Kutch Nahin Dekha to Kutch Nahin Dekha…

Rann, Indo-Pak Border, Mandvi Village…fascinating, mesmerizing!

Indeed the December 2013’s outing was planned by watching heavy duty advertising by Gujarat Tourism featuring Amitabh Bachchan taking viewers all across Gujarat be it Somnath Mandir, Gir Forest, Adalaj or Rann of Kutch. What caught my fancy in a big way was white Rann of Kutch with Amitabh Bachchan taking stroll on a moonlit Rann which couldn’t have looked whiter than that.

The trip was planned by good amount of research done on Kutch particularly Rann for which not much information was available to firm up my decision of going to Kutch. After lot of research and based on whatever information was available I made up my mind to shun foreign locale and instead head out for rustic, rural, rann…in Gujarat And I am very proud to say it turned out to be an incredible experience. Not knowing anything about this part of India, I had to start from the scratch right from searching the nearest station, airport for Kutch.

Incidentally I interacted with lot of people in my circle to check if they had visited Rann and believe me none of them had, not even their relatives. Hence, the thought, why have I chosen this God forsaken place for my outing this year? Now I started interacting with Gujarat Tourism people who erected this tent city on Rann and offered stay as package to the tourists. After chasing them for two months and getting the same reply, bookings not open yet…I made up my mind to chuck them. As I was unable to decide on some other destination as well. If not this, then what?

I made one last attempt and came across Mr Mahendra Bheda of Kutch Travels who was most prompt in responding to my query and there I was on December 21, 2013. All credit goes to Mahendra Bhai and his daughter Prachi who made it a very pleasing experience. Now I started interacting with Mahendra Bhai who offered me a package of 3 Nights and 4 days which included stay, transportation, sight-seeing and food etc. He worked out an itinery for us which I changed many times but he did it smilingly, not even once complained. When we reached Bhuj station Mahendra Bhai was there with his daughter Prachi to receive us and an Indigo car was waiting for us there. Now the excitement was palpable… we had nice Gujarati Thali in a posh restaurant in Bhuj and set out for Hoduko village in the resort. It will be a misnomer to call it a resort, it was a Bhunga – mud house with modern amenities inside and attached bath etc. The Bhunga was exactly as per our specifications…spacious, airy, well-lit, big sleeping places. The owner and his family members were really nice and accommodated us for all our genuine and sometimes ingeniune demands – like a cup of tea in the midnight due to cold etc.

The weather was breezy but pleasant, after all the sultry weather of Mumbai, it was a great welcome. Mornings and nights were excessively cold where as day was pleasant. Unable to contain our excitement, we headed for Rann same evening which was good 20 Kms ahead in Dhordo village which is the last village on Gujarat Border. It gave us good insight into the village life of Kutch which was something novel for us, experienced by us for the first time.

I must mention that roads are smooth, village was well electrified and Gujarat Tourism had done a wonderful job of creating the ambience there. As we entered Rann, we were just mesmerised by the whiteness and expanse of place where we could see endless white salt. It looked as if the land was covered with white bed sheet with moonlight falling on it. The weather became colder with setting sun and breeze stronger. When sun was setting we could see the horizon…

I remembered the lines from Hindi Movie: Yeh Aasma Jhuk raha hai zameen par, yeh Milan hamne dekha yahin par!

My daughter Tanya was highly excited about Camel rides on the Rann which had heavy booking and she was disappointed instead she opted for mule ride and in the meantime our time came for camel ride. Even I was so excited…to watch Rann from such a height…incredible. We had walked for over 30-minutes and had come very far away on Rann. By the time it had turned quite dark and cold. Now tired and exhausted we walked towards the parking lot though with a heavy heart as 5 hours spent there looked not good enough. Now we drove to Craft Bazaar and Food Courts erected for tourists selling Kutchy embroidered stuff like shawls, Kurtas, Jholas, clutches, jewellery what not…mesmerising. I wanted to buy many more…but what advised to buy from the villages outside. While in the food court, we saw camel carts parading…what a sight it was. Camels decked up in all finery were ferrying tourists to Gujarat Pavilion which had on display all tourist places of Gujarat.

This was an experience of a lifetime which I will always treasure, most significant part was closely watching Indo-Pak border which is high security zone, thought why these borders, why these dividing lines, why so much hullabullo on visiting our brothers and sisters across borders. Now with http://www.zindagitv.in and #jodedilonko we can share our world’s / lives with them.  Eagerly look forward to June 23 when we will able to catch the glimpse. Kudos to this initiative of Zee Media Corp.

Personally very much appreciative of initiative of our newly appointed PM Narendra Modi on inviting Pak PM to India and work he is doing towards improving Indo-Pak relations so that both countrymen can rejoice!

Now we were back to Bhungas…where nice hot delicious Kutchy dinner was ready for us along with Bonfire on the side. We were really feeling cold, eating in the open but meal made for all that cold. Other families in neighbouring bhungas played antakshri whole night ….

Contrary to our expectations, stay at Bhungas was really warm…we did not feel cold in the night thus we were ready for the next morning’s adventure…

I was accompanied by my husband Mukund and daughter Tanya.

Our driver Prakash bhai needs a special mention here who tirelessly took us all over the place smilingly…more of a guide for the tour and friend for life. Drove incessantly and made sure that we don’t miss any destination which we would like to visit.

Hamne bhi Guzaare kutch din Gujarat mein…

Photo-Essay of our wonderful trip to Kutch…enjoy!

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Wait for more updates later!

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