As a Gujarati, I’ll never fully express my admiration for deserts. Kutch tourism has been on the list of every traveler lately due to the white desert and Gujarat Tourism campaigns. Here goes the Kutch Travel Guide.
To those people who think that Kutch has been simply blown out of proportion by Amitabh Bachan and his “Kuchh din toh Guzaro Gujarat mein”(spend some days in Gujarat) advertisements – this blog’s written specifically for you.
Kutch travel guide – it’s best in winters, from September to February. November to February there’s the “Rann Utsav(Desert Festival)” and it attracts tourists from all over the world.
1. Kutch Travel Guide – Bhuj
This is the capital city of the Kutchh district. It’s accessible by air at the Bhuj Domestic airport. Bhuj’s a very interesting place. There’s a “City Palace” with “Aaina Mahal(mirror palace)” in the Darbargarh area of the city. Just hire a rickshaw and within 4 hours you would have been across the city.
My favorite part of Bhuj is the handicraft market. I love silver jewelry and the traditional Kutchhi cotton kurtas with ajrakh print. Trust me when I say this, they don’t sell such Kurtas anywhere.
Also, to someone into terracotta art and Handicrafts then expect a wonderful variety like never seen before. Bhujodi’s a small village made on the outskirts of Bhuj for visitors, begin your shopping spree from here.
Say you happen to have some more time on your hand then consider visiting Khavda for Ajrakh clothing and Nirona for pottery and kitchenware. These villages are within a 30km radius of Bhuj – take a bus or just hire a taxi.
Swaminarayan temple and Kutchi Dabeli
We also visit the Swaminarayan temple in Bhuj every single time. It’s a huge beautiful white temple. Also, do try out Kathiyawadi restaurants and Dabeli. One simply can’t go around Kutch without the super spicy “Kutchi Daabeli”. My roommate, who’s a Kutchi, gets me a Dabeli every single time she comes from vacation.
In fact, we have a special Dabeli masala in the room all the time. Eat it with chapati and rice and everything is not tasty.
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2. Dhordo/ White Desert/ Safed Rann
The most exciting and talked about part of the Kutch travel guide: I have a friend who’s performing in the Rann Utsav this year. Folk dance and the ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are the chief guests.
Rann Utsav started as a three days saga in 2005. Initially, it was meant to revive the culture of Kutch instead of the Bhuj earthquake that destroyed the economy and lives of the people of the district. I remember my Mumma often recalls how the earthquake was terrible and the tremors were felt all the way to Delhi, 1000kms away.
We incurred some heavy losses as well and times were tough, but people grow out of everything. That’s the beauty associated with Rann Utsav.
Spend an entire day in the desert and with luck, there’s a good chance to see some Siberian cranes and flamingoes on migration. I personally suggest having your lunch in Bhuj and then leaving for the desert. You’ll be there in an hour and a half. The sunset’s a delight to watch. Then begins the night stage festivities. Dances, Folk songs, and people in full festive delight.
Navratri(Gujarati dance festival) and Makar Sankranti(kite flying festival) are also celebrated here.
Accommodation in Dhordo
To spend a night in the desert – book yourself a cottage online, but the bookings often go up to 3 years of waiting, and I am not kidding.
Click ‘See all deals’ to see the number of places to book a cottage below
This is the part where it gets really expensive. But the experience again is worth it. Camel riding, desert biking, hot air ballooning are some other highlights.
Do you know that the desert’s white because of the salt content in the sand? In fact, half of the desert’s submerged under seawater during monsoons. The water washes away in winters and the salt planes remain. It’s like a snowy experience without the snow :)
3. Mandvi Beach
This is a spot for exclusive bird watching. Your typical beach experience with coconut water, camel ride, ferries, jet skies, dabeli, Kulfi, and sunset. The perfect evening spot!
Other places with beaches to check out:
4. Kaalo Dungar(Black Hill)
It’s a black hill. Literally. It’s right in the middle of the white desert and a strategic point for India. Pakistan border’s visible from here and one needs a military permit to visit the hill. The perfect trekking experience with a view so precious that it’s the hotspot for college students and high school kids.
5. Mata Nu Madh
It’s a temple with a history of fulfilled wishes. It’s a two-hour drive from Bhuj. The deity is sacred to the Jadeja rulers of Kutchh and is revered by all people.
So, that’s the highlight in a 100kms radius of Bhuj. Stay at a hotel in Central Bhuj and with 3 days is more than enough to go around. I recommend getting a stay in central Bhuj and hiring a motorcycle or a car and traveling around at your own pace. Also, booking a taxi is an option.
Check out accommodations in Bhuj on Booking.com:
Say you happen to have more time on your hand and wish to expand the radius then I recommend visiting the “Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary” and “Pirotan Islands in the Arabian Sea” for the wild experience. However, you’ll have to shift your base to Jamnagar in that case.
That would end the Kutch travel guide. Kutch is a very unlikely “touristy” place in the sense that the visitor inflow hasn’t been a historical occurrence. Recently, people have added Kutchh to their bucket list. The best part is, this doesn’t seem to die out any time soon with the ever-growing number of people flocking the Rann every year during November-March. And, I’m just so proud to boast about it!
I’ve been to Kutch thrice. Once with my parents, then with my grandparents and finally with my school friends. And I’ve had a different experience every single time! So, wishing you the best time traveling around my state!
Other posts to check out:
- A shoutout to Charlie Animal Rescue Center!
- A Complete Guide to Gir National Park
- Tourist Attractions in Wayanad – Kerala
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