Rann Utsav is a three-month long festival that is celebrated every year at the edge of the white Rann (desert) in Bhuj, Gujarat, India.
The Rann Utsav is an exclusive opportunity to explore this land of varied culture, history, and ethnic art & flavors. It gives you an opportunity to enjoy a traditional village life and celebrate with local artisans, visit nearby places, listen to folk musicians and see them perform in their local settings.
A collaboration of Kutch & Gujarat Tourism, the Rann Utsav brings alive the Rann of Kutch in all its splendor. For the festival, an entire ‘Tent City’ is constructed at Dhordo, Kutch.
The Rann Utsav package includes a 2 or 3 nights stay at the beautiful venue and offers sightseeing, food delights and shopping sprees along with a Standard or Luxury stay in well-furnished tents.
Package Tariffs start at 6500/- Per person (includes transportation from & to Airport & Railway Station)
Activities at Kutch Rann Utsav Festival
Equippedwith Spa and a club house, the Rann Utsav lets you explore and indulge in some adventure and fun sports & activities like Para Motoring, ATV Thrills, Rifle Shooting & Archery, Camel rides, Star Gazing, Play Pool, Drive on a Trikke and so much more. And there’s a kids zone too, so that you can indulge in some ‘me time’ with your partner or just unwind for a while.
The Rann of Kutch is the only large flooded grasslands zone in the whole Indo-Malayan region of the planet. The fact that the area has a desert on one side and the sea on the other provides a variety of ecosystems, including mangroves and desert vegetation.
But, it is during the winter months that the Rann of Kutch is the most beautiful. The blinding whiteness of this expansive desert is a delightful experience during full moon nights and the best place to witness this is at ‘Ekal ka Rann’ offering you a sight you are not going to forget in your lifetime.
The Kutch music is influenced by Sufi & Folk songs and uses instruments like- Bhorrindo, Manjira , Morchay, Jodia Pava & Rava.
Complimentary Sightseeing included with Rann Utsav Package
Kutchi Huds: Dhordo is itself a typical Kutch Village which has the traditional Kutch style design used in Mud huts.
A visit to Gulbeg’s House (the village headman) is a must visited for its beautiful kutcha bunga (a hut decorated with beautiful mirror and paintwork on the inside). Interestingly every Kutch Community has a distinct style of decorating their houses, and each is distinct.
Sri Swami Narayan Temple: Managed by Nar Narayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, a sect of Hinduism, the Swaminarayan Temple of Bhuj was built in the year 1824 by Swaminarayan.
Located right across the Hamirsar Lake and just a few minutes’ walk from the Kutch Museum, the Swaminarayan Temple attract travelers and pilgrims alike.
The East facing temple has intricate carving on all of its 7 pinnacles, one central dome, 25 minor domes and 258 pillars. Entry Fee: FREE Timings: 7 AM to 12 Noon and 4 PM to 8 PM Website: www.bhujmandir.org
Aina Mahal: Popularly known as the ‘Hall of Mirrors’, the Aina Mahal looks like a usual palace by the lake from outside, but you enter a different world, as soon as you step in. This is a world of mirrors!
Built in the year 1752 during the reign of Lakhpatji of the Jadeja dynasty and designed by Ramsinh Malam who had trained in Europe as an artisan for over 17 years.
Most of the palace is destroyed and in shambles after the 2001 earthquake and a small part has now being restored for public.The Aina Mahal’s most visited room includes Fuvanra Mahal (entertainment room with a center divan full of musical instruments which were played by the musicians for the king) and Hira Mahal (State Bedroom of the King that holds a huge bed standing on pure gold bed posts!) Entry Fee: 20 INR per person Camera Fee: 50 INR
While prior permission is required from the Border Security Force to visit the Indo-Pak border at Kutch, the tourism department conducting the Rann Utsav tourists offers you a tour if you have booked it as part of the package and is restricted to only Indians. The trip is combined along with Kala Dungar as it is located nearby.
Tourists can view International border pillar and see Pakistani rangers from a distance of just 2-5 ft from the border fence. This day tour is also the most popular selling point of the Rann Utsav package!
Kala Dungar: is also known as ‘Black Hill’ and is the highest point in Kutch.
There are some beautiful ravines located nearby. Climb up the dunes for awesome photographs and scenic views.
