Stretching for 10,000 sq kms, the white salt desert at Kutch region or the Rann of Kutch is a geographical wonder. Situated in the northwestern part of the vibrant state of Gujarat, the Kutch area attracts tourist during the months of November, December and January where the Rann is formed and at its best.
Not only that, the Kutch region is home to rare wildlife, is full of culture and history and is the site of the Harappan civilization. Probably this is why Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has correctly said “Kutch Nahi dekha toh Kya Dekha” (If you have not seen kutch, then you have not seen anything).
We, at The Great Escape, invite you to be a part of our elaborate Kutch festival this December as we take you to the untouched white salt desert and showcase the rich art and culture of the Kutchi region. Our 4 day itinerary is jam packed with activities as we cover the length and breadth of the entire Kutch region and indulge is some delicious local Kutchi cuisine. From visiting the site of the Indus valley civilization at Dholavira, an island in the middle of the Rann, to visiting local artisans at Bhuj to camping in luxurious swiss tents, to celebrating the Rann Utsav at Dhordo to visiting the most beautiful and secluded beach at Mandvi, our 4 day itinerary will leave you nothing less than satisfied.
So, go on and pack those bags, afterall “Kuch din toh gujaro Gujarat mein”
DAY 1, 29TH DEC, SUN
12:00 am: Pick up from Ahmedabad airport
6: 00 am: Enjoy the first view of the Rann. We will stop over at the Rann to witness sunrise and take a lot of pictures
7:00 am: Reach our Resort at Dholavira. Freshen up. Have breakfast.
9:00 am: Introduction. Followed by a short tour of the area.
10:00 am: Rest
12:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm: Drive to the site of the Indus Valley Civilization.
2:30 pm: A guided tour of the Indus valley civilization. Our guide has more than 25 years of experience at the site and was a part of the team that did the initial excavation at the site.
4:00 pm: Visit the museum.
4:30 pm: Drive to the fossil park. A guided tour of the fossil park
Fun fact: You will find a 1000 year old fossilized tree trunk at the park :)
5:30 pm: Explore the Rann. Enjoy sunset at the Rann
6:30 pm: Drive back to our resort
7:30 pm: Reach the resort.
8:00 pm: Dinner.
DAY 2, 30TH DEC, MON
6:00 am: Wake up Call
7:00 am: Breakfast
8:00 am: Drive to Bhujodi
1:00 pm: Lunch
2:30 pm: An interactive session with the Vankars (weavers) of Bhujodi as they talk about their age old tradition of weaving fabric
4:30 pm: Head off to Bhuj fort.
5:30 pm: Climb to the top of the fort. Enjoy sunset from the fort
6:30 pm: Start to our campsite at Mankuwa
7:30 pm: Reach our campsite. Allot tents. Followed by dinner
9:00 pm: Bonfire and singing
DAY 3, 31ST DEC, TUES
7:00 am: Wake up call
8:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 am: Leave for Nirona village to visit the Khatri family that performs the legacy artform of Rogan painting.
12:00 pm: Lunch at the house of a local Kutchi family
1:30 pm: Leave for Kala Dungar
3:00 pm: Reach Kala Dungar. Climg to the top
4:00 pm: Start to Dhordo
5:30 pm: Visit the Rann Utsav.
8:00 pm: Start back to the campsite.
DAY 4, 1st JAN, WED
7:00 am: Wake up call
8:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 am: Free time. We will be arranging some activities for the team. Those who want to go for Bhuj sightseeing can head off to visit the Swaminarayan Temple, Aina Mahal and Parag Mahal. Others can stay at the camp
12:30 pm: Lunch at campsite
1:30 pm: Start towards Mandvi
3:00 pm: Visit the Vijay Villas palace
4:00 pm: Head off to a secret beach. Not many people are aware of this beach at Mandvi. This beach is one of the most pristine and isolated beach in that area.
5:00 pm: Reach the beach. Enjoy sunset at the beach
7:00 pm: Head off for dinner at Mandvi. If time permits, we will visit the ship building yards.
8:30 pm: Start for Ahmedabad.
