Kutch is probably one of the most surreal places in India. The only place where you’ll find –Desert, Mountains and Sea together. It has a unique desert which is covered under sea water for most of the year and during the months of December to February when the water dries out it turns into an infinite stretch of white land, a truly mesmerizing experience. It is the time when the festival of Rann-Utsav takes place. Cultural Programs, Adventure activities, and its huge camp settlement brings this barren land to life. Apart from the white desert, there are several other places worth visiting the Black Hill (Kado Dunder), Mandvi Beach, Historic city of Bhuj and ancient town of Dholavira. Art and Craft is the heart of Kutch. You head to any village and you will find artists and craftsman master in their field be it Bandhej work or beautiful Kutchi handicrafts.
Must visit places to see in the district of Kutch
The White Desert
When the full moonlight touches the pristine white salt desert, it makes you feel like you are on a completely different planet. There are no words to describe the feeling. You are just hypnotized by the tranquillity and serenity of the place. Not just the full moon night but the sunrises and sunsets are worth watching.
Black Hill or Kalo Dungar
Kalo Dunder or the Black Hill is the highest point in Kutch. From here you can get the panoramic view of the Great Rann of Kutch. It also creates an illusion of the sea underneath. The view of the sunset on the great salt desert is truly amazing. Dattatraya temple is located on the top of the hill where after its evening ‘aarti’ (prayers) priest of the temple serves its ‘prasad’(food offerings) to a band of jackals. Many visitors visit the temple to only to see the jackals in the tale. India Bridge which serves as India – Pakistan border can also be viewed from here.
Mandvi is a picturesque town with many old buildings. The wind farm beach located 7 km outside the town is very clean and scenic. Visit the beach at sunset and lose yourself in the peaceful sea and its splendor. Mandvi is also famous for its 400 years old shipbuilding yard. You can see the craftsman working on the ships and dhows just like earlier times. Don’t forget to visit Vijay Villas Palace as well.
Bhuj city is the capital of Kutch. It was rebuilt after the massive 2001 earthquake which destroyed most of the city. You will find amazing Kutchi Handicrafts and historic buildings such as Aina Mahal and Prag Mahal in this city. Further, there is a new attraction, Vande Mataram Memorial, near Bhuj which is luring many residents and tourists towards itself.
The City of Dholavira located on Khadir island of the Rann of Kutch belonged to matured Harappan phase. Today what is seen as a fortified quadrangular city set in the harsh arid land, was once a thriving metropolis for 1200 years (3000 BCE-1800 BCE) and had an access to the sea prior to the decrease in sea level. It is one of the five largest Harappan sites and most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The site has been classified as UNESCO World heritage center. It is such place where we can connect ourselves with the human civilization.
Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
The sanctuary located in the Little Rann of Kutch is one of the last places where the endangered Indian Wild Ass (Khur or Gudkhur) can be spotted. Various other animals such as Nilgais and Foxes also reside here. The place is flocked by migratory birds such as crane, pelicans, and flamingos during winter. The sanctuary is wild adventurer’s and bird watcher’s paradise.
There are many small tourist destinations such as Koteshwar, Mata no madh, Narayan Sarovar, Anjar besides above mentioned places. Every place has its own story and traditions from the past. If you visit Kutch make sure to buy Kutchi Handicrafts and taste its well known ‘Dabeli’.
As Amitabh Bachchan truly points out in its tourism ad ‘Kachchh nahi dekha to kuch nahi dekha’ which means ‘If you haven’t seen Kutch then you haven’t seen anything’.