Owing to the huge number of queries that I’ve received on the first post “How to plan a trip to the Rann of Kutch?”, I have compiled a list of the most popular questions on visiting the Rann Utsav, Rann of Kutch and other related queries and made a Rann Utsav festival guide. Hoping this makes it easier for those planning a trip; if not, leave your query, suggestion in the comment below and I might just add it to the post and build a more comprehensive travel guide to the Rann Utsav. Keeping this one in Q&A format for more clarity! Travel on.
Q. How to reach the Rann Utsav and the Rann of Kutch? Is public transport available from Bhuj to Rann Utsav?
A. Bhuj is the nearest big city for both the places and is very well-connected. While it also has an airport, flights are few in number. Your best way if you have the time is to take a train to Bhuj, available from all significant cities across India, or a Gujarat transport bus if you are already around. Direct cabs are available from Bhuj Railway Station as well as city bus stop for the Rann Utsav.
As for the public transport facility from Bhuj to the Rann Utsav, a number of camps offer AC and non-AC coaches to and fro from Bhuj Railway Station/bus station to the venue. Gujarat Tourism has also facilitated connectivity between the same; details are available on the official Rann Utsav website for the same. Book well in advance or you might have to take the costlier alternative of a private taxi.
Q. How far is the White Rann or the salt marshes from the Rann Utsav venue?
A. Well, the Rann Utsav takes place right in the middle of the White Rann! For those who do not know, the Rann Utsav ground and the campsite is pitched right in the salt land and you can pretty much see salt spreads for as far as you can see.
Q. Is staying at the Rann Utsav campsite a better option than staying at Bhuj or Devpur?
A. Since I believe more in experiential travel, regular hotels and organised campsites are never my first choice. Camps are supposed to take you into the wild, right! Writing for myself, I found the Rann Utsav camps pretty basic and exorbitantly expensive and nowhere near the wild. Bhuj is more of a typical city, thus I chose to stay at the Devpur Homestay that gave me a very real, local experience and some wonderful hosts in Mr Krutarth Jadeja and his family.
Q. How many days are enough for the Rann Utsav or while visiting the Rann of Kutch?
A. One day is more than enough for Rann Utsav, you might have some hours to spare once you have taken a round of the fair grounds. If you have even been to Delhi’s Dilli Haat, you will know what I am talking about. I would suggest that you spend half a day in visiting the nearby villages, especially Nirona, where you can watch artisans at work. Also a good place to buy Gujarat’s handicrafts, paintings, wooden toys etc. Prices are on the higher side though. So, 2 days are quite sufficient for Rann Utsav and around.
Q. What else is there to visit around the Rann of Kutch?
A. You might consider visiting Mandvi, it has a good run of a beach but should not be compared to Goa’s beaches. These are more like picnic spots for locals and that is the sort of ambiance that the place has. Vijay Vilas Palace is another interesting site that calls for a visit; the archaeological site of Dholavira must be visited as well. It is what remains of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation in India; keep in mind that there is no good place to stay near Dholavira so you need to start early in the day and make a trip back by the night.
Q. What is a perfect itinerary for Rann Utsav, Rann of Kutch and around?
A. A lot of readers wanted a day-wise itinerary for visiting the Rann of Kutch, here you go.
Day 1 – Bhuj to Rann Utsav (approx 3 hours cab ride) – Roam around the Rann Utsav ground, buy souvenirs, eat local, enjoy cultural performances. Try to plan your trip around a full-moon night; the white salt land looks quite fascinating under moonlight.
Day 2 – Visit nearby villages, go to Kalo Dungar if you must. Head to Mandvi, explore the ship-building yards, head out to the beach, visit Vijay Vilas Palace.
Day 3 – Or leave for Dholavira early in the day, explore around and be back by the nightfall. Hiring a local taxi is your most convenient way; cab drivers might be able to pull you in with other solo visitors and help in cutting back fare.
Day 4 – On your way back, explore Bhuj. I found that the city is very and rightly famous for ice-creams; buy Kutchi saris, you would be more than just happy. Great deals in the shops around the bus/railway station at Bhuj.
This Rann Utsav festival guide focusses on the Great Rann and the main fair; you can also visit the Little Rann if you have more time in hand. The Little Rann is more suited to wildlife enthusiasts, especially those who are into birding.
Still having trouble in planning an itinerary for Rann Utsav? Write to me in the comment section below, and I’ll be happy to answer. Please do not send individual e-mails as that takes a long time to answer and is of little help to other travellers.