June 2018 - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Best of Paris in 72 Hours

The Gorgeous looking Eiffel Tower, Paris

With its iconic wonders, artistic cathedrals, world famous museums and beautiful stone bridges spanning the river Seine, Paris serves the perfect wanderlust cocktail. Whether you are a history buff, a wine lover, a music aficionado or a connoisseur of art, you are in for a treat. No wonder it is on the bucket list of most travelers heading to Europe.

The chic French capital carries an alluring charm despite being one of the most modern first world cities. This is something that you need to experience first hand to believe. Needless to say, my maiden Euro trip started with Paris.

Being on a rushed Euro trip, I had limited time to explore Paris. Thankfully, due to a well-planned itinerary, I could experience the best of what the city offers, in just 3 days.

So if you are on a tight schedule, then these top things to do in Paris that I explored as part of my 3 day itinerary will certainly help you make the most of it.

Day 1

Sacre Coeur Basilica – Montmartre

Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris

If there is one place which draws in almost as many tourists as the Eiffel Tower, then it is the Sacre Coeur Basilica.

The Cathedral is not just an exquisite work of art, but situated on top of a hill, it provides unparalleled views of the city. The interiors are just as impressive as the white domes that tower over the city. Inside lies a large mosaic of Jesus Christ, almost looking like a painting. It’s a masterpiece by itself.

But more than being an architectural marvel, it is a place that exudes tranquillity. In a bustling city like Paris, this cathedral is an oasis of peace. I would urge you to spend some time basking in the calmness of this place.
Note: There are almost 300 stairs that need to be climbed to reach the top. There is also an automatic funicular railway which ferries passengers to the top of the hill. I would recommend the stairs.
Opening Hours: It is open every day from 8.30 a.m.to 8 p.m. (May to September) and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (October to April). Entrance is free, though you may have to pay to access the dome.

Get a caricature done by an artist in Montmartre

Montmartre has been the base for almost every famous artist who has taken inspiration from France in the last century. Right from Picasso to Vincent van Gogh.

Even today, it continues to be a breeding ground for budding artists. You will get a first-hand experience of that as you walk the streets.

The main street Place du Tertre is teeming with talented caricaturists. You can get a caricature or a silhouette done by one of these. They usually charge around 20 Euros, but you can always bargain to get it done cheaper.

Shop in Montmartre

Montmartre has a maze of alleys and each of them is lined with tonnes of shops. This is in my opinion, the best place to buy souvenirs in Paris.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is the most popular cabaret in the world. It is nothing short of a sensory overload. The ambience, the gourmet French food accompanied by champagne – the official drink of the cabaret, makes for an unforgettable evening in Paris.

Day 2

Eiffel Tower

A trip to Paris would be incomplete without a visit to one of the most romanticized structures known to man – The Eiffel tower. You can see it from pretty much anywhere in Paris. But you can only appreciate it from close quarters.

I visited the Eiffel tower twice during my 3 day trip. The first time, I was unimpressed, the second time I was bowled over. At night, it shines in its golden avatar, so a lot many travelers prefer that time. It looked pretty ordinary to me at night. In my opinion, the best time to go is the morning, just before sunrise.

Eiffel Tower at Night

Against a clear blue sky, with sun rays just making their way to earth, the Eiffel tower looks magical. It is the moment you realize it deserves all the accolades it has earned. Just sit down on the gardens next to it and enjoy some of the best views of the Eiffel tower up-close.

Note: If you want go to the top for the jaw dropping views of Paris, it’s better to book it in advance from their official website. The ticket queues are long, so getting it on the spot can be a big waste of your time.

Arc De Triomphe

The Eiffel tower is not the only place in Paris known for grand views. The Arc De Triomphe is another iconic landmark which affords excellent views of the city.

The monument is built in the memory of those died in the French revolution. It has a small museum which gives you brief glimpse of the history.

Entrance Fee: 12 Euros

Champs Elysses

Champs Elysées is considered to be one of the most beautiful avenues in the world. Visible from the top of Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysees is Paris’s most popular shopping street. It is the house of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton. One of the best places to buy fancy souvenirs!

Day 3


The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and also one of the most visited ones in the world. In the pecking order of places to visit in Paris, I guess it comes only second to the Eiffel tower. If you are a connoisseur of art, then you would lose track of time here.

