Trailing Gujarat: Northern Kutch, Dhordo and Kalo Dungar

Sunset at white desert near Dhordo
                                        Sunset at white desert near Dhordo
After initial hiccups, we were able to get a bike which was our last hope for traveling towards Northern Side of Kutch. We were already running out of time so we ditched the breakfast and kick started north of Bhuj… hit the road leading north towards Loriya, Bhirandiyara, Ludiya and Khavda….After Frantic driving of 1 hour and kissing the tropic of cancer, we reached to Bhirandiyara where permits are issued for your journey towards Dhordo. Due to Ran Utsav, there was a long queue and it took us 45 minutes to get permits.
Road to the North of Bhuj
                                                 Road to the North of Bhuj

                                           Entree fee for Dhordo White desert

Per Adult

100 INR

Per Child below 12 years

50 INR

Per Two wheeler vehicle

25 INR

Vehicle other than 2 wheelers

50 INR

Further north from Bhirandiya lies the villages of Khavda and Ludiya and those became our next destination and stop for lunch. Villages of North Kutch are known for intricate handicrafts, pottery and embroidery work.  These villages attracted numerous social projects for preserving the rich heritage of the region and some of those have started their own rural tourism resorts for some sake. Wind was relative hot in the peak time and Khavda is quite soothing for taking lunch at Dabba and freshening up.  Connectivity with public transport is very thin beyond Khavda so take informative decision before stepping out further north.
Great Rann of Kutch near India Bridge
                                          Great Rann of Kutch near India Bridge
Transformation of landscape is truly overwhelming when you cross Khavda. We were approaching the Great Rann of Kutch and its first glimpse was awe-striking. I was gazing out of the pillion seat at the vast marsh land which was once a shallow sea. That fleeting moment redefined my perception about Horizon. We were in the middle of one the most hostile terrain of subcontinent where fiercest enemies will become best friends in order to survive. Finally we touched down to India-Bridge which is the last point before International border open for civilians. There is a bridge over a swamp river and road further north leads to International border with Pakistan.
Great Rann of Kutch
                                                    Great Rann of Kutch
Zero point is another fascinating site beyond India Bridge and at some 80 km. Visitors need special permit to visit Zero point and permits can be obtained from BSF office at Hill Garden, Bhuj. The ride to Zero point will certainly the best Rann experience one can have in Kutch. If you want to see the Great Rann of Kutch then you must get this permit. It is also the best chance to sight the elusive wild life of Kutch.
 

Dwindling fuel supply was the main concern hence we dropped the idea of visiting Zero point which is another 80 km from India-Bridge. I went under the bridge and did an obvious mistake of walking on the Rann. It’s a wetland and I realized it after my first step…a screwed step..Curiosity kills the cat… . The vast desert of Kutch is truly spectacular and matchless terrain. Finally my speculations about “The Great Rann of Kutch” were overwritten by sublime reality…. And it was one of those rare occurrences when reality was sweeter than the imaginations…
Traffic before Kalo Dungar Hill
                                              Traffic before Kalo Dungar Hill

Shortly afterwards, we were on our way to Kalo Dungar, another fascinating site on a hillock overlooking the Great Rann. Also referred as black hill, Kalo Dungar is home of highly revered Dattatreya temple which was perhaps one reason we could not make it to hill top on that Sunday afternoon. Beyond my slightest of imaginations, Road to Kalo Dungar hill was jam packed with hundreds of vehicles reminding me the traffic jam on Delhi roads. It was impossible for an ordinary bike to negotiate this traffic on a steep road so we weighed the options of hiking uphill or receding back to Dhordo...Finally opted for the later one. .. This side of Kutch has got linear chain of hillocks and ravines between the dry rivers..
Ravines near Kalo Dungar
                                              Ravines near Kalo Dungar

Tempted by the ravines, we stopped the vehicle and descend to the canyon which would have been costal rocks in prehistoric times.  Transformation of terrain with time is analogous to tree of life… a river turns to a wetland…a wetland turns to the bed covered with lichens.. Which turns to the arid salt desert…  What would be the next change…..With time, later turns to former and former turns to later… that’s the tree of life…. With that sublime realization, we started our journey to Dhordo, the hosting site of Rann festival.
White Desert at Dhordo
                                             White Desert at Dhordo

Dhordo is the most preferred tourist destination for the travelers who come to Kutch with the enticement for snow-white salt desert. Dhordo is very close to salt desert and also the hosting site for Rann Utsav. During festival time, Dhordo becomes really crowded and loose its splendor to some extent. One can lodge in Tents at Dhordo as an overnight stay closer to white desert.
Colorful side of White Rann
                                         Colorful side of White Rann

Tourists are allowed to drive all the way till the edge of White desert and then you are free to roam in any direction as per your walking habits and degree of curiosity. It can be a precarious terrain for those who seek sheer isolation out of their intrinsic nature. The more you get distant from the crowd…more distance you will desire and you might end up drifting too far in the Rann that you will lost the way back… walk carefully on the marshy patches…. White Desert of Kutch is astoundingly beautiful terrain and equally harsh once you switch the spectacles… Hallucinated with the aura of surroundings, we kept walking without turning back till we reached to the coordinates nonchalant to latitude, longitude or elevation… first time in my life I met the snow-white beauty of a desert… a neglected beauty settled in the serenity with nothing to endow… In the moment of clasping that beauty, my thoughts turn to sediments under the fluid of life….Chaotic self-inquisition was over… I believe it was not abstinence or numbness… it was just thoughtlessness….enveloped by an inexplicable white…
Sun dipping in white desert
                                              Sun dipping in white desert

