The trip to kutch is an experience most of us dream about in our life. Watching the setting sun is a intriguing experience. This was an unplanned trip on a long weekend this new year. I did not want to end up paying a heck of money for the trip as I have heard the trip to Kutch costs a lot. I started finding options and as it was new Year most of budget options were booked. But as universe was on my side I managed to get an awesome accommodation in my budget. So let me share my journey with you.
After working for long hours for continuously lot of days it was finally time to leave for Kutch and get started with a trip which would make my soul filled with joy. I had booked volvo from Pune through Patel travels which was suppose to take 17 hours. It actually took around 21 hours for me to reach. I started from Pune at 11 PM and reached Bhuj at 8PM next day. The journey was a bit tiring but my excitement for seeing the white desert was much more than this tiring journey making me tired.
So here are some suggestions on how to travel:
I would recommend to take Kutch express or any other train from Mumbai till Bhuj. Train would take around 16-17 hours from Mumbai to Bhuj. The journey in train is comparatively cheaper and more comfortable as compared to volvo. Other option is to take either a direct flight till Bhuj or a flight till Ahmedabad and then a volvo from Ahmedabad to Bhuj.
My stay in kutch:
Kutch is famous for Rann Mahotsav which happens from November to Feb every year as this is the time when the white desert can be seen at its best. The white desert is formed from the white salt and is spread across 30,000Km sq from Kutch in Gujarat to Sindh province in Pakistan. Most of inhabitants in Kutch are Kutchi people and their local language is Kutchi too which is similar to Sindhi language.
When I started from Pune I was not sure of staying options as I had not planned it but as I was on budget trip I explored and gathered a lot of information about such places. This techy era has made lot of things easier for us and sometimes enable us to find cheaper options too. Bingo, I got a last minute deal at make my trip and I booked my hotel from them. It costed me around 800 RS for an AC room which was a wonderful room in such a budget. I stayed their for 1 night & started early morning next day and the first thing we did is to rent a bullet that costed us 1500 INR per day. There are lot of vendors who can provide you bikes, we booked it through Wickedrides. We were now all set to get started to this beautiful journey. I had never been to Gujarat before ( excluding official trips) so the most obvious thing was to start my day with most famous Fafda of Gujarat. I was travelling with a gujrati friend which gave me an upper hand in mingling with localites. After having breakfast we headed towards kutch which is around 96 Km from Bhuj. We planned to stay in a Cottage resort in Hodka village near Rann. Though there are tents available in the tent city in kutch we chose not to stay there as it was way over the budget. Instead we planned to experience the local culture of the Kutch by staying in Hodka which is the nearby village to white desert. There are multiple options available in dhordo and hodka where you can stay. A cottage stay costs somewhere between 4000 to 5000Rs. Per night along with all the meals. We stayed in Hodka Zeel resort. The huts were really beautiful and the art work was worth complementing. More than anything the best thing was mouthwatering food and the hospitality we received from the owners and localites of the cottage resort.
The ride was awesome one. I was not riding though but sitting behind and enjoying the views of nature. The roads in Gujarat are well constructed which made the ride even more enjoyable. There is a BSF checkpost where you have to get the pass from for taking a vehicle before entering rann. We took that permission online and saved our time and efforts of standing in a long que. We first stopped at Hodka, kept our luggage got freshened up and then quickly left for rann of kutch as we did not want to miss sunset. The white rann is close from Hodka and took us around 20 min to reach there. We are not allowed to enter ran Mahotsav if we are not staying there but there are some stalls and cultural performances going on in outside area too which will give you an overall feel of the Mahotsav. We stopped there and enjoyed the cultural music and did some shopping at stalls before entering White desert.
Visit to Rann
Finally it was time to enter the white ran, we parked our bike at the entrance gate of white desert before check post. We took a camel cart and then went ahead. As the ride progressed, we began to see the awesome views of endless white land. I was extremely excited to go and touch white desert. The ride stopped and finally we were there in the desert. I felt so amazed by experiencing the never ending white desert which seem to meet the sky at the other end. We sat quietly thinking about the possibilities of so many unknown things to us which are beyond imagination. I also experienced the desert famous camel ride but was sad to see that lot of camels were tired and roaring because of the pain but still they were forced to walk sue to the human commercialization.
After our visit to the Rann we headed back to our resort. Weather was chill and cold breeze was blowing with giving us the cold feet. The best thing which was worth noticing was the sky full of stars which seemed to be too close and the shield covering the sky.
After we arrived back to resort we had a delicious dinner which was made in authentic kutchi style. After the meal we enjoyed the Gujarati folk music which was arrange at our resort by local performers from there. The hospitality of these people is worth remembering.
Once the performance was over we headed back to rooms for a good night sleep.
This authentic experience of staying in one of the villages of kutch is worth experiencing for every traveler. It goes without saying that Kutch is definitely a must visit place which you should add in your bucket list to feel the beautitious white desert .