Most know it to be the home of the famous painting Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, but it has tonnes of other spectacular artworks that you wouldn’t have heard of.

Let me tell you, you can easily spend a day here, but in the interest of time, spend about 4-5 hours so that you don’t miss out on other things.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Paris is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Architecture. If you reach around evening time, with the river seine in the background, it looks like a portrait.

Next to the Notre Dame lies the Lock-Bridge, whose sides are filled with thousands of locks tied by couples in hopes of immortalizing their love. However tying locks is no longer permitted.

Note: Make sure you reach on time, as the Notre Dame has fixed opening and closing hours.

Walk along the River Seine

Walking along the River Seine is one of my favorite experiences in Paris. Next to the Notre Dame lies a promenade along which you can take a stroll on the banks of the river.

The infamous locks of Paris

In the evenings, a cool wind blows here, the silent ambience only occasionally disturbed by a ferry passing by. Even though you are in a bustling city, walking here makes you feel like you have come far away from it.

Every place you visit in Paris has a distinct flavour of its own. Ideally, you would want to immerse yourself in each of these places and not just tick them off your bucket list. And that is precisely what this itinerary will help you do.

About the Author: Gopal Venkatraman is a travel and adventure enthusiast who juggles between his corporate job and his passion for travel. He loves treks and is a big fan of nature. He is well travelled across India, Europe and South East Asia. To know more about Gopal and his travels, look up his travel blog Roving Gene, where he shares all his tips, experiences and itineraries and his Instagram profile for some gorgeous nature shots and stunning locales. All the photographs in this article are his copyright.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Iran’s Architectural Wonder Kashan in Pictures

Beautiful Agah Bozorg Mosque of Kashan, Iran

Rich Persian history, amazing creativity and fabulous architecture can be seen all across Iran. While the world over knows the architectural marvels of Isfahan, Yazd, Persepolis and Shiraz, I would like to bring to you the architectural marvels of another Iranian city, Kashan. Located in the Isfahan province and between Isfahan and Tehran, Kashan, a city that has existed from the pre-historic era, is quite similar to Rajasthan’s Jodhpur. Located by an oasis and surrounded by the central deserts of Iran, Kashan is home to beautiful mosques, intricate houses of rich merchants, amazing Persian gardens, ancient archaeological sites, super hospitable people and so much more. Here are some pictures from this architectural wonder. Hopefully, they will entice you to explore it on your next holiday to Iran.

Tips for travel to Iran: How to get Iran Visa? | A Simple Persian Language Guide for Tourists

Above photo: The 18th century Agah Bozorg mosque that towers over the city of Kashan.

An inside view of the Agah Bozorg Mosque of Kashan, Iran

Above Photo: Stunning colors, architecture and wind towers catch your eye as soon as you enter the Agah Bozorg Mosque of Kashan.

Colorful interiors inside the hamam of one of Kashan's traditional houses

Above Photo: The rich merchants of Kashan loved soaked in their bubble baths. And that is why they splurged on their hammams. This is inside the main hammam room of a merchant’s house.

Colorful glasswork inside Abbasian House, Kashan, Iran

Above Photo: Colorful glasswork that we usually see in the palaces of Rajasthan or the churches of Europe can also be seen as decorating elements in the traditional houses of Kashan. This one in particular was seen inside the Abbasian House.

Iranian Local enjoys a cup of tea during the renovation of Abbasian House, Kashan, Iran

Above Photo: Tea is a way of life in Iran. It is offered to all guests, it is a conversation starter and it is a great way to stay hydrated in this desert atmosphere. I spotted this local enjoying his cup of tea at the Abbasian House.

Traditional Persian Dining Setup inside a traditional house of Kashan

Above Photo: One of the things that capture immediate attention in Kashan’s traditional houses are its open courtyard like communal eating setup. This is one fabulous way to soak in the architecture of these gorgeous homes while you relish delicious Persian food. I can vouch from personal experience.

Walking through the Tabatabaei house of Kashan - a fine example of traditional Persian architecture

Above Photo: Another merchant home. Another example of richness in architecture. Created with beautiful waterways, gardens, fountains, carvings and glasswork, the Tabatabaei house is one of the more beautiful traditional houses of Kashan.

Iranian playing traditional musical instrument at Tabatabei house, Kashan, Iran

Above Photo: You are never too far away from getting to know local culture in Iran. This security guard of the Tabatanaei house entertains the guests with his music. This is a traditional flute like instrument that he can be seen playing.

