuj. This complimentary sightseeing includes The Swaminarayan Temple, The Kutch Museum & the Bhujodi Village (Hira Laxmi Craft Park) famous for its handicrafts. However, if the visitor wants, there are many more sightseeing available in the nearby area. Some of them are Haji Pir Dargah, Narayan Sarovar, Koteshwar Mahadev Temple, Ashapura Mata Temple, Lakhpat Fort, Nirona Village famous for Rogan Art, Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal, Dhaulavira famous for harappan civilization, etc.

So the conclusion is that, Rann Utsav is a nice place to visit and have many interesting places. One can visit the Tent City if they wish to spend a good enough amount as Rs. 10,000/- per person/per night otherwise there are many other options also available. However, based on my own experience Tent City is not a good place to do an internship as the employer do not provide the interns with even good services (rooms, water, medical assistance, working environment especially for girls (Harassment, Eve Teasing), food, etc.) but one may work there if they want to gain some experience.

Photo of Lavish Tent Stay, Spectacular White Desert and much more to explore; all at Rann Utsav by Prakhar Tewari