All about Rann Utsav in Kutch, Gujarat
Gujarat brings to your mind a splash of colour: in the lip-smacking thalis, the mirrored embroidery and in the eye-catching accessories from turbans to lehengas and more. Circle in for a memorable visit to the Rann of Kutch during the famous RannUtsav that runs from November to February, spanning the winter months. During monsoon, the Rann is submerged in water. The shallow wetland in the Thar desert emerges bone dry as the year draws to a close and the climate is perfect during this time to revel in the burst of colours and joy that fill the air. Here are five things you must do when you plan your family vacation to experience the RannUtsav – at one of the best places to visit between November and February in India.
Ride the ship of the desert across the expanse of the White Rann. Bedecked with bright tassels and strings, the camel plods along the terrain. It is a fascinating sight as you focus on the horizon. The intricacies of 18 tribes that live in the Rann come alive during this awaited festival at the end of the year. You can stargaze at night, enjoy local dance performances in garba, and taste Kutchi culture at its vibrant best. While you may shop galore for the mesmerising tiny handicrafts, and the bandhani work, the sight of the sunrise and sunset will stay in your mind forever. Sure, the temperature dips beautifully in the night across the open expanse (pack woollens along with your sunscreen and binoculars – to indulge in birdwatching in the Little Rann of Kutch) but rising at 6 am to watch the golden sunshine fill the sky, and the crimson orange hues stain the sky later in the evening feels simply surreal. On a full moon night, the entire expanse looks surreal, with a dancing light phenomenon called chir batti that takes place
Remember the Harappan Valley Civilisation we studied about in the first chapter in our history textbooks? The cradle of all civilisations brings in Dholavira, one of the six largest Harappan sites within the Indian subcontinent. If you love the ancient, tick mark a visit to this location to study the ruins. Those who relish architecture, make way to the fascinating Aina Mahal. The stunning Venetian artistry in glass and marble is a visual feast. Love beaches and horse riding? Make sure you go to Mandvi, near Bhuj. For your Insta pictures, clamber up to the top of the Vijay Vilas Palace, for a spectacular view of the Arabian beyond the Rann. The porches and domes abound at this stunning palace, where movies including Lagaan and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam have been filmed. Spectacular colors run through the bandhani bazaar here, and while you haggle and net bargains in folk textiles, exquisite embroidery, traditional ornaments and mirror work, drop in at the old Swaminarayan temple
The Mumbai street food staple of vada pav revs up its mirchi quotient in the spicy pakoras it is served up hot with. You will love the fresh, garam bajra na rotla with curd. Keep slurping on the butter milk to stay hydrated throughout the day. The bun major in dabeli appears at every nook and corner in lip smacking renditions. Remember to try the ice dabeli. That’s a local moniker for the dabeli made with chilled curd and fiery chutneys. Speaking of fiery, there is the kadak pav too that must be chomped with chai, along with fried rice-crisps (bhungras) stuffed with garlicky potatoes (lasaniya bataka) Delicious darlings, these
If you get tired, there golf carts are available easily to navigate your way. Kick in the adrenaline – if kids are happy, folks are happy too – with a spot of rappelling, ATV rides, and even paramotoring when you can fly through the air and soak up the colourful sights of the KutchUtsav. Looking for a slice of calm? Believe me, closing eyes and meditating as the sun rises, or sets, is a magical experience. Slip into yoga postures, video call with your friends across the globe and click pictures galore.
The blue unfurls across one of the five holy lakes in India: Located in Kutch, the Narayan Sarovar lake takes its name after Lord Vishnu and is one of the most revered sites in a Hindu pilgrimage. Invest a few hours as you sojourn across the pious temples here, at Shri Trikamraiji, Laxminarayan, Govardhannathji, Dwarkanath, Adinarayan, Ranchhodraiji and Laxmiji. These colossal mandirs were designed by Maharaj Shri Deshalji’s queen and attract thousands of devotees from across India throughout the year. Follow the COVID-19 protocol when you visit crowded places.
With several nomadic tribes bringing in their own intrinsic flavours to the region, a unique form has evolved as Kutchi music. The folk songs ring through the air to create a festive mood in the area. Various instruments bring alive the cultural heritage of the Rann of Kutch: from the tabla, to the shehnai, the mini cymbals in manjiras, the haunting flute, and percussion specials in the damaru and dholak. Discover the bhorrindo here in the Kutch. It is a quirky, musical instrument specific to the Kutch region. Our desi rendition of the didgeridoo, and emits a sound similar to the wind instruments. The entire air is redolent with song and music.
RannUtsav in Gujarat is one of its kind event, and there’s no way you should miss it. It makes for a great event to witness even if you can make it for a day, however, a 4-day trip to the Kutch Region is ideal.
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