Rann means “salt marsh” and the large salt marsh located in the Kutch district of the state of Gujrat with some part extending into Sindh province of Pakistan is most appropriately named as Rann of Kutch. In this article, we will try to touch upon every aspect that you would like to know about this fascinating tourist destination popular all around the world.
Rann of Kutch popularly called the “White Desert” covers a large area of around 26000 sq. Kms. and comprises two distinct areas. It was formerly part of the Arabian Sea until the region got raised due to geographical uplift and the connection between the sea and the land was severed. The Great Rann of Kutch is a vast uninhabited expanse of salt that extends east and west with the Thar Desert to the north and the low hills of Kutch to the south. The Little Rann of Kutch with more broken-up areas of sandy, salt-free areas lies in the southeast of the Great Rann and extends southwards to the Gulf of Kutch. The surface is generally flat and very close to sea level because of which the area floods during the monsoon season. There are of course some sandy higher grounds in little Rann which lie two to three meters above floodwaters where trees and shrubs grow and provide refuge to wildlife during the annual floods. The climate is hot, averages around 44* C during summer but on winter nights, the temperature can drop to freezing point or below. Winter, that is, from November to March is the best time to visit the Rann of Kutch as it is the most happening time of the year. Save for the rainfall during the monsoon months of June to September the Rann of Kutch is dry for the most part of the year as the waters evaporate during the long dry season.
How to Reach The Rann of Kutch
Reaching Rann of Kutch is not that difficult. Bhuj the headquarters of Kutch District is the nearest city to reach the Rann of Kutch. You will get flights from major cities like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, etc. to Bhuj airport. Another way to reach Bhuj is by train. If you do not have a direct train from your place you may have to reach Ahmedabad and move ahead. You can also take the Gujrat state bus or a private bus service from Ahmedabad to Bhuj. Once you reach Bhuj there are many options to reach the Great Rann of Kutch which you can choose according to your suitability. You can prefer to avail package tour or hire a cab. Some solo trippers even prefer to rent a bike/scooter for a great and independent visit. Remember to take out the necessary permit to visit the Great Rann of Kutch. You can apply for the permit online or obtain it at the check gate.
What You Shouldn’t Miss
The great Rann of Kutch is best known for its spectacular landscape. It is a popular spot for an uninterrupted view of the sunsets and sunrises. Equally mesmerizing is the vast expanse of white salt surface sparkling under the full moonlit sky turning the place into absolute paradise. You can experience the famous Rann Ustav festival held here every year for three months from November to February. You can shop beautiful Gujarati attires and accessories and can enjoy the delicious Gujarati thali and other games/entertainment offered in the Ustav. Do not miss to watch the cultural performances as this way you will get acquainted with the Gujarati culture and you should know they are quite a lot of fun to watch. If budget is not a constraint you can opt to stay in Dhordo village “Tent City” or the White Rann Resort which are said to be the most beautiful places to stay. These places offer numerous entertainment performances along with delicious meals, guided tours, and lots more. Since these places are also near the salt desert you can spend long hours in the vast White Rann walking around and taking pictures to your heart’s content. The White Desert changes its color according to the time of the day; every hour it will show you a different color. You can also opt to stay in Bhuj for cheaper accommodation and make a day trip to Rann of Kutch or join the conducted tour. While on way to Rann of Kutch from Bhuj you can visit ‘Kala Dhungar’ or the black mountain which is the highest point in Kutch. From here you can see the spectacular views of the Great Rann. Another place en route you should visit is Nirona village, which is one of the best places to purchase Kutch handicrafts. Here you can buy the famous Rogan Art paintings or get some amazing copper bells to carry back home.
Having witnessed the vastness and sheer beauty of the Great Rann you can move to its counterpart the Little Rann of Kutch known for its wildlife for a different but memorable experience. You can travel from Bhuj by road to Dhrangadhra and book yourself for a safari into the Little Rann wildlife sanctuary. You can alternately first visit the Little Rann and travel from Ahmedabad for the safari and then proceed to Bhuj on way to experience The Great Rann. The Little Rann of Kutch offers an array of opportunities right from its mesmerizing fauna, wildlife, plants, trees, small thorny shrubs on brown-gray patches of soil, large marshlands to the scores of salt Pans and many astounding mirages in the dry desert. The wild Ass sanctuary where you can spot the Indian wild ass is located right here. You can choose your destination for the jeep safari according to your interests. If you love bird watching you should opt for the marshlands and water bodies. You will be blessed to witness the eagles, Flamingos, demoiselle, and a host of other rare birds. If you want to spot some of the rare mammals, like ‘Ghudkar’ the Indian wild ass, the white-footed fox, blue bull, Desert cat, etc. you should opt for the dry desert. You will also love to meet the nomadic Rabadi tribes among others in the region which can be arranged and admire their exquisite embroidery. These people are generous in nature and maintain their rich culture. You will find the locals decked up in traditional outfits replete with large silver jewellery and vivid garments. You can soak in the rich history of the place complete with its wildlife sanctuary, splendid handicrafts, and the warm and affable locals to make your visit really memorable.
As a last note of suggestion, if you are visiting Rann of Kutch during the peak season of November and February take care to book your accommodation in advance to avoid the problem. When visiting the “White Desert” do carry your water and snacks as you will get nothing once you enter inside. Winter nights are severe so take care to carry adequate warm clothing and here is wishing you the best of travel experience through Rann of Kutch.