All posts tagged: Gujarat

Gujarat Travel Guide

When I was initially planning to backpack across Gujarat I’d no idea what to expect. People suggested that backpacking in Gujarat – particularly inside Kutch – won’t be a good idea. But it wasn’t the backpacking or travelling on my own, that I was worried about. A limited travel information available on Gujarat was the biggest challenge. Other than its few religious sites, a couple of national parks and the over-promoted Kutch festival (or the Rann Utsav), very little has been written or spoken about tourism in Gujarat. A few online travel guides moreover left me discouraged furthermore mentioning about Gujarat’s poor public transportation system. So before I start with my usual travel guide format, I’d give you a general overview and help you understand Gujarat better. The state of Gujarat has been divided into three parts: Saurashtra, Magadh and Kutch. Saurashtra and Magadh, does not have much to travel, at least if speaking for not-so-religious travel community. Other than Gir National Park (popular for spotting Asiatic Lion), all you’ll find here are a few historical sites including Somnath and Dwarka, and a few …

Want To See Local Art Forms In Kutch? Try Nirona Village

Kutch has always been known for its wealth of culture, handicrafts and artforms. It produces some of the world’s most unusual textile products, as well as intricately crafted metal works. In the book, Kachchh: The Last Frontier, author Tejinder Singh sums it up pretty well: “The intricate embroidery stems from the Kutchi lifestyle… One can see the influences of the Cretan stitch of Greece, surface interlacing stitches from Armenia and the French tambourine techniques. It is a reflection of their lifestyle… of camels, peacocks, parrots, flowers, trees and women churning milk. Each pattern tells a story.” So when you’re on a holiday in Kutch, one thing that you really shouldn’t miss is exploring a few local art forms. And the best way to do that is by visiting a few villages. As you pass through various artisan villages of the indigenous tribes that inhabit the district of Kutch, you find a striking contradiction. But one needs days to explore them all, or perhaps even weeks. So those with only a limited time in hand, can take …

Lakhpat: The Ghost Town Of Gujarat

We all have heard of Ghost Towns – towns that have been deserted owing to natural calamities, some buried under the empty grounds and others, left behind with their undying tales of wonder. Lakhpat for me was one such story – a bustling town emptied owing to an incident, a town that still exists but does not, a town that speaks of a gloomy past as you walk through its emptied, abandoned streets. I was suggested a visit to Lakhpat, a godforsaken place, by someone whom I met in Bhuj. Liakatali, a local guide and a journalist with BhujMitr, a vernacular Kutchi newspaper, was born and brought up inside the boundaries of Lakhpat, before finally moving to Bhuj to pursue his higher studies. “It used to be the biggest and richest settlements in all of Gujarat” he provided, still sounding hopeful. “There were more than 15,000 people residing inside the walls of the fort, now only 566 have left. You must visit it now that you’re here. I’m sure you’ll like it” Hopelessly driven by …

How To Stay In Little Rann of Kutch For Free

When I had initially started planning my trip to Gujarat, particularly around the Rann of Kutch region, I felt hopeless. Every place in Ranno of Kutch charged at least a couple of thousand Rupees for a night. And this did not include food. Some generous tourist homes, however, offered a complimentary breakfast, yet their price tag was way over my budget. “I’d never be able to travel to this part of my country, if I couldn’t find sponsors,” I remember wondering. Now the only option was to stay in the nearby towns of Bhuj and Gandhidham (yet both the places had no place of interest for a tourist like me) and do the day trips to Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) and Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) from tere. But it didn’t sound feasible, at least not for someone who was backpacking and had to hitchhike because of poor public transport in Kutch. Read: Kutch Travel Guide In order to explore the White Desert in GRK and the barren crack-land in LRK, I wanted to stay …

Rann Utsav: NOT Worth The Effort, Distance And Money!

Organised annually by Gujarat Tourism, between November and February, the Rann Utsav of Kutch has been scaling popularity charts among Indian and foreign travellers alike, in the last few years. Though it’s surely an interesting effort allowing people to revisit the desert region of Kutch – which was left devastated by the 2001 earthquake – by creating a travel story linking to Kutch’s geographical and cultural distinctions, the value for money that it (the Rann Utsav) offers, however, is unfortunately pretty discouraging. To own a sleeping place (a Premium Tent, or a Rajwadi Bhunga, as named) that comes with complimentary meals and a one night/two days package, costs nearly 6 thousand Rupees per person (excluding 18% taxes). For every extra person, in the tent, you pay 4 thousand (and more taxes). This means a family of three can end up paying over 15 thousand Rupees for one night in Rann Utsav. [Please check their website for updated prices] You can moreover buy longer-duration packages, which takes you around a few places in the nearby town …

A Backpacker’s Guide To Travel In Kutch

Kutch was never on my agenda, and little did I even know about it — except for the fact that savvy tourists often fly here in winter for spotting the rare migratory birds. But for a backpacker, Kutch had very little to offer. My fear (of Kutch not being a backpacking destination) moreover started haunting as soon as I neared Kutch. Local transport here suddenly became a rarity, and the distance(s) from one tourist attraction to the other — totally unbelievable. I was spending more time standing on roads while trying to hitchhike, than seeing places. To disappoint you, even more, remember that during peak tourist season, finding an accommodation may moreover become a challenge, have you not done an advance booking. But despite all challenges, Kutch is an amazing place to travel. And the deeper you explore the region, the better it turns out to be. Sharing some of my first impressions of backpacking in Kutch, to help you plan your holiday better. Great Roads But Disappointing Transport If there is one thing that impressed me …