Kutch Nahi Dekha to Kuch Nahi Dekha!
From primeval temples and intricate textiles to salt plains and rare wildlife, the western state of Gujarat has so much to offer. The white salt plains of the Great Rann of Kutch transforms from a marshland in the summer to a bone-dry desert in the winter.
Magnificent is the word that one could simply use and glorify the natural beauty of Kutch. The stark beauty of white salt flats, clear blue skies and a mosaic of stars illuminated by the moonlight is hard to put into words.
On this 7-day tour, we see the very best of this less-explored state, from the surreal Rann of Kutch and the ancient town of Bhuj to Mandvi, an idyllic beach town by the Arabian Sea and the charming traditional artisan villages. And of course, we take a trip to the 5000-year old Harappan metropolis of Dholavira.
This trip is a must for anyone looking for experiences of a lifetime!
Come… join us on this ‘off-the-beaten-path’ trip to discover the hidden treasures of Kutch.
Day 01 (5th Feb 2020) | Bhuj
On arrival in Bhuj at 8AM, you’ll be transferred to our homestay / hotel. Bhuj is known as the ‘Jaisalmer of Gujarat’ situated in the lowlands between the Great Rann (marsh) and the Gulf of Kutch. Soaked in a colorful culture, nurtured by primeval traditions and boasting of a historic legacy, Bhuj is indisputably charismatic. Add to it the striking desert lands stretched out lavishly, decorated with historical monuments and ancient shrines, and it is the very sight of precision. Overflowing with a mesh of cautiously nurtured age old traditions and arts, Bhuj exudes a vibrancy and warmth that is enough to allure any traveler. Located in the Kutch region of Gujarat, it is one of the undeniably precious touristic treasures of India that lures visitors with its vivid charm.
After some relaxation, we venture out to explore the 18th century Aaina Mahal, a charming structure featuring engraved sandstone jharokhas on its exterior and a glittering mirrored interior, and the Italian-gothic Prag Mahal Palace constructed in the 19th century, which includes a 45 feet bell tower from which you can have an exhilarating view of the entire city of Bhuj. We also visit the Kutch Museum on the banks of Hamirsar Lake that houses an eclectic collection of archaeological objects, weaponry, and crafts from the region. The Hamirsar Lake is an apt location to watch the sunset with locals, and if you're inclined, you can walk a further 20 minutes to see the chatardis (memorials) of the royal Kutch family members.
We also visit Bhujodi village, a weaver’s village located just 10 km from Bhuj. Here you can meet the weavers, tie-dye artists and block printers, interact with them, watch them work their magic and bring exquisite pieces of art to life. With the presence of the Craft Parks that houses produce from almost all the nearby villages, exhibited in traditionally designed shops, Bhujodi is the perfect place to indulge in some souvenir shopping. You can buy footwear, bags, cloth pieces and other small bric-a-bracs. There is something for everyone, but strictly no bargaining! We return to our homestay / hotel by late evening and retire for the day! (–/–/D)
Day 02 (6th Feb 2020) | Bhuj – Dholavira
Early this morning, we head to Dholavira, named one of the Seven Wonders of India located on the Tropic of Cancer. Perched on a landlocked island in the Great Rann of Kutch, Dholavira is a prominent archaeological site, as the remarkable excavations trace the town to the early Indus Valley Civilization and Harappan culture, more than 5000 years ago.
Although now it appears to be a fortified quadrangular city set in harsh land, Dholavira was a thriving metropolis for over 1200 years (3000 BCE-1800 BCE) and had access to the sea, prior to the decrease in sea level. It presents one of the world's earliest and best designed water conservation systems and what might be the world's first signboards, written in the ancient Indus script.
Many artefacts, like ornaments, vessels, seals and gold, silver and terracotta utensils, few items of Mesopotamian origin, were all excavated from this site.
We explore the ancient city with a local guide and also visit the Archaeological Museum that exhibits information and artifacts related to the Dholavira archaeological site. We then visit the Fossil Park to check out some of the prehistoric fossils. (B/–/D)
Day 03 (7th Feb 2020) | Bhuj – Mandvi
After a leisurely breakfast, we set off on a trip to the nearby Mandvi, a little town on the banks of the Rukmavati River and on the Arabian Sea in the Gulf of Kutch. We visit the striking Vijay Vilas Palace, the royal red sandstone palace built by Rao Vijayrajji in 1929, featuring royal domes, ornate windows and 450 acres worth of well-laid gardens to explore. The town is known for its exquisite Batik work and centuries old cottage ship-building yard where you can witness assembling of ships completely handmade. We, then make a visit to a hidden beach where you can find a host of broken pillars, religious idols, etc. devastated by earthquake. Take a leisurely stroll on the beach or go for a swim before heading back to our homestay / hotel. (B/–/D)
Day 04 (8th Feb 2020) | Bhuj – Hodka
Today, we take the road to reach Hodka by late afternoon. Hodka is located on the edge of the Great Rann of Kutch, in the Banni grasslands, known to attract more than 250 species of birds such as flamingos, cranes and spoonbills during the winter season.
