Kutch region in Gujarat is known all over for its barren, white desert that covers more than 40,000 sq.km. Kutch or Katchch, refers to the way it is submerged during the monsoon season and completely dry otherwise. The Great Rann of Kutch borders Pakistan and is famous for its white salt sand. It also has a few areas of the Thar desert in it that extends into Rajasthan. Once ruled by the mighty Rajputs, the region is not very fertile but the arts and handicrafts from the area are incredible and one of a kind. The unique blend of nature and tribal culture makes it a must-visit for all! Let us look the top 5 places to visit in Kutch-
Bhuj is the capital of Kutch and is accessible through all modes of transport. Ruled by the Jadeja Dynasty kings, the city is on a hill called the Bhujia Dungar which the city has been named after. The Bhujia fort is on the hill and is a magnificent structure built by the king Rao Godaji. The old walled city has the remains of the royal heritage of amongst which the Rani Mahal, the Prag Mahal and the Aina Mahal are the most exquisite and are a must visit for all.
The port of Mandvi is home to the largest ship-building yards of the country where craftsmen still work at building ships from wood. The experience of witnessing this art is out of the world and is hard to come by. On the side-lines of the river Rukmavati, the yard is a major centre for the ship-building industry as well as the timber wood industry. A must-visit for all, this experience of witnessing magic take place will be definitely worth your time!
3. Kutch Museum
The oldest museum of the state, the Kutch museum was established in the year 1877. Housing the largest collections of inscriptions, Kutchi script, coins and currency, the museum is one of the foremost initiatives to preserve local tribal culture. Along with art, musical instruments, sculptures and metal items, the museum is a rare glimpse into the local way of life. The museum has been recently renovated so checking with the authorities beforehand would be a great idea. All under one roof, the Kutch museum is a great way to start your day with getting to know the historical background of the people of the region.
4. Rann of Kutch
The Kutch desert has two parts, of which the Great Rann of Kutch desert makes up more than 7,000 square kilometres. The Rann is filled with marshy salts that make it the white desert that it is and create an illusion of endlessness. During the rainy season, the entire land gets filled with water, making it accessible only during non-monsoon months. In mid-November, the place hosts the Rann utsav where local artists perform and camel safaris are carried out. The white sand is magical and a sight to behold. A rare piece of natural miracle, the Rann of Kutch is a place you cannot miss!
One of the only Harappan sites of the country, the Dholavira site is in the Khadir Bet island of Gujarat. The Indus valley civilization was said to be the former residents of this historical site. Major excavations have been carried out here which found remains of Harappan Architecture and handicrafts. Entry into the site is free and can be visited any day through the week. The site is a lovely way to rediscover the ancient history and culture of the Indus valley civilization.
Kutch is a lively place with a unique touch of culture and tribal ways of life. An excellent weekend getway, the region is bustling with handicrafts and apparel that are colourful and vibrant. A trip to Kutch cannot be complete without a visit to the Rann of Kutch, as the endlessness of the white desert seems to have an aura of its own.