A safari through the white desert

Travel tales

A safari through the white desert

We wanted to visit a unique place that would make us say ‘wow’, which is why we chose this particular place.

To say the least, when we reached there and experienced it, it turned out to be beyond our expectations. I am speaking about Rann of Kutch in Bhuj, Gujarat. The place is like a snow world that's covered completely in white, but it’s a desert — a white desert. Something close to heaven.

Our itinerary was customised, hence we also added two more places to our bucket list. That was Mandvi and Gir Forest. It was with much excitement that we landed in Bhuj. We noticed that the airport is kind of cute with a traditional touch to it.

From there by road, it took us two hours to reach Kutch. Once we reached the place, we were spellbound by its magnificence. The plain white sand looked like it was touching the sky. It looked so extravagant, so peaceful, and so infinite. This was one of God's best creation. The camels walking in a row, I thought, looked like a row of ants walking from the sky. 🌹

It was extremely cold since we went in the month of January. So carrying winter wear was necessary. Days were cold with good sunlight. Nights were extremely cold but the warmers helped us.

There are plenty of stores there for all the shopaholics. In those stalls, we could see many traditional stuff laid out, something that you may not find in other places. These include unique handwoven shawls, clothing for both men and women, gloves, caps, frames, key holders and more.

For photo enthusiasts, there are people who will dress you up in the traditional ethnic wear — like the local people. The outfit comprise turbans, overcoats, horse puppets and drums. The outcome is fascinating. With such sweet memories with us, we left Kutch and started our drive to our next destination — Mandvi.

Mandvi is a place with mixed attractions like beaches and palaces. Our first stop in Mandvi was the Vijay Vilas Palace. This is an antique palace. It was very well
maintained and each part of the palace is so unique in its own way.

In fact, the surroundings of the palace is covered with thick green trees which almost looked like a forest. There are many palaces and museums in Mandvi that every traveller must see. There is also a Jain temple located in a sprawling area. 🌹

The resort we stayed had all the amenities like indoor games and outdoor sports and it was next to a beach. The beaches here are silent. The waves are mild. We saw many sea creatures like jelly fish, stings, which we had not seen before.🌹

Our next plan was to visit the Sasan Gir Forest. It took an eight-hour drive from Mandvi to reach there. Since the drive is long, we started
as early as 4 am. The experience was worth the long journey.
We checked into Gir Jungle Lodges and had our lunch. The jeep safari was the day's most awaited trip. Our ride into the forest started by spotting peacocks, deer and wild dogs.

The moment of the day was when we spotted three lions. In another hour, we spotted three more. This was indeed a surprise gift for us. As animal lovers, we were excited and cherished each moment of this.

Our trip to Rann of Kutch, Mandvi and the Gir Forests was more than what we had asked for. And these are places one should truly visit.

  Fact File

If you wish to go to Kutch, the best time is from November to February as that is when ‘Rann Utsav’ happens. ‘Rann Utsav’ has temporary tents set up.

    How to get there

We flew by SpiceJet which came upto Rs 55,000 for three for a round trip.

  Places to stay

We stayed at ‘Rann Utsav’ in Kutch, Serena Beach Resort in Mandvi and Gir Jungle Lodge in Sasan Gir.
‘Rann Utsav’ costs
Rs 13,500 per night.
Serena Resort costs Rs 7,000 per night.
Jungle Lodges costs Rs 6,000 per night.

Nanditha Sandeep

(The author can be contacted at nandysandysana@gmail.com)

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