Suddenly reality struck elegantly…Sun started receding at a distant horizon… yellow became color of the moment replacing white…. trance was over… We were coming back to the parking area while chitchatting over the geographical and geological aspects of the white desert… I ignited the engine and started the journey back to Bhuj…. But the day was not supposed to get over in such a routine fashion… destiny unfolded and we were out of fuel in the middle of Rann in the dark…. Woow… what else can I ask!!
Camel Cart in Great Rann of Kutch
                                       Camel Cart in Great Rann of Kutch

Honestly speaking, we were not stranded. There was    We parked the bike and I asked Pradeep Sir to take a lift to the nearest village (Bhirandiyara) and check the fuel availability. Fortunately this region is well covered with cell phone signals so we were not worried at all. Temperature was the only concern which was dropping drastically and we were not prepared for that. I enjoyed some 2 hours on the road appreciating the stars, night and silence of the desert.
Salt Crystals in White Rann
                                        Salt Crystals in White Rann

Finally Sir arrived with 2 liter of petrol (Courtesy to a truck driver) and I had to cut the fun with misfortune. I was longing to stay longer in the same marooned state…. I just realized that I am learning the art of relishing the misfortune…. 2 hours of insane driving through the chilly wind dropped us to Bhuj…again..Desert city was preparing to shutdown…. I slumbered…again imagining the stars.. Darkness… desert…things behind the moon…. Good night….

Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order

Trailing Gujarat: Train to Bhuj

Trailing Gujarat: Bhuj, Capital of Kutch

Trailing Gujarat: Northern Kutch, Dhordo and Kalo Dungar

Trailing Gujarat: Western Kutch, Lakhpat and Narayan Sarovar

Trailing Gujarat: Southern Kutch, Beachline of Mandvi

Trailing Gujarat: Eastern Kutch, Splendor of Rapar and Dholavira

Trailing Gujarat: Dhrangadhra, a lesser known delight of Gujarat

Trailing Gujarat: Little Rann of Kutch, Salt Plains and Heat Mirage

Trailing Gujarat: Jamnagar and Marine National Park, Narara

Trailing Gujarat: Dwarka, Where Pilgrims meet the end of earth (Read: Sea)

Trailing Gujarat: Junagadh, City of archaeological attractions

Trailing Gujarat: Gir National Park, last home of Asiatic Lions

Trailing Gujarat: Diu, Real thirst-quencher

Trailing Gujarat: Alang, Where Ships come to die

Trailing Gujarat: Champaner and Pavagadh

Trailing Gujarat: Ahmedabad and Lothal

Trailing Gujarat: Patan, Modhera and Separation

Hi Vishnu,   Need your expert

Hi Vishnu,

 

Need your expert guidance please! We are 3 folks visiting Nakhatrana, Kutch from 28th - 30th Dec 2014. primarily interested in wildlife, birding etc. Would you please advise the best places to visit during these 3 days. Thank you!

Regards,

Sangeeta

For birding and wild life,

For birding and wild life, there is a sanctuary in West of Kutch on the way to Narayan Sarovar. You can also think about visiting Little Rann of Kutch for Flamingoes and wild ass.

+- Vishnu

Can someone sdhare a bike

Can someone sdhare a bike rent contact detail.

Check here on this

Hi, Can You tell the

Hi,

Can You tell the returning time of Bus which leaves for dhordo, From where I Get Ticket??

& To roam & Enjoy Activities Some Additional Pass is required??

From Dhordo to Rann is any Convinience available like Camel, Camel Cart for Visiting Rann??

For Much Distance Require to Walk for Rann??

You can get the return bus

You can get the return bus from Dhordo itself. There is a big parking area and near that, you can catch the bus back to Bhuj. I am not sure about the timing.

You do not require any explicit pass for roaming around Dhodro.

Yaa.. from Dhordo parking area, its very much walkable. There are camles as well.

Dhordo is in Rann itself. you can walk 2-3 km to go more secluded.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Is it best to hire

Hi Vishnu,

Is it best to hire a cab for this leg of the journey?

If you are planning to visit

If you are planning to visit Dhordo only then there is no need to hire a private cab.. there is a bus from Gujarat tourism which start at 10 AM and make it as a day tour... If you are including other destinations then its recommended to hire a private cab... it's also possible by bikes but for a one day tour its better to hire a cab...

Very nice Run of Kutch, I

Very nice Run of Kutch, I hope you will send another historical places abt the Run of Kuch.

Thanks

I am not sure if there are

I am not sure if there are archeological sites inside Rann of Kutch except Than which is known for an eerie monastery...

Thanks for your web site too

Thanks for your web site too nice pictures of runn kutch.

Thanks for the comment.. Keep

Thanks for the comment.. Keep dropping by... Rann of Kutch is something out of this world...

Hi, I finished my tour of the

Hi,
I finished my tour of the Great Rann,it was an amazing place.Thanks to your blog otherwise the journey wouldn't have been that smooth.

Thanks Gaurav.... always

Thanks Gaurav.... always happy to help fellow travelers.... will look forward to see your more often at thinking particle and see more of your contribution...

would be great if you post a review for us on our facebook page.. will be encouraging...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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