Gujarat, one of the most important states making the western part of the country, is best known its diverse topography. Bordered by deserts of Pakistan and Rajasthan on the North and Arabian sea on the South, Gujarat holds a fascinating history while being a major state that played an important role in the Independence of our country. While everything in the state has its importance, the Great Rann of Kutch is that one thing that makes Gujarat an unbeatable holiday destination.
The Great Rann of Kutch lies in the Kutch district of the state of Gujarat. It attracts thousands of tourists the year around. While the natural beauty of the place has time and again cast a spell on its visitors, the festivities of the Rann Utsav definitely surpasses the entire natural splendor.
If you want your winter holidays to be different, then you have to plan for visiting Rann Utsav this year. A perfect place and time to catch a glimpse of the perfect fusion of art, culture, and tradition. So, if you are already high with the thoughts of visiting Rann Utsav at Kutch, we are here with all the details you will need to plan a vacation.
This celebratory festival kick starts from the city of Bhuj from where it tends to go around the district with the grand finale.
If you are wondering where it actually takes place, as mentioned before it starts at Bhuj but then proceeds on to ending at the tent city, this is the place that the majority of the common people tend to link the Rann Utsav with because they witness rows and rows of tents amidst the beauty of the “neverending” desert.
The tent city consists of, or rather, is made up of over 400 tents (AC and non-AC). The entire set-up takes place in a quaint little village named Dhordo. This is the event and the experience that the majority of the tourists come down for. It is quite easily accessible from the Bhuj airport.
When should you book the tickets?
This is the primal question you need answers for. The rush during the time of the Rann Utsav is mind-blowing, so, if you don’t book your tickets beforehand, the chances are that you won’t get any.
Last minute bookings can be hard to confirm, which is why it is necessary to book them in advance. The Rann Utsav 2018-19 has already started from 1st November 2018 and will go on till February 20th, 2019.
Who plans the entire festival?
The government of Gujarat is the main body to plan the entire event and is perfect for your winter holiday rendezvous.
How Rann Utsav Started?
The credit of starting this festival goes to our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He came up with this festival in the year 2005. The entire campaign was done with a great effort and Mr. Amitabh Bachhan, one of the most celebrated Bollywood actors, played a major role in advertising the festival on TV and other platforms.
The main agenda to host this festival is to focus on the areas of the certain district that were comparatively backward with the majority population of scheduled tribes people. This festival gives these natives a chance to showcase their talent. With the help of Rann Utsav, people visit these places and nearby areas and the desert area which was living in an oblivion.
What makes this event stand out?
Every single person wishes to witness something that leaves an imprint in their mind and memories. The Rann Utsav is the perfect embodiment of the same. The combination of amazing art, events, and culture leave behind an amazing impact on your mind, one that stays with you till eternity.
The seemingly endless stream of white sand with indulgent people in the festival preparations. From a wide realm of unusual events and popular festive celebrations, the options and activities that you can indulge in during the Rann Utsav are quite possibly endless. There is a myriad of options, from indulging in the handicrafts to sightseeing around.
How do you reach Rann Utsav?
Owing to the growing popularity of the place and the festivities that it holds, reaching the village of Dhordo is not rocket science. If you are traveling from around the country of India, the nearest airport to reach the Rann Utsav is the Bhuj airport which is around 86 km away from the village.
Alternatively, if you are traveling via trains, the best and the nearest railhead is the Bhuj Railway Station. Apart from these, you don’t necessarily need to fret about the connectivity because the roads around Gujarat are well connected via public transportation.
The climatic conditions during the day and night are strikingly different which is why it is necessary to pack accordingly. While the days might seem a lot sunny and hot, the night is completely different.
Highlights of the festival:
Before we indulge into main things that you can experience at Rann Utsav, let’s see the highlights of the entire festival in brief. These highlights will help you in planning your events accordingly:
Food and Drink
The very first things that Rann Utsav boast of is the Kutchi food and drinks. They are available in variety, and you will have an insight of this less explored cuisine. This festival is a gateway to try out their lip-smacking dishes.
Handicrafts are the prime reason that why Rann Utsav takes place. The places that participate in this festival are the way backward places — the majority of the population belonging from the backward caste and tribe. No one, in general, visits these places. So, this festival provides such artisans a platform to show their art and crafts, and you can have an insight of their peculiar art. Of course, you can shop from them.
Another amazing highlight of the entire festival is that the local artists perform various local and native shows. You must have seen such shows in films or elsewhere, but witnessing it by being present there is a feeling that stays with you.
The span of 4 months of Rann Utsav also covers some major national holidays and celebrations. And the best part of the festival is that these events are celebrated here with the same enthusiasm as in any other part of the country.
31st December (New Year Celebration)
The events witness the beginning of the New Year, and this calls for a grand celebration even at Rann Utsav. Extra-energetic shows take place with a great dinner and fireworks accompanied.
14th January (Kite’s Celebration)
On 14th January, the entire country celebrates Makarsankranti with different names. Many cities even indulge in flying a kite as a celebration. Rann Utsav hosts a similar celebration too.
The event of the Republic Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm.
14th February (Valentine’s Day)
Valentine’s Day also falls in the calendar of Rann Utsav and on that day, they organize special shows and great dinner.