There is also a Dattatreya Temple situated at the top, where the temple priest since decades has been feeding the wild Jackals in the wild. You too can watch them eat, from a distance.
Vijay Vilas Palace & Mandvi Beach: located 60 kms from the city of Bhuj, Mandvi was built in 1929 by Rao Vijayrajji as the summer retreat of the Kutch Royals, who now resides at the Vijay Vilas Palace, after the 2001 floods damaged their official residence at Prag Mahal.
The palace is nestled in 450 acres of lush greenery, with 2 kilometers of private beach at the beautiful Mandvi beach, that is lined with windmills, making it a delight to walk.
Mandvi also boasts of a 400-year-old shipbuilding industry and still today, there are ships being painstakingly built for national & internal use. Read more on my blog on Bhuj & Mandvi
Handicrafts of Kutch
Kutch is a haven for handicrafts like Kutchi embroidery, hand block printing (Ajrakh prints, Batik prints and Rogan painting), wood carving (Harijan people living in Dumaro and Ludia are master crafts persons of wood carving), Seashells are used to make toys and decorative items, iron bells with copper coatings are quite unique and are made at Nirona and Zura.
Bhujodi Village: Bhujodi is a 500-year-old village located 8 kms from Bhuj and is a major centre for textile handicraft. It an artisan’s village that houses more than 200 artisans work.
Here you get to see the local artisans, weavers, block printers, and tie & dye artists work on the beautifully acclaimed Kutch handicraft. Everything is handmade and of finest designs. The Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft Park at Bhujodi is a good place to buy all handicrafts.
It is interesting to know that although the weaving is done by men, it is the women who are responsible for preparing the warp thread!
Nirona (40 kms from Bhuj) is another village of this region that is popular for ‘Rogan’ paintings. Rogan refers to a fabric painting done with a paste made by boiling castor oil (means Rogan) mixed with natural color pigments. The paste is then directly applied in intricate layouts and designs. Nirona also makes handmade iron bells and colorful lacquer work over cooking wooden spoons. There are many villages that also specialize in Bandhej (tie & Dye art).
Kavda village is known for its intricate paintings done over terracotta pottery and the village of Ajrakpur uses block printing on clothes and create beautiful stoles, shawls, bed sheets etc. Gandhi Nu Gam is also a traditional Gujarati village that is now a major art & craft production center.
There are about 16 different types of embroideries done in the Kutch region, Rabari embroidery is the most famous. This is the one that uses chain stitches and an inlay of countless mirrors. It gets its name for the Rabari Community who are the nomadic tribe of cattle raisers and hail from Rajasthan (they migrated 400 years ago to Kutch). Rabari also means ‘Rahabari’, the one who lives outside or ‘goes out of the path’. MMausana Village can be visited to see the myriad weaving and embroidery of Rabari people. Another interesting thing to note is the elderly Rabari women are clad with long black head shapes and a distinctive neck piece and long brass earrings. (Learn more about Rabari community HERE
KHAMIR was founded in 2005 as a joint initiative of Kachchh Nav Nirman Abhiyan and the Nehru Foundation for Development and is working towards sustainable development of Kutch Handicrafts and aims at promoting local crafts and preserve traditional art, craft, culture and community of Kutch.
But with the changing trends in fashion, the weaving too has got affected and the traditional arts like Kharad weaving (done on collapsible, nomadic looms) and Mushroo weaving have almost become extinct, giving way to modern designs implemented on mill made cloth.
For the best shopping bargains, you should visit Ekta Arts, located at Darbargadh Road (near Prag Mahal Palace, Bhuj). From quilts to camel jewelry, embroidered patches to old bidi metal tins, you get all you need for your shopping spree at really cheap rates starting as 50 INR. He also has a fantastic collection of antiques and old items that are a collector’s dream.
Food Galore: Besides the filling Gujarati thali, savor in the local snacks like dabeli, bhaji pavs and meetha meva (at Bhirandiyara). Most even start off the day with jalebi and kachori’s. Then there is a puri shak, kadak, Bhakarwadi, Undhia, Muthia,Gathia and khaman dhokla.
Staple food is Rotlas (roti’s made with bajra, millet) and had with generous amounts of homemade butter and a huge glasses of buttermilk.