When The Desert Turned White - Rann Of Kutch (Rann Utsav) Skip to main content

When The Desert Turned White - Rann Of Kutch (Rann Utsav)

In the darkroom and past midnight, I and my two friends decided to plan a trip. But the place should be something that does not dig deep into our pockets and gives a lifetime memorable experience as well. While my friend Harish (yeah! we share the same name, unfortunately) asked me, "Is there a place where you wanted to go?".  This question hit me with a place that I have been struggling to go for the past two years. A place which is as far as Indian borders could stretch, as colourful as a child's smile and as memorable as "once in a lifetime" place. I instantly said, "Let's go to Rann of Kutch to see Rann of Kutch Utsav".  Not to my surprise, my other friend, Aminul said, "Where is this place?" and Harish added, "What is there to see?".

I knew that pictures will speak louder than my words. I googled quickly, "Rann of Kutch Utsav" and showed them the images. I am quite sure I showed them this image:


rann utsav



With a smile on both of their faces and mind being at Rann of Kutch, they both agreed to go to the place. The plan was to witness Rann of Kutch Utsav or Rann Utsav, the biggest and most colourful fair hosted on the borders of India in the Kutch district witnessing millions of footfalls every year. It was a long dream for me to visit the Rann of Kutch and witness the Rann of Kutch festival and just feel the voice in ears, "Esme Khushbu Hai Gujarat Ki". Within the next couple of hours, the car was booked, the train was booked and the hotel was shortlisted. The plan was to visit the white desert (Rann of Kutch) in December 2019.





On the eighth of December, we boarded the train from New Delhi Railway Station To Ahmedabad Junction and not surprisingly, I caught the train at the last moment when it already had started. Aminul had never been in a Rajadhani train and was new to the hospitality of the crew. It was an overnight journey and the train was as punctual as Mahatma Gandhi. Maybe because we were in his home state. We had to take the car from here and drive it to Rann of Kutch which was 400 kilometres away. We were excited and in excitement bought so much of snacks for the road trip that we could not finish it till the last day. From Ahmedabad, we went to Bhuj and then to Kutch. It was already past dinner time when we entered the resort near Rann of Kutch. The resort was made of mud-huts and the smell of the soil still please my nose as I write this blog. It was a resort that gave a rural experience without crossing the lines of luxury. They had all the arrangements for the people from the city. We were in Kutch but Rann of Kutch was 19km away from there and Rann of Kutch festival was hosted there only. Tired of all the driving and all the songs we sang, we slept within minutes after having a delightful dinner.


mud huts kutch



The next morning was hot as summer. We were coming from 14 degrees to 30 degrees right now. But who cares about the heat when our mind is full with pictures of the desert in Rann of Kutch. We decided to visit Kalo Dangar (the highest point in Kutch) and then go to the Rann of Kutch Utsav in the evening. Kalo dangar was not amusing for me after graduating from the queen of hills. I have seen a lot of mountains in my life. At that time, the Rann of Kutch Festival was what it was in my mind. My friends were busy picturing every moment into the cameras. A thing that I do not usually like but given we are all different, they have their own personalities. They were happy at that place. We left after a couple of hours to the resort to eat some lunch and then left for the Rann Of Kutch at 4 in the evening to witness Rann of Kutch Festival. 



The road to Rann of Kutch was surrounded by vast inhabitable land with just a few dry trees and a few buffaloes. But, that road was leading to a beautiful white desert. Rann of Kutch Utsav started with a series of flags and tons of boards with the tagline for 2019 Rann of Kutch festival "Banayein Rann Ki Kahaniyan". This scenario made us feel special like some VIP guests are arriving at the event. Towards the Rann Of Kutch, a BSF soldier stopped us and asked us to take the permission for entering as it is border sensitive area. And just so you know, the border lies with Pakistan. Within 10 minutes we had the passes in our hands and the road was clear to the desert. A dessert that was as white as snow and as vast as something can be. Till the point we saw, everything was white. Yes, it was a white desert. A desert of salt. We were standing on one of the largest salt deserts in the world; Rann of Kutch. Although we knew the destination we never imagined it to be as beautiful as it was.

