Dhordo, the gateway to the renowned white desert in Gujarat, is all set to host the Rann Utsav from November 1, 2023 to February 20, 2024. This year, Dhordo acquires greater significance as it has recently been named one of the best tourism villages in the world by World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO), the only village in India to be conferred this prestigious award. (Also read | Travel: Handy tips from travellers who visited 50+ countries)
Here’s a quick guide to Dhordo & the Rann Utsav. Remember, prior permission is required to visit the salt desert.
What to see/do:
The White Desert (1 km from Dhordo): The largest salt desert in the world, the Rann of Kutch is a visual treat. Camel safaris are available and visiting on a full moon night is an experience beyond comparison. Prior permission, however, is required to visit the desert.
Kala Dungar (10 km from Dhordo): Kala Dungar is a hill and also the highest point in the entire Kutch area. This is an excellent viewing point for the desert and provides a panoramic view from an astounding height of 458 feet above sea level.
Purneshwar Temple: Said to be one of the oldest temples in the region.
Banni Grasslands (5 km from Dhordo) is a bird lover’s paradise as it is a resting spot for all migratory birds.
Lala Bustard Sanctuary is on the Indian top 10 list of places to spot the Great Indian Bustard.
Desert Safaris: You can explore the vast expanse of the salt desert on camel-back or in traditional Kutchi vehicles.
Bird Watching: The nearby Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and other wetland areas provide excellent opportunities to observe various bird species.
Adventure Activities: For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Dhordo offers adventure activities like parasailing, paramotoring, and ATV rides on the salt flats.
Camping: Tourists can stay in traditional Bhungas or use luxurious tented accommodations.
Star Gazing: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, Dhordo is an excellent place for stargazing.
You can do day trips to Bhuj, Mandvi, Dholavira, Narayan Sarovar, Lakhpat
What to eat:
Kutchi Dabeli: A spicy and flavourful potato-filled burger served with chutneys and pomegranate seeds.
Kutchi Pakwan: Crispy, deep-fried snacks served with chutney, often enjoyed with tea.
Kutchi Peda: A traditional sweet, slightly roasted to give it a smoky flavour.
Kutchi Mawa: A delicacy from Bhirandiyara village near Dhordo.
Kutchi Samosa: A samosa with special Kutchi spice filling.
Kutchi Kadhi: A tangy yogurt-based curry with gram flour dumplings, flavoured with spices.
Kutchi Khichdi: A simple, one-pot dish made from rice, lentils, and spices, often served with ghee or curd.
Zaykedar Rotla: A special dish made from Bajara millet roti cooked the Kutchi way.
Also try Kutchi Bhel & Kutchi Pav Bhaji.
Shopping: During Rann Utsav, tourists can shop for a variety of local handicrafts and artisanal items in Dhordo. Local artisans set up numerous shops at the event venue, where tourists can purchase Kutch’s renowned Rogan art, Kutch embroidery work, and a wide range of Kutch handicrafts.
Dhordo specialises in silver jewellery, mirror work and Mutua, a special kind of leather embroidery.
Department Stores: Selection Centre and Palav the Fashion Mall at Bhuj.
Flea Market: Handy Crafts is an important and popular flea market here.
Head to Zura (30 km from Dhordo) for embroidered footwear and other kinds of leather embroidery
Go to Nirona (40 km from Dhordo) for Rogan Art, Lacquer wooden work and Copper Bell art. You can also do Craft Trails here that Gujarat Tourism offers.
Where to stay:
Book a tent in the Tent City: https://www.rannutsavbooking.com/, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +91 7440 4040 40
Online permit for entry:
For Online Entry Permit of White Rann at Dhordo, visit rannpermit.gujarat.gov.in/. The traveller has to upload his/her ID proof for verification.
Permit fee: Free entry for children up to 5 years. ₹50 per child (between 6 and 12 years), ₹100 per person (above 12 years). ₹25 for two-wheeler, ₹50 for four-wheeler booking.
By plane: The nearest airport is in Bhuj, around 80 kms away. The domestic airport has few flights. The closest international airport is Ahmedabad (384 kms).
By rail: Bhuj Railway station at a distance of 80 kms and has few trains stopping by.
By road: The journey by road is scenic and is accessible easily from Bhuj (80 kms), Ahmedabad (384 kms), and other cities of Gujarat.
Rann Utsav Travel packages:
Thomas Cook & SOTC (all prices per adult): 2 night, 3 days: Starting at ₹11,599, 3 night, 4 days: ₹16,799; Little Rann of Kutch with Greater Rann of Kutch: ₹37,490.