Expenditure: 2000/- INR (For 2 people)
Duration: 1 day
Great Rann of Kutch
I have always wanted to visit this alluring place since I watched the popular Bollywood movie ‘Refugee’ and wondered where is this vast expanse of nothingness. Is this actually in India? Is it really that hot over there? How do people walk across this white desert?
Little did I know that after a few years, all my questions will be answered and I will be finally able to visit this mysterious land.
I planned on visiting Kutch when I was exploring Sri Lanka. It was an impromptu plan so at 4 in the morning, I booked my flights to Gujarat for the last week of December as I had a 1-week holiday in office and I didn’t want it to go all waste. However, I had a small problem. I wasn’t sure how I would travel from Bhuj to Kutch in a budget-friendly manner.
I asked many people for information about the transportation to Rann and I was told to hire a cab or stay at Kutch itself, both of them were equally expensive options. Then, I googled and found that there were a few buses leaving for Kutch a few times of the day but there were no returning buses after 5-6 p.m. which didn’t suit me because I wanted to watch the sunset. So, I was quite worried and tried to figure out some way that I could stay at Kutch itself without breaking my bank. Thankfully, God had some mercy on me and I found the perfect plan to visit Kutch in an economical and flexible manner.
In this Rann of Kutch travel guide, you will find all the important information on stay, transportation, and other essential ammenities. Hope you find our guide useful!
How To Reach Kutch
One of the most common question that everyone asks is how to reach Kutch on a low budget. Well, Bhuj is the nearest major city from where you can leave for Kutch so you need to first reach Bhuj and then move on to Kutch.
Reaching Bhuj via Flight
One of the direct and fastest ways to reach Bhuj is by taking a direct flight to the Bhuj airport which lies 4-5 km outside of the city. You will get flights from major cities like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, etc. but the frequency of these flights would be less as compared to other places.
Also, the flights to Bhuj will be costly due to less frequency which can raise your travel expenses by a great deal.
Reaching Bhuj via Bus
You can also reach Bhuj easily via buses. You can get a Gujarat state bus or some private bus depending on what you prefer. The state bus can be booked online via Gujarat Road Transport or other bus apps like Redbus, Paytm, etc.
You can also get the bus tickets from the bus stands as well, depending on the seat availability. State buses will cost you somewhere around 180-300 INR for Seater, Semi-sleeper and Sleeper and will start early from 4 a.m. It will take you around 6 hours to reach Bhuj from Ahmedabad and 7.5 hours from Vadodara.
Private buses will cost you more and will come around 300-800 INR depending on your bus type and can be booked from websites and apps of Redbus, Goibibo, Paytm, etc.
Personally, I chose buses to travel to and fro from Bhuj and found it quite convenient and cheap for myself.
Please note: If you are traveling from far off place then you might not get a direct bus facility. You can always reach Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, etc. first and then reach Bhuj.
Reaching Bhuj via Train
Another direct way to reach Bhuj is by taking a train. However, you might not get a lot of direct trains from your place and might need to reach Ahmedabad first. You will also take a longer time to reach Bhuj if you are taking a direct train from your area so it would be wise to reach Ahmedabad first, explore the place and then take a train to Bhuj.
One you have reached Bhuj, you are one step closer towards Kutch and can reach the White Rann of Kutch quickly and easily from here. Here are a few ways in which you can go to the Great Rann of Kutch from Bhuj.
Rann of Kutch Tour Packages
Yes, there are many travel packages available for Kutch which cost somewhere around 1000-1500 INR per person and include a trip to both Rann of Kutch and Kalo Dungar.
If you are traveling alone and don’t know how to ride a bike/scooty then this is a good option and you will be able to experience everything without missing something essential. They usually take a group of 4-5 people so you also get a chance to meet other travelers on your journey.
Hire a Cab
Another way to reach Kutch is by hiring a cab from Bhuj. This is probably one of the most expensive options as it can easily cost you around 2000-4000 INR depending on the tourist season. If you are 4-5 people then you might consider this option but if you are traveling solo or in a group of two, then this one could prove to be a little expensive for you.
However, you can always try bargaining to get the price a little lower but still, it will remain to be an expensive option.
Rent a bike/scooty
Contact MK Auto, Bhuj – 09898983999 for renting a Scooty/Bike
If you want a more budget-friendly option then hiring a bike/scooty in Bhuj would be perfect for you ( If you know how to ride it). This is the perfect option if you are traveling solo or in group of two. A scooty will cost you around 600 INR for 1-1.5 days depending on the season and will take around 2-2.5 hours to reach Kutch from Bhuj. If you take a bike, then you will need to pay around 800-1200 INR for 1-1.5 days which again depends on the tourist season and it will take you hardly 1-1.5 hours to reach Kutch.
However, make sure you have your license with you and 2-3 layer of clothing as it can get really cold when riding to and fro to Kutch.
Take your own vehicle
If you own a vehicle and don’t have a problem with a road trip then you can definitely do that too. Getting your own vehicle will definitely make the whole trip more convenient for you and will reduce a lot of costs.
The road to Rann of Kutch is really smooth and doesn’t have many obstacles so you would have a lovely time driving your vehicle on it.
How to Get the Permit
Once your transportation is sorted, you need not worry about anything else. Previously, getting a permit for Rann of Kutch required some effort but now it is a simple and easy process.
