Road Tripping to Kutch.


'You are planning a bachelorette trip to Gujarat-a dry state!', that was the exact reaction my friends had when I set out on planning a trip to Kutch, but I was sure that I wouldn't allow anyone to change the location for the trip. I had my eyes set on this location for a long time, and I was sure no amount of alcohol can give you the high you get from the joy of being to places which have the power to leave you bewitched.

So, one of our friend is getting married in March, and we planned to do a girl's road trip to celebrate the occasion. The first thing we did while starting planning for it, was to cancel the obvious choice of Goa. We wanted it to be a little different from the normal trips, and I somehow convinced my friends to go to Kutch.

The five of us were arriving from different cities, so we had planned to meet in Ahmadabad, and spend a day over there as we wanted to hire a cab and continue on a road trip from there to Kutch. We had not really planned anything to do in Ahmadabad and chose to decide once we reach the place. After reaching there, and searching for places, Sabarmati Ashram seemed to be the safest option to visit, because of the rich history of the place, and also as it gave us the view of the Sabarmati Riverfront walkway, which is a beautiful area developed on both sides of the river, where people can spend their evenings. Next we went to the Law Garden market, which was an amazing destination to find the traditional Gujarati Lehenga choli, oxidized jewelry, and everything colorful. We headed to Manek Chowk area to grab some quick bites and make our stomach happy, and were surprised to see the love of Gujaratis for food. It was a long lane, where all you could find were food stalls, and it keeps bustling with activity even at 1 AM in the night.

Gandhiji's room in Sabarmati Ashram

Photo of Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

Sabarmati Riverfront Walkway

Photo of Sabarmati Riverfront Walkway West, Narayan Nagar Society, Kocharab, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

The next morning, we woke up and got ready to hit the road. The only stop on our way was Bhuj, the town which was devastated during the earthquake in 2001. Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal, the historical structures we visited, suffered severe damage during the earthquake, and a lot of restoration work has been done to make them stand again. The palaces oozed out the grandeur of the bygone era, with large halls, intricate furniture, chandeliers and the Italian gothic architecture. The clock tower in the palace provided complete view of the town of Bhuj.

Prag Mahal, Bhuj

Photo of Pragmahal Palace, Old Dhatia Falia, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

Prag Mahal, Bhuj

Photo of Pragmahal Palace, Old Dhatia Falia, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

View of Bhuj from Clock Tower, Prag Mahal

Photo of Pragmahal Palace, Old Dhatia Falia, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

Prag Mahal, Bhuj

Photo of Pragmahal Palace, Old Dhatia Falia, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

We left Bhuj, and reached Hodka village in Kutch, at around five in the evening, where we were supposed to stay in a homestay . With the cold winds which had started to blow during the evening, we were welcomed with tea and a fireplace in the courtyard of the house. It was a very pretty home, with colorful walls all around. We decided to stay indoor that evening, as the people of the homestay had planned a little cultural evening with folk music for the guests. The fire and the folk songs were a perfect combination to relax after a long day on the road. The dinner was comprised of traditional Gujarati cuisine, and we devoured every bit of it.

Ranbhoomi Resort, Hodka

Photo of Hodka, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

The next morning we left for Kalo Dungar the highest point in Kutch, which gives a panoramic view of the white desert on all sides. It would be really hard to explain the beauty of the view, the blue sky fading into the white desert, was immensely pleasing to the eyes. After spending about an hour at the hill, we left for India bridge, which needs to be crossed before we reach the outpost, from where the area guarded by the Border Security Force starts. The India Pakistan border is at a distance of 80 km from the place, and you need special permit if you want to go and visit the border area. People are not even allowed to click pictures of the bridge due to security reasons. The bridge has vast expanses of salt pans on both the sides.

Kalo Dungar, Kutch

Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

View of salt pans near India Bridge

Photo of Dhordo, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

We returned back to the homestay for lunch, and were treated to a sumptuous Gujarati meal. We then left for White Rann Desert which is present in Dhordo village and is also the location for the Rann Utsav site which is held every year during the months of December-March to promote tourism in Kutch. The area of the desert remains submerged in water during the monsoons, and turns into a huge area of packed white sand, once it dries up during the winter months. The White Rann Desert is one of the largest salt desert in the world, and the views of the white sand all around are enough to cast a spell on you. Your eyes can follow all the distance you want, but all you will find is white sand. The sun was about to set, and we were in for a treat, as it was the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. People actually clapped and cheered once the sun had gone below the horizon for its wonderful performance. The view of the orange ball disappearing into the white sand and leaving the whole sky with pink undertones, was therapeutic to the soul. Once the darkness had covered the desert, it was brought to life by the activities of the Rann Utsav, there were folk song and dance performances by different groups, a whole flea market kind of setup was also present, which was bustling with people. Once we were tired due to the long day, we left back for Hodka, where we had decided to go to sleep early, as we had to leave by five in the morning the next day.

White Rann Desert

Photo of Rann of Kutch, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

Sunset at White Rann Desert

Photo of Rann of Kutch, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

The next morning we got up on time, contrary to our belief, and left for Mandvi which is a small beach town in Gujarat. We also stopped at the the point, from where the line of Tropic of Cancer passes, as we really wanted a picture at that stop, and we were lucky we could spot that board in the darkness. We reached Mandvi at around seven in the morning, and were greeted by a beautiful view at the beach. The sun had just risen, and still had the soft glow, which painted the sky in a beautiful color. The sea was the most soothing shade of blue I have ever seen. The beach was relatively empty, with only a few people who had come for their morning walks. After we were done with soaking in the beauty of the place, we decided to hit the road again, as we had to catch our returning flight and trains back to the respective places from where we had come.


Photo of Mandvi, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

Mandvi Beach

Photo of Mandvi, Gujarat, India by Nikita Sah

We left Ahmadabad in the evening with the memories of an amazing trip in our hearts, and wherever I may go, I will remember that I lost a part of my heart in the place called Kutch. I might visit the place again someday to get it back, but even if I don't, it isn't a loss as it would bring back the remembrance of the place from time to time, and that isn't a bad thing either.