This fun-filled winter carnival is an extremely popular event held annually since 2006 in Gujarat. The Rann Of Kutch comes alive with folk music, dance, and fiesta that just makes every feel so joyous and merry. With lines of glistening tents to the little fairy lights, every aspect of this festival is special in some way.
The festival starts from November and continues till the day of Holi. Owing to the comfortable weather during that time, this place is always filled with visitors, merrymakers, and revellers, all of who just want to get a taste of this cultural fiasco. The festival engulfs the white dunes and makes it come alive after a long hibernation period.
Date of Rann Utsav for the year 2019 – 2020: 1st November 2019 to 28th February 2020
The festival is arranged by the Gujarat Tourism in the Dhordo Village of Kutch. The village is located merely 85 km from Bhuj. This initiative was taken by the Honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, who wanted to make this festival an icon of India. The entire festival is arranged by the Tourism Corporation Of Gujarat, and they take care of accommodation, food, and even sightseeing tours.
This festival is a podium for cultural activities – from folks artists to handicrafts workshops, you will find everything under the same sky. The music and dance is absolutely a foot-tapping experience and you will find yourself swaying to the rhythmic beat.
Women and men in traditional Gujarati dress dance on peppy songs just as the bonfire starts to gain momentum. The sight is pure joy and happiness. Some of these dancers and singers who come from all parts of the world are so talented that you will just be enthralled and captivated by them.
The entire area itself is worth to explore and go around. Just look up at the sky and spend the night under a sky devoid of pollution and glistening with stars. You can take a walk around the desert under the moonlight. Or, if you are feeling adventurous then head out for a hot air balloon ride in the morning that will give you a bird’s eye view of the entire place. You can also climb on top of a camel and get the authentic desert experience. You can also hop onto a jeep or bike and hit the dunes for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
The best part about this amazing festival is the authentic and traditional food that you will get to sample here. Rooted in its traditions, the cuisine is Kutchi. Two humongous dining halls will give you a feeling of royalty. The food is delicious and you will find yourself wanting for more.
If, however, you do not want to indulge in some finger-licking good Kutchi cuisine, then you will also find food joints just around the corners.
Several workshops are held by artists for tourists. You can learn all about the intricacies of the art, and the handicrafts if you choose to attend these workshops. They are lively and you will feel as if you too are a part of this culture. You can also get hands-on experience, which is always exciting and fun.
If you are a shopaholic, then you must visit this festival. Brimming with handcrafted and well-embroidered products, the markets are also thronged with visitors. The little colourful products just make everything look so vibrant. You will find amazing souvenirs and beautiful silverware, which you just can’t resist. This place is a paradise for shoppers. Even if you are not into shopping, head to the markets to truly learn about the art and culture of Kutch. Look for leather items and small intricate embroiled products to make the most of your shopping trip.
In the festival, you should also take some time out and visit the exhibition centre. This place is a treasure chest filled with information and anecdotes about the history and cultural traditions of Kutch. You will feel a buzz inside the centre as the past stories reverberate through the walls and into your minds.
Upon reaching Rann head over to the Mandvi Beach. This beach is known for its amazing sunsets that will leave you aghast.
You can also make your way to Kalo Dungar which is said to be the highest point of Kutch. From here you will have a great aerial view of this white desert.
To reach here you can either travel by air to reach Bhuj or travel By train to reach Bhuj. From Bhuj, the village is about to 86 km. You can hire a taxi to reach the village where the festival is held. There are also government vehicles that offer picks ups and drops from the station and airport.
The accommodation is not at all of a worry if you book in advance. The tent city of Dhordo has about 400 AC and non AC tents that will give you the true experience of spending time here.
You can also opt for homesteads in nearby villages, which will also offer you traditionally built bungalows. There are small hotels and resorts. However, it is highly recommended to opt for a tent stay to fully experience the festival.
There are all kinds of amenities provided to you if you are staying in a tent city. You will have hot water, room heaters, the large dining halls and many more.
If you are looking to visit this impeccable festival then try and choose a period when there is a full moon. The beautiful landscape of Kutch just shimmers during full moon nights, as the glistening white light falls on the little dunes that blush with ecstasy. Such a beautiful scene is hard to get.