A white expanse of nothing-ness and nowhere to go as far as you can see. Have you ever had the feeling of getting lost in plain space? Nothing but the sky above and land beneath your feet? That is what Rann of Kutch offers- a mind-set.
Even after having stayed for about two years in Ahmedabad, I had somehow never been able to put my plans of visiting the salt desert of Gujarat to execution. This, along with the fact that the Kutch opens to visitors only for three-four months stirred my desire to take the plan to fruition last year. Finally managing to convince family members for the trip, I started looking up accommodation, places to see etc much to my dismay, as there is hardly any online space that holistically talks about everything from commuting to stay. So, here is my attempt at making one.
The only way to reach the salt flats is via Bhuj. Now, this would bifurcate the travel into two parts:
Starting point to Bhuj:
Bhuj is connected to the Metros and parts of Gujarat
- Car: Depending on the distance from your starting point, you can either choose to self drive or hire a cab. In that case your travel for the next lap (Bhuj to Kutch) would also be sorted. We hired via Clear Car Rentals, and their service was pretty seamless. The driver picked us up right from the Ahmedabad airport.
- Train: Bhuj is well connected by trains, and you can get relevant train info, including which station to board from on the Indian Railways website or here.
- Flights: Flights to the Bhuj airport are rare and will only fly from selected airports. No wonder they are expensive too. So unless the value of convenience of quick travel exceeds the value of money for you, I would recommend not to use this mode.
- Bus: There are many buses that run from cities to Bhuj. You can check out Red Bus for the schedule and stations
Bhuj to Rann of Kutch
The only way to reach Bhuj is by road. If you are driving yourself or have rented a car, your commuted beyond Bhuj is already sorted. If not, it is taxing to find the transport. Again, there are two options:
- If you have booked your accommodation within the tent city via the Rann Utsav website, they will arrange the transfers for you via bus.
- If you want to stay at a cheaper place, you can check out the car rental services on the same website here.
Where to Stay
The most popular accommodation option is the tent city itself. Primarily because it offers a deluge of activities within the campsite along with beautiful stay. It is the Rann Utsav festival that attracts most tourists which happens within the tent city.
The tent city accomodation is expensive, but comes with a package of food and other activities. The cost varies according to demand, but you can expect something between 10,000 INR to 14,000 INR.
If however, you wish to budget your stay and plan your own activities, there are a plethora of options. My pick was the Gateway to Rann Resort owing to its proximity to the white desert and the tent city.
What to do:
Kutch offers pristine and untouched land and an aura to behold and absorb. In order to make the best of the trip you should:
White Desert during sunset or sunrise
The best time of the day to visit the white expanse in the sunrise or the sunset. Photography enthusiasts can eke out the maximum potential of their cameras or phones as during the blue and golden hours. Even with nothing around, the place offers the perfect frames for a click. All you need to have is an eye to finding them.
Protip: Take the camel ride from the entrance, or you can run the risk of missing the sunset as the walk is long.
Protip 2: You would need to have a permission to enter the desert, which can be easily done online. Its better to be prepared and avoid the lines at the check post
White Desert on Full Moon Night
On a Full Moon night, the place is almost magical with the moon shining on the whiteness. Unfortunately my camera battery deceived me at the last moment and went off! So ensure you take multiple batteries.
Shopping at the Rann Utsav Mela
On your way back from the White Desert, you will find the Rann Utsav Mela by the tent city. Do drop by and get your hands on some chic boho statement necklaces like these. You can even find some nice Gujarati handicrafts and footwear.
Visiting Bhujodi Village-
The Bhujodi Village is about 45 km from Kutch (Dhordo Village) and you can reach there for some crazy shopping that is on offer.
Do drop by for those kolhapuri sandals, cotton and khadi kurtas or simply to visit the museum. The place is replete with monumental sculptures and I am sure y’all can have a great time.
Food Tip: Do try out the chaat at their cafe!
There are plenty of other things that we missed owing to the paucity of time. If I could have my way, I would have loved top stay for a day in Bhuj and take a historical tour of its monuments. Also, being a beach bum, I would have loved to find a camel on a beach at Mandvi Village. Where else do you get to see that!