Colours of the white desert

The Rann of Kutch cultural festival brings together the traditions of Gujarat, with handicrafts, shopping, food and much more

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Taru Bhatia | December 20, 2016 | Kutch


#Gujarat   #Rann of Kutch   #Rann Utsav  
Chief minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, giving the inaugral speech of Rann Utsav
Photo: Aakhya Media Services


In the night of a full moon, the white desert of Kutch is a captivating sight. The view of mushy salt land under the blanket of moonlight, stretching as far as your eyes can see, beholds tourists coming from across the world. Around 80 kilometres away from the Wagah border, the white desert, also known as the Great Rann of Kutch, has now become the brand of Gujarat.

Every year, the white desert holds Gujarat’s 110-day-long annual cultural event called Rann Utsav.  It brings together the traditions and cultures of Gujarat in one place.

Standing on the makeshift dais in the middle of the white desert, with the full moon in the background, chief minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the festival. Proudly he says, “Kutch nahi dekha to kya dekha” (“If you haven’t seen Kutch then what have you seen?”). He is welcomed by a round of applause from the audience.

Calling it a nature’s gift, the chief minister says that the white desert as a tourist destination has holistically developed the state. “The culture, legacy, tradition, food, dialect, clothing and handicraft industry of Kutch have gotten a new identity,” he says.    

This is true. The festival encourages artisans to showcase their work to the visitors coming from across the world. Kutch handicraft ranges from bead earrings and necklaces to kachchi embroidered shawls, dupattas, kurtis, wallets and purses of bold colours like red, green and purple.
For women travellers, this place is a haven for traditional garments at reasonable prices.

Apart from fashion, traditional food is another delicacy for tourists to enjoy during the festival.
A typical Kachchi thaali would include baajre ki roti, sev tamatar ki sabzi and gud mashed with desi ghee. It is simple yet delicious.

The festival includes camel cart rides and bhunga stays. Bhunga is a cylindrical-shaped mud hut with a thatched roof. The walls are decorated with traditional painting called Lippan. These huts attract urban dwellers as it gives them an essence of rural India. Being an important tourists’ sight, the chief minister announced that 20 new bhungas will be built for tourists’ stay.

Besides Rann of Kutch, the government has been planning to open other tourists’ spot to promote Gujarat tourism. Rupani, during his inauguration, announced that the government will set up Lion Safari at five places in the state. Moreover, a border viewing facility will come up at Nadabet near Sui village in Banaskantha, another district of Gujarat which is 380 kilometres away from Kutch.

 

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