“Kutch nahi dekha, toh kuch nahi dekha.”
In the white dazzling deserts of Kutch, every year ‘Rann Utsav’ takes place. A plethora of dance, music, tradition, cuisine and handicrafts constitutes to this world-famous carnival. Every year Gujarat Tourism organizes this marvellous and stunning festival that lights up the whole of Gujarat. The sparkling white marsh dessert is a wonderment to the human mind anyway. The shimmering salty desert stretching on the horizon stay underwater up until the preparations start. This organized festival on such a grand level is a must-see!
Here is all the basic information you need to know before visiting this once in a lifetime experience.
Where does the Rann Utsav take place?
The Rann Utsav begins at Bhuj and the whole city becomes vibrant. The last at best of festivities take place in Dhrodo, a small tent city, an hour and a half away from the city.
When does it take place?
This festival takes place during the winter. It starts from the beginning of November and lasts till March. When the air is light and the moon is at its brightest, the real magic of this festival begins. The main events are from January 9th to January 12th.
How to get there?
The nearest airport or the railway station at Bhuj. The event takes place at Dhrodo, which is less than 90 km away from Bhuj. Well -connected roads and buses take you to your desired location. Carry your identification card and a photo for a government pass.
Where to stay during the festival?
There are over 400 AC and non-AC tents available for accommodation. They come in different sizes and styles, arranged in semi-circles. Dining halls, stages, exhibition and recreation centres are also available. Every amenity that is to be needed is available at your doorstep, including the regular supply of warm water in the desert.
The tent city can be expensive though. There are a number of hotels and resorts available in Bhuj at much cheaper rates. Make sure to book your rooms soon!
From there you can book a cab and enjoy the carnival.
What to do in the grand fiesta?
Visit the desert with the Moon
The best time to visit the desert is when the moon is full. With soothing sand below and the illuminated moon above, it becomes more romantic than you can imagine. Add the celebration spirit to that. Be sure to make your bookings according to the full moon dates and go moon gazing!
Take a camel ride on the white desert
The well-decorated giant animals are ready for you to take on an amazing experience. Hop on to the elegantly dressed camels with binoculars to see the Indo-Pak border, a salt column resembling watchtower and many more. Desert safari is another exciting activity to look out for.
Flying Above Kutch
Take an unforgettable and exhilarating ride of the huge hot air balloons. There is also the option of ‘Para Motoring’ here. It is one of the most prominent activity. Watching the twinkling lights and the scintillating land from the top!
Enjoy the cultural feast
Cultural activities take place all the time during the fest. Folk dancers and musicians from all over Gujarat visit the Utsav. There is always someone somewhere performing their art. Desert bonfires are pretty common. Dance to the tune of folk music and live your imaginations to the fullest!
Activities on the ground
ATV rides are the most popular ones around here. Riding the All-Terrain Vehicles will be an experience of a lifetime over the sand dunes and white land. Winds rushing through the hair, the adrenaline rush will be worth it!
One can also go for the solo ride in the rare Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV).
Parasailing is one of the other exciting adventures available at this carnival.
Trikke rides are also quite prominent here. Ride on the 3-wheeled scooter around the whole fairground.
Trekking to the Kalo Dungar hillock is also encouraged. You can also visit the Dattatreya Temple on the top. If you manage to not let exhaustion wear you down, the priest of the temples gives you free food!
Taste the authentic cuisine
The number of food stalls in the arena is uncountable. The smell of freshly cooked numerous cuisines will entice you to pay a visit one too many times. Two humongous tents are set up solely as dining halls for the special Kutchi cuisine. Immensely popular are bajra and milk and bajara na rotla with buttermilk and curd. Connect with the traditional Gujarati thallis and original food. Apart from Gujarati dishes, there’s also North Indian, South Indian, Italian, Chinese etcetera are also provided in the restaurants. There are many cafeterias set up for you to enjoy delicacies with a steaming cup of coffee. For passionate foodies, this section of the festival will be heaven!
Shopping in the handicraft section
Something you should never miss is the handicrafts stalls that are put up by local artisans from all over Gujarat. From dazzling gold and silver jewellery to intricately designed embroidery works of Kutchi artists are extremely famous. Various leather articles and gorgeous silverware are one of the major attractions. Copper bells, Rogan Art, Lacquer, Bandhini Sarees and Ajrakh shawls are also famous.
A number of skilled artisans from nearby villages like Bhirandiyra, Khavda and Gandhi-Nugam conduct workshops on preparing local handicraft items.
Sports to play
There are a bunch of sports for you to enjoy. Some of them are archery, pool, rifle shooting, chess and carrom. Several clubs are also set up for these recreational purposes. A fun kid zone is also a part of it for all the little ones to take part.
Other places to visit
Some of the nearby places that you can visit are Mandvi Beach, hills of Kala Dungar and Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary.
What you should keep in mind?
- Since the festivities take place during the winter, you must carry your woollens along.
- You will have to walk to a lot of places. Make sure to carry your comfortable footwear.
- At every checkpoint, you will be asked to show your identification card. Carry your AADHAR card or driver’s licence or passport or voter ID.
- Carry at least some amount of food and water.