Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch

Tripoto
8th Jan 2017
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals

The vast expanse of white desert stretching across horizons, is a sight to behold. It was on our bucket list for quite long. So when we were planning for our honeymoon, Kutch was a quick pick.

And about choosing a bike over a car; though we would like to say that it was because we wanted something more adventurous but deep down we know it was also a lot about the money ;) After a big fat Indian wedding, you are not left with many choices you see :D

Whatsoever, the two honeymooners and the bike had a memorable time in Kutch for the 8 days. Now let us start with the journey journal.

Time of travel:

Winter, November to February, is the best time to visit Kutch.

We travelled on the second week of January. The following factors helped us to determine the time of travel:

1. We wanted to spend a full moon night at Rann.

The white desert looks amazing in a full moon night. We strongly recommend people going there during this time.

2. See the Rann Utsav.

This is a huge fair which is organised at Rann from end of October to 3rd week of February.

3. See the International Kite Festival at Ahmedabad.

This festival is organised around mid January, every year, where people from different countries come, display and fly their innovative kites.

Mode of travel:

Bangalore to Ahmedabad: Flight

Ahmedabad to Kutch to Ahmedabad: Rented Royal Enfield Bullet. The bike rent was 1000 INR per day plus petrol.

You can get the bike rental shop contacts from Sulekha or Justdial. Bargain and zero in the one who gives you the best deal.If you plan to travel during Oct to Feb, then try to book one month before.

Ahmedabad local Sight Seeing: Local Auto

Ahmedabad to Bangalore: Flight

Cost and Duration of the trip:

It was a 8 day trip which costed us 70K INR for two of us and inclusive of flights.

Circuit of the trip:

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch 1/1 by JourneyJournals
Day 1

Ahmedabad->Little Rann of Kutch (LRK)

Distance - 171 Kms

Stay - Devjibhai Dhamecha's Eco Camp

We landed in Ahmedabad airport early morning and got our rented bike. At 6:30 am we started from Ahmedabad towards LRK. After getting lost in a wrong route and one tea break at a road side stall, we reached the Eco Camp at noon. Eco camp is set in a very remote village of Jogad, and we can enjoy the pristine beauty of LRK from our cottage itself. Eco Camp is a beauty on its own and dotted with cottages with beautiful Kutchi artwork, tents, a mini art gallery of the owner and the canteen. At lunch, we were served some delicious home made food(veg). In the evening at 4:30 PM, we went on a jeep safari to LRK to witness the beautiful landscape and the varied wildlife like nilgai or blue bull, Indian Wild Ass and migratory birds. We watched the sunset in the middle of the desert with just a handful of people and the vastness of the desert extending beyond the horizon. After sunset, we returned to the Eco camp at 7 PM. We had some coffee and light snacks. Soon after we had our dinner and called off the day.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 2

Little Rann of Kutch->Bhuj

Distance - 199 Kms

Stay - A regular hotel at the heart of the city

After having breakfast we started for another jeep safari at 6:30 AM. We went to another side of LRK to witness the flamingos. We did watch a flock of them but from a distance as it was all mud and water near them. We headed back to Eco Camp and after having lunch over there we started for our next destination, Bhuj at 1 PM. Along the way, we came across salt patches and heaps and salt factories. At 5:30 PM we reached Bhuj and checked into our hotel. It was a relaxed evening spent by searching for some non vegetarian restaurants in the city. We found this Farzana restaurant for dinner. It was a casual restaurant with tasty food at very cheap price.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 3

Bhuj->Dholavira->Bhuj

Distance - 500 Kms

Stay - Same hotel as the previous day

With the whole area still sleeping, we started on our bike at 5:00 AM (note Bhuj being at the west of India, the day starts late here) for Dholavira, the archeological site of Harappan civilisation. Our bike sped through the cold and dark night towards the seemingly never ending road. The sight of the bonfire and coffee stalls at the roadside made us to take a couple of breaks to beat the cold and sleep. As we headed further, the darkness of the night gave way to a beautiful sunrise across the highway. Along the way we were enjoying the beautiful and varied landscape with a one off tyre puncture hiccup in between. As we were nearing Dholavira, we came across a long stretch of black tarred road sandwiched between the White Rann on both sides. A surreal sight with hardly any vehicle or man or any animal in that length. We took a halt to take in the calmness and beauty of that place before we again headed towards Dholavira. At 12:30 PM we reached the archeological site of the Harappan civilisation and it seemed I am living out of my history books. The city plan, the canal system, the reservoirs whatever I had studied in the history classes came alive in front of my eyes. The more you explore the site, the more you get awestruck by the brilliance of the architecture and detailed design of a city constructed thousands of years ago. As the guide said, this was the area where the upper class of the society lived. The areas, for the people who constituted the middle and lower class of the then society, were further away. We had to return to Bhuj that day itself, and so we could not venture further. But we did go 10 Kms further to the Fossils park, recommended by our guide and many others. Though it was just 10 Kms but it was a quite a rough patch of road and hence takes more time than expected. But the breath taking view of White Rann from the Fossils Park is worth all the pain. I would suggest making a night stay in Dholavira to witness the other Harappan sites further away and to take in more the beauty of the White Rann from the Fossils park. Anyways, we started at 3 PM for Bhuj after having a not so good lunch at one of the few available resorts over there. Our way back to Bhuj was quite eventful with the bike tyre getting punctured twice, riding with the punctured tyre for 10 kms until we get into a village/town to sort help, then getting help from a mechanic who seemed to have touched a Royal Enfield bike for the first time, the local kids making fun of the mechanic in that situation and then finally somehow managed to get a much smaller tyre for the bike before we reached our hotel at Bhuj at 10 PM. A long day, it was.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 4

