Rann Utsav- Experience India's Hottest Desert Festival
The Content team of Triphobo is a female fortress with one Ranjit as the only eligible bachelor in the team. Dominated by talented female writers screeching on top of their voices at random topics from the latest content strategy to be implemented to the awesomeness of a dish they relished at dinner, this team is noisy in the otherwise quiet office. Buzzing with ideas to read more, travel more and learn more, we - as a team are always up for impromptu plans. And when these girls come with an idea of travelling together needless to say they have a blast. Obviously when the idea of visiting the iconic Rann Utsav festival came up, there were instant yeses.
Rann Utsav- as the name suggests, is not a festival, its a celebration. The exotic, untouched, rustic great Rann of Kutch transforms into a grandiose, colourful paradise. Hidden in the western most part of India, Rann of Kutch flaunts a position in the every top 10 places to travel in India list- Be it friends, romantic, road tripping or unique.
Several discussions, clicking mouses and browsing windows later, Niyati chalked out a perfect plan for the trip. And after we were sure we had packed food that could feed at least half of the people boarding the Sayajinagar express, we embarked on the trip that would then on be fondly cherished in our memories.
Indian Trains have a character Reshma quoted. How true! The amalgamation of people coming from different social, educational and financial background help us recollect what 'Unity in Diversity' in India actually means. People sharing home-made dubbas, steaming hot cup of chais and the background score of the train producing a repetitive, reverberating sound ; specific particularly to the Indian trains, was making the journey beautiful. Bibliophile that we are, reading en-route was obvious. Card games, Dumb-charades, Taboo and some modified pictorial version of Chinese whispers (yes, thats a thing and dont even get me started on how it works) left us in laughter epidemics all through the journey to and from Kutch.
We were there. As soon as we arrived, we realised that Rann Utsav was so under-rated! At least we werent anticipating it to be as grand as it was. The well-planned interiors of the tent city, the cosy tents, the quick and prompt service of the Crew and the mouth-watering Gujrathi food- we were in awe! But the most phenomenal experience was yet to come.
The most fascinating element of Rann of Kutch is our visit to The White Rann which is the worlds largest salt desert. Getting our facts right about this geographically unique desert from our guide Shankar and riding a camel cart driven by an adorable camel named Karan-Arjun, we waved to strangers, clicked pictures and awaited what would be one of the most overwhelming natural sights we had witnessed.
And there it was. Point blank. Hectares of hard land covered in white, unblemished salt. Clear blue sky with the setting sun being the only reference for direction. There was no sign of human interference, absolutely no clue of the Horizon, chilly, pricking wind in the hair.
Mesmerized by the beauty, there was so much clicking of cameras, posing of us girls and making the most of the enticing White Rann.
We mentally paused for a while; trying to absorb as much as we could through every sense available. Eyes wide open to capture the view, ears eager to hear the noise-less poems of the desert and bodies that felt as light as the air- ready to go in the direction where the wind took us. It is said that Desert is a place without expectations- White Rann was testifying it. It didnt expect any admiration, didnt wait for praises and stood proud and wide in the middle of nowhere.
The sun set and its manifestation on the snowy white desert made us fall in love with the place. Hypnotized by the allure of the Rann, we returned to our tents.
The next day saw us going to Kalo Dungar- the highest point in the Kutch province. Recently discovered as being a magnetic field, the vehicles can cover a short distance without ignition. Kalo Dungar or black hill is at an elevation of 450 meters above the sea level and offers a breathtaking panorama of The Rann of Kutch.
Incomprehensible vastness of the white Rann, India-Pakistan border and the serene Dattatreya temple- Kalo Dungar was a cherry on the cake. Meditating on breath, we lost the count of time. Sun was setting- One in the sky and the other in its reflection on the white desert.
Swathi suddenly exclaimed shutting her camera lens- The Sun sets on one side of the world, and the other side sees a bright beautiful morning. Splendid!
Gratified by the hospitality of the Rann Utsav crew and number of other strangers who helped us out by making way for our huge bag-packs, making sure we got down at the right station, giving us directions and helping us out whenever we needed, Rann Utsav made us marvel at compassion human beings have.
There were many other things we did on the visit, but the most significant was the way we connected to each other and to the place and people we had never known before. Working at a desk next to each other, we could possibly have never known how distinctive, yet beautiful human beings we were. Sharing delightful stories of our childhood to some embarrassing ones from our youth, we realized that this trip brought us together, and we, were destined to return to Rann Utsav.