Dhordo is the getaway village to the Great Rann of Kutch. It is about 80 km from Bhuj. I have now made two trips to the region. I am the kind who can stay any place without batting an eyelid, but if you like to research your options of stay here are the places that I know of. So here is a round up of places to stay in Dhordo, Kutch.
I stayed at the White Rann Resort this time. They have both Bhungas and Tents. I stayed in a deluxe tent with AC. Even in February the nights were quite chilly. My tent had two beds, clean bathroom with the usual amenities and some local snacks. I stayed in the tent for a few hours in the afternoon but I did not feel like switching the AC.
The room was clean. The food was served in the dining area, it was huge. The food was Gujarati Vegetarian. The complex hosted cultural shows in the evening. The place is quite close to the tent city. It is run by Gujarat Tourism in a public private partnership.
Airtel has very poor reception in the area. The only thing I could have asked for was a tea kettle in the room. I like to drink tea in my room and that was the only thing missing.
I did not stay in the tent city, I only visited it. It is a huge complex with 250-300 tents of various types. The place is huge, with cluster of tents having their own amenities. It is colorful and will certainly keep a visitor enthralled within its premises. The categories of the tents are the same at White Rann too. Tent City is functional during the Rann Utsav organized by Gujarat Tourism.
Once again, I only visited the Gateway to Rann Resort but I will certainly like to stay there. I fell in love with their Bhungas, the local mud huts. At the resort you can choose to stay in a traditional hut with the AC too. The Gateway to Rann is a community project run by the Dhordo Village community.
All the places mentioned above are close to the Rann of Kutch site. Vehicles are allowed only up to a point. One needs to walk about a kilometer to reach the White Rann. If you do not wish to walk you could sit on a camel buggy.
When I visited Kutch in 2014 I stayed at White Rann Camp. I certainly liked the 2016 accommodations more than my 2014 stay at White Rann Camp.
If you are looking for a place to stay at Bhuj I highly recommend Devpur Homestay. Even though it is a little out of the way from Bhuj, it is a super place.
PS. My 2016 trip to Gujarat was sponsored by Gujarat Tourism. In 2014 I visited the region on my own.
It was the winter of 2014. The month was January and I was looking forward to an International FAM. It was a wellness FAM with lots of Spa thrown in. That was the time when I used to work full time in addition to blogging. My leaves were worth in gold, maybe diamonds!
And then it happened. Due to reasons beyond the control of anyone, the trip got cancelled. It got cancelled on a Thursday when I was supposed to travel on the Sunday. And I had one week of approved leaves and no trip in sight. I was desperately in need of a last minute holiday.
That evening I sat down on my laptop and started searching high and low for the lowest airfare within the country. For the next three hours I ignored anyone and everyone in my family. And that included my small daughter too. My husband would come in between to give his expert comments, “Why don’t you go to Madagascar?” On a whim I searched for it and the country has visa on arrival for Indians! However, I could not dare to spend the kind of money it would take to travel last minute to Madagascar. Also there is always a question of yellow fever vaccine when traveling to that corner of the world.
I went on searching and the lowest I could find was a 12K INR return to Ahmedabad. I then decided to visit Rann of Kutch. The trouble was Bhuj is still 8 hours away from Ahmedabad. Luckily I got a train ticket in AC 2 tier that would take me Bhuj.
Tickets sorted, the hunt for a hotel was on. As it was a last minute holiday, I was seeing exorbitant prices. I was not even sure how good the hotels were! Then in a fit of anger I started looking for homestays. Luckily I found Devpur Homestay online. I wrote a mail to them and they responded. They were hesitant as they had guests coming in later. I cajoled and tricked them into giving me a room for two nights, the one that had the lowest rent!
Once I reached Devpur, my life became easy. The lady and the gentleman, the Jadejas, who run it were excellent hosts. They have a fabulous home! And they planned my entire Rann of Kutch itinerary. They arranged a taxi for me too.
When I was off to my first destination, Mandvi, the taxi driver Mr. Siddique asked, “Did you know that the Jadejas belong to the royal family of Kutch?”
In the end my last minute vacation turned out to be a lot of fun. But I am in no hurry to plan another one last minute again!
At the first glance the place seemed totally clean. Then I started walking on the salt, I realized that it was not so. Immediately after the platform you can get down and walk on the salt. People did leave garbage around this place. It completely stunned me. For me the landscape was so beautiful that I would just not dare to litter around it, not that I otherwise litter in public places. If such landscapes can’t move people to keep it clean, I wonder what would? If big dustbins and signs right next to the place don’t motivate people to keep the it clean, do we really have hope.
To me it was sacrilege that people left behind their trash in this pristine environment. I then did what I have never done before. I picked the biggest offending pieces, a polythene full of trash and a few large plastic plates, and threw then into the dustbin.
A child asked me why I was gathering trash. I replied because the place was too beautiful to be littered! A couple also came to me and said that they really appreciated what I did. My simple reply was that I enjoyed the place too much to let it remain dirty. Mostly because I hesitate I won’t do any such thing. I just enjoyed the landscape so much that I was motivated to let go of my hesitation and do just a little bit of cleaning.
I hardly get outraged but really what is wrong with us Indians? Why do litter with abandon in public places, in beautiful places even when there is a dustbin just a few feet way. I wonder if anyone has an answer.
Will I do it again? I am not sure at all. If the landscape is as beautiful as the Great ran of Kutch, who knows, I may do it again. But in all honesty I will most probably just walk off the next time, like everyone else.
When I set my eyes at the Great Rann of Kutch for the first time it felt like a mirage, shimmering and floating out there. I hardly have words to describe it, so I am just doing a photo feature.
There was a 2 km long walking path that led to the heart of the Great Rann of Kutch. Vehicles (except a few with special permissions) are not allowed. Mr. Siddique (the taxi owner and driver) suggested I should hire the battery operated vehicles as it was a long walk. I assured him I could walk and that I would enjoy walking.
While walking I found this kind soul fast asleep with his book on his face as a protection from the sun. Now that is how vacations should be enjoyed! He was so lost to the world that he didn’t even stir when I pointed my camera at him!
Other than walking or hiring a battery operated vehicle, another way to cover the distance was to sit on the camel cart! I preferred to walked both ways though.
While I approached the end of the road music came floating on the air. I do not have any musical sense but combined with the landscape even to me it felt surreal. I stopped and decided to capture the sound before I walked near it. Of course, I made another video of the musicians when I reached the end of platform.
It was allowed to step down and walk on the white miracle! Even though it is the first letter of my name I did not draw it, I just clicked it.
And then the sun started its downward march and what already felt like a mirage became a miracle. It has to be experienced at least once to truly appreciate it!
There were a lot of people around but the place is so huge that it could probably contain double the numbers without any difficulty. It felt serene even in the middle of the crowd.
Dusk was equally beautiful or maybe it was even more beautiful than the sunset. I thought of walking back before it became totally dark. But a local couple told me that the place would remain populated and I should not miss the moon rise.
Even though my photography skills make it look like the sunset, it was actually the beautiful moon rise! The arch of light you see in the picture is from the headlight of a jeep. It was finally long after moon rise I walked back to my waiting taxi totally spellbound!