It was ‘Kutch’ out to be a great trip!

February 12, 2014 It was ‘Kutch’ out to be a great trip! @TheRoyaleIndia 712 0 0

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(N.B. – Sorry, could not resist the title. Anyway, this is a story to make you want to go to Kutch just because it is so awesome. It is of course based on real incidences and people.)

My friends and I managed to remove 10 days from our busy schedule to plan a trip. Obviously, the first few days were spent in zeroing on the place with a lot of ‘no dude, too expensive’ or ‘please ya the dates are not working’ or ‘what do you mean the hotel is booked?’ Finally we got somewhere and decided to go to Kutch. Initially it was planned out to be just a 4 day trip to Kutch but then we extended it by going to Diu and Gir. The first 4 days were themselves utilized to relax in Diu (we were staying right at the Gujarat- Diu checkpost). If you think Diu is as lively as Goa towards year end then you are in for a rude shock my friend. It is a lovely place with its own charm. Not the hustle and bustle of Goa during New Year’s Eve. If you want to get away from it all and still get drunk but be close enough to explore Gujarat, this is it. We attended the midnight mass on 24th December at this beautiful church in Diu. I have never had such an X’mas before. In these 4 days we even went to the Somnath Temple. Beautiful! But that’s where my excitement for the temple ended. This was turning out to be, very sneakily so, a pilgrimage; and I was not happy. So we did some damage control and bought wine from Diu. Whew! One entire day was just spent in massages and beautifying ourselves. (Jealous much? Not yet? Don’t worry, you will be soon)

Anyway, after exploring Diu and temple and the areas around, we were on our way to Sasan Gir. For those of you who don’t know, Sasan Gir is a huge forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat. You have open jeep safaris in the morning and in the evening and it is home to the Asiatic Lion. It depends on your luck and your prayers in Somnath Temple that you get to see a lion. Well, we did. Two of ‘em! Initially we got super excited just seeing the pugmarks. Can you imagine our state when we saw the King himself? We also saw the Black Buck (Oh. My. God. It is so beautiful. No wonder court hearings have been going on for bajillion years because people tried to own it or hunt it down. Not that any animal should be hunted down. I am just saying. God stop interrogating me!)

Lion Black Buck Collage @TheRoyaleIndia

After the high from Gir, we thought nothing could possibly compete with that. Meh! So wrong we were. We reached Kutch after a long, long journey. Too tired to take in our surroundings, we just crashed. The next so-cold-my-ear-wax-froze-so-this-is-what-people-mean-by-winters morning, we headed for the white desert and the Kala Dungar (black mountain). Bet you did not know that. Sort of like Yin & Yang. A little geography lesson here. Rann of Kutch (both the Little Rann and the Greater Rann) are salt marshes. They are located in the Gujarat- Sindh province and are very close to the India- Pakistan border. No, you cannot see the border even if you venture till the middle of the salt plain. Now, we planned to visit a couple of villages in the middle of the journey before reaching the desert. These villages are a must see. They come on the way from Bhuj to Kutch and if you do get a chance to go there to go to these villages. They have their own souvenir shops and if you speak to them in advance, they empty out one of the huts for you to stay in for a night. We did not know that. But we went to one such village. It was nearing lunchtime and I have realized, forget the language of love, language of food and hunger cannot be beat even if you don’t speak the same dialect living in the same country. This really nice lady took us to her hut and served her food. Can I just take a moment and say, yum?

Kutch @TheRoyaleIndia

After devouring food, we were on our way. Now one of us infected the rest of us with the bug of checking out the ‘Tropic of Cancer passes through here’ board. How much ever we searched online and whomever we asked, we never got an answer for the location. People were not aware of what were we talking about. We were on the road to Kutch when we suddenly spotted the board. Now imagine 4 women going in a store and getting to know that everything in the store is free for them because they won some lucky draw. Do you know their screams will be so high that only bats will be able to respond to them? Something like that happened to us. I think our driver finally got to know that day how a mini heart attack feels like. It took him few minutes to steady the car and finally stop it in a safe place. We went crazy clicking pictures of the board. Not that it is in a good state. We really wish it was.

Tropic Of Cancer @TheRoyaleIndia

After that we reached Kala Dungar. You can see the entire Rann of Kutch from there but be prepared to walk uphill a bit. I was hyperventilating by the end of it.

Kala Dungar @TheRoyaleIndia

Anyway, we finally reached Kutch. Sun was setting and it was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen and my Samsung Galaxy S4 has ever clicked. (Jealous now? No? Don’t worry, there is still time). We were mesmerized and stayed there for a good one hour till we could not even see each other. We of course came back the next morning. I have to say this- Rann of Kutch is simply amazing. It is mesmerizing which leaves you speechless because you don’t know how to describe it. This is what is happening to me right now as I type this journey. The sheer vastness and the magnitude of the salt marsh with its untouched beauty is enough to let you know that this planet is worth saving.

White Rann Of Kutch Sunset @TheRoyaleIndia

We had a night train the same day so we had to leave soon. Before leaving we got to see the Army on camels and what a powerful sight! One of my most memorable trips and I hope you get to go too.

Aren’t you wee bit envious? Still? What are you? A stone? Hmph.

Categories: Travel