After a long night sleep, we set out early morning for the magnetic hill, Kalo Dungar. It is believed that the earth's magnetic field here is so strong that the vehicle gets pulled toward the hill with the engine shut off (I found it to be a bit exaggerated). Despite the weird conceptions, the view from the hill is majestic which gives a perpetual feeling of satisfaction. We took a fun ride for a short distance with salman and Shahrukh, our camels on the dungar and clicked some funny pictures along the way.
The next destination in our itinerary was India bridge, a quick detour from the way towards White Rann which was our ultimate destination for the day. The bridge is the last place where the civilians can visit after which the next 60kms is controlled by the BSF till the border. Only civilians with special permission are allowed to visit beyond this point. The bridge is completely engulfed by the white stretch of land on both the sides. A quick chat with the personnel there unveiled some perspective into their everyday life. Far away from home for years and years, our Jawans are stationed on the border having limited connection with the outside world. The sacrifices they make each day is something that we cannot even think of doing in our entire lifespan. These are the true heroes that we must follow, true idols that we must worship and try to imbibe a mere shred of their patriotism then maybe someday there wouldn't be any need for all the complaints that we have with our country. On the way back towards the Rann festival, we had some authentic village lunch at a modest dhaba named, Gurukripa.
We reached Dhordo, where the Rann festival is held every year. One can stay here in the Tent city at the festival which is quite heavy on your wallet and hence we gave it a miss. Its sbout a km walk till the watchtower which is erected in the middle of the white Rann. The place is magical in itself and the sunsets here are the epitome of solace one can ever feel. For miles and miles till the horizon, all you can see is the white land decorated with a complimentary blue sky and intermittent shades of clouds.
"Stare into nothingness and you will find the purpose of life" seemed so apt after spending hours in the White Rann and watching the clouds drift along playing hide and seek with the setting sun. The air bought a bit of moisture along with it as the sun went down and we could hear the surrounding fill up with the melodious classical music playing at a distance. The view from the watch tower was unparalleled after the last ray of light bid adieu to us paving the way for a musical night. We took a camel cart ride back to the tent city where raw classical music filled the surroundings with melodies of authentic Indian tunes. We wore the traditional head band suggested by the musicians and danced to their tune like rats to the Bag piper :P.
Soon after such enriching and fulfilling musical session, it was time to lighten up our wallet by shopping in the world famous Kutch market of Handicrafts. Everything here is hand mand with lots of unique designs and concepts. From handbags to shoes, blankets to shawls, bracelets to neckless and a lot more to shop is available at a very competitive prices. The same goods will cost you bang when purchased from metro cities due to the middleman getting involved in the transport and distribution. The festival gives the opportunity to the local craftsman to sell their goods directly to the customer hence eliminating the dependency on the commission hungry representatives. The sheer plethora of the handicrafts to choose from would need atleast a couple hours to make peace with your shopping demons.
After bags full of sovineours for loved ones and lot of unforgettable memories, we bid farewell to the majestic Rann of Kutch festival. A brief halt for dinner on the way and we were back to our humble abode after such an enriching day.
Nights in kutch are chilly as hot as the day might be and we had a very specific ritual for all the nights that we spent here. We enjoyed cool Seesha (took it with us from home as we knew Gujarat is a dry state :P) under the stars in our balcony playing cards till midnight. The blues playing in the background and the Sheesha scent drifting along with the chilly wind made a perfect setting to end the day on extremely relaxed note.