Bhuj

A stroll on Mandvi Beach

We drive to Mandvi Beach to laze out in the winter Sun. The beach is a curving stretch of yellow sand fringed by green waters, with windmills on one side and an uninterrupted view of the Arabian sea on the other. The sea is safe for swimming and the beach is ideal for walking. The beautiful beach offers many fun activities including Camel rides, bubble floats, speedboats and even para-sailing. But for us peace hunters, a few steps away there is the silence of the gentle waves and the occasional herons flying by.

I am strolling on Mandvi beach, with the cool waters of the ocean slipping though my toes The noise of the jeering tourists is drowned by the gentle waves of the Arabian Sea A wave of black herons fly by as if the dimming sun is prodding them to go back to their homes Situated at the border of Diu and Gujarat, Mandvi beach is a 6 km long stretch where the pristine water of the turquoise Arabian Sea adjoins the seashore It was once a major port of the region and summer retreat for King Maharao of Kutch Once we were back from the salt desert of White Rann, we decided to spend an evening at this pristine beach
Rann Utsav

Colors of Rann Utsav

The Dhordo tents are the most amazing place to stay while exploring the beauty of White Rann. Located just 15 minutes away from the white desert, with luxury tent accommodations, round the clock Gujarati delicacies, a caring staff and numerous activities, you will not have a dull moment for the stay.

The advent of winter in India brings with it the best weather to experience the historically rich nation We were in Bhuj to spend a few days in leisure at the Rann Utsav Rann Utsav is an initiative of the government of Gujarat, which facilitates a four-month long festival in the midst of the Thar desert, every year starting from November and lasting till February A smart move that generates livelihood for the local villagers who are only too happy to welcome visitors from across the globe – to savor the local delicacies and to witness the unique culture of Kutch Bhuj to Rann Utsav We landed in Bhuj a day before to prepare ourselves for the days at White Rann
Sunrise at White Rann

Sunrise at White Rann

I would be the last person to get up at 5 am on a vacation. But I did and yes I am not complaining. I was witness to the most lovely sunrise over the white melted salts of White Rann. The silence accompanied with the vastness of space, the cool breeze of early November and the locals dressed up in ghagra & cholis make this moment a feast for my disenchanted urban soul.

I am back again at the zero point of Rann of Kutch and I cannot decided if I am disappointed or enthralled The sea water has moved back into the salt mud-lands dissolving all the white salt The visuals have changed completely from a couple of days before when I came here at sunset The landscape appears more like as if I am standing on the shores of the sea as I wait for the sun to rise Only, the sea isn’t a mass of blue or for that matter green Its is white! [ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”89″ exclusions=”1515,1516,1517,1518,1519,1520,1522,1523,1524,1525,1526″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_pro_blog_gallery” override_image_settings=”0″ image_quality=”100″ image_crop=”0″ image_watermark=”0″ image_display_size=”1200″ image_max_height=”0″ spacing=”0″ border_size=”0″ border_color=”#FFFFFF” display_captions=”1″ caption_location=”below” display_type_view=”default” ngg_triggers_display=”exclude_mobile” ngg_proofing_display=”0″ captions_enabled=”1″ captions_display_sharing=”1″ captions_display_title=”1″ captions_display_description=”0″ captions_animation=”slideup” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included”
Kalo Dungar

Ride to Kalo Dungar

We ride out deep into the desert to explore Kalo Dungar also known as the Black Hill. Kalo Dungar is the highest point in Kutch and the best place to enjoy a panoramic view of the amazing Rann of Kutch. Though not literally black, the hill is known so because in olden times, the merchants returning to Kutch from Sindh used to be guided by this lonesome hill in the grim desert, which used to appear black because of the shadow cast by the sun.

I am at Kalo Dungar, some 50 km north of Dhordo tent city, on the top of the Black Hills The highest point in Kutch, offers a bird’s-eye view of the Great Rann of Kutch From here, the entire northern horizon vanishes into the Great Rann, the desert and sky becoming indistinguishable on the horizon Drive from Dhordo Tent City to Kalo Dungar I and my travel companion – Ranita, were staying at the Dhordo Tent city Every year, the government of Gujarat holds a four-month-long festival known as ‘The Rann Utsav’ starting from November to February The stay at the Tent city includes a free bus tour to Kalo Dungar
White Rann

Sunset at White Rann

Nothing beats a sunset and that too at the endless desert of White Rann. While basking in the beautiful sunset the only thought that grazed my mind was this, right here..is one of the “Real” 7 wonders of the world.

I am standing at the edge of the White Rann, an endless stretch of white that goes all the way from Gujarat’s Kutch district to Pakistan’s Sindh The tattooed Camels have helped us reach this point from where everything is a blank white of nothingness The vast expanse of uninterrupted whiteness makes me feel as if I was miraculously zapped from the grim Indian desert to the frozen white lakes of Japan, only I didn’t need the safety of my hefty gloves or winter jackets Oh yes, it looks like a frozen lake but looks can be deceiving This is one the most unforgiving places in India with summer temperatures averaging and peaking at 495 °C Thankfully it is
Chattardi

The forgotten tombs of Chattardi

Chattardi in Bhuj is a small yet wonderful place to experience the history of Kutch. These Chattardis or umbrella shaped domes were built around 1770 AD to glorify the tombs of the Royal families of Rajput lineage. Surrounded by sea on one size and the grim Rann mountains on the other, Kutch remained cut off from the rest of India, in a time-wrapped cocoon with its amazing culture and art confined within these natural boundaries.

On our autumn break, we were heading to the Rann of Kutch The Great Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat Kutch derives its names from its resemblance to a tortoise which is pronounced as “Kachabo” in the local Gujarati dialect Kutch used to be a desert sporadically populated with small tribes The first known mention of Kutch occurs around 300 BC when a holy man, lost in the forests of the north-western Kutch, cleared the wildlands using celestial fire, so that he could find his way home It is said – from those ashes sprang crops of grass so rich that large numbers of pastoral tribes

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