Kashan rooftop view as seen from the top of Jalali castle

Above Photo: Kashan’s architecture has to do a lot with its desert environment. Most of the larger houses and buildings have wind towers designed in them to keep the rooms cool even during the peak summer months. Clay dominates most of the construction material and colors are quite rare for the building exteriors. This is how the city looks from the top of Jalali castle.

A moment from Fin Garden, Kashan, Iran

Above Photo: A lush Persian garden in the middle of the desert, the Fin garden just outside of Kashan is a treat to the eye. Not only does it show you how to harvest natural spring water to make the desert turn green, it also packs a punch with its colors and creativity.

Borujerdis House courtyard - one of the finest traditional Persian houses of Kashan

Above Photo:Kashan is all about its traditional houses. There is no missing even one of them as each one of them is so unique and beautiful. This is the view of the Borujerdis house courtyard that you see as you enter the premises.

Colorful glasswork on the doors of Tabatabei house of Kashan, Iran

Above Photo: Another set of colorful glasswork. This time on the doors and windows of Tabatabaei house in Kashan.

Glorious interiors of a hammam in Kashan

Above Photo: In case you are wondering how the interiors of the hammams looked like. This is how it looks. As it was a place of relaxation and may be important business meetings, it oozes luxury and creature comforts. One can get a good idea of this by looking at the very intricate carvings and paintings.

Eyecatching aerial view of Kashan's rooftops with domes and wind towers

Above Photo: Natural air conditioners can be seen from the Kashan rooftops. Inverted dome with air vents or even proper wind towers, the rich merchants of Kashan certainly knew how to keep themselves and their homes cool and pleasant during the hot days.

A moment from Kashan bazaar, Iran

Above Photo: This is a scene from the local bazaar of Kashan. Contiguous in nature, these bazaars were designed to stay cool and allow the visitors to shop at length and in peace. It is a potpourri of action and color, especially in the spices and herbs section.

Narrow lanes of Kashan's historic district

Above Photo: These are scenes that present themselves to you as you slowly amble through the mud baked narrow lanes of Kashan. As you are not allowed to photograph the Iranian women from the front, this is a far away shot.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

7 Must Have Experiences in Vietnam

Magical Tam Coc river of Ninh Binh, Vietnam

A must sought after destination in South East Asia, Vietnam is that perfect combination of stunning nature, great history and affordability. Be it cultural sites, beaches, islands, river delta, bustling cities, mind blowing limestone karsts, waterfalls, forests or sand dunes, Vietnam offers all this and much more. If you are planning a trip to this amazing country, here are 7 experiences that must find a place in your Vietnam holiday itinerary.

1) Float down the magical Tam Coc River

Tam Coc river flanked by paddy fields on either side, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

One of Vietnam’s surreal natural wonders, a ride on the Tam Coc river takes you through lush paddy fields, a flooded cave karst system, a series of mountain pagodas and misty limestone karst mountains. This magical river ride that is part of the UNESCO heritage Trang An scenic landscape is what I fondly refer to as Halong bay on land. The Vietnam countryside, the laidback lifestyle and the totally spectacular landscape give it that special charm. Throw in a few pandas and you will feel like you are inside the Kung Fu Panda movie. That is how interesting this place is!

2) Take a Cruise in Halong Bay

Vietnam's Halong Bay - one of mother nature's best creations

A Halong Bay Cruise is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Vietnam. Taking a boat cruise through the mist covered limestone karst landscape is definitely one to experience in one’s lifetime. If you like a bit of adventure, then you can throw rock climbing, cliff jumping and kayaking into the mix to make for an adrenaline packed holiday. Even if you aren’t into cliff jumping, which is definitely a lot of fun, I would certainly recommend climbing to the top of one of the accessible limestone karsts to get a surreal view of the entire Halong bay landscape.

3) Roam the Heritage Streets of Hoi An

Old quarter of Hoi An, a traveler's paradise in Vietnam

A UNESCO World heritage site, Hoi An is that perfect destination for the culture lover. Heritage homes, Japanese bridges, hospitable people, a gorgeous riverside, many avenues for rich shopping and an aura of well preserved culture, that is how I would describe this dreamy town. Be it day or night, the Hoi An riverside is a treat to the senses with its color and action. A little away from Hoi An, you come to close quarters with the paddy fields and the rural life of Vietnam. And then for adventure lovers, there is the opportunity to go scuba diving amidst the white corals of the UNESCO Biosphere Cham Islands that is located right off the Hoi An coastline.

