5 reasons why Rann of Kutch is the one true winter wonderland of Western India!

This winter, visit Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to go on a colourful sojourn of a lifetime.

Often overlooked (and unfairly so) by throngs of travellers scurrying between Mumbai and Rajasthan, Gujarat is an underrated, highly-rewarding, destination waiting for its share of spotlight. Other than winter, when Rann of Kutch, a massive expanse of salt marshes in the colourful western state, gets a chance to showcase itself to the world through a seasonal cultural festival and other enchanting offerings. Sit tight, as we are about to take you on a whirlwind journey to show you why Rann of Kutch must be on your winter destinations list next.

Two words: Rann Utsav

Rann of kutch
Rann Utsav is a must-experience festival when you’re in Kutch. Image: Courtesy Rann Utsav.

Stroll through the colourful canvas that Rann Utsav is. As the winter sets in, the curtain rises on Gujarat’s seasonal festival of magical experiences every year. Enjoy the tent life, get a glimpse of the ethnic arts, and watch the vast expanses of salt glow bright under the full moon. From vibrant folk performances, Sindhi bhajan recitals, to stalls selling Kutchi embroidery, camel rides, paramotoring and what not! It is a carnival of a lifetime. The ongoing Rann Utsav 2021-22 will run till February 20, 2022.

Starlit desert skies are a constant

Rann of kutch
Be lost in the star-studded skies of Kutch. Image: Shutterstock/REENKESH CHAUDHRI.

While the December days in Kutch are balmy, the nights are quite chilly, just how they are supposed to be in the deserts! Watch the milky white marshes meet the star-studded winter sky on the horizon on a full moon night as crisp air blows through your hair. Pair it with bonfire and some folk performances, and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for one of the most memorable experiences in the region.

Local Kutchi cuisine offers delicious winter specials

Rann of kutch
Enjoy a variety of dishes as you try the Kutchi cuisine. Image: Courtesy Rann Utsav.

The lack of leafy green vegetables dictates the food choices of the dry, arid region. Kutchi cuisine is widely dominated by Sindhi and Gujarati influences, and is an explosion of flavours. The street-style dabeli i.e. pan-roasted bread roll stuffed with a filling of potato, chutney made of tamarind, date, and jaggery, topped with sev, onions, and spicy peanuts) is a staple here. A winter platter, however, includes seasonal delicacies like bajra na rotla (flat bread made of pearl millet), khichdikadi, chhas (spiced buttermilk), sev tameta nu shaak (spiced tomato and sev curry), ringna no oroh (spiced roasted eggplants), and more.

Exotic birds on salt marshes is a common sight

Rann of kutch
Flamingos wading through salt marshes is a sight to behold. Image: Shutterstock/Dchauy.

Every winter, the wetlands surrounding the Great Rann of Kutch are flocked by many endangered and exotic species of birds flying in for some warm sun. The ones bored of the land critters, spend time scouring the sky as thousands of flamingos, pelicans, cranes, stork, Indian and sand grouses, falcons, the lesser Floricans, and the Houbara bustard take over the saline lands. Arrive at the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary to catch the spectacle.

Rann of Ekal is hidden away from touristy crowds

Rann of kutch
Make time for visiting the lesser-known Rann of Ekal. Image: Shutterstock/Dietmar Temps.

The lesser-known Rann of Ekal is for the ones who are looking at keeping away from the hordes of tourists flooding Dhordo. Experience the untouched expanse of the white desert in Kutch’s best kept secret. Soak in the infinite landscape, chat up with the local Rabari herders, and base yourself at a bhunga—a traditional Kutch house with circular walls and thatched roof.

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