Kutch nahi dekha toh kuch nahi dekha!” 

– Amitabh Bachchan in a promo for Gujarat Tourism.

And we couldn’t agree more! The Rann of Kutch is an otherwordly and extraordinary place that is surely going to leave you speechless! Located to the north of the Tropic of Cancer in the state of Gujarat in the western part of India, the Great Rann of Kutch is one of the world’s largest salt deserts and on a full moon night, this glistening, shining and shimmering white desert seems truly out of this world!  

The Great Rann of Kutch
The Great Rann of Kutch
Image Credit: Dchauy

The surreal white salt desert is a magical place with unparalleled natural beauty, which simply amplifies under the moonlight. A must-visit tourist attraction included among Gujarat tour packages, the magnificence aura of the Rann of Kutch will definitely transport you to the moon. Apart from enjoying the breathtaking beauty of India’s largest salt desert after booking your Rann of Kutch package, you can partake in various fun activities, have your fill of the lip smacking regional delicacies and even attend the Rann Utsav – a one of its kind festival that celebrates the Rann in all its glory!

History of the Rann of Kutch

The White Desert of Kutch
The White Desert of Kutch
Image Credit: Official Website of Gujarat Tourism
  • The Rann of Kutch, spread over 10,000 sq. km is a vast salt marsh that lies between the Arabian Sea and the Thar Desert, with a history of human settlements, dating back to prehistoric times. Some of the largest cities of the Indus Valley civilization, such as Dholavira, were located in this region.
  • A part of the Maurya and Gupta empires, the Rann of Kutch witnessed the trade and conflict between various kingdoms and empires. Ruled by the Charans in the medieval period, followed by the Jadeja Rajputs in the 16th century, the Rann of Kutch accepted the dominion of the British East India Company in 1819.
  • The region suffered from natural disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones but flourished in business and tourism.
  • The Rann of Kutch became a part of Gujarat in 1960, but during a conflict in 1965, 10% of it was given to Pakistan. Today, it is a popular Indian destination for its unique landscape, wildlife, culture and festivals.

Rann Utsav – The White Desert Festival

Local artists performing during the Rann Utsav
Local artists performing during the Rann Utsav
Image Credit: Official Website of Gujarat Tourism
  • The celebration of the beauty and culture of the Rann of Kutch, Rann Utsav – literally meaning ‘desert festival’ is a 100-day event. The Rann Utsav 2023 will take place from November 10, 2023, to February 25, 2024.
  • The festival showcases the art, music, dance, crafts, cuisine and wildlife of the region.
  • Visitors can experience the hospitality and lifestyle of the local people by staying in luxury tents at Dhordo, a nearby village which was recently included in the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s list of ‘Best Tourism Villages’.  
  • Offering various adventure activities such as camel cart rides, para motoring, golf cart, ATV rides, rifle shooting, and much more, the Rann Utsav is a carnival of joy and beauty that reflects the spirit of Kutch. If you wish to witness the diversity and richness of Kutch and the Kutchi people, you absolutely cannot miss this! 

Places to visit in Kutch

Vijay Vilas Palace is located close to the Mandvi Beach
Vijay Vilas Palace is located close to the Mandvi Beach
Image Credit: Official Website of Gujarat Tourism
  • Kalo Dungar: Literally translating to the black hills, Kalo Dungar is the highest point of Kutch that offers the spectacular views of the natural surroundings around. Being away from urban settlements, being here gives you a vibe of you being totally in another world. You can even see all the way across the Pakistani border from this area!
  • The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary: One of the largest seasonal saline wetlands in the world, home to variety of flora and fauna, including flamingos, pelicans, cranes, foxes, jackals and wolves.
  • Dholavira: An ancient site of the Indus Valley Civilization, where you can explore the ruins of a well-planned city that dates back to 4,500 years ago. You can see the remains of elegant water management system, a citadel, a stadium and inscriptions in an extinct script.
  • The Kutch Museum: You can see the collections of the extinct Kutchi script, ancient coins, tribal artifacts, paintings, musical instruments, sculptures and metal work in this oldest museum of Gujarat.
  • The Kutch Bustard Sanctuary: A conservation reserve for the endangered Great Indian Bustard. You can also spot other birds like harriers, eagles, sand grouse and larks.
  • Narayan Sarovar and Sanctuary: A sacred place for Hindu pilgrims, is one of the five holy lakes in India. It’s also a wildlife sanctuary that is home to many species of animals like chinkara, blackbuck, wolf and hyena.
  • Chhari Dhand Bird Sanctuary: A wetland reserve that attracts thousands of migratory birds every year where you can see more than 370 species of birds including raptors, waders, waterfowl and flamingos.
  • Mandvi Beach: Close to Vijay Vilas Palace, it is a quiet, pristine, surreal beach on the coast of Kutch is a very unique beach that has smooth fine sand and known for its impeccable cleanliness. You can enjoy your evenings here by taking part in various beach side activities, or just relax and rejuvenate. You can also see its fascinating 400 years old shipbuilding yard that is along the banks of Sukhavati River. 
  • Khavda Village: A village home to artisans who specialize in block printing, including ajrakh block printing from Pakistan.
  • The Old Lakhpat Fort: A 18th century fort which has a 7 km long wall with several gates and bastions which offers a panoramic view of the white desert and the Kori Creek. 

