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Tourist Places To Visit In Kutch (Kachchh)
With its unique salty marshlands and next to no vegetation, Kutch or Rann of Kutch is a tortoise shaped region situated in Gujarat, India. Literally it means an area which alternately becomes wet and dry. With an array of nomadic tribes, artisans and wildlife, Kutch is a traveler’s delight. Kutch’s fantastic landscape offers surreal photography opportunities and breath-taking sunsets. It has won the reputation of being a favorite destination for culture explorers and art lovers from India and across the globe. Read on to find our curated list of top tourist places to visit in Kutch.
The most beautiful time to visit in Kutch, if you happen to be an art aficionado, is during the Kutch Mahotsav. This festival gives not just a useful but also a delightfully beautiful insight into the culture that is waiting to be explored. It brings together everything that marks out the heritage of Kutch including the admirable lace handicrafts, hand woven clothes, hand painted Bandhani sarees and exquisite ornaments in silver and gold.
Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach
Located in the stunning port city of Maharao in Kutch is the Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach which is considered to be one of India’s most beautiful beaches. Heaven for water sport enthusiasts, the beach enchants travelers with clear waters and pristine sands. It is about 298 kms from the capital Ahmedabad and is very well connected by both road and rail.
You can visit the ancient town of Dholavira, which was discovered in 1967. The ruins suggest that it is close to 4500 years old. It lies to the north west of Khadir islands and is one of the most important Harappan excavation sites in India. As expected the discovered city is well planned and geometrically perfect, featuring a middle town, a lower town and a citadel. The artifacts found here have been linked to the Mesopotamian civilization and include beads, animal bones and terracotta ornaments. The town is 445 kms from Ahmedabad and can be reached easily by rail. If you happen to be a history admirer, Dholavira is a must visit.
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Another place that we highly recommend you visit is the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Established in 1972 following the principles of wildlife conservations in India it is located in the Rann of Kutch. Spreading over an area of 4950 kms it is a specialized sanctuary for the preservation of the rare wild ass sub-species called the Khur. The wild ass is a very hardy animal and is considered one of the strongest in the world. It can survive in very high temperatures, as much as 45 degree centigrade which is common in the Rann of Kutch during summers. Adults weigh around 230 kgs and are seen loitering around in the vast flatlands of Kutch, definitely a wildlife lover’s delight.
With a plethora of customs and traditions to be discovered, Kutch never fails to enchant tourists, especially with the honey dipped languages Kachchhi and Gujarati. After all Kutch was proof of the long flourishing Indus Valley Civilization.
Great Rann Of Kutch
The Great Rann of Kutch is a mystical white desert on the fringes of northern Gujarat, bordered by the Arabian Sea on one side and Thar on the other. The rann is beautiful and haunting, a sea of white sands and salt plains, stretching almost until the horizon. The plains sparkle like a bed of diamonds by the moonlight and become the hub of festivities by daytime, especially in the winter months, when they celebrate the Rann Utsav. Tourists come from far and wide, India and abroad, only to live in the lavish tents here, participate in games, see cattle trades, contests, listen to local folk and enjoy Kutchi dances. The highlight of visiting the Rann of Kutch in winter (October to March) is this festival, along with camping, camel safaris and serenity.
Kalo Dungar in Gujarati translates to 'the black hill.' This is the highest pinnacle in Kutch, a city that is majorly lowland plains. Kalo Dungar is perfect to go up on a hike and get amazing views of the Rann of Kutch, along with the India-Pakistan border stretching in the distance. The high ground can also be easily reached by taking a bus or a jeep; public transport starting from Khavda.
While on Kalo Dungar, do also visit the Dattatreya Temple, which is 400 years old and one of the rarest Brahma temples, dedicated to his incarnation that was an amalgamation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
An 18th Century palace, built on the lines of Italian gothic art - Aina Mahal or the Mirror Palace is one of the prime attractions in Kutch. The palace is brilliant, with all its chandeliers and mirrors and reflective hangings, encrusted in semi-precious stones. The courtyard boasts of a Hindu temple while there is also a museum complex inside the main palace. Other sights to behold inside include lattice and mirror work, surfaces made of Venetian glass, floorings of polished marble and reflective rooms.
Make sure to see the Dutch Clock, Pleasure Pool and the English and French globes. This is also the palace where portions of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali magnum opus - Ram Leela were shot.
Vijay Villas Palace
The Vijay Villas Palace was once the summerhouse of Jadejas, the dynasty that ruled Kutch back in the day. As it was a summer palace, the complex is beautifully made with greenery everywhere around, tapering onto the private beach behind. Vijay Villas' exceptional architecture ensures it draws large amounts of tourists and shows them a good time. Do visit this place, not far from the Mandvi beach.