We relax for some time at our homestay and then we visit the Hodka Artists Village, home to a large number of artisans who specialize in everything from intricate Banni embroidery to leather work. Later, we visit the white desert for the glorious sunset view with no visual obstructions in the Rann of Kutch. Overnight stay at Hodka. (B/–/–)
Day 05 (9th Feb 2020) | Kalo Dungar – Khavda – Dhordo – White Rann
Start early and head to Kalo Dungar, literally translates to Black Hill, located close to the Indo-Pakistan Border, which requires a permit to be taken from the Army. It is the highest point in Kutch at 1,516 ft and probably the only place in Kutch from where a panoramic view of the Great Rann of Kutch, the world's largest salt desert, an endless stretch of white from the West to the East merging into the horizon. The desert and sky often become indistinguishable which makes us feel like we are at the edge of the earth. On this perch is the beautiful Guru Dattatreya Temple, said to date back more than 400 years.
On the way back, we visit Khavda village where we have our lunch with a local family. Then, we visit Ludia village that boasts colorful mud houses that reflect the culture of its people. We visit a few traditional tribal villages producing some of India's premium folk textiles, sparkling with exquisite embroidery.
Early evening, we head to Great Rann of Kutch, the largest salt marsh in the world – a geographical wonder, turning marshy during the monsoon and then back to original white for the winter.
It is an expanse: a vast, immaculate white landscape stretching as far as the eye can see. Today is a Full Moon day, a perfect day to be here in Kutch. During Full Moon, the moon turns as bright as the sun and the infinite sea of white land sparkles as precious gems under its light. No explanation will do justice! One has to experience oneself to believe!
Rann Utsav is one big celebration filled with folk music, dance, carnivals and pageants showcasing the diversity of the region of Kutch, India’s Own ‘Wild West’ – provides the perfect ambience to sit back, relax and enjoy the various forms of traditional art and culture on offer. Food, music to dance and artistry are the just the starters of this palate. Overnight stay at Hodka. (B/–/–)
Day 06 (10th Feb 2020) | Bid Adieu!
There is not much that can beat the sight of a sunrise over the great expanse of sand in the Rann. Something you will remember for the lifetime!
We start on our return journey from Hodka en-route drive on to the Banni region. Take a visit to the village of Nirona with as many as three distinct and thriving art forms – Copper Bell Art, Lacquer Print and Rogan Art call Nirona home.
Take a walk around the village to meet the talented craftsmen in their homes, where you can watch them hard at work, creating one masterpiece after another. The locals are warm and friendly, so it will be great if you could strike up a conversation and learn about the history of the art form and some technical details of its creation.
We bid good bye to each other & head home with sweet memories!!! Trip ends. (B/–/–)
The itinerary is loosely drafted, and allows you to do as little or as much as you like.
This itinerary is just to give you an idea on the tour structure but in no means final and is subject to change.
Start Date: 5th February 2020 (Wednesday)
End Date: 10th February 2020 (Monday)
The trip commences & ends in Bhuj.
On Day 0 (4th February 2020), we reach Ahmedabad by 7PM from our respective location & take the overnight AC bus to head to Bhuj. Your Tour Lead will accompany you. Similarly on Day 06 (10th February 2020), we reach Bhuj by evening and take our return overnight AC bus to reach Ahmedabad back. (Approx. Bus fare @ Rs.700/-, one way)
Alternatively, you can take a train or flight to reach Bhuj from your respective locations and directly join us.
INR 29000 per person (Including the Non-Refundable Booking Fee)
Please confirm your participation by paying INR 5000 (Non-Refundable) to book your seat. Rest to be paid 30 days before the trip start date.
Pls write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for our Bank Account Details to transfer the Booking Fee (or) pay via Google Pay at 9052220466. Your spot will be confirmed as soon as we receive your Booking Fee.
**If you can find anyone else to replace you, there’ll be NO cancellation charges. We will then refund your money in full including the non-refundable booking fee.
Pls write to us for cancellation conditions & other queries.