The White Thar Desert: Introducing The Great Rann of Kutch

with 27 Comments

 

The Great Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh located in the White Thar Desert. It was one of the rare places in India where there was hardly anybody – and that’s quite a feat in a country bursting at the seams with almost one billion people! The only other people visiting were a few Indians including a small group of school children who brightened the two-toned landscape with their vibrant saris and laughter.

While most travelers choose to go on a camel safari in the desert of Rajasthan, it’s unlikely to find any foreign travelers in the strikingly desolate white salt desert of the Great Rann of Kutch. Inundated with water most of the year, in winter (we went in December) this area becomes a dry landscape made up of blinding white salt.

This was one of the highlights of our trip – the peaceful beauty and serenity of the White Thar Desert was a welcoming respite from the chaos India is known for. Its vastness and endless horizon reminded me of how small we are in this big, wide world. It was an amazing feeling to just wander around with the crushing of salt below our feet as the only noise and the warm gusts of wind accompanying us in this desolate landscape.

The best way to get to the White Thar Desert is to hire a private driver – it takes about 2 hours from the city of Bhuj which is located in the state of Gujarat. I don’t suggest you hire a tuk-tuk – it might be cheaper but the ride will take much longer (read: painfully slow) and will be very uncomfortable. Remember to bring a scarf or a hat – the sun gets very, very hot with no shade whatsoever.

The White Thar Desert is very close to the Pakistan border and is therefore heavily protected and guarded; for this reason you need a special permit to enter this area so don’t forget your passport. Your driver should know this and will stop at the small post located on the main road to obtain the permit from officials.

 

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Have you been to the Thar Desert? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

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  • Megan Claire

    Thanks for sharing and introducing me to this stunning destination – I had never heard of the white salt desert of the Great Rann of Kutch, but am so glad I have now! Reminds me of the salt flats of Bolivia, but much closer to me here in Aus 🙂

  • Looks beautiful.. I have heard and read so many things about Kutch and the Rann Utsav festival that have been trying to visit the place for so long now. But for some or the other reasons the plans keep on getting postponed. Keeping finger crossed to visit in Jan.

  • Eric Bravo

    Never heard the the Great Rann Kutch before, but glad I came across this! Looks amazing! I kind of want to see how it looks inundated with water. Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie Rose

    Oh wow, it’s a really beautiful place. How did you find out about it? It must have been a nice change from all of the crowds and hustle and bustle of the cities.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Hi Stephanie! I had read about it online and immediately knew I had to go. 🙂

  • Live Learn Venture

    Wow — this really looks and sounds beautiful. It sounds like it’s not so touristy at all — which I love. I also love the photo of the camel, too cute!

  • Claire Summers

    Love this post! Your words have really brought it to life for me. I never imagined somewhere like this existed in India. Yours it one of about 10 posts on India I have read this week…I feel like the universe is telling me I need to visit India. I’m a yogi so its somewhere I dream of going to study anyway.

  • Wow! I’ve never been to India but seeing a photo of anywhere in India this empty is quite rare. It reminds me of what I’d imagine the Bolivian salt flats would look like. So gorgeous and great landscape for photos too!

  • TalesOfABackpacker

    The other comments are right, it looks just like the salt flats in Bolivia – I suppose that’s what happens when the water dries to leave a salt desert! It sounds much hotter than Bolivia though, it was still bitterly cold there even during the day! This would be a wonderful place to visit, I had no idea it existed in India!

  • Laura Nalin

    It’s so key to know the spots that are not very touristy, so I’m glad you included some of that information in this post. I’m loving the photos and I thought this was Bolivia at first (I always skim through photos first before reading) so I was intrigued to learn it wasn’t the salt flats!

  • Alyssa Ramos MyLifesAMovie.com

    This is a really incredible post Lydia! I like how you mention that it’s a rare place with hardly any people – I traveled for a month in India and definitely know that that’s a rarity! I know a couple other’s have said this, but it reminds me of the salt flats in Bolivia and Death Valley, CA, which really makes you wonder what the topography of our planet used to look like! Thanks for the great post!

  • Kassie- The Fly Away Life

    How cool! I had no idea that some place like this existed in India. It reminds me a lot of the salt flats in Bolivia but on a smaller scale. Thanks for the great tips! I would love to visit one day.

  • Awesome post! I love visiting places where tourists don’t happen to go very often. Love your helpful tips about the scarf, passport and transport to get there. Love the photos too! Wouldn’t mind visiting myself one day!

  • Smidge

    It looks so peaceful! I love the colours of india – I’m really not sure I could cope with all the people. I’m used to no one!

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Then the White Thar Desert is for you! 😉

  • Sasha

    Oh man, why did I not visit this place?! Looks incredible! I really love the photo at the end of you walking with your posse of followers haha.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      lol…..I didn’t think of it as my posse but it does look like that!

  • Leah Shoup

    Wow! I love hearing about times when people get to go to areas that not many tourists go. Your vibrant shots are stunning 🙂 I’m inspired to head to the desert myself.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      This was one of the places I really wanted to go to and it was worth it!

  • i’ve never really had an interest in visiting India. but this is unreal! Who knew this existed there!!

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Hi Taylor! I get it – India isn’t for everyone but it’s like nowhere else and the White Thar Desert is just one of the many fascinating places to see. 🙂

  • Exploring the vast and empty deserts sounds oddly peaceful. Plus you have got some great shots from your trip – adding onto the bucket list!

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      It’s hard to think of anywhere in India as being peaceful but this was one of those places – it did feel quite strange!

  • Stacey Gilkes

    Oh wow this is amazing. Your pics are so cool. I especially love the shot of the camel in the bright colors. What an epic trip

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      It was! This was one of my favorite things while traveling in India especially because it was so peaceful.

  • Natasha Welch

    I’m thinking of visiting Thar Desert in India this christmas! Though we will probably go from Jaisalmer on a camel. I love your photos here, super simple and beautiful. Gonna have a little stalk at the rest of your India posts now, getting super pumped for my trip hehe

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Hello stalker! 😉

      So glad you’re bingeing on my India travels! Most people head to Jaisalmer for a camel safari but the White Thar Desert was just so different and peaceful with no one around. It’s a bit out of the way of the usual circuit though but I really wanted to go (we had almost 2 months so we could afford a few detours).