KUTCHH- Kuch Din To Gujaro Gujarat Main!
The day Modiji had inaugurated Rann Utsav in Kutchh, I wanted to visit it. There are multiple reasons to visit Rann of Kutch but the major one is to experience the Epic White Desert.
After a brief research, I found that Kutchh has a lot more than just the White Desert. So, I planned my first Solo Trip.
A Day trip to Mandvi
I reached Bhuj by train in the morning. After freshening up, I went to Wicked Bike Shop where I had booked My Companion for this Epic Trip - The Royal Enfield Classic. Being a Rider I never felt alone throughout my Kutchh trip - Thanks to REClassic.
Route to Mandvi has great roads with decent surrounding of Small Hills and Deserted Landscapes. I visited the Famous Vijay Vilas Palace, where the Movie “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” was shot. Ideally, an hour is sufficient for this visit but As I was in no hurry, I spent more time there. I tried my Photography skills with my NIKON. At the top of the Palace I sat and enjoyed the panoramic view of The Arabic Ocean and enjoyed conversing with few fellow tourists’ as well.
It was then time to get some Beach Experience, so I traveled to Mandvi Beach. I was born in the southern part of Gujarat where sea shore has black sand and the water is muddy. So, when I reached Mandvi beach and saw white sand beach with clear blue water I got excited and dived right into the water. I had few glasses of Sugarcane juice and Dabeli (It’s Vadapav of Kutch but a bit sweeter)
With this I ended my first day and travelled back to my hotel which was 60km away in the city of Bhuj.
A Day trip to India’s Last Village - Lakhpat
The second day I planned to visit a historical place, Lakhpat, stopping mid at a pilgrimage temple “Mata no Madh”.
I thought of leaving by 7 AM but I was surprised to see no sun at 7. Sun rises very late in this region, somewhere around 8 AM.
I drove for an hour and stopped at a place for breakfast. Let me tell you, Gujarati breakfast is damn tasty! Especially Farsan and Kutchh’s famous Jalebi. I had delicious Fafda, Mix Bhajji & Jalebi. It was then time to resume the journey but my Bike stopped working. I kicked for half an hour in vain and was looking around for a mechanic. Luckily, I found a mechanic shop within 50 meters and got the issue fixed. The moment I heard the engine roar, a big relieving smile spread my lips.
I then stopped at Mata no Madh. It is Ashapura Ma’s Temple and a huge Pilgrimage place for Gujaratis. My mom and Nani were happy knowing my visit to that Temple.
After getting blessed, I departed to the Historic Place LAKHPAT – Last Village of India on Western Side. Pakistan is around 60kms from there. But that’s not it, the view from Lakhpat Fort’s 7 km long wall was incredible. Being a GOT Fan, I got a feeling of Game of Thrones’ Northern Wall. Only snow was replaced by desert :P I sat on the Wall for an hour and snapped many Photos experiencing 270-degree Panoramic view of Desert and Windy weather. It was worth driving 130 km even after facing the trouble my bike gave me.
After spending quality ‘Me’ time, I went to a Gurudwara which was inside the Fort. There I had my Lunch. After hearing a lot about Sikh Langar all my life, I finally experienced it.
I bade farewell to this historic town, Lakhpat, but not without taking a selfie at the broken wall at the entrance.
I headed towards the last stop of the day – Narayan Sarovar & Koteshwar Temple. Narayan Sarovar is famous for Bird watching and Koteshwar temple is a Shiv temple. It will amaze you with the 270+ degree Panoramic View of The Arabic Ocean just in front of the temple. Locals told me that Pakistan was just 50 km from there and in the Dark, you could witness lights from our naughty Neighbour at the horizon.
After this I headed back to Bhuj, a long and tiring ride of 160 km.
Dholavira: Excavated Hadappa City
The third day of the trip was the most hectic one. After the stretch of National Highway for 70 km, the rest of the route was bumpy. Remember! when going gets tough, tough gets going! The day before, I found that the route to Dholavira was passing by the White Desert. So, despite of the bad roads I was excited to experience The White Rann. Let me tell you something, Kutchh has a lot of regions covered with the White Desert so you will witness White desert at multiple places.
