Rann Utsav is one of the most awaited and deeply cherished festivals whose focus is the celebration of life, festivities and culture of the Kutch and Gujarat. For more than two months, the world gathers around this small oasis, when rich colors are sprinkled over the barren lands of the Rann. The festival offers the incredible opportunity for visitors to experience the varied traditions and hospitality of the people of the Kutch.
Note: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the festival celebration in Gujarat remains suspended until further notice.
On a clear, full moon night, the region awakens to an all-new charm when the full glory of the white desert of Rann rise to its splendor. This amazing time is celebrated with an endless cycle of dance when age-old traditions and customs are revived.
Exhibiting colors all over, the numerous fairs held near the banks of a lake fills one with a memorable spirit of festivity, fervor and joy. On the other hand, various organized tours around Kutch is a wonderful opportunity to mix with the people and be a part of the region while experiencing the exclusiveness and enthusiasm of the local life and occasion.
Besides, Rann Utsav also plays host to wide range of engaging activities like Camel Safaris, Pool, Table Tennis, Bird Watching, Horse Riding, Para-motoring, Archery, ATV, Giant Chess, Bicycle, and Net Cricket etc. It is definitely one of the most remarkable and memorable moments for visitors.
Rann Utsav is actually a wonderful opportunity to witness the diverse cultural ethos, local customs and way of life of the people. The festival showcases the real creative ingenuity and artistic spirit of the locals in the form of their craftwork, musical and folk performances, a stunning representation of blended culture and communities as well as an expansive diversity in ecology. Rann Utsav is an exceptional event that beautifully describes the essence of Kutch and its people.
History of Rann Utsav
Rann of Kutch is a seasonal salt marshland and one of the largest salt deserts in the world. Situated in the heart of the Thar Desert with Gujarat on one side and Pakistan’s Sind province on the other, the total area of the district is approximately 7,505.22 square kilometers. Combining The Great Rann of Kutch, The Little Rann of Kutch and the Banni Grasslands, the area spans nearly 30,000 square kilometers of white lands.
Kutch is an amazing crucible of exquisite craftsmanship. The region is known for its beautiful weaving, patchwork, bandhani, tie and dye, block printing, Rogan art and other ethnic styles of pottery, embroidery, metal crafts, wood carving, metal crafts and shell work. The Rann landscape provides a perfect backdrop to this exotic festival. The terrain being so white shimmers with a vibrant spectrum as different elements of colors are added to it.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
Located at one of the corners of the Hamirsar Lake, the Aina Mahal or the palace of mirrors is a site of fascinating history. Built in the 18th century, this 250-year-old palace was designed under the supervision of the chief architect and craftsman Ramsinh, under the patronage of the Jadeja ruler, Lakhpatji.
A beautiful blend of Indian and European modes of composition, the walls of the halls of this magnificent structure are of white marble, covered with mirrors and separated by gilded ornaments. The lighting is furnished by an elaborate candelabra, with the shades of Venetian glass. Another highlight of the place is an alluring pleasure pool, from the middle of which rises a square platform where it is believed that the Maharao conceived his numerous poems and encouraged his artisans, performers, dancers, bards and musicians. The details inside the palace are just amazing and combined with its fabulous history, its Victorian architecture is definitely admirable.
Kala Dungar must be on the bucket list of most of the travelers as this is the highest point in Kutch from where some of the most wonderful views of the sunsets are visible. There are wonderful opportunities for photography with beautiful sights and there is also a temple called Dattatreya Temple, which is said to offer free food to anyone, who drops by. Kala Dungar is one of the most unique and amazing experiences of Rann of Kutch and is certainly not to be missed destination for visitors.
Vijay Vilas Palace
Built-in 1929 by Vijayrajji, the palace is a remarkable icon of the blend of architectural styles like local Kutch, Rajasthan and Bengal. The place is situated in 450 acres of verdant greenery with almost 2 km of private beach. Constructed from red sandstone in the exotic Rajput style, the palace has a central dome and a colored glass window. The inside of the palace is beautiful, exquisite with stunning instances of Rajputana art, likable to both professional as well as amateur artists and experts.
Standing on the sea shores of Mandvi, Vijay Vilas Palace has been the location for the filming of many blockbuster flicks. With amazingly breathtaking views, this site is definitely cannot be excluded from your itinerary.
One of most picturesque beaches located along the 1666 km long Gujarat coastline, Mandvi beach is one of the most peaceful and serene places to be. Located on the banks on the Rukmavati River, near the Kashi- Vishwanath Temple, the beach is also sometimes called the Kashi Vishwanath Beach. Due to its cool and refreshing atmosphere, the place is famous with honeymooners, as well as a sought-after destination for family vacation. Walking along the pleasant coast, watching windmills and birds and taking a short camel ride is one of the most memorable experiences. In addition to this, the place is also known for its exquisite arts and crafts as well as a full day trip across the town covering a number of old princely buildings, palaces as well as ancient temples.
Just as other Swaminarayan Temples across India, this temple also has beautiful and brightly colored wood carvings mostly depicting Lord Krishna and Radha. The temple is located on the same spot where Lord Swaminarayan used to sit with the other holy men when he came along this route to Bhuj.
The local ambience is just amazing and as the year ends and the weather cools, the temple begins to shine with festival lights, the ambience of which offers a truly warm retreat.
Rich with surprising attractions, it is definitely worth a visit to this incredible temple.
Shyamji Krishna Varma Memorial
Shayamaji Krishna Varma was one of the foremost freedom fighters of India and played a great part in the efforts to release India from the foreign yoke. He was born on 4th October 1857 in Mandvi in Kutch. As many people were organizing the freedom revolution from within the country, Varma chose to flee to England and made London his base. From the famous India House at London, he set up a revolutionary center and pressed the cause of India’s freedom through his numerous writings in his publication called The Indian Sociologist.
However, he was not alone in his work but was joined by many other revolutionaries who were as committed to the cause of India’s freedom as him. The freedom struggle of India was a big movement in which thousands of people laid down their lives and endured a lot.
The memorial is dedicated to the contribution of Shaymji Krishna Varma in the cause of India’s freedom struggle and also educate young individuals about the sacrifices made by people in the movement.
The Rann Utsav is a curious and exciting festival that exhibits the bright wonders of the Kutch. Every year, thousands of tourists descend to the place to enjoy the amazing extravaganza and warm hospitality of the people. The festival with its fabulous vibrancy and fascinating energy will remain etched in your memory for long.
How to Reach
Bhuj is an important administrative center of the Kutch and flights from all the major cities of India land here. Moreover, there are daily flights from Mumbai to Bhuj as well. For reaching Rann Utsav, one can hire, taxi and auto rickshaws from the airport.
The road to Kutch is full of picturesque and delightful views. The city is connected to the neighboring town through highway number 8. Moreover, state and private buses are available after specific time intervals.
The rail journey to Kutch is one of the most convenient, comfortable routes. Trains from all the major cities are connected to Bhuj rail route. In addition, one can also take a long route and catch Kutch express from Mumbai.
Where to Stay
The Gateway to Rann resort, located at Dhordo, is one of the most popular stopovers for most of the tourists. The facility is made up of Kutchi Bhungas (mud hovels), embellished with beautifully crafted works. In addition, The Gujarat Government has set up visitor lodgings, the Toran Rann Resort situated close to the salt desert. On the other hand, there are numerous other options to stay like in a tent or one of several resorts and hotels in and around the area. The luxurious tented resort, Infinity Rann of Kutch is also one of the great places to stay.