Bhuj->Virani Moti

Distance - 53 Kms

Stay - CEDO camp

After breakfast at 9 AM we checked out from the hotel and went to see the Bhuj city. We went o Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal and Swami Narayan Temple. A major part of Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal have been destroyed by the 2002 earthquake. We were told by a local that the Lagaan movie was shot in the Prag Mahal. After couple of hours we came back to our hotel to get our luggage and started for Virani Moti at 11:30 AM. We reached our destination at 1 PM. It was again a home stay, CEDO camp, run by an ecologist who has worked extensively on the wildlife of the area, Banni grassland. We were served hot and delicious food in lunch which have been cooked and brought over by the local villagers. After taking some rest we started for our jeep safari to the Banni grassland at 3:30 PM. The area is populated with so many various kinds of birds and many of them have migrated from Russia, Austria, etc. The ladscape of the Banniland is a beauty in itself. We headed further towards the Chhari Dhand where at the sunset many birds get together. We managed to reach the lake before the sunset and saw such a huge population of different kinds of birds. As the sun was setting across the lake, we enjoyed some coffee and snacks in the middle of the desert which was brought by the driver of our jeep. It was a day before full moon and so as the moon rose, it was creepily beautiful with just couple of people in the middle of a desert. After spending some time over there, we returned to our homestay.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 5

Virani Moti->Hodka Village (Greater Rann of Kutch)

Distance - 86 Kms

Stay - Sham-E-Sarhad

After having a delicious breakfast at the homestay, we tied our bags back to our bike and headed towards or our next destination, Great Rann of Kutch. It was a very nice ride as the smooth black pitch road meandered through the dry but picturesque landscape dotted with several tiny villages. Our stay was at Sham-E-Sarhad Resort at Hodka Village. About 12 kms before the Hodka Village, we had to stop and take permit at Bhirandiyara checkpost to enter the Greater Rann of Kutch area. We had to fill in a form, show an ID proof and submit a fee of 100 INR each to get the permit. This permit will be checked at the checkpost of Great Rann of Kutch without which no one is allowed further. We checked into our resort which was beautifully decorated with all kind of local artwork. After having a sumptuous Kutchhi lunch and exploring the resort and surroundings, we headed towards Dhordo, the last village before the Great Rann of Kutch. We had to park our bike at the checkpost as no private vehicles are allowed beyond the point. We got into a camel cart and a kilometre away we were into the white salt desert of Rann. It was a bit crowded and loud music was getting played for the tourists. But after some good amount of walking, we could get a piece of white desert for ourselves away from all the hustle and bustle. It was dusk when on one part of the sky, the sun was setting and on the other part, the full moon was rising from the horizon of the white desert. Such a surreal sight it was. After spending some more time in the full moon night on the white desert, we returned to our resort.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 6

Hodka Village->Mandvi

Distance - 123 Kms

Stay - Beach Resort of Mandvi Palace

The next day after breakfast, we bid good bye to the White desert and started for Mandvi, a beach town in Kutch. We had our booking in the Mandvi Beach resort. This resort is actually a part of the Mandvi palace area, which they rent out to the tourists. So after 2.5 hours of ride, we reached our destination. It was a beautiful piece of land dotted with trees and a few camps on a private beach. Since the beach was a private one, it was clean and quiet. The resort had a beach restaurant only for the guests of the tents where you can enjoy a quiet meal overlooking the sea. At night with dim lantern like lights, the area around the tents look like straight out from fairy tale. At night, we spent some quiet time in the moonlit beach.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 7

Mandvi->Ahmedabad

Distance - 384 Kms

Stay - A regular hotel at the heart of the city

We had a long day ahead. So we started our journey at 4 o clock in the morning from Mandvi. It was still dark all around, but we cruised through the roads towards our final destination of the trip. We reached Ahmadabad in the afternoon. By the time both the bike and our bodies were about to give in. Our bodies were aching due to long constant sitting posture and the bike was about to give up because it was struggling with a small tyre. We quickly headed towards the site of the International Kite Festival. It was a huge fair along the Sabarmati riverside. We spent some time over there before returning the bike to the owner. We retired early that day.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Day 8

Ahmadabad<->Gandhinagar

Distance - Roamed around the cities and its surroundings

Stay - Same hotel as the previous day

In the morning we hired an auto and roamed around Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and their surroundings. We visited Sabarmati Ashram, Adalaj Stepwell, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Sarkhej Roza and Sabarmati Riverfront.

At 11:45 PM, we had our flight back to Bangalore.

Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals
Photo of Two honeymooners and one bike in Kutch by JourneyJournals

Journey in a minute:

Tidbits:

1. We were on a bike and hence we did not pay the toll taxes like those who were travelling in cars. This saved us quite a few bucks.

2. Consider getting permit before entering the Great Rann of Kuch area at Bhirandiyara checkpost. Carry an ID proof and be ready with 100 INR for the permit.

3. We got the best views of the white desert from Dholavira, even better than from Dhordo village. So you can plan a night stay at Dholavira.

4. During the Rann festival, you can stay till late night at the white desert. So better check with the guards over there.

5. During the long drives in the mornings, we did not find much breakfast options along of the roadside. So people need to plan accordingly.

6. People need to pack some warm clothes if planning to travel in bike in the early mornings/late evenings during the winter time.

7. Kutch is very well-connected with good quality roads and provides a safe environment for travellers with no tensions of theft, snatching, etc.

8. You will mostly get vegetarian food in Kutch.

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