Things to indulge in during the Rann Utsav 2018-19
The Rann Utsav is definitely a riveting experience all in itself. But, if you are here wondering what are the things you can indulge in while there, we have some amazing options for you
1. Indulge in the mesmerizing cultural extravaganza
As mentioned before, the Rann Utsav celebrates the amazing art and culture of the place. The folk artists from around the entire state of Gujarat and even outside come to not just showcase their talent but also to entertain the people who visit the celebration. If your dream is to sit under the starry night on the white sand in the middle of the blazing bonfire is still due, this place will make it come true.
2. Stroll under the moonlight
If you are in the tent city, the chances are that the very first night demands for you to put on some warm clothes and walk down the blanket of white sand. The amazing expanse of the tranquilizing white sand glazing under the silver streaks of the moonlight is an experience you just can’t miss out on. It is not just soothing but is amazing for couples who want one extraordinary romantic night to cherish.
3. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Another fantastic experience that the majority of the people tend to express is the hot balloon ride. This Hot air Balloon Ride is one of the most important activities that every single tourist needs to indulge in. The vibrant colors along with the reflective white sand definitely make up for yet another kind of experience.
4. Adventure tours are a mist too
Apart from the traditional imminent activities, there are a varying number of options that one can indulge in during the Rann Utsav. The adventure tours and the whole lot of sightseeing options sure do make up for the overall experience.
You can either indulge in camel ride or even set off solo on the Diesel Patrol ride. The Desert Safari is one of the most important activities that majority of the tourists like to indulge in. You will find various activities running by several people in charge, so, make sure to opt for the best options both regarding safety and expense.
5. Visit the villages
When in Kutch and especially the Dhorba village, the main thing you need to ensure is that you don’t stay static in one place. Roam around and visit the places around for an even better experience. The nearby village can definitely be an amazing experience on its own. Some of the best villages one should visit without fail include Bhirandiyra, Khavda as well as the Gandghi-Nugam.
6. Try out the cuisine
The significant Kutch cuisine and the Gujarati cuisine, on the whole, gets a boost during the Rann Utsav. The wide range of food around is definitely what you need to complete your experience. The incomparable taste of the delectable starters and even the main course will make you want to chew your finger off. Each and every dish brings out the amazing flavors of the authentic Kutchi cuisine. If you are here wondering how you might cope with your midnight hunger pangs, the small food shacks take care of that as well.
7. Shopping with full glee
Not just the Rann Utsav specifically, visiting any part of Gujarat and not indulging in a heartfelt shopping spree is nothing short of a crime. The local artisans and craftsmen showcase their talents in the products and items that they sell – from clothes to handicrafts; you have all. Indulge in some Kutchi embroidery clothing and even the wide range of ornaments that the locals sell around. Trust us; you won’t regret any part of it.
Where to stay for Rann Utsav?
If the thoughts of lodging have been peeking your mind, you don’t need to worry about that as well. The amazing and evolving popularity of the festival has paved its way to the increasing options of accommodation as well.
The Tent City is possibly the very first option majority of the people seek out for. This is mainly because staying in that luxury tent standing on the beautiful white sand is an experience too hard to miss out on.
Apart from the tents, which for that matter, come in two variants of AC and non-AC have everything you would need. From room heaters for the chilling nights to constant supply of water and other amenities, everything is present there. They also have huge dining halls and even the exhibition center which is definitely a bonus.
Other forms of accommodation options include that of homestay in the nearby villages and even hotels and resorts in the nearby locations. For the homestay in the villages, you need to persuade the people residing there. With the growing popularity of the event, more and more resorts are opening up near the area. It is helping to accommodate more and more tourists during those three months of the celebration.
Some important tips for takeaway
Now that we have more or less covered every aspect of the Rann Utsav 2018-19, it is time that we delve into the common grounds of what one should do, and one should avoid while there.
- Don’t get deterred by the fact that you are going to spend your time on a desert because the nights are quite chilly. Make sure you pack your woolen clothes too.
- Indulge in shopping from the local craftsmen and artisans. They provide with cheaper price items and not to mention, the most authentic products as well.
- Visiting the Mandvi Beach for the amazing view of the sunset is a definite must.
- Drink ample amount of water during the day to keep yourself hydrated and avoid risks of heat stroke.
- Indulge in conversation with the locals in the villagers to get knowledge about the hidden facts. There’s information they would know that not even Google knows about.
- Get a guide while venturing around on the Rann. It is necessary to have a guide to help you come back safely to the base camp around the tent city.
- Don’t litter around the desert and try to keep the area clean.
- Hike up to the Kalo Dungar if you want a complete landscape view of the entire white sand of the Kutch and the surrounding vibrancy of the festivities.
- Owing to the fact that the Kutch and the Rann Utsav takes place nearby of the border of India and Pakistan, you need a Government Pass for entry there. You can get one from the Bhirandirya check post by producing your ID card.
- Cash is the only payment mode that works here, so make sure you carry enough of cash as there are no ATMs nearby.
- A must do is to try the Authentic local Kutchi Cuisine.
If you are looking to avail the lowest prices for the packages and the flights and accommodation, the best way to do so is by making prior bookings. When you have your bookings sorted before, it ensures that you don’t have to pay hike prices. Making last minute bookings to visit the Rann Utsav 2018-19 will make you pay way more. Indulge in the authentic essence of Gujarat and the tradition and culture it prides upon.