The Rann of Kutch in Gujarat is by far the most mesmerizing and enigmatic place one can go in India. It is one of themost popular bucket list destinations and to do it on a full moon night is just magical. The Rann comes alive in the night, the white salt desert breathes in the moonlight and lets one be immersed in its heavenly light. The Rann Mahotsav is an experience of lifetime… just you the moonlight and magic!
The Rann Mahotsav since its inception has pulled a lot of crowd and has brought about the showcasing of Kutch culture and wears. December 23rd begins a journey of two months till the 26th of February wherein tents are set up forming a village. The whole atmosphere is electric and the “White Desert” engages everyone that sets foot on it. The Rann is a large salt desert that borders India and Pakistan and spreads about 30,000 square miles making it one of the largest salt deserts in the world. It is divided into the smaller Rann and the Greater Rann.
The Rann Mahotsav embodies the spirit and culture of Kutch and showcases it along the its colorful splendor. Visiting the festival will bring you face to face with the ethnicity of Kutch with the modes of transport ranging from ATV’s to camel rides on the sand. The region is known for its dance, handicraft, patchwork –which is native to this region- and folk musical performances. The Rann Mahotsav gives one a wholesome understanding of the practices of the region and lets you partake in the festivity of its local people.
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Apart from the Rann, the festival also takes you around Kutch through the gates of history to the Aaina Mahal known for its Indian and European architectural blend, especially the great hall where the Venetian glass is illuminated with candelabra. Kala Dungar, the highest point in Kutch gives you breathtaking views of the Rann and leaves you with an appetite which the Dattatreya Temple quenches on climbing up. The Vijay Vilas Palace is one splendor that one should not miss, built in the early 20th century it is the perfect blend of Kutch, Rajasthani and Bengali architecture built by the reigning monarch at the time. For a quiet getaway the Mandvi Beach is recomeneded, with a 1600 sq km coast line, this is one place to soak in the history and culture of ancient Kutch.
Ranging from the white sand that welcomes you at the village, the hospitable people that you make friends with for a lifetime, places and folk lore of fairy lands and a festival like no other … this winter season turn your gaze to the white and pure and come “Breathe in a bit of Gujarat”- Amitabh Bachchan.
Author: Akashi Ganguli, Udaipur.