You will find the Kutch checkpost around 20km before Dhordo where you will need to get your permit for visiting Rann of Kutch and Kalo Dungar. This checkpost is easy to spot as it lies on the intersection where you take a left turn to go to Dhordo and a straight path to reach Kalo Dungar. The checkpost will be on the right side and you will need to have your identity proof with you, it can be your Voter Id, Pan Card, Passport, etc.
Here, you will need to fill out a form with all the details and include your vehicle number and specifications. Each person has to pay 100 INR for entry and 25 INR for a 2-wheeler and 50 INR for a 4-wheeler. You can enter the number of days that you require the permit and then submit it at the checkpost. They will print out your permit for you in just 5 minutes and then you can go toward the Dhordo side or the Kalo Dungar side, it is up to you.
One point to remember is that the checkpost opens only around 11 a.m. in the morning so if you are planning to go for sunrise in Rann, you will need to take the permit one day before itself.
From the check post, it takes another 30-40 minutes to reach the Great White Rann and another 45 minutes to reach Kalo Dungar.
Things to Do In and Around Kutch
Now, once you reach Kutch, you might wonder what is there to see around here except for the wide expanse of white salt. Well, don’t worry because there are several things for you to do here to keep yourself entertained and interested.
Here are a few top things that you should definitely try when visiting the Great Ran of Kutch.
Walk around the Great Rann of Kutch
One of the best and most amazing things to do in Kutch is to roam around the white desert. You will find several people over here doing the same but don’t worry, the white desert is so huge that you can easily find some peace and solitude from the crowd. The white desert looks so intimidating as you move forward and away from the land and there is nothing to see for miles except for the white salt.
It makes you feel inconsequential and you truly understand what a small being you are in comparison to the entire world.
Take Cliched Photos in the White Desert
I love taking pictures and if you do too then this place is an absolute gold mine for photography. You can take numerous funky and creative pictures here and have an amazing photo shoot with different props and outfits. Trust me, even though you get a plain white background, you can really get a lot out of this backdrop.
Staying in the Tent City
If you can afford (I certainly couldn’t) then you definitely should stay in the Tent City. Tent City of Dhordo is said to be one of the most beautiful and extravagant place to stay at and offers numerous entertainment performances and a lavish stay to its occupant. You also get to stay near the White Desert so you can spend longer time and can also witness the moonrise and sunrise over here.
Enjoy the Rann Utsav
One of the most famous part about visiting the Great Rann of Kutch is its festive Rann Utsav. Now, I won’t say that it is the best thing to witness (I cannot say about the Tent City, it might be a little different inside it) but the little bit of it which I witnessed was like any normal mela (fete). You get to shop beautiful Gujarati attires and accessories and can gorge on the delicious Gujarati thali. You also get to witness a local performance and have several stalls to admire and indulge in.
Overall, I would say that the Rann Utsav celebration outside the Tent City was like any ordinary celebration so it is okay if you decide to skip it altogether.
Witness a Beautiful Sunset
If you know me well then you would know by now that I am absolutely and irrevocably obsessed with sunsets so you can imagine my excitement when I watched the sun setting in the White desert. I was absolutely blown away by that sunset and guess what? People can actually do paragliding in the area and have a heavenly view of the setting sun.
The whole sky had turned to a beautiful shade of orange and the white salt reflected a bluish tinge, I still can’t forget how mesmerized I was by just looking at that sunset.
Visit Kalo Dungar
Finally, don’t forget to visit the famous Kalo Dungar (The Black Hills). A lot of people might tell you that it is not worth it but trust me, the view is completely worth the long drive. You get to see the entire White desert and the Dholavira lake and in the distance, if you have binoculars or telescope then you can even see Pakistan.
Also, if you are going so far then why not visit this place too and make most of your trip?
Best Time to Visit Kutch
Ideally, November to March is the best time to visit Kutch as the water dries up in the area and you can actually witness the salt desert. Also, the weather is more agreeable over this time and you also get to witness the Great Rann Utsav festival. The Rann Utsav Festival is held every year from December end to February end and is a happening time to visit Kutch. You get to eat amazing food, watch entertaining performances, and shop amazing Gujarati dresses and accessories for a reasonable price.
Also, make sure that you travel to this place on a Full Moon or a day when the moonrise is a little early in the evening because the white desert in the moonlight is certainly one of the most beautiful and magnificent sight ever.
As I said before, staying in Kutch will be really expensive especially in the Tent City. It will cost around 4000-5000 INR per person if it is not a peak season. You also have an option to stay in some other villages around Dhordo but again commuting would be a problem because there are no taxis, autos, etc. in this area.
If you wish to stay close to Rann Utsav and Rann of Kutch then you can stay at the White Rann Resort which costs around 5000-6000 INR for one night and offers you a variety of activities, attractions, etc. to make your stay more interesting in Kutch.
However, the best option would be to stay in Bhuj and go to Kutch for day visits. You will find many cheap and good places in Bhuj to stay and then you can easily rent your vehicle from here too. I would recomment Royal Guest House which costs around 250-300 INR per night for a bed and is a clean and nice place to stay at.
At the end I would just like to say that your traveling experience is incomplete if you have never been to Kutch. Trust me, it is one of the most magical places ever and I have decided to go back to watch the moonrise because I missed it this time. *Sigh*