The time came and at the horizon, I saw a white line. With every minute of drive, it was coming close to me and surrounding trees were scattering. Suddenly, they disappeared and the only scene I saw was a long straight road and the White Desert. I was mesmerized by its beauty. You can experience this natural phenomena only here.
I found a decent spot and halted my Bike. Adrenaline rush made me shout. Ahhh! What a moment! I think I spent an hour there doing nothing yet I felt joy. Well, I knew the day was long so I started towards Dholavira.
DHOLAVIRA!! 5000+ years of Hadappa sanskruti was living here. The entire Hadappa City was planned and developed way advanced than our cities today. I would not be able to pen down every detail about it but the one thing that impressed me is how they stored water of River Sindhu. It was so meticulously planned that not a single drop of water could go wasted. They even built Earthquake proof houses. It took me an hour to round the City which was only 10% of what was in the past.
Advice to readers: If you ever visit Kutchh, do visit Dholavira and also this Hadappa city with a local guide. You will definitely be impressed by the planning of this city.
Tree Fossil! The last stop of the day which is 16 crore years old. Yeah, you read that right. 16 freaking crore years old!! But that’s not it, I found the view from that place the best one of the trip. I could see white Rann and behind that a sea of blue water. My guide enlightened me that it was not a Sea but Rainwater and Backwater that entered this region from Arabic ocean during the Monsoon. Later, the water gets evaporated and creates the White Desert. Whaaaat!? Amazing, isn’t it? It took me a while to digest the fact.
This place was insanely beautiful! Just see the Pics and tell me If I’m wrong.
I had late lunch at a Homestay. It was simple Bajare Ki Roti with Beans Gravy and Moli Salad. But it was the best I had on this trip.
Show Stopper: The White Desert & The Black Hill
The fourth day was the one I long awaited. I checked in to Shaam-E-Sarhad Resort, it gives you a unique experience of Kutchh Culture. Surprisingly, The Resort was operated by Hodka Gram Panchayat and the money generated from it is used for village’s development. Wow!
After having a proper kutchhi lunch I started my journey to The Black Hill, the highest Peak in Kutchh. The View from the peak was amazing! We can see India’s last bridge and Village and of course the Huge White rann with Clear Blue Backwater in the background. The place was windy and peaceful, worth sitting for hours. During this time, I was wearing Paghdi just to feel the Colorful Kutchh Culture and to be a part of It.
It was almost 4 PM and The White Rann - the main agenda of this trip - was just an hour away. After an hour of drive, I reached to the check post where Army checks your permit. Oh!! A NOTE: You need permit to enter in White Rann and you can get it online within 5 minutes.
After this, I was in White Rann. I parked my RE and started walking. The farther I walked the colour of the ground changed from muddy white to clear white. I was unable to differentiate The White Rann and the Sky at the horizon. There was no tree, no hill, no life, just flat White Rann. I was amazed when I grabbed the soil of White Rann, it was all Salt. Well! I haven’t done much research on how the Rann forms and what it is made of ;)
I bought my NIKON mainly to capture these kind of moments. I took countless pics, did a lapse photography of Sunset in white rann as well. It was so different to witness sunset in the White Desert.
After Sunset, I went to Handicraft market – The Best market I have seen so far!
I reached my Resort and had dinner. I don’t think I have to mention again how delicious the food was! Uff! I already did now :P Well! Before retiring to bed I did my last activity of the day – Star Gazing ;) These days watching the sky full of stars is rarest of the rare things. So, I can’t let this chance slip away. At my Swiss tent – Did I mention the Resort’s stay is in a Swiss tent? Wonderful! Isn’t it? OK let’s come back on track, My Swiss tent was in the middle of the desert beneath the clear sky full of STARS. Exciting! You know what’s more exciting? Capturing these stars! While doing so, I was so lost that I didn't realize it was 2 in the morning. It was the best fun activity I did.
Site Seeing in Bhuj, Bbye Kutchh
On the Final Day of my trip, I visited various places in Bhuj. Places like PragMahal Palace, Aaina Mahal, see the panoramic view of Bhuj city from Bhujio Hill and so on. Well, I didn’t just visit places but enjoyed Kutchhi Food in The Prince Restaurant. Again, Delicious!