Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Tripoto
13th Feb 2014

Pic Courtesy: Namita Sivasankaran

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Khantil Dixit

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Hues of blue, Pic Courtesy: Tanuj Sharma

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Military post at closest spot to Pakistan

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Apurbo

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Apurbo Chowdhury

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Namita Sivasankaran

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Minu Sagar

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Aina Mahal, Pic Courtesy: Jyothsna Yasarapu

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Prag Mahal, Pic Courtesy: Jyothsna Yasarapu

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Prag Mahal, Pic Courtesy: Jyothsna Yasarapu

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Aina Mahal

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Aina Mahal, Pic Courtesy: Jyothsna Yasarapu

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Prag Mahal, Pic Courtesy: Apurbo Chowdhury

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Aina Mahal

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Mandvi beach

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Sunset Mandvi, Pic Courtesy: Namita Sivasanka

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Namita Sivasankaran

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Bhujodi Village

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Pic Courtesy: Khantil Dixit

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Vijay Vilas Palace

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Vijay Vilas Palace, Pic Courtesy: Apurbo Chow

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

Bonus! Rosy pelicans.

Photo of Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Aditi Kumar

This was a quick two day trip to the Great Rann of Kutch. The advantage of travelling in a big group was less pressure on our wallets and very comfortably 12 of us hired a Traveller. Since we were going to spend a lot of time on road in order to see the most of Kutch, it was a wise decision to have spent maximum on a comfortable commute.

We started from Anand on 13th Feb late night and reached Bhuj next morning by 10 a.m. It was approximately a 400 kilometre drive. We gorged on the chatpata local dabeli for breakfast and headed out quickly after freshening up. We got ourselves a place at this small facility managed by a Temple trust. The dormitory rooms were reasonably decent to sleep and stay for a night.

Our first destination was the Military post at Khavda, about 70 Kms away from Bhuj. The barren land on either sides of the post had both, its own eerie and beauty.This is the nearest a civilian can get to the Pakistan border.

We went another 23- 25 kms from here to reach Kala Dongar/ Black hills. Kala Dongar is the highest point of Kutch and the view from it is simply breathtaking. The ocean and the sky merge at the endpoint of your vision and you can't tell one blue from the other. The region is made of limestone and sandstone which bestows it with all sorts of shades of whites and browns.
The magnificence of places like these makes us realise, what a small space we occupy in the world. 

From here we were headed to the White desert, the USP of Kutch. We just about made it in time for the setting sun. You should make sure of planning your arrival to the White desert by an hour when you can enjoy it in light and dark both.
The white desert is a unique topography to watch. One has to walk a long stretch to be able to get away from the commercial villages and haats that have been set up for tourists. On both sides of the road leading to the desert are vast infinite stretches of salt crustified on land. The sight at the end of this stretch is sure worth all the tiredness. There is nothing you would have seen like this. There is just one word. Unique. Once the road ends you can just enter the White desert and keep on walking. Eventually a few metres away you would lose sight of every soul around, roads and vehicles. You will feel vulnerable and at peace, both at the same time. If you have been here you would not leave without taking the feeling of what it's like to be on a no man's land - unfettered, free and unbound. We waited for the full moon to go up. The white layer just shines like crystals and it is infinite.. We headed back to Bhuj after a sumptuos meal at one of the haats.

Next day was more local culture and architecture oriented. We started our day at Bhuj with the Aina Mahal, parts of which are still standing after the 2000 Bhuj Earthquake. The cracks and crevices make it visually fascinating to watch. The Mahal has a museum which is well maintained. Prag Mahal is in the surrounding compound but due to time constraint we did not visit inside. The sunset at Mandvi beach won handsdown and so we headed for Mandvi.

We took a short cheat halt at Bhujodi village (10 kms away) which is famous for its embroidered crafts and made ourselves happy with souvenirs from here. Next was Vijay Vilas Palace which was architecturally not as beautiful like many other palaces in India but the 360 degree view of Mandvi from top makes up for the lack of maintenance. 

Mandvi beach the final destination on our list was worth all the rushing we did at other places. I personally have been to the sea at many places. The water has never been so welcoming and gentle anywhere. We spent two three hours in the water, at the beach and ended our day with the sunset.
That moment. Of undulating gentle waves, bright crimson orange ball of sun half immersed in water and birds returning home from overhead while we backfloated in the water; no camera can capture the serenity of it. But just for a heads up Namita did get a picture close enough.

Bonus points:
1. Full moon night in the White desert
2. Rosy pelican sightings in the small lake behind out staying facility
3. Magnetic poles on our way to Kala Dongar. (Yes! It did pull our car back up on the slope without the engines being turned on. )

This is the highest point of Kutch at a height of 460 mtrs approximately. It is around 95 kms from Bhuj. The best is to have your own vehicle or otherwise you can hire cabs from Bhuj which charge approximately INR 12/KM. It works out cheaper in a group.
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Kalo Dungar, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Make sure you plan in such a manner that you reach the White Desert before the sun sets. It is beauty to watch it in the setting sun light, twilight and then the moonlight. The transition is serene. Carry reasonable supply of water. And try planning the trip on a full moon night.
The Aina Mahal and Prag Mahal are in a compound right across each other in the heart of Bhuj. Prag Mahal still standing surrected after the earthquake is a sight to watch. Aina Mahal is a dilapidated beauty of its own.
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Aina Mahal Museum, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Bhujodi is a 10 kilometre drive from Bhuj. Roughly takes about 25 mintues. At the end of this linear village is an established commercial haat for emroidered craft lovers. Other than this one can also try exploring home-based stores that may have products on the cheaper side within the village.
Photo of Bhujodi, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Bhujodi, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Mandvi is approximately 60 kms away from Bhujodi. The 360 degree view of Mandvi and its coastline from the Palace terrace is exhilarating.
Photo of Vijay Vilas Palace, Vijay Vilas Palace Road, Mandvi, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Vijay Vilas Palace, Vijay Vilas Palace Road, Mandvi, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
The beach is about 8 - 10 kms away from the palace. Its about 25 minutes drive if the way is known. Mandvi beach is a treat, the water is not harsh and saline like other sea water. The waves are gentle giving one plenty of chances to float in the sea. The sunset view from the water or the beach both is breathtaking. The clean beach and the tall standing windmills from one end to the other makes it picturesque:)
Photo of Mandvi Beach, Mandvi Rural, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Mandvi Beach, Mandvi Rural, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Mandvi Beach, Mandvi Rural, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
Photo of Mandvi Beach, Mandvi Rural, Gujarat, India by Aditi Kumar
3 Comment(s)
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Photo of Rahul Parekh
Rahul Parekh
GOOD REVIEW DESCRIBING KUTCH. I LEAVE IN KUTCH AND PROUD READING THIS REVIEW.
Mon 03 09 15, 06:34 · Reply (1) · Edit · Delete ·
Thanks Rahul :)
Sun 10 04 15, 10:50 · Report
Photo of Minu Sagar
Minu Sagar
I am glad you wrote dis Diti! i keep coming back to it..again and again!..and yeah..waiting for GHNP ;)
Fri 06 27 14, 22:36 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Neha Sanwal
Neha Sanwal
Very well written. I like this page style also, covers every aspect.
Thu 06 19 14, 03:01 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·