Visiting the Rann of Kutch should definitely make it to your bucket list as this seasonal geographical phenomenon of an infinite and immaculate salt desert is a breathtaking sight. Here’s your guide to help you plan your visit to the White Desert!
The economical option- A day trip from Bhuj
Reach Bhuj via flight/train and stay at a resort in Bhuj and drive down to Rann of Kutch. Good hotels in Bhuj start from INR 2000/$30 per night. The approximate cost to drive down to Rann of Kutch is about INR 2500/$39. In this case, you’ll be able to catch either only the sunrise or sunset. If you want to do both, after watching the sunrise at Rann, you can visit Kala Dungar (the highest point in Kutch) and the Flamingo City (10 kms from Kala Dungar) and return to Rann of Kutch for the sunset and then drive back to Bhuj.
A little heavy on the pocket- Rann Utsav
Stay in the Gujarat tourism operated Tent City to experience the Rann Utsav- a cultural fete celebrating the rich Kutchi traditions and folklore. The tent city is built only for the three month period between December and February. There are two options- Phase I and Phase II. The Phase I pricing is at a premium and starts from INR 9100+ taxes/$140++ per person for 1Night/2Days. Phase II (where we stayed) pricing starts from Rs 5,500+ taxes/$85++ per person for 1Night/2Days. Both are inclusive of all meals and come with a set itinerary (visits to the White Rann, the culture show at night, visit to the Crafts Village and complimentary sight-seeing in Bhuj). They also provide a 2Nights/3Days package but staying one night is sufficient. It would be better if you cover the additional offerings of the 2N/3D package at your own pace rather than going with the tour (Kala Dungar, Mandvi, Bhujodi etc). I personally don’t know why Phase I is priced at such a premium since I haven’t stayed there, but there are marginal differences in the offerings of both phases. Phase II is said to have come into effect only from 2015 and has a smaller accommodation capacity as compared to Phase I. The government has outsourced management of both phases to private event management companies.
Finding a middle-ground- A reasonably priced local resort
Stay in a homestay (You can look them up on Trip Advisor) or a local resort in Dhordo and plan your trip at your own convenience. The pricing would be between Rs 3000 and Rs 5000 ($45-$75). This would be minus the cultural activities as those can be experienced only as part of the Rann Utsav in the Tent City organized by Gujarat Tourism.
A traditional mud house in Kutch called ‘Bhunga’
The Hungry Trotter Travel Tips:
- The closest airport/railway station to Rann of Kutch is Bhuj (about 100 kms).
- Best time to visit- December to March
- Plan your visit during the full moon period to witness the Rann in its complete glory. Bookings during this period get easily sold out so plan your trip in advance.
- If you’re visiting on your own and not as part of the Rann Utsav, then you need to secure a permit from the Border Security Forces (BSF) to visit the Rann of Kutch because of its proximity to the international border. You need to submit a photocopy of your proof of identity.
- Try to catch both the sunrise and the sunset at Rann of Kutch. Also, if you’re going during full moon, then plan a visit at midnight to see the white desert illuminate under the moonlight.
- Social media addicts beware! Barring Vodafone and BSNL, other service providers have very poor network connectivity.
- It gets super chilly at night and early morning and it is warm during the day, so dress accordingly.
Also read: The mysterious Great Rann of Kutch