Rann Utsav: A White Desert Festival Celebrating Gujarat Culture

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Rann-Utsav
Image – Wikimedia

“Kutch nhi dekha, toh kuch nhi dekha!”
The Great Rann of Kutch, a salty marshland in the Thar Desert, is famous for its white desert sand. The Rann of Kutch is a sight to behold, a place abundant with natural beauty, especially during the full moon.
The natural beauty of the Rann of Kutch is enough to make it a sought-after tourist attraction. But ever wonder what happens when people come to perform traditional music and dance wearing colourful clothes? Well, it is the Rann Utsav for you all. 

Here, we will talk in detail about the origin, the essence, and Rann Utsav’s journey to become a much-awaited annual festival of the year.  

History of the Rann Utsav 

History-of-the-Rann-Utsav

The Rann Utsav has initially been a festival of three days. It was first held in 2005 by the then Gujarat state government. During the event, the cultural assets of the state of Gujarat are shown to visitors from across the country and the world. Highlighting the incredible architecture, local delicacies, folk music, and dance is a part of the package of the Rann Utsav.  

It is a time for local artisans and merchants to show their talent. The festival got so popular that it has now become a three-month-long celebration. Starting from December till February, the Rann Utsav is an annual affair anticipated by tourists from across the globe. 

The ‘Tent City’ 

Rann Utsav - tent
Image- Pixabay

The Dhordo Village of Kutch is the main venue of the festivities. To accommodate the tourists a ‘Tent City’ has been made. Nearly 400 tents are forming a beautiful cluster giving an authentic experience to the visitors.  

The Tent City and its experience serve as another attraction for the tourists. The tourists can choose a tent of their liking and budget. There are other amenities like spa, clubhouse, kids’ zone, Golf course, meditation hall as per visitors’ requirements.  

Activities of Rann Utsav 

Activities-of-Rann-Utsav

Tourists have a wide array of activities to participate in. Apart from the performances of the locals to enjoy, one can indulge in sports activities; heritage walks, nature walks, wildlife photography, and much more. 

Visitors who have a knack for adventure sports have various options to avail. Rock climbing, rappelling, zipline, giant pendulum, archery, ATVs, paintball, and many other such sports are available there.  

For those who are into wildlife or nature photography, well, the Rann of Kutch is abundant in both. The Rann of Kutch has a range of ecologically rich wildlife. If luck prevails on the visitors, they can see flamingos, the wild ass, other wild birds, and animals. Sharing some parts with few sanctuaries, the white desert houses many wild animals. 

Heritage walk is also an activity one can indulge in. Gujarat, the once Princely state, has lovely architecture. Those visitors who like to time travel back to the golden days of architectural wonders will not be disappointed. The Rann Utsav, in its itinerary, has a heritage walk also.  

Main attraction at Rann Utsav 

Main attraction at Rann Utsav 

Other than the various activities, the Rann Utsav’s main attraction, the local culture and talent, is there for all to enjoy. On a whole moon night, when the white sand desert shimmers in the moonlight, the sight in itself is something to behold. On a night like this, when the locals dress up in their traditional attires and perform their folk tunes, the visitors can feel the age-old tradition coming back to life.  

With local lanterns and the moonlight giving just the right essence, visitors will indeed have a memory to recall forever. The authentic local dishes, folk dance, and music, the white desert comes to life with all the activities. This main attraction of the Rann Utsav is what makes it such an apprehensible event. 

Locale wonders 

The Rann Utsav is meant for visitors and locals about the locale. Gujarat’s wonder, the food, culture, architecture, nature are what comprise the Rann Utsav.  

Villages  

Visitors can partake in sightseeing. On these trips, they can visit the nearby villages and witness the state’s rustic life. Hodka and Lydia’s towns are near the venue of the event. An authentic tribal village, they house many folk artists and are rich in the state’s cultural assets. Tourists can visit these villages to get a more homely experience of the state. 

Food  

Rann Utsav - food
Image – Facebook

Traditional Gujarati food is always a curiosity for new visitors. To fully experience the Rann Utsav, local delicacies are a must-try. Be it the very famous dhokla, or the thepla, Gujarat is also a culinary expert in other dishes.  

The authentic Gujarat experience during the Rann Utsav becomes complete with a delicious local meal. An array of pickles, chutneys, fries, dals, sweets are available for visitors to try. The organizers of the event pay even more attention to cater to the different likings of the tourists.  

Shop souvenirs  

Shop souvenirs
Image – Saurabh Chatterjee

For those who love to shop and collect souvenirs, pay close attention. Gujarat is famous for its embroidery works, bangles, bandhani lehengas, jewellery, handicrafts, and many more things. A special shoutout to the ladies there; you will surely love their patola silk sarees.  

The Rann Utsav is meant to better the sale of the local peasants and artisans. They present to you a wide choice of souvenirs to buy from. Their applique quilts are worth every penny for their beauty, durability, and quality. Even their craftsman works like wood carvings; mirror works, silver pieces of jewellery are fine things to adore your homes and look. Make sure to explore all these craftworks during the Rann Utsav. 

Camel carts 

Rann Utsav - Camel Cart
Image- Kaushik Patel / Flickr

When in a desert state, camel safari or camel cart rides are a must. The Rann Utsav has camel carts for your service. Visitors can enjoy a pleasant stroll on a camel safari to view the sunset in the desert. One can also avail of the camel cart to visit the villages nearby.  

A ride like this will forever be memorable for tourists. It is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the ancient days by hopping onto a camel cart. 

The Rann Utsav, in its entirety, is an event to enjoy both the cultural heritage of Gujarat and its nature. The festival of the white desert can help make loads of memories for its visitors because it amalgamates nature and culture.  

The Rann Utsav is an example of how to bring life to a lifeless stretch of land. The white sand desert is a curiosity for many. When the white sand desert becomes a natural stage to host a month-long event, it becomes a festival awaited by tourists globally. The “Kuch din to guzariye Gujarat mein” tagline of Gujarat tourism fits even better during the Rann Utsav. The celebration of Rann Utsav is indeed an efflorescent event given its natural and cultural mixture. 

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