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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