4) Indulge in some Dune Surfing at Mui Ne

Mui Ne - where sand dunes and the sea meet in Vietnam

It is hard to imagine gorgeous red sand dunes in Vietnam and when it overlooks the South China Sea, the view becomes heavenly. South Vietnam’s Mui Ne is one such magical destination. This beach destination not only allows you the chance to enjoy the coastline, the beach and the water, but it also allows you to indulge in some dune surfing at its many sand dunes. Some of them are so huge that they tower over the city and provide a majestic view of the coastline. The sand dunes are mostly white in color, but there are a few that are red and when you stand on them, you feel like you have standing on Mars.

5) Trek amidst the terraced rice fields of SaPa

Scenic hike over the mountainous trails of Sapa, Vietnam

Rich tribal cultures, rolling mountains, fast mountain streams, lush green landscape and terraced rice gardens is how I would describe Sapa in North Western Vietnam. This place is perfect for those trekking holidays where you stay with the locals in their villages, eat fresh local produce and breathe in the pure mountain air while you climb up and down its narrow mountain trails. This is also a great place to shop for tribal arts and handicrafts.

6) Explore the Hindu Trails of the Champa Kingdom at My Son

Beautiful green ruins of My Son Kingdom - a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In its hey days, Hinduism used to exist as far as Vietnam as the Chola kings of South India spread their presence in many South East Asian countries. One such Hindu kingdom can be seen at My Son. Located an hour away from the cultural capital of Hoi An, this Champa kingdom is in ruins and like most of Ta Prohm in Cambodia, trees and their roots have taken over these ancient buildings. Lovers of Hinduism, ancient cultures and ruins will find this place mesmerizing. The rich Vietnam countryside and the traditional dance performances are an added bonus.

7) Indulge in some Bargain Shopping at Ho Chi Minh City

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Sports apparel, shoes, bags and many other products are manufactured in Vietnam. Products of popular brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma are available at a steal. Such bargain shopping is the norm in Ho Chi Minh City, especially in its marets locate din and around District 1. The Ben Thanh market, An Dong market, Bin Tay market and Saigon square are some of the popular locations for bargain shopping. Ho Chi Minh City is also a great place to get yourself a tailored suit for a fraction of the cost. And when you are done with the shopping, watch a water puppet show at the Golden Dragon Theater, one of Vietnam’s top heritage performances that you should not miss.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Thailand’s Gorgeous Koh Tao Island in Pictures

Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

Thailand is blessed with amazing beach destinations. Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi are possibly on all tour itineraries, but tucked in the gulf of Thailand is a small island called Koh Tao that offers tons of gorgeousness, both on land and inside the water. A popular scuba diving and snorkelling destination, Koh Tao is a fabulous beach holiday in Thailand where you relax, enjoy the spectacular sunsets and the panoramic view points, indulge in some adventure, relish the fresh catch and soak in the other charms of this tropical island. In simple words, it is a full beach package rolled into a small, yet insanely beautiful island. Here are some pictures to show you different shades and glimpses of Thailand’s Koh Tao island.

Above Photo: Overlooking Koh Tao and just a 2 minute boat ride away is Koh Nang Yuan, a set of three islands that are interconnected by tiny, white sandy beaches. Extremely popular with scuba divers for its underwater beauty, Koh Nang Yuan is an absolute treat to the eye. It is a perfect place to read a book, soak in some sunshine and unwind.

Vibrant sunset from Koh Tao, Thailand

Above Photo: The island of Koh Tao is blessed with some absolutely stunning sunsets. As most of the properties are located on the West side of the island, these sunsets are not easy to miss, but do ensure you pick a good spot to enjoy it to the fullest.

Chalok Baan Kao Bay and Thian Og Bay from John Suwan Viewpoint at Koh Tao

Above Photo: One of the things that I really enjoy about Koh Tao are its many beautifully positioned view points that allow you to get an aerial view of the land and the waterscape without actually needing to be airborne. A simple walk to hike takes to such view points. A case in point is the John Suwan view point that is located in the south of the island and that provides a panoramic view of the Chalok Baan Kao Bay, Thian Og Bay and the dense tropical landscape.