Rann Utsav In rann Of Kutch



We jumped on the salt. My feet breaking the salt cover of the desert and sinking into the mud beneath. My friends were smiling at each other. It was an experience you cannot recreate. We were walking on the marshlands above the salt layer knowing there is mud beneath. I looked at the horizon. As far as I could see, I saw just one colour: white. It was stretched to miles and miles ahead of me. The sunrays reflected the salt, blinding and forcing us to wear sunglasses. We spent a couple of hours just walking on the salt but our hearts could not be filled. All of us had two priorities on the Rann of Kutch Utsav trip: to see the salt marshland and to do paramotoring. Paramotoring is similar to paragliding but on a motorcycle kind of vehicle. The problem was we looked in all the direction but could not see anyone doing that. It was time for sunset already. All three of us were very excited about that. But, we finally made our minds that our dream will remain a dream and we started to go back to the village at the time of sunset.






On our way, we saw a folk group singing folk melodies at a stage in the Rann of Kutch Utsav. I stopped the car and we went outside to please our ears for 2 minutes when Aminul sees a bike flying in the air. A moment to remember when all the three of us looked at the same angle in the same direction. Our eyes were bright and the heart was light. We parked the car and ran towards the canopy fearing that they must be packing up because it was getting dark. "Yes, boys!! Want to do paramotoring?" asked a man on a motorcycle with long hairs. "Yes", I said quickly. "Come I will take you to the boss", he said and screamed in the direction of a parked van. A man came outside from the back who looked like an experienced man. His skin tightened on the neck. His hairline was visible with short hairs, maroon shirt tucked into his jeans and with a strong voice he said, "It's time for calling it a day but I guess I will extend it to three more rides."





The smile on Harish's face was struggling to meet the ends of his face, Aminul asked, "What's the price?" and the man shot his gun right where it would hurt the most, "3000 per person."
"Damn! That's too expensive", Aminul said. We tried to negotiate to which he said if all three will take the ride, I will adjust the price to 2500 per person. I was ready. I asked both of my friends and standing on the orange salt marshland because of the setting sun and with a heavy heart they both said, "It's out of our budget, we won't take that ride." Rann of Kutch Utsav was all about desert and paramotoring. I knew the importance of it and hence I asked them to borrow money from me and return it whenever they will get. They denied keeping their integrity intact. I asked them a couple more times but they both denied. Hence, I went alone. I told the man, "I will go alone." He charged me 3000 INR and said, "Come, you will ride with me and not my disciples. I am the owner of this institute. We will have fun. Just sign this agreement that if anything happens to you, I am not responsible."




Those were two contradictory statements he made in one second. With a poker face, I signed the agreement and sat on the bike ready to take off. "Ready for take-off!!" He screamed. Two of his students raised their thumbs in the air and the fan behind the bike started. The bike ran and we took off our wheels above the land. Like a linear graph, we gained height as much as he wanted. The ride was for five minutes but the time was slow up there. From up above, I could see tens of miles ahead. The dusk light made it more memorable. I saw tens of saltwater pits arranged like scrabble pieces. I saw vast forest land as far as I could see. I saw the same barren land that had skinny trees. I saw my friends down below. "Are you having fun?", the man asked. "Yes!!", I said while smiling and gulping ton of air. "This ride will be more than five minutes! You are my guest! Welcome to Rann of Kutch Utsav!!", he said to me. I smiled at his kind gesture. He turned the bike and took a long circle in the sky. We landed in 7 minutes approx. "Did you like it?", he asked while knowing what I would say. "Yes, a lot!!". I said. The same question was asked by my friends.


paramotoring at rann utsav




Paramotoring was once in a lifetime experience. A lot more fun than paragliding. The height was much more and the speed was much more. But most importantly, my dream came true when we landed back on the Rann of Kutch's salty land. One more check on the bucket list. I know my friends would have kept a heavy stone on their chest while imprinting their footsteps on the muddy soil in the opposite direction. I wish they could experience the same. The balance between the sorry I was feeling and the happiness I was feeling stopped me from talking too much about it. I wanted to talk about it in excitement but it would have been more upsetting for both of them. I wished they would say, "We have decided to ride too" when I landed. But they didn't. I wish they would someday be able to take off on that bike, if not from that while salty Rann of Kutch during Rann of Kutch festival, but anywhere in the world. It would satisfy my heart that day.


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  1. Satisafction gives much more happiness..than anything else.

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