Rann of Kutch is inarguably one of the most beautiful destinations in India. One of the largest salt deserts in the world, Rann of Kutch is not just famous for its natural splendor, but also for the cultural extravaganza that takes place every year between the months of October and February/March in the form of Rann Utsav. Rann Utsav is an underrated carnival BUT BELIEVE US when we say that it is one of the best festivals that you will ever be able to attend in India.
Let us help break it down to you!
If camel safaris on full moon nights, camping in luxurious tents, bonfires, good folk music and sampling the local cuisine sounds like the ideal idea to wrap your year, then this is where you should be.
Rann of Kutch dates for 2023
Organized by the Tourism Department of Gujarat, Rann Mahotsav is a grand winter carnival. It takes place when the air in the desert is chilly and the moon shines the brightest. The Kutch Rann Utsav 2023 dates are from 26th Oct 2023 to 20th Feb 2024.
The coolest venue
The grand celebration begins in Bhuj. The finale of the festival is organized at Rann Utsav tent city, a city made of more than 400 AC and non-AC tents. It is set up near a small village called Dhordo, easily accessible from the Bhuj airport.
What happens at the Rann festival?
Right from the folk dances (Garba, Hallisaka and Tippani) to the folk drama (Bhavai), right from the sumptuous Gujrati cuisine to moonlit camel safari; everything is going to make your Rann experience unforgettable. The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited ensures a lifetime of experience and memories to cherish. You can camp at Dhordo or you can also arrange a homestay for yourself. Since Rann of Kutch is famous across the world, a lot of tourists from outside India attend the Rann Utsav. This gives you a great opportunity to meet and interact with people from different countries and cultures.
Things to do at Rann of Kutch
There is a lot one can do while at one of the greatest desert festivals in Asia.
1. Spend time at the desert watching moon
White expanse of serene sand under the full bloom of the moon, it does not get better than this. The best time to witness the white desert is during the full moon. You can check out the full moon dates during the festival on their website and make your bookings accordingly.
2. Enjoy the richness of culture
Attending cultural fiesta is one of the most important things to do at Rann of Kutch festival. The festival hosts folk artists from all corners of Gujarat and their performances will leave you awestruck no matter which corner of Kutch you go to. You can actually enjoy a bonfire on the desert while you dance to the tunes of true folk music.
3. Local sightseeing and adventure sports
While the festival will give you an experience of a lifetime, there is still so much more this festival has to offer. One can go for a solo ride on the desert on a DPV (Desert Patrol Vehicle). Desert safari is another exhilarating activity to look out for. You can go on a camel ride, spend time star gazing at the desert and also give other activities such as ziplining and paintball a shot.
4. Hot air balloon for a birds-eye view of the white sparkling desert
Take a hot air balloon ride and we bet you would take months to get over it! The experience is mind-boggling. The view of the vibrant hues of the salt-sand from the top is sure to stay with you for months on end.
5. Some beach time in Mandavi
Spend some time at the beach where the blue melts into the horizon. Hop on a camel and take a ride on the beach. Nothing like it! How often do you get to ride on a camel? And that too on a beach!
6. Visit the Craft Bazaar
The Rann Utsav festival in Gujarat not only promotes tourism in the region but also provides local communities with the opportunity to showcase and sell their traditional crafts and art. At the festival, there’s a craft bazaar where you can find authentic craft items from Kutch, showcasing the rich diversity of Gujarat through its art and crafts. These expressive, unique, and beautiful handicrafts are available for purchase. Don’t miss the chance to visit the villages of Bhirandiyra, Khavda, and Gandhi-Nigam, where they organize workshops for creating remarkable handcrafted textiles and fabrics. The art and craft industry in this region is truly astonishing, offering an array of incredibly beautiful items for you to buy and cherish.
