Memos from Asia

Rann Utsav: India’s Biggest Desert Festival

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Indian festivals are vivid, and there are a lot of them.

Many of these have a religious significance, but India has its cultural festivals for tourists to have a taste of regional cultures as well.

One of the biggest such festivals specially created for tourists is Gujarat’s Rann Utsav.

What is Rann Utsav?

Rann Utsav, literally Desert Festival, takes place in the Desert of Kutch in the western state of Gujarat.

Kutch, a unique marshy desert, is ecologically and ethnically diverse. It is a land of people that are skilled in crafts, music, and arts that are unmatched.

Every year during the winter season between November and February, the small village of Dhordo is turned into a tent city for Rann Utsav.

The Rann Utsav celebrates the people and nature of this region.

Things you shouldn’t miss

Stay at Tent City

Camel ride at the great Rann of Kutch (Rann Utsav), Salty Landscapes, Gujarat, India

This is a must! The best way to experience Rann Utsav is to live in the Great Rann (Desert) for your stay.

The Tent City is created especially for the festival and sees about 400 tents constructed every year.

Don’t worry about your comfort in the desert heat, though. The tents might have a traditional look, but they flaunt all the modern amenities as well. You can even find air-conditioned tents for your stay.

Visit the Craft Bazaar

The artists at Rann Utsav exhibit their crafts at the Craft Bazaar (Market). You even get a chance to see some of the artists working live.

These beautiful handicrafts are expensive but unique. They are some of the best pieces of art in the region.

Try the adventure activities

Rann Utsav offers various adventure activities at the same place. There is an obstacle course, a climbing wall, a zipline, and even ATVs if you feel like riding one is the desert!

Don’t miss the Full Moon

The Desert of Kutch is also called the White Desert because of the salt in its sand, thanks to being a coastal desert.

This White Desert is best enjoyed on a full moon with the traditional music and dance around a bonfire.

Attractions nearby

Kutch has some great tourist attractions that you should add to your itinerary for Rann Utsav.

There is the Dholavira archaeological site, which was a city in Harappan civilization during the period of 3500-1800 BC. There are sanctuaries of Great Indian Bustard and Wild Ass in Kutch.

For sea lovers, Kutch has a Marine National Park and a stunning beach in Mandvi.

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