little rann of kutch
India

My Visit To Vachhraj Dada Temple In Little Rann of Kutch

Visiting Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat? I suggest you stay at Vachhraj Dada temple.

When I was planning my trip to Gujarat, particularly around the Rann of Kutch region, I felt hopeless. Hotels in Rann of Kutch were charging at least a couple of thousand Rupees per night. And this did not include food.

Some generous places, however, offered complimentary breakfast but their price tag was way over my budget. “I would never be able to budget backpack in this part of my country” I remember wondering.

The only option for me, if I wanted to travel to Little Rann of Kutch (or LRK) was to stay in Bhuj or Gandhidham and do a day trip. But it didn’t sound feasible. At least not for someone who was backpacking and had to travel in public buses.

If you are wondering how easy it is to travel Kutch using public transport, read my Kutch Travel Guide. If you don’t want to read that blog, let me warn you by saying, public transport in Kutch is bad. And if you’re attempting to travel Kutch as a budget backpacker, be prepared to walk and hitchhike a lot.

little rann of kutch gujarat

rann of kutch gujarat travel

Little Rann of Kutch

In order to explore the Great Rann of Kutch and Little Rann of Kutch, I had to stay as close to them as possible.

It was particularly important for me to stay close to Little Rann of Kutch, for I knew there was no public transport available there. But that was not possible either because of expensive accommodation.

And then a friend suggested to me exactly what I wanted – a suggestion on how to stay in Little Rann for not just in the budget, but for free!

vachhraj dada temple

Vachhraj Dada Temple

Before I talk about Vachhraj Dada Temple, I want to tell you that the entire Little Rann of Kutch is a forest area & comes under The forest reserve.

Little Rann of Kutch, also known as the Sanctuary of Wild Ass is the last refuge of the Indian Wild Ass ‘Khur’ and hence a protected piece of land.

So anyone visiting the Little Rann of Kutch is required to get permission from the forest department and is allowed a visit only during daytime and under the permitted time. But there’s is one place that allows you to stay inside the Little Rann of Kuch, and it is moreover the same place that allows you to stay there for free – the temple of Vachhraj Dada.

Located right in the middle of Little Rann of Kutch Vachhraj Dada Temple holds a religious significance among the local Rajput community in Kutch, Gujarat.

Anyone visiting the temple is considered a pilgrim and is therefore exempted to obtain a permit from the forest department. They are moreover offered a free bed and food.

Located 21 kilometers from the nearest town of Zunzuwada, the place moreover offers a total no-man’s-land kind of experience. You would be far off from any civilization, except for the people in the temple, and a few hundred cows that live inside it.

vachhraj dada temple map

Getting To Vachhraj Dada Temple

From Ahmedabad

Take a train from Ahmedabad to Viramgram (3 hours) and then a bus from Viamgram to Zinzuwada (2 hours). From Zinzuwada, there’s no way to get to VachRaj dada other than hitchhiking.

Since tourists keep visiting the temple, finding a lift should not be a problem. It’s advised not to walk on your own in LRK because of the risk of losing your way.

If you are travelling from Ahmedabad, don’t forget to read my Ahmedabad travel blog. In Ahmedabad, I also recommend you to not miss the popular stepwells of Ahmedabad, like Adalaj Stepwell and others. They are some of the most popular historic destinations in the city.

From Bhuj

If you are travelling from Bhuj, you can take a train or a bus to Gandhidham and then a bus to Palsava and then hitchhiking from there.

Please note that the best way to get to the temple is from Ahmedabad because the distance from Palsava to the temple is at least three times the distance from Zinzuwada. From Palsava, you will have to hitchhike.

PS: Since VachRaj dada is basically a Byre (or a cowshed) and there’s no grass available inside the entire region of LRK, trucks full of dried hay leave from either side of LRK every 2 hours, and can be used for hitchhiking.

If you are staying in Bhuj and planning to explore other places nearby, I suggest you do a day trip to Nirona Village and the town of Lakhpat. Many people visiting Bhuj also visit Rann Utsav but I don’t really recommend it because it’s a total rip off. 

little rann of kutch gujarat

Story Of Vachhraj Dada Temple

Vachhraj Dada temple is dedicated to a folk deity and an eminent warrior-hero of the region named ‘Vachhraj’.

The story has it that Vachhraj belonged to the royal family of a Rajput ruler, some 900 years ago. On the day he was getting married, he heard the news that some dacoits were looting and taking the cows of a village inside the Mehsana district of today, to butcher them. He left the marriage ceremony incomplete to fight the plunderers, in which he attained martyrdom.

According to the legend, it is believed that Vachhraj’s head was cut in the fight by the sword of an enemy but despite that, his body kept fighting against the people for hours and killed them all. A temple was built in his memory.

The 3500+ cows living inside the premises of the temple today are moreover believed to be belonging from the same family of cows that Varchraj saved fighting.

vachhraj dada temple

What To Do In Little Rann of Kutch

Despite being located in the middle of a no man’s land, there is enough to do around here.

Sunsets/Sunrise

For one, expect to see some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises along the horizon, you’ve seen in your life.

Vachhraj Dada Temple

Other than that, enjoy Vachhraj Dada temple.

Migratory Birds

A few kilometres from the temple also takes you to an artificial river stream, running around the area, where you can spot migratory waterbirds like cranes, pelicans, and flamingos. Hundreds of them. Night walks on the other hand, around the area, can take you across an Indian wolf or a desert fox, if you’re lucky. I sure wasn’t!

Salt Mashing

Other than the sunsets and the barren crack-land, stretching along a few dozen kilometres in any direction, you can visit the many salt farmers working in the little Rann’s many salt farms.

little rann of kutch

salt mashing farmers kutch

Little Rann of Kutch Travel Tips

As mentioned above, The Little Rann of Kutch (or the Sanctuary of Wild Ass) comes under the jurisdiction of Indian forestry, therefore you’re required to obtain a permit to access it unless, of course, you’re visiting the Vachhraj Dada temple. Consider it as one of the perks of travelling in a religious country.

So if you’re motorbiking or are travelling in a group or solo, and someone representing the forest departments stops you for questioning, make sure you’ve properly rehearsed the answer they’re expecting to hear.

I was even told by locals, inside the temple, that a few regular tourists even do camping inside the Little Rann, and around the temple premises. Upon being questioned, they give the customary excuse of visiting the temple, as the original intention behind their visiting Little Rann of Kutch. Doing so, they get away with the penalty. Crazy, but true!

Also, read my Gujarat Travel Guide for more tips on what to see and do around.

About

I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. Ankit maru

    Hey I wud be attempting from zinzuwad to palasava in November .is it doable
    ??
    And any contacts whch can help

  2. Hi Dev. How difficult is it to find a transport from this temple to ajrakhpur or bhujodi or Bhuj . These places are basically on the same highway. I was wondering if it’s possible to hitchhike from this temple to get to the above mentioned destinations. Any help would be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance 🙂

  3. Hey Dev thanks for the valuable information to stay in budget at LRK. I have one question, if we travel from Patan to Vachra Dada temple in a sedan, will it be a decent stay to spend one night. And also visit the sanctuary the next day morning and from their proceed to Mandvi. Thanks.

  4. Prabha Mudda

    Dear dev,
    Good info. My hubby is in gandhinagar defence station. Is it worth driving our little estello to this temple u mentioned. Pl suggest.

    Thnks

    • Hi Prabha, the drive is certainly enjoyable, however getting lost is easier there (So follow a local auto rikshaw or a taxi that’s going that way). The temple itself isn’t a highlight but the drive is.

  5. Thanks for sharing a great information about Staying free at Little Rann of Kutch…!

  6. Hello Dev! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I was planning a trip to Kuch and you made it so much easier for me.

  7. This might be a bit of a silly question it I’ve been trying to find all the all towns etc that you mention in your amazing posts on Little Rann of Kutch and I can’t find them on