Snorkeling in the waters around Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

Above Photo: The waters around Koh Tao are perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. If you like the water, the coral reefs off Koh Tao and its rich marine life is bound to amaze you. This is the famous Japanese Garden snorkelling spot.

Sunset near King Rama Rock, Koh Tao

Above Photo: Another one of those special Koh Tao sunsets where the entire sky and the ocean decorates itself in many shades of red, orange and yellow. The location is King Rama Rock, a spot near Sairee beach.

View of the west coast from atop a rock at Koh Tao

Above Photo: A steep trek that offers some amazing views of the Koh Tao landscape. The West Coast Mountain view point is a great way to indulge in some trekking and then enjoying the lovely views of Koh Tao’s west coast.

Watching the sunset from Mango view point, Koh Tao, Thailand

Above Photo: Another view point and another sunset. The Mango view point offers a panting trek towards the northern side of the island. This trek takes you through some of the the island’s forests, mango farms and rocks to a scintillating viewpoint of the Koh Tao land and ocean scape.

Kayaking at the southern tip of Koh Tao, Thailand

Above Photo: It is not just scuba diving and snorkelling that are popular adventure activities at Koh Tao. The calm waters on the south and west coasts, the jaw dropping cliffs and green coastline ensure make kayaking a very interesting activity here. One can kayak all round the island taking breaks at different beaches or definitely the calmer west coast.

Resort located at cliff edge on Koh Tao island, Thailand

Above Photo: Koh Tao has some really nice properties to stay and they are pretty light on the pocket too. One such place is located in the southern part of the island and on top of cliff overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

The private beach of Freedom Beach Resort, Koh Tao

Above Photo: This is the Freedom beach that offers a lot of solitude and plenty of calm waters. A lot of beach villa type properties are located around here. 

Beuatiful and laidback Koh Tao island of Thailand

Above Photo: Whether you are walking or cycling at Koh Tao, you are never too far away from views such as this. Emerald waters, swaying coconut palms, lush green terrain and nature at its best are some of the top things on offer during such walks or rides.

Evening Moment at Sairee Beach, Koh Tao

Above Photo: The last photo in the Koh Tao Photo Essay series is another sunset, this time from the famous Sairee beach, one of the main hangout joints on the island. Like I had mentioned earlier, wherever you are on the West coast of Koh Tao, you are never too far away from seeing a top class sunset.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rann Utsav: Ideal Festive Family Holiday in Gujarat

A gorgeous white rann sunset, Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India

Kutch nahin dekha toh kuch nahin dhekha (If you haven’t seen Kutch, you haven’t seen anything)! This is how Kutch is referred to amongst the people of Gujarat, especially when they are talking about holiday destinations in Gujarat.

The woman who found herself on an Indian Postage Stamp in the year 1997

As a state, Gujarat is colorful, vibrant and offers diverse avenues for the traveler to indulge in. Be its capital, the UNESCO world heritage city of Ahmedabad, its gorgeous temples at Patan and Dwarka, its stunning birding and wildlife sanctuaries at Gir, Nal Sarovar and Velavadar, its amazing beaches in Mandvi or the stunning white salt desert of the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat has enough and more destinations to blow the mind of the visiting tourist.

Colorful pottery work of Kutch

While each one of these destinations offer totally mind blowing experiences to its guests, there is something unique about the far west of this country, especially the district of Kutch, which is made up of one of the largest salt deserts in the world. This place is not only colorful, but is a powerhouse of creativity, art, craft and culture. And let me not start talking their rich and delicious food, coz if I do, that deserves a separate blog post in itself. One can indulge in all the charms of the region called ‘Greater Rann of Kutch’, by taking part in the Rann Utsav festival that happens every winter and if you stay inside the Rann Utsav tent city, you will realize that you don’t have to visit different villages to see their art, craft and culture, but these villagers come to you inside the tent city.

The colorful Chakda of Gujarat - Must Experience on a holiday to Kutch

Earlier this year when the festival was in full flow, I was privileged to experience it at close quarters. This included the stay in the Rann Utsav tent city, watching sunrises, sunsets and full moon events at the nearby White Rann, visiting the local villages known for their creative spirits and in overall enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of one of Gujarat’s top orchestrated festivals. Below is my detailed review of my stay at the Rann Utsav tent city and why I think it makes for a perfect festive holiday in Gujarat for you and your family and friends.    

