Rann Utsav: Ideal Festive Family Holiday in Gujarat - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

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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