If you don’t know what Rann Utsav looks like, imagine hundreds of shadows, flickering on a white, salty desert patch, dancing under a full moon to music so mesmerising that you lose yourself. Imagine days that come alive with folks, who come adorned in colourful turbans and lehnga cholis, painting rainbows in an otherwise arid land.
A land that turns into an oasis that beckons travellers from far and beyond.
With this extravaganza on till February 23 in 2016, you simply can’t miss it. But this is going to be a tough nut to crack, for planning a trip to Rann is a big deal in itself. So take my hand (read read) and I’ll take you right into the midst of all the action at Rann.
Rann Utsav Dates –> November 18, 2015 – February 23, 2016
How to get there?
Ahmedabad and Bhuj have the nearest airports and railway stations to Rann. You will have to take a cab from there to reach the Utsav grounds. While there are a few luxury options to stay nearby, like Rann Riders, you might as well head off to Devpur for something that’s easier for a budget trip. Book a homestay there and you will be all set for a great time.
What makes Rann Utsav worth running to?
Visit Gujarat as I hail Rann Utsav as the event of the year. You get the exclusive, once in a lifetime chance to interact with the artists and see them at work. While most of the fairs see exorbitantly priced handicrafts and local produce, Rann Utsav hosts various NGOs that promote local arts, and thus, sell stuff (embroidery in ethnic style, patchwork, terracotta, pen knives and nut crackers being the main) almost at the cost price.
Once done with shopping and the usual round of photography, gorge over an astounding variety of cuisine from rural Gujarat. Take a cup of chai and wait for the moon to turn the expanding white into blue. With a slight nip in the air which will soothe with that cup of chai, merrily crackling bonfires will give you good company. Nights usually see folk dance performances, coupled with some entrancing strumming of iktaras and folk songs.
What you must not miss on this trip?
I agree that some nights at Rann are good enough, but there’s more to explore around Rann. As they say, reach for the eye of hurricane and you’ll find what you seek. Considering Rann to be the hurricane eye, you’ll have the not to be missed ancient sight of Dholavira (remember the Indus Valley connect!), Lothal, Wild Ass Sanctuary (Little Rann, with some luck, you might see Flamingoes here!), Dhordo and Hodka (the artisan villages) and Devpur to explore.
With some more time in your hand, you can also cover Devpur that is home to some of the most ancient havelies in the region. Considering that you’ll be quite near Bhuj, you shouldn’t skip the Kutch Museum and the architectural wonders spread here. While the 2001 earthquake devastated much of the monuments at Bhuj and around, there’s a haunting air of lost history in the crumbling surroundings.
Things to do:
Camel ride, chakda ride, para motoring and many more.
Leaving you on that hauntingly alluring note, I’ll be off to do some more writing and travelling. Feel free to write back for any suggestions, queries, ideas or anything that’s got the word travel in it. Pitch in a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Till then, happy
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