KUTCH – ITS NOT JUST ABOUT THE DESERT
Kutch nahi dekha toh kya dekha? – Resonated with me when I met the innocent Ayaranis of Nakhatrana, drowned in the orange hues of the picture-perfect sunsets and stretched my spine long enough to follow the circles of the windmills who stood proudly on the majestic plains.
Kutch’s beauty lies in its seasonal metamorphosis – from salt marsh to desert – and in its versatile landscape – where you can see the amalgamation of the sea and the desert from the top of a mountain. Here’s what my Kutch itinerary looked like:
The Rann of Kutch
Where to stay: I stayed in an offbeat place- “sham-e-sarhad”(http://www.hodka.in/shaam-e-sarhad-village-resort/concept/), hunted by my architect friend and about 32 Kms from the Runn. They serve great food and the tents are pretty comfortable. This is the place for you if you don’t mind some local music and desert sand in the background, to get a more authentic experience of the Runn. It is advisable to enquire if the resort is pre-occupied by some guests if you don’t wish to stay there all alone.
Visit the Runn at 4 PM, while you walk into the unending road paved in the middle of the desert, and staying till its dark enough to see the milky way! This lonely planet set up will actually run chills down your spine or grab you in the endearing silence of “no-man’s land!”
At the end of a 40 Km drive from Hodko, beyond small villages, lies a mountaineous and eery region of Kutch, Kala Dungar. It’s a breezy stage from where you can see the desert and the sky merging with the sea, like a simple but real oil painting. And ofcourse, a mandatory camel ride will set a good tone for the day ahead!
Westend of India.
If you are a temple geek, do visit Koteshwar (for the breathtaking sunset view) and mata no madh (a pilgrimage); just a few kilometers from Narayansarovar.
Mandvi Day – The day of Beaches and Palaces:
Mandvi, the southernmost part of Kutch, can be accessed through local buses (from Bhuj) or by a car, in a mere 1.5 hours. After spending the afternoon exploring the dreamy Vijay Vilas Palace and studying its beautiful architecture, watch the planet’s clearest sunset at the Pavan Chakki (windmill) beach. The sun literally spheres itself up to let you watch how the sea engulfs it, into the horizon, bidding goodbye to its windmill pals.
P.S: Do not miss Mannubhai’s Dabeli (a soft bread preparation)! How does one find him? Look for the most crowded stall of Dabeli in the Mandvi market, and you have found the Dabeli you will relish all your life!
Bhuj – The city side of Kutch.
6. Visit: The Chhattardi
Apart from these, Bhuj is a home to numerous museums and temples and to a beautiful lake (Hamirsar Lake). If you like long drives through empty roads, Dholavira in Bhachau (an archeological site) must be on your Kutch itinerary.
Kutch reminds me of the inquisitiveness with which we studied borders and geography in school, and of the soaring kites in all tourism advertisements. The spice in their dabeli and the sugar in their kadak chai (tea) perfectly balances the salt in their air.
Why don’t you respond to Mr.Amitabh Bacchan’s proposal some day?
– Written by Ayushi Limbachiya