All about the Permits

  • Since it is close to the India-Pakistan border – special permits are required to attend the Great Rann of Kutch festival. These permits can be acquired at the Bhirandiyara village which is 55 km from Bhuj.
  • The permit costs approx. INR 100 per adult, INR 50 for kids between the ages of 6 and 12, INR 25 for a motorbike, and INR 50 for a car.
  • You have to provide a copy of your ID along with the original.
  • The permit office may not open until late morning (around 11 a.m) and it may be closed during the off-season. Indians planning a Rann of Kutch trip can apply for a permit online as well.
  • You have to show the permit to the army officers at the entrance of the salt desert, which is about 45 minutes away from Bhirandiyara village.

Best time to visit the Rann of Kutch

The best time to visit Rann of Kutch is during the Rann Utsav
The best time to visit Rann of Kutch is during the Rann Utsav
Image Credit: Official Website of Gujarat Tourism
  • One of the important things to note is that the Rann of Kutch begins to dry up from October after being submerged under the Arabian Sea in the monsoon.
  • The best time to visit Rann of Kutch is during the winter months (November to February) which is when the Rann Utsav also takes place. The weather is cool and pleasant making it ideal for exploring the desert landscape. The full moon nights are the best as the salt marsh reflects the moonlight, and creates a magical scenery. 
  • If wildlife and bird watching interest interest you, then visit the Rann during the monsoon. You’ll be able to spot the routines of migratory birds amidst the green surroundings. However, please make note, monsoon also makes certain roads inaccessible.
  • Summers are not recommended for visiting Rann of Kutch, unless you enjoy extreme heat where temperatures soar up to 50℃!

Where to stay when visiting Rann of Kutch

Kutchi Bhungas at the Dhordo Village
Kutchi Bhungas at the Dhordo Village
Image Credit: Sagar Rajgor
  • Gateway to Rann Resort, Dhordo: Made up of Kutchi bhungas (mud huts) with traditional crafts and decorations.
  • Toran Rann Resort: Run by the Gujarat Government, near the entrance of the salt desert also has a bhunga accommodations. The stay at this includes breakfast and dinner.
  • Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort, Hodka: Has eco-friendly bhungas, owned and managed by the locals where you can rent double rooms, family cottages and even visit local artist villages from here.
  • Rann Riders, Dasada: Cottages inspired by the local Rabari and Bharwad tribes that has a swimming pool, a restaurant and a library. You can also enjoy the jeep or camel safaris to the Little Rann of Kutch from here.
  • Devpur Homestay, Devpur: A heritage property belonging to the Jadeja family (the descendants of the rulers of Kutch) that offers four precious rooms with antique furniture and modern amenities. The host also arrange cultural activities, village walks and bird watching tours.
  • Bhuj and Gandhi Dham: If you are looking for more budget-friendly and convenient hotels in Kutch, you can choose stays in the nearby towns which have many options.

How to Reach

By Air:

Wondering about the best options for cheap flights to Kutch? Well, the nearest airport to the Rann of Kutch is Bhuj with direct flights from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. You can take connecting flights to Bhuj airport via these two cities from other cities in India. You can also reach Rann of Kutch from Rajkot Airport, by taking a train, a taxi or a bus.

By Train:

Bhuj is the nearest railway station to the Rann of Kutch. It is well connected with major cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Jodhpur etc. After reaching Bhuj, you can take a bus or a taxi and reach the Rann of Kutch in around 2 hours, which is around 104 km from the railway station. 

By Road:

Bhuj is well connected with most major cities in India, and you can pretty much reach easily from any city in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Udaipur, Indore, Jodhpur, Surat, Bhopal are some major cities that are well connected with Bhuj. From Bhuj, you can continue towards Dhordo, which is the gateway to the Rann of Kutch.

Travel tips to visit the Rann of Kutch

The tent city of Dhordo, which is set up every year for the Rann Utsav
The tent city of Dhordo, which is set up every year for the Rann Utsav
Image Credit: Official Website of Gujarat Tourism
  • Plan your trip around the Rann Utsav festival, which is a four-month-long celebration of nature, culture and the people of Kutch. During this festival, you can enjoy various cultural programmes, adventure activities and local delicacies.
  • Book your accommodation well in advance, as the tent city near Dhordo is a popular place to stay and it fills up fast. You can also make Rann Utsav booking with resorts that offer all-inclusive packages and take care of everything from transportation to permits.
  • Carry your sports shoes if you want to go trekking, parasailing or dirt biking in the salt desert. You can also take a camel cart ride or a moonlight safari to experience the beauty of the white sand.
  • Carry your umbrella, sun hat and sun block lotion, as the days can be hot and the sun can be merciless. The best time to visit the salt desert is early morning or evening, as the salt can be blinding.
  • Carry your woolen garments, as the nights can be very cold and windy during the winter months. The temperature can drop below 10℃ at night.
  • Add this to your list of things to do in Kutch – get a taste of the local food delicacies, such as mawa (a sweet made from milk), bajra rotla (millet bread), khichdi (rice and lentil dish) and kadi (yogurt-based curry).


A very well-known crowd puller, the Rann of Kutch is famous for being a unique destination that offers a variety of experiences. From witnessing the white salt desert, the colourful culture, to the rich wildlife, and the ancient history there are many things that you must add in your Rann Utsav Package 2023-2024.

Whether you visit during the day or the night, the Rann of Kutch will enchant you with its beauty, charm you with its culture and is sure to get your heart racing with the excitement of trying to experience the many activities available.

Be it enjoying the Rann Utsav, or simply exploring the areas in and around the Rann of Kutch, the Rann of Kutch will provide you with opportunities to explore, relax, and have fun.

You have to visit it atleast once in your lifetime!

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