DAY 5, 2ND JAN, THURS
5:30 am: Drop at Ahmedanad
Early Bird Valid till 31st October: 13999/-
Bye Bye Birdie from 1st Nov: Rs 14500/-
(Confirm your spot by paying Rs 5000/-)
NAME: TGE TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE LLP
BANK : ICICI
UPI ID: tge@icici
- Private transportation from Ahmedabad to Ahmedabad. (A/C Tempo Traveler)
- Stay at a resort in Dholavira on double sharing basis
- Stay in swiss tents on double sharing basis at Mankuwa Campsite
- All meals except dinner at Dhordo
- Rann Utsav Permits
- Activities at Campsite such as bonfire, music, local Kutchi dress to wear and take pictures in
- Experienced team coordinator
- Experienced guide at Dholavira
- First Aid
- Dinner at Dhordo
- Personal expenses of any kind
20 days before the event start date: No Refund
20- 45 days before the event start date: 50% Refund
Before 45 days of the event start date: 75% Refund
Do go through our detailed T&C
Jamila Kapasi [masked]
Reetu Yadav [masked]
HOW TO REACH:
28th Dec, Sat: Reach Ahmedabad. We will pick you up from Ahmedabad airport at midnight followed by a pick up from Ahmedabad Railway Station
2nd Jan, Thurs: Depart from Ahmedabad We will drop you at Ahmedabad station at 5:30 am followed by a drop to the Admedabad Airport by 6:00 am
Ahmedabad - Dholavira
Once everyone is picked up, we will start our journey from Ahmedabad to Dholavira.
Dholavira is around 360 kms from Ahmedabad and is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus valley Civilization of the Harappan culture, dating back to 4500 years ago, while the other site, Lothal is more exhaustively known and easier to reach. Dholavira, also locally known as Kotada (which means large fort), sprawls over 100 hectares of semi arid land and is one of the islands in the Great Rann of Kutch that remain above the flood plains in months when the rest of the desert is submerged in monsoon. It has 2 seasonal streams, Mansar in north and Manhar in South.
Visit to Dholavira offers us a memorable experience that comes with being surrounded by the Great Rann of Kutch. It is a unique insight into the pioneering Harappan mind, with one of the world’s earliest and best planned water conservation systems and what might be the world’s first signboards, written in ancient indus script.Journey to Dholavira itself is beautiful, taking you through the saline desert plains, where you can spot wildlife such as Gazelle. Nilgai (blue bull) and various types of birds.
After Dholavira, we will move to the Fossil Park to check out some ancient fossils. By evening we will return to campsite.
Dholavira - Bhujodi - Munkuwa
We start early today. After some delicious breakfast, we drive to Bhujodi village which is just 8 kms before Bhuj. What makes Bhujodi special is that the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants are involved in the art of weaving. The weavers, also known as Vankars, have been passing down the tradition of weaving for generation.
We will visit none other than Vankar Vishram Vajli, a multigenerational weaving and dyeing business run by Shamji. Shamji has transformed the venture into a prosperous business with clients all over India and abroad. Not only that, he is the recepient of the UNESCO Seal of Excellence award.
Shamji and his family will walk us through the entire process of weaving and show us how wool sourced from the Rabaris(shepherds) is spun, starched and dyed into beautiful shawls, sarees and fabric. If we are lucky, we might get to see Indigo dying as well
Did You Know?
A fabric from Kutch is different from a straight weave. The highlight of their weave is an extra weft, woven by a technique typical of this place. You won’t find it anywhere else.
After the session at Bhujodi, we will head off to witness a beautiful sunset and a view of the Bhuj city from the Bhuj fort. After that we head off to our campsite at Mankuwa.
Located amidst fields of dates and pomegranates, our campsite is a treat for the nature lovers. Decorated beautifully in Kutchi style, this campsite will be more than your home for the next few days. You will be staying in comfortable canvas tents on double sharing basis with each tent having its own attached bathroom.
