Rann Utsav, Rann Mahotsav, White Desert Festival is a four-month-long Rann Festival held during winters in Great Rann of Kutch. Driven by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL), Rann Utsav brings the ‘White Rann Experience’ to the world.
What began as a two-day festival progressively evolved into a 100-day celebration at Dhordo, a village near Rann of Kutch where a whole new tent city has been created, replete with temporary infrastructure built and rebuilt every year.
Rann Utsav is admired as one of the enchanting festivals to introduce oneself to something less modern and more traditional. Millions of visitors from around the world participate in this festival with Music, Dance, and all the abstract attires by the locals.
Rann Utsav 2022 starting from 26th October 2022 to 20 February 2023.
Special dates for Rann Utsav 2022-23
- 26 to 31 October 2022 – Diwali Week.
- 7-8-9 November 2022– First Full Moon Night.
- 23 November 2022 – 1st Dark Moon Night.
- 6-7-8 December 2022 – 2nd Full Moon
- 23 December 2022 – 2nd Dark Moon
- 24 – 25 – 26th December 2022 – Christmas Week.
- 31st Dec ’22 – 1 – 2nd Jan ’23 – New Year Weekend.
- 5-6-7 January 2023 – 3rd Full Moon.
- 14-15 January 2023 – Uttarayana.
- 21 January 2023 – 3rd Dark Moon.
- 26 January 2023 – Republic Day
- 4-5-6 February 2023 – Season’s Last Full Moon.
- 14th February 2023 – Valentine’s Day.
- 20 February 2023 – Season’s Last Dark Moon.
The Rann Utsav of Kutch, which started as a two-day event has transformed itself into a full-fledged flagship event of the Western state that spans four months from October to February every year. Kutch is a remote region in the arid borderlands of northwest India. For years the life of the region was tough as rains often failed, few job opportunities.
Then in January 2001, a massive earthquake struck the area, flattening the cities and wreaking a huge area. Shocked and traumatized, residents fled, with many living in temporary accommodation for months. But after 20 years the region has astonishing rise from the rubble of the 2001 quake. Since the earthquake, over 110,000 new jobs have been created in Kutch, and there are thought to be hundreds of thousands more on the way. Now the region is a cornerstone of the Indian economy, a fact almost unthinkable 10 years ago.
Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, along with President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam made plans to host a festival in Rann of Kutch to attract tourists from the other parts of the country and the world. The main objectives of holding the festival were creating economic opportunity, promoting the natural and cultural beauty of Kutch, and lastly to induce social development in the region that had hardly any infrastructure and population.
The Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh located in the Kutch district of Gujarat. The word Rann means “salt marsh”. Since 2005 the Rann of Kutch began holding the Rann Utsav festival, a three-month-long carnival, which marks the peak tourist season. The festival is hosted by the Tourism Department of Gujarat with grand celebrations every year. The Rann Utsav has brought with it spurring economic and employment opportunities to the region.
Venue of Rann Utsav
The Rann Utsav is held at Dhordo village popularly known as “Tent City” in Kutch. Dhordo is a small village in the Kutch district of Gujarat where the four-month-long festival is held. During the time of the festival, the sprawling area of 500,000 sq. mt. of land is adorned with impressive tents (becoming the largest tent accommodation in India) which serves as a housing space for the visitors who flock here for months of the festival which follow.
The festival is filled with a carnival of fun, traditional dances, singing performances, and witnessing nature in its true form. The rich Gujarati culture, festivities, and heritage is showcased brilliantly to the world with great pomp and show at this Utsav. Witness the famous and the largest salt desert in the world, gleaming under the full moonlight along with being a part of Gujarati and Kutchi cultural heritage. You will also get to interact with the nearby tribes with well-preserved heritage and witness the clear white expanse of land. The enchanting and mystic beauty of this land is unmatched for and still remains unparalleled in its beauty.
Places to visit during Rann Utsav
Kutch is not just about the white desert and Rann Utsav but you can find a lot more diverse like the sea, mountain, religious places, palaces, market, etc. So you must have to visit the below places during the Rann of Kutch.
Narayana Sarovar, Koteshwar Mahadev, Lakhapat, Bhuj, Kera Shiv Temple, Kutch Museum – Bhuj, Swaminarayan temple – Bhuj, Mata No Madh, Black Mountain or Kalo Dungar and Dattatreya Temple, Mandavi, Vijay Vilas Palace – Mandavi, Mandavi Beach Gandhi nu Gam Handicraft village ‘Ludia’, Eco-friendly Hodka village.
Activities at Rann Utsav
The four-month-long festival is full of several activities which will make your trip full of thrill and surprise. Let us start with cultural fiesta one of the most fascinating thing arranged everywhere by the government and individual people where Kutchi folk artists perform extraordinary folk music and dance in which you definitely fall in love. Even folk and Sufi music are known to everyone in the current fast and era of the internet. But, music and dance performances here are bit different kinds.
There is desert safari on white dessert, Hot Air Balloon ride, you can enjoy various types of indoor and outdoor games like chess and carom, cycling, paramotoring, camel ride during, paintball, enjoy adventure sports like zip-lining at Skyzilla, & stargazing. The key activities during the festival are Yoga activities and Meditation.
You can buy a lot of handicraft products that are made in the villages. Exotic handcrafted Gujarati articles, Bandhani Saree, Silver article, leather articles, intricate Kutchi embroidery, and beautifully crafted ornaments are some of the specialized things you can buy. There are a lot of traditionally styled shops in the Kutch desert region that sell handicraft items and souvenirs.
How to reach
Bhuj is the main city of Kutch and enjoys good connectivity by air, rail, and road.
By Air: The Kutch Airport in Bhuj is well connected with the rest of the country by regular flights. From the airport, you will easily get buses and taxis for your destination.
By Rail: The railway station in Bhuj is your best bet to reach Kutch via train. Once in Bhuj you could hire taxis or board a bus easily.
By Road: There are state transport and private buses available from most of the major cities in Gujarat and some even from Rajasthan to get into Kutch.
From Mumbai: board the Kutch Express from Mumbai, via Ahmedabad, and up to Gandhinagar, from there, you can reach your destination by road.
From Ahmedabad: catch a train or a taxi to Bhuj.
Once in Bhuj, it is easy to reach Rann Utsav by taxi or bus.