One Big Festive City

The Rann Utsav tent city is such a massive piece of land that the tag ‘city’ definitely fits its well. Be it diverse forms of stay, art, culture, music and entertainment, logistics, food and beverages, adventure or interaction with villagers and artisans, you can find all of it in this campus. From early in the morning to late past midnight, there is never a paucity of action. Rann Utsav offers its visitors a ton of photography opportunities, cultural interactions, rich colors, great food and in overall a fabulous festive atmosphere.

The tent accommodation at Rann Utsav

Run and managed by Gujarat Tourism, this tent city is located right next to the Rann in the village area of Dhordo. It is a well planned city that is set up right after the monsoons and stays on till spring. Which means that there is no sign of it during the summer months, only to appear out of thin air just before the end of the rains.

Perfect for Indian Families

The colorful creations of Kutch as seen at the weaving village of Gandhi nu Gram, Gujarat, India

The Rann Utsav tent city is perfect for Indian families on a holiday. Whether you are a couple, a young family or a family with the elderly, I think all of them will have a fabulous holiday. Free buggy carts are always at your beck and call to take you and your baggage anywhere in the tent city. This allows you to soak in the charms of the festive city without worrying about walking too much, getting tired or walking too much. The budget minimalistic to the expensive full on luxury tents offer a diverse variety of stay options for those with different budgets. The in-house kitchen treats you to lip smacking array of local Gujarati, Indian and continental food for breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner. The only flipside of this kitchen is that it serves food at specified times, but I think that’s the only flip side. Everything else about it is amazing. You will end up enjoying the food so much that I am pretty sure that you will gain a few happy kilograms. Within short distances from the tent accommodation, one can indulge in cultural shows, musical performances, exposure to local creativity, take part in adventure activities and even do some shopping.

Great Insight into Kutchi Culture

Rawan Hatha Musician from Rann Utsav Tent City, Kutch, Gujarat

The people of Kutch are a bunch of super creative artisans. Be it painting, weaving, stitching, pottery and clay work, glass work, making of musical instruments, leather jobs, singing and dancing and/or toys, the people of Kutch turn their creative imagination into some pretty special products. The Rann Utsav is a perfect opportunity to see all this at close quarters as many artisans from different villages are invited by Gujarat Tourism to set up stalls, practice their art and sell the finished goods to the visitors. Not only does this provide you an opportunity to understand Kutchi art and culture, you can also indulge in some retail therapy by buying Kutchi handicrafts, while providing much needed livelihood to these skilled, yet poor artisans of Kutch.

Fabulous Village Tours with Knowledgeable Guides

Colorful handmade toys of Kutch

One of the things that I really liked about Rann Utsav is that it has closely tied up with all the different artisans from the different villages of Kutch and through its well organized tours, it offers its visitors a quick peek into the rural life of Kutch. While this is certainly interesting to the visitors, it gives the villagers an opportunity to sell their wares. The knowledgeable guides who come with the tour make the journey interesting by sharing with you the history of the place and many other interesting titbits of information. Famous villages like Bhirandiyara, Nirona, Gandhi nu gram, Bhujodi, Ludiya, Khavda and Ajrakhpur are part of different tours. So are the coastal city of Mandvi, the city of Bhuj and Kala Dungar, the highest point of Kutch.

Great Proximity to the White Rann Salt Desert

A White Rann Sunrise and the ship of the desert

One of the top highlights of a holiday to Kutch is a visit to the ‘White Rann’, India’s largest salt desert and one of mother nature’s splendid creations. Sunrises, sunsets and moonrises are a spectacle to experience here, which means that you might have to make multiple trips and that is why close proximity makes sense. A 20 minute drive from the Rann Utsav tent city brings you to the splendid White Rann. And once you are done with this surreal experience, you can quickly head back to the comforts of the tent city for a warm shower and delicious meals.

The Khatri brothers of Nirona, Kutch

I hope by now you realize why I am so gung-ho about this beautiful part of our country. It is that perfect concoction of festivities, luxury, nature, art, culture, music and amazing food. So the next time, you are looking for a winter holiday destination for your family and friends, look no further than the creative people of Kutch, their salt desert home and a festive extravaganza called ‘Rann Utsav’.

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