Munkuwa - Nirona - Kala Dungar - Dhordo - Munkuwan
Kutch has always been known for its wealth of culture and handicrafts. And one thing that we really do not want to miss is exploring a few local art forms. So, after breakfast we will head to “Nirona” village. Located around 40 kms north of Bhuj, Nirona village is where we can find three very unique local art forms — one of which even made its way to The White House. Yes, we are talking about the popular Rogan art, a legacy art form that has been taken forward, for the past 300 years, by the Khatri family of Nirona.
What is Rogan Art? The word Rogan comes from Persian and means ‘oil-based’. The process of making the natural colours used in the art gives it such a name. Castor oil is heated on fire for about 12 hours and then cast into cold water to give a thick residue called the rogan. This is then mixed with stone pigments to lend it different hues. Next, the artisan uses a six-inch metal stick to paint with a fine thread of rogan on cloth. Seeing it live makes us realize how delicately the rogan thread has to be led with precision to give shape to one’s imagination.
Next in the list is The Luhars of Nirona, and their popular Copper Bell art. Preserving it for the last 10 or so generations, many families in Nirona get their livelihood totally out of this. Copper Bell art has mainly originated from Sindh, and even today many villages, around the border area inside India and Pakistan make it.
Once done with Copper Bell, we move to the art of Lacquer, practiced by a semi nomadic tribe called Wada, in the Banni area in and around the villages of Nirona and Bhirandiayara. Obtained from the sap of the Rhus Tree which changes colour from white to brown upon exposure to air, Lacquer is a simple reflection of zigzag patterns creating waves of colors mixing with one another and adorning simplest of the products like wooden spoons, bread rolling pins, containers, toys, utensils etc.
Our lunch is arranged at the house of a local. Served with lots of love and warmth, this can be counted as one of your best meals in the Kutch region.
After lunch, we will head off to Kala Dungar. Kala Dungar or the Black hill is the highest point in Kutch, at 462 m. From here, the entire northern horizon vanishes into the Great Rann, the desert and sky often becoming indistinguishable. It is one of the few non-coastal locations where you feel like you are at the edge of the earth, on the brink of incomprehensible vastness that fades off towards infinity. Looking out from the Black Hills, you can understand the tremendous effort that those who undertake the crossing of the Great Rann have to make.
Since this is one of the places where a civilian can get closest to the Pakistan border, there is an Army post at the top; beyond here, only military personnel are allowed.
The hill is also the site of a 400-year-old temple to Dattatreya, the three-headed incarnation of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva in the same body. Legend says that when Dattatreya walked on the earth, he stopped at the Black Hills and found a band of starving jackals. Being a god, he offered them his body to eat and as they ate, his body continually regenerated itself. Because of this, for the last four centuries, the priest at the temple has prepared a batch of prasad that is fed to the jackals after the evening aarti.
After enjoying the view from Kala Dungar, we head off to Dhordo to be a part of the Rann Utsav. Rann Utsav is a fest. Locals from all over the Kutch region set up stalls selling their wares. The "mela" is colorful. There is musical performance, acitivites and lots of food. Our evening is for merriment. With our bags full and our wallets lighther, we head back to our campsite by the night.
Munkuwa - Mandvi - Ahmedabad
The morning is free. Relax at the campsite or go touring the Bhuj town, we have left it on you.
After lunch, pack your bags and get ready to leave for Mandvi, our last destination in Kutch region.
Once a famous port and now an important tourist attraction in Kutch, Mandvi is one such place where one can expect sea, sand and sun. Mandvi is an old port town and served as an important trading center until Mumbai came into the picture.
We will visit the bank of Rukmavati River, where we can see handmade wooden ships. We will stand at the Tower of Wagers, where once wealthy shipowner used to gather, awaiting the return of the trading fleet from East Africa, and bet on whose would arrive first and a little away from the Mandvi beach we will visit the Vijay Vilas Palace, which is now a resort and is known for its fantastic architecture.
We will spend the evening at our secret beach followed by some delicious dinner. Overnight journey to Ahmedabad in Tempo Traveler post dinner.
Expect to reach Ahmedabad between 4:30 am to 5:30 am the next day