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.


Comments

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

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Pangong Tso to Leh - Final Chapter - Ladakh Diaries Page 4

The morning in Pangong Tso was the most beautiful morning ever. My window had a perfect view of the lake and between us were green crops and vegetables grown by the locals. It is too far from the world and no vegetable vendor, fruits or anything else come here. You eat what you grow beside your home. The last village was Tangtse which was 30 km back and this was the day we were to move from Pangong Tso to Leh with our bikes. View from the window The sun was shining brightly and the cold wind filled the dry atmosphere with a view of snow that fell last night on the mountains just a few meters above us. I went outside to the door which was already open and the sunlight was coming inside forming a door shape on the floor. Outside was a small dog, white in colour, bombarded by thousands of smells he was sensing here. All these smells made him too excited on this bright day. He had a very short concentration span. He would smell something and a second later run towards another to smell s

Plan A Trip To McLeod Ganj and Dharmshala - Complete Guide

Guide To Dharamshala and McLeodganj This post will guide you through your trip to Dharamshala and Mcleodganj and guide you through every challenge on the trip. Whether you are going solo or a couple or family, this post is written to help you grasp the maximum out of these two beautiful towns: Dharamshala and McLeodganj. Brief Introduction to Mcleodganj McLeodganj is a beautiful small town situated in upper Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. The place is called “Little Lhasa” because of its Tibetan population and the world’s spiritual leader His Holiness The Dalai Lama residence. Mcleodganj has scenic views of Dhauladhar ranges and Pir Panjal, a lot of green covers, breathtaking treks and tranquillity as well. Mcleodganj must be on everyone's bucket list. It is great for all friendly age groups, from individual travellers to family, couples and backpackers. Brief Introduction to Dharamshala Dharamshala is the district Headquarters of the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is the g

Leh to Nubra Valley via KhardungLa Pass - Ladakh Diaries Page 2

Finally, the day had arrived that we had long anticipated. Climbing the Ladakh mountains with a motorbike and passing through the top of the world - KhardungLa . The ride should start from Leh and end at Nubra Valley. Around 10 AM, we were ready with our bags tied to the motorbikes and excited to press that self-start button. I had been looking forward to this 40km of ride since we landed in Leh.  KhardungLa has always maintained a special place in people's minds because of its high altitude and a milestone that says " Welcome to the top of the world - the highest motorable pass in the world - KhardungLa ". It feels like an achievement to be passing through a road where people sometimes need oxygen bottles to battle their shortage of breath. Down in Leh, travellers who had completed their circuit and were relaxing for a day warned us about the dangers of that road. In the last two days, we had heard all sorts of stories related to KhardungLa which may or may

Bhutanese Food You Shouldn't Miss If You Are In Bhutan

Bhutan is an adventurous place for all nature lovers. Bhutan provides us with things that very few countries have to offer. A country that has a negative carbon footprint and is the happiest place on earth deserves at least one trip to it. Is Bhutan famous for anything other than its naturistic landscapes? Yes, it's food! Bhutanese food is one of its kind and will remind you of the Tibetan culture that you might have just read in books or watched on television until now. In this post, I bring to you Bhutanese food that you absolutely cannot miss if you are visiting Bhutan! Let's see our specially curated list of Bhutanese food: 1. Ema Datshi We will start our list with one of the most famous Bhutanese dish called Ema Datshi. Ema Datshi is also recognized as the national dish of Bhutan which makes it worth trying when you are visiting Bhutan! So, Ema Datshi is the combination of two words: Ema which means chilli and Datshi which means cheese. Chilli can be of any

Passing through the top of the world - Ladakh Diaries Page 1

"Do you feel anything?", I asked my friend outside the airport. "Yes", he said. "Like what?" "Like I smoked a joint" This conversation is not regular stuff I ask people when I land every time. This was special. We just landed in Leh by flight. An altitude of 3500 meters is equivalent to the height of Monte leone . A lower oxygen in the air compared to New Delhi and altitude sickness is not surprising at this place. But I had more important things to focus my mind on. The iconic brown mountains that have always been a signature symbol of Ladakh were merely 200 meters from where I was standing. I had not slept for 30 hours but the excitement had overcome sleep in just a few seconds. Zostel was the place we thought of staying at because of the vibes and bachelor culture it exhibits. Zostel is unique. No one cares about what you are doing but if it is something exciting, people will ultimately join you. This introduction is just to create th

