The shine of Dholavira and its glorious past seamlessly fusing with the present could still be seen in the eyes of the musafirs (co-travellers). The wedding and the road trip to Rajasthan had taken the back seat in our head with the cravings of the seeing the White Desert / Rann coming to the forefront. We thus embarked on the final leg of the road trip and the road keeps your company well. It sprang a few surprises and gave a few familiar sights.
This was one of the few times that Google maps failed. It was showing a shortcut route to Dhordo, we took it. The road didn’t go to Dhordo but led us to a beautiful canal construction on the way.The blue water came as a shock in the desert sort of landscape and we did not miss the opportunity for some photographs. What added the icing on the cake was a family of nomads that we encountered right next to the canal. The head of the family was herding some sheep while other members of the family had their possessions on the camels and were moving. It was a sight to behold and something straight out of documentaries. May be this is the reason people travel. Something that I would regret is not talking to them but we scared of what to ask.
|Entire life on the back of camels – The Nomad Life|
|The canal under construction|
|The head of the family herding the sheep|
Moving on from the spot we came back to the highway and a few kilometers later there was the first sighting of the Rann. I distinctly remember it being a straight road like a runway for about 2-3 kms with the Rann on both sides. The electric grid wires added that drama required for the photographs. It was sheer delight to witness this. Some sort of geographic magic overwhelms you. It truly is the gateway to the Rann.
|The first glimpse of the Rann|
|The electric grid lines adding drama to the scene|
We moved ahead , further inside to Dhordo, just imagining if the trailer was like this, how would the movie be! After taking a permit (even if you are taking your own car you need this permit and the spot can be easily missed, so keep your eyes open). we entered Dhordo. We were greeted with colorful flags flanking both sides of the road. The same were in preparation of the Rann – Utsav but nevertheless told us we were on the right track.
|The colorful flags guiding to the White Desert|
We couldn’t control the excitement, so with all bags and luggage still in the car we headed for the Rann. the sighting is unbelievable. It is a straight stretch of white in every direction your eyes can go. You have to wonder, how does it get created every year? We spent a blissful few hours there.
|Don and me – Off to No Man’s Land – Literally|
|A shot form the collection|
We realized that we did not have accommodation and somebody told us that you get homestays for really cheap prices in the nearby villages. I remember we bargained and got the person down to Rs 150 per person for the night which included dinner and water for bath the next day. A steal deal if you get an authentic experience in the village with stars to gaze directly above your head.
Rann Utsav and the Kite Festival
This utsav requires special mention as it is supposed to be one of the well organised events by the Gujarat Tourism. The utsav starts Mid December and stretches to the mid of March. You need to check the exact dates every year. It is recommended that you go at the start of the festival of you want to see pristine white sand as it gets dirtier as the festival progresses. You can get tents as seen in the picture below for affordable prices as packages, where you can get meals, entertainment and some cultural programs at the night.
The highlight of this festival is on Makar Sankranti where the white desert gets flooded with color of all possible shades because of the kites. The varied shapes and sizes are not only appealing but fun to watch with the crowd. If I have to ever go back to the Rann, that would be on the 14th of Jan (Makar Sankranti is celebrated every year on that day)
|Kite festival Pic courtesy: http://www.rann-utsav.com|
|Tents that are available for accommodation Pic courtesy :- http://www.rann-utsav.com/|
Some places captivate you and just by the thought of it I get goosebumps and in the flicker of an eye my brain can wander to the beauty that is on offer. I would rate it as a natural wonder of the world.
Everybody should visit this place at least once in their lifetime.