- Copper bells
- Silver junk jewelry
- Bandhini sarees or dupattas
- Rogan Art: Oil-based painting
- Ajrakh block printing shawls
7. Hogg on food as much as you want
All the amazing food options available here are just what you need to make your experience extra special. Two magnanimous dining halls serve scrumptious authentic Kutchi cuisine. Besides, there are food corners that cater to hunger calls at the odd hours of the night.
8. Adventure activities
Spending your holidays at Rann Utsav offers a wide range of experiences to enjoy. You can find tranquility and relaxation as you gaze at the starry sky under the magnificent moonlight. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture with traditional music, dance performances, and colorful costumes that bring life to the festivities. For those seeking adventure, there are thrilling activities to partake in, including solo desert safaris on Desert Patrol Vehicles that promise exciting moments.
The mesmerizing white desert, resembling a tortoise’s shape, offers a breathtaking view from a hot air balloon, providing a unique perspective of the entire landscape and the tents below. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, you can also enjoy activities like ATV rides, exhilarating zip-lining at Skyzilla, paintball battles, and paramotoring.
For a more traditional experience, you can embark on a desert safari, explore the Little Rann of Kutch, or take a camel ride under the enchanting moonlight or during the daytime. Additionally, indoor games like chess and carrom are available for those who prefer a more leisurely form of entertainment. Rann Utsav truly offers a diverse range of experiences to make your holiday unforgettable.
9. Explore the nearby villages
Exploring the nearby villages is a must to delve into the rich heritage of Kutch and uncover the exceptional local art and crafts that are meticulously crafted by the talented local communities. Two such traditional villages worth visiting are Hodko and Nirona, where you’ll find close-knit communities of skilled artisans and craftsmen.
These villages are treasure troves of tradition and creativity, offering you the opportunity to witness firsthand the artistry and craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations. As you stroll through Hodko and Nirona, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant colours, intricate designs, and unique techniques that go into creating the exquisite handicrafts unique to this region.
Things to keep in mind
You will need permission to enter the Salt Desert as it is reckoned a sensitive area due to its proximity to the Pakistani border. Written permission is required, which can be obtained on the way at the Bhirandiyara village (famous for mawa, a sweet made from milk) checkpoint, around 55 kilometers from Bhuj. The cost of the permit is 100 rupees per person and 50 rupees for a car. One has to submit a photocopy of the ID and has to show the original as well. Permission can also be obtained from the Gujarat Police DSP office in Bhuj near Jubilee Ground (it’s closed Sundays, and every second and fourth Saturday).
How to reach
The nearest airport to Kutch is in the city of Bhuj, which is around 80 km from the Rann desert. Bhuj airport is well connected to cities all over India. Flights run from and to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata etc.
The city does not have a dedicated railway station of its own. However, the Bhuj city has a railway station with trains coming from many major cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad etc. You will have to arrange a vehicle or book a cab to reach Kutch from Bhuj.
This is the only actual option to reach Kutch. You can take your own vehicle or hire a cab from Bhuj to reach Kutch. You can also hire a cab and take a roadtrip from Ahmedabad (400 km) or Rajkot (300km).
So go, see Kutch kyunki …
Kutch Nahi Dekha Toh Kuchh Nahi Dekha!
While enjoying your time at the Rann festival should be on top of your list, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Kala Dungar (Black Hill), which offers a panoramic view from 458 meters above sea level. One can also see all the way across the Pakistani border. Apart from this, visit Hodka Artist Village, Ludia Village, where the rural people and tribes specialize in block printing, beadwork, Banni embroidery, leatherwork and weaving, or take a spiritual break at Dwarka.
When you find yourself in Kutch, seize the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Enhance your stay by downloading the Savaari car rental app, allowing you to create countless cherished memories during your visit. Whether you wish to explore the breathtaking landscapes, delve into the rich cultural heritage, or embark on exciting adventures, having the Savaari app at your fingertips will ensure that you make the most of your time in this enchanting region. So, don’t miss out on any of the incredible experiences Kutch has to offer; download the Savaari app and unlock the full potential of your journey.
Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Swati Deol