Clear night skies and a pleasant campfire warming you on a pleasant wintery night spent stargazing is an unbeatable experience to have. A vacation many will look forward to having, especially to escape the everyday sultry city heat. While there are innumerable places in the world to get this kind of a break, very few can match the glory of the Great Rann of Kutch.
If you, like most people, have had an image of the Rann Utsav while I write about this, then you are in for a surprise. For those wanting to escape touristy crowds and experience the raw, untouched part of world’s largest salt desert, the Rann of Ekal is a must-visit. Tourists generally flock to the popular Rann Utsav at Dhordo. However, located about 100 km. away from Bhuj lies this completely untouched stretch of land. Bigger than most countries put together, the white Rann desert is known for its diverse flora and fauna. From migratory birds to exotic wildlife, a variety of animals can be found here.
Things to do
Chobari is the nearest point to enter the Rann of Ekal. Filled with unique local experiences, this region has retained its traditional roots. Share a home-cooked basic meal prepared on a wood-fired stove or spend a night in the local thatched-roof tents called bhungas. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is an opportunity to even camp out on your own making it an ideal adventure destination.
About 118 km from Chobari, lies the historical city of Dholavira. Known to be a Harappan city, the drive here is beautiful as you make your way around jowar and bajra fields with a stretch of white rann on both sides for almost nine kilometres in between. This ancient city has a site as old as 2000-years old and is spread over 54 acres. You can also take a tour to understand the efficient water system and seven stages of its occupation. Further along the road is Fossil Park, where a Jurassic period tree has turned into a fossil and is a major local attraction.
Best time to visit
Deriving its name from the salt marsh and the magnificent white land everywhere around, this region has an amazing topography. While it can turn marshy in the monsoons, October-March is the best time to see it under the full moon sky.
How to reach
You can reach Bhuj by air, train or via road through all major Indian cities. Once you reach Bhuj, the best way to reach Rann of Ekal is by hiring a private vehicle of your own or taking a state transport bus. Chobari, which is one of the entry points for Rann of Ekal is located just 99 km. from Bhuj (approx. 2 hrs)
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