Best Places To Visit in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is one of the most popular destinations for tourists all around the world. I have been a fan maybe because I live in Southeast Asia and have heard about these countries a lot more than those who live on the other side. But, Southeast Asia has a lot to offer. It might pop up in your mind as to why south Asia? What is there in it that is not on the other side? Well, I have brought you this special post to tell you the best places to visit in Southeast Asia region. Why Visit Southeast Asia? The following reasons work in strong favour of making Southeast Asia a must-visit part of the Earth. Affordable Trips Southeast Asia is feasible. I mean really pocket-friendly! Although the brand products stay at almost the same price with a small difference, self-made products like street food and the native product really blow your mind. A very delicious burger would cost just $0.20 in India, for instance. Arguably Best Food Southeast Asia brings out the best food in the world. Remembe

How To Plan A Budget Trip To Darjeeling

Darjeeling is one of the most famous destinations for people all around the world. My flight was full of couples and newlyweds (including the foreigners) while going to Darjeeling. I hope one day or other, you will plan a trip to Darjeeling and I hope this post will help you a lot. My Own Experience Of Solo Trip To Darjeeling I had a very adventurous experience while going to Darjeeling. I had planned to go to Bhutan but my luggage had power bank in it. It was stopped in Delhi and I got it after a few days. It was then I decided to visit Darjeeling and since I had no money, I planned a good budget trip. You can read my experience here: The Most Unusual Solo Trip Anyways, if you are only interested in going to Darjeeling, read below. How To Reach Darjeeling? Darjeeling can be reached either by air or train from anywhere in the country. Reaching Darjeeling By Air: To go via flight, you have to board the plane going to Bagdogra. Bagdogra airport is the clos

How To Plan A Budget Trip To Kheerganga Trek

Budget often thrashes the ultimate goals of travelling. Kheerganga is not one of them. Kheerganga trek is a beautiful trek laid out in Himachal Pradesh and visited by thousands of people every year. I made a budget trip to Kheerganga and I am here to tell you how. My Own Experience Of Kheerganga Trek: I had a pretty rough and unique experience since it was the last day of Kheerganga trek. If you want to read my experience of Kheerganga Trek, please visit this link . It is a multi-part story, and you can start from that link and comment on your thoughts. Anyways, if you are here just to get an idea about how to visit Kheerganga and how to plan a trip there, you are in the right place. So, let's start. How To Reach Kheerganga Trek From Delhi Kheerganga is only accessible by road and airways from anywhere in the world. Reaching Kheerganga By Bus: Kheerganga can be reached by bus through HIMSUTA buses or any other Volvo buses from Delhi, Dehradun an

Best Time To Visit Bali - Weather, Festivals and Places to Visit

Thousands of Islands, active volcanoes, terraced rice paddies surrounded by lush vegetation and the world's largest island country . Can you guess the place? We are talking about Indonesia . A beautiful island country that is well known to everyone and definitely on every beach lover's travel bucket list. An archipelagic country where Bali is the most loved among tourists. Its beautiful beaches and vibrant cultural festivals are welcomed by Indonesian to all their tourists. Not to be surprised, it is one of the best places to visit in south-east Asia . If your next destination is Bali then undoubtedly you are thinking about what is the best time to visit Bali on workation, solo, vacation or honeymoon trips! In this article, you will find the answers to all your questions! Just stay with me! Weather in Bali As Indonesia is an island country, it is a year-round destination. Bali is located very near to the equator so its warm and tropical nature is a big attraction to tourists. A

Visiting Pangong Tso Lake from Nubra Valley - Ladakh Diaries Page 3

Nubra valley in Ladakh was a pleasant scene to stay in. It had an almost white desert, a vociferous river, brown mountains and considerable vegetation which was hard to find in Ladakh. We visited Turtuk the next day which was 2 km from the Pakistan border. We came back the same day and enjoyed live music and a group of travellers who came from Gujarat. They were financed by their company on a yearly holiday. I remember when we went into the hall to eat dinner a man came to us and said "Bikers?" and I said "Yes". His eyed gloomed in the dim light and a smile appeared on his face. An expression that looked like he wanted to switch places with us and kick start a bike and run into the mountains. He lifted his hands and signed a thumbs up towards us.  The next day was a major day as we were about to visit a place that had become a signature location for people visiting Ladakh. Thanks to the movie 3 idiots , the lake Pangong Tso has seen record-breaking footf
Managed and maintained by Harish Rajora