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 that I was worried about. A limited travel information available on Gujarat was my biggest challenge. Other than its few religious sites, a couple of national parks and the over promoted Kutch festival (or Rann Utsav), very little has been written or known about tourism in Gujarat. A few sources, on internet moreover suggested that backpacking in Gujarat, due to its poor public transportation system, was perhaps the bad idea.So before I start with my usual travel guide format, I’d give you a general overview and help you understand Gujarat better. 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 has been divided into three parts: Saurasthra, Magadh and Kutch. Saurasthra 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 …

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

Kutch has always been known for its wealth of culture and handicrafts. And when you’re here on a holiday, one thing that you really do not want to miss is exploring a few local art forms. Kutch 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 tambouring techniques. It is a reflection of their lifestyle… of camels, peacocks, parrots, flowers, trees and women churning milk. Each pattern tells a story.” The best way to experience local art forms in Kutch, however, is by village hopping. As you pass through various artisan villages of the indigenous tribes that inhibit the district of Kutch, you find a striking contradiction. But one needs days to explore them all, or perhaps even a week. But those who have only one day …

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, I felt hopeless. Every place inside the region, 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 them, respectively. But it didn’t sound feasible, at least not for someone who was backpacking. In order to explore the White Desert in GRK and the barren crack-land in LRK, I wanted to stay as closer to them as possible. It was particularly important for me to stay inside, …

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 offers… 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. You can moreover buy longer-duration packages, which takes you around a few places in the nearby town of Bhuj, in addition to the customary sunsets/sunrises in the White …

A Backpacker’s Guide To Travel In Kutch

Kutch was never on my agenda, and little did I even hear about it. All I knew was that some regular tourists often fly here in winter to spot the rare migratory birds, but for a backpacker, Kutch had very little to offer. My fears moreover started haunting as soon as I moved towards Kutch, from Ahmedabad. Local transport here suddenly become inefficient, and the distances from one village to another, felt totally unbelievable. There was no way I could get a place to stay anywhere, had I not done an advance bookings. I was spending more time on the roads, with my thumb erect, trying to hitchhike, than seeing places. Yet, it was a wonderful trip altogether. And the deeper I explored, the better it turned out. Sharing some of my first impressions of backpacking in Kutch. Great Roads But Disappointing Transport If there is one thing that impressed me about the road transport in Kutch it is the roads. Even the narrowest roads leading to the most interiors and unsung villages were in …