Welcome to the land where the sea, the sand, the desert and the mountain meet. Welcome to the Wild Wild West!
After travelling 15 odd countries, I returned home. I was ready to appreciate the barren landscape, colourful culture and endangered cuisine of my region. I spoke with poets, met musicians, visited craftswomen and travelled through the length and breadth of Kutch to understand and unearth hidden gems of my home. After two years of meticulous research, in-depth conversations and endless travels, I am ready to introduce tourists and travellers to little-known places to visit in Kutch.
Offbeat Kutch Tour Packages
As with all places that gain popularity, Kutch too has a clearly marked tourist trail. But, if you want to indulge in Kutch beyond the obvious then I offer a wide variety of tours (more information soon to follow). If you want to discover and understand any particular side of Kutch then I can customize a tour according to your interest. Art, architecture, wildlife, birdwatching, folk music, organic farmstays, handicrafts, language, tribal culture, local cuisine – you name it.
Where is Kutch and what is Kutch
There is a lot of confusion as to what is Kutch? Is it a city, a region or a loosely defined area? Kutch is a district in the state of Gujarat in the extreme west of India. Kutch is, in fact, the largest district of India. Bhuj is the district headquarters and jumping off point to other parts of Kutch. No matter what place you visit in Kutch, you will pass through Bhuj. More on how to reach Kutch later.
Places to visit in Kutch
Tourist places in Kutch
The most popular places in Kutch are the following:
- White Desert Kutch: A vast expanse of snow-white salt flats that brought Kutch to the world’s attention.
- Kalo Dungar: The highest¬†hill in Kutch. This is where you get to see the unique sight of the sea, the sand, the desert and the mountain meet.
- Mandvi Beach: Who doesn’t like a beach? But, if you have seen turquoise blue beaches then give this a miss.
- Bhuj: While most people use Bhuj as a jumping off point to white desert some do end up exploring the palaces, temples and street food of Bhuj.
Places to visit in Kutch for architecture enthusiasts
- Dholavira: A 4,500-years-old excavated Harrapan city belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. A must visit site for all kinds of tourists and travellers.
- Prag Mahal: Many call it the first Italian-Gothic building of India. This 19th-century gem has withstood many earthquakes and still stands tall overlooking the lake.
- Vijay Vilas Palace: Overlooking the Arabian Sea, many movies have been shot inside this red sandstone palace.
These are just three of numerous places that will be covered in the Kutch Architectural Tour.
Places to visit in Kutch for trekkers, hikers and nature lovers
- Kalo Dungar: One to three-day treks can be organized to the highest hill of Kutch.
- Dhinodhar: Two-day trek to Dhinodhar will reveal many myths and legends attached to this hill and surrounding area.
- Coastal Trek: A full moon, soft sand, waves caressing the feet and a gentle nightly walk on the shores of the Arabian Sea. For many, this is the most unique and delightful experience.
- Banni Grasslands: A 4WD safari through the vast expanses of Banni Grasslands. You will encounter nomads living like it is still the 18th century.
Treks and tours to all of these places can be arranged.
Places to visit in Kutch for wildlife lovers
- Wild Ass Sanctuary: This sanctuary is the last place where you can see the mighty wild asses marauding across the plains. It is a sight right out of the wild wild west movies.
- Chari Dhand: A wetland reserve on the edge of the white desert which welcomes over 150 species of migratory birds from December to February. You can find thousands of flamingoes, cranes, painted storks and spoonbills among other wetland species.
Hidden places to visit in Kutch
I came across various hidden gems during my travels. Fort on a hilltop, unnamed villages, the last musician of a dying art among other places rich in history, culture and art. I want to safeguard these places from mass tourism. But, customized tours to these places can be arranged for responsible and intrepid travellers. Contact me if you are interested in exploring Kutch off the beaten path. You will have to swear an oath of secrecy though :-).
Best time to visit Kutch
The best time to visit the whole of Kutch is from September to March. Depending on the rain gods, you’d find Kutch at its greenest in September. October to March the weather is cooler. October is a good time to witness Navratri, the festival of folk dance and music that lasts nine nights. The best part is that you are not just a spectator but can participate in the dance without requiring any prior knowledge or practice.
Rann of Kutch best time to visit
A majority of the people visit Kutch to see the White Desert. The White Desert is a seasonal phenomenon and the best time to visit the Rann of Kutch to see the White Desert is from December to mid-March. If you want to avoid the crowd then February is the best time. The Kutch Rann Utsav, also known as Kutch Festival, takes place between November to February. Kutch Rann Utsav 2018 dates are 1st November 2018 to 20th February 2019.
How to reach Rann of Kutch
By Air Option 1: The nearest airport to Rann of Kutch is the Bhuj Airport.¬†Bhuj to Rann of Kutch is about 88 km. Finding taxis to the Rann is difficult. Therefore, it is best to arrange a complete tour prior to landing. Bhuj is connected via direct flights to only Mumbai. There are three daily flights between Bhuj and Mumbai. Option 2: For people not from Mumbai, it is best to fly into Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. Ahmedabad to Rann of Kutch is about 414 km. There are two daily Ahmedabad to Bhuj trains. There are numerous buses from Ahmedabad to Bhuj from state-run buses to AC Volvo buses. By Train The¬†nearest railway station to Rann of Kutch is again in Bhuj. There are direct trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara to Bhuj. By Bus You will find direct buses from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Udaipur to Bhuj. From Bhuj to Rann of Kutch, you will have to hire a private taxi or book a tour.