Kutch, a place on earth with no mountains, no lakes, no lights spotting horizon, Kutch is the name comprises nothingness, vastness, historic, full of surprises, just a cover of white. Situated in between Gujarat, India, and the Sindh, Pakistan. 30,000 sq. km of land that encloses the Great Rann of Kutch, the Little Rann of Kutch, and Banni Grassland. Kutch is known as one of the biggest salt deserts all over the world.
Rann of Kutch is the part of the Thar Desert situated in Gujarat. Ages ago Rann of Kutch was part of the Arabian Sea before an earthquake in 1819 rolled the seabed into a desert. Agariyas, the community of farmers works diligently for eight months to remove the whitest salt, it is their livelihood. The land is inundated in seawater during monsoon. The seawater starts retreating in October. Then the Agariyas farmers appear to start the process of salt farming. At first, the saline water is removed, later it is left for the natural process of evaporation to get the white crystals of salt.
Weather at Rann of Kutch
The Rann belongs to the most severe and hottest zone on Indian soil. Both summer and winter go quite extreme – 50 degrees and 0 degrees Celsius respectively. Monsoon rains fill the desert with water, then the wetland widens from the Gulf of Kutch on the west to the Gulf of Cambay on the east. A must scenic beauty treat for the travellers.
The requirement of the Permit
To enter into the salt desert, a permit is required, since the Pakistan border is in the immediate vicinity. Patrolling of the army officers can be seen all over the day. Visitors need valid id proofs to be verified at the BSF check post.
Rann of Kutch is also a shelter for rich ecological wildlife. Several wildlife sanctuaries and reserves are protected in the region of Kutch. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Banni Grassland Reserve are some of them.
Exploring the world-famous Rann Utsav
Every year from the month of December to February, The Government of Gujarat organizes the 3 months long “Rann Utsav” near the village named Dhordo. The abundance of colour, overflow of cultural activities, designs, dance, music, food – “The Rann Utsav” is a treat to the tourists across the globe. The carnival is organized and performed by the native artisans. This is the platform for the community of people coming from different districts of the state, glorious land of art, crafts, music, dance, people, and nature. Kutch Utsav is the ideal location for tourists to experience unparalleled passion through a celebration of life. The most captivating event to be remembered forever is folk music and dance performances during moonlit winters.
Activities at Rann of Kutch
The ideal time to visit Kutch is during the Rann Utsav. The Gujarat Government has set up several resorts for the tourists, there are other tourism packages available to cater to luxury tents for the visitors. Various activities are there like paramotoring, rifle shooting, ATV rides, camel cart rides, kid’s entertainment zone, spa treatment, and cultural shows.
Food at Kutch
Gujarat Tourism is particular to cater to the flavor of original Kutchhi food to the guests of “Rann Utsav”. During festivals, Kutchhi dinner is available in the evening. The food platter comprises Khari Bhat, Loda vali khichdi, Rotla (roti) made from bajra, besan Gatta vegetable, bhajia, dal, and sweet dishes like Mesub, Gulab Pak. Dabeli is the famous fast food item in the region also known as the double roti.
In the Banni grassland area of Kutch, the availability of cattle milk is abundant, therefore it has its own variety of milk-based food and sweets. “Mava” is the most famous dish that attracts a lot of tourists; the Mava has made in two different varieties i.e. the sweet and the plain. Preparing Mava and selling to the tourists, have boosted the occupation and the economy of the Kutch people.
Different Tourist Place near Rann of Kutch
Apart from Utsav, Rann of Kutch also offers panoramic views from 462 meters above sea level. It is the highest point named Kala Dungar (Black Mountain) in Kutch were all the way to the Pakistan border is visible. Another breathtaking experience happens during sunset and moonrise or a moonlit night. On the full moon night, the moon appears brighter like the sun. It is truly said its beauty can’t be captured; it is only introspection at least once in a lifetime.
Nearby villages named Khavda, Hodka, Jura, Nirona, Ajrakhpur of Kutch are the treasure trove of proficient artisans. Patchwork appliques, home furnishings, apparel, jewelry, copper bell, famous traditional Ajrakh block printing fabrics are some specimens of their creations.
In the end, to seize the beauty in heart, to embrace vastness in mind, surely have to visit Rann of Kutch once.
Also Read: Ladakh- The Land of High Peaks