*Re-posting this travel blog from February with updates.*
Kutch has been on my bucket list for a long time! Imagine an expanse of land covered in a thick layer of icy looking salt and you have the Rann of Kutch. After many failed plans we finally made it here in February 2020 for the full moon night!
The Rann of Kutch is a naturally forming white salt desert in Gujarat, India. Rann of Kutch and Bolivian Salt Flats are the only white salt deserts in the entire world. During monsoons, the Kutch desert gets flooded by sea water from a sea nearby. As monsoons recede, the harsh desert sun dries up the flood water leaving behind a vast expanse of salt. This phenomenon can only be experienced during the months of November, December, January & February.
How to reach Kutch:
FLY: The easiest way to reach Kutch is to fly to Bhuj and then take a taxi to Kutch which is a journey of around 2 hours. But flights to Bhuj are few and if not booked timely can be pricey.
ROAD: So we flew to Ahmedabad and then took an overnight bus to Bhuj. This was quite a long journey to make by road since from Bhuj, Kutch is another 2 hours journey.
RAIL: There is an overnight train to Bhuj which might be more comfortable to take. We took a day train back to Ahmedabad and took us between 6-7 hours of journey time.
Where to stay:
We stayed in the Rann Utsav Tent City which is the Gujarat Government organized accommodation (which Amitabh Bachchan promotes :P) .
The Tent City is 15 minutes away from the Rann of Kutch. When you book your stay here it includes all meals, travelling to & from Bhuj, travelling for sunrise/sunset to Rann of Kutch as well as some other sightseeing. The Tent City was impressive with around 500 tents, over a 1000 guests, loads of inhouse activities, amazing food & a shopping center!
Some other stay options –
1. Other tent accommodations in Kutch
2. Hotels in Bhuj (cheapest option)
What to see in Kutch-
We went for the full moon night and the main part of our itinerary was to enjoy the desert in different lights – sunset, moonlight & sunrise. The Tent City organizes buses to take guests at all three times to the Rann.
The sunset & moon rising happened in parallel over the desert and was beautiful. The only reason I didn’t enjoy it all that much was that there were hordes of people. But the sunset was magnificent!
Moonlight – we didn’t get any photos of our full moon night venture to the desert but it was gorgeous. The main highlight is the moonlight reflecting off the white desert. It almost seems like the desert is shining in the moonlight.
Sunrise – This has to be my favourite time to visit the desert. There were fewer people and after walking for a distance, we had a piece of the desert all to ourselves. It was beautiful watching the full moon set on one side and the sun rise on the other. It was freezing cold but I loved this part of the entire trip the most!
Other places to see –
1. Bhujodi Handicrafts Village
2. Kala Dungar Viewpoint
3. Bhuj Swami Narayan Temple
4. Bhuj Museum
5. Mandvi Beach
6. Little Rann of Kutch (Wild Ass Sanctuary)
7. Aina Mahal
8. Pirotan Island
9. Dholavira (Indus valley civilization archaeological site)
If you’re staying in the Rann Utsav tents, the package usually includes some sightseeing too depending on how long you’re there for.
Depending on how much time you want to spend in the white desert and nearby places – I’d recommend 2N/3D or 3N/4D. We did 2 nights but weren’t able to cover places nearby that we wanted like Little Rann of Kutch and Dholavira.
When to visit:
It can get pretty cold during the months of December and January. We chose to visit during the full moon weekend in February. The days were warm (28-29 degrees) but nights were still quite cold (6-7 degrees).
Definitely add the Rann to your India bucket list for future visits. Visit the Rann of Kutch to experience the beautiful natural phenomenon of a salt marsh forming on the desert. This is the only naturally forming salt marsh in the world! It was quite a cultural emersion living in the tent city – we got to eat yummy local food as well as experience local dances and entertainment. We ended up doing a lot of shopping as well – my family and I love the colours of the desert. It was a perfect trip and we ended it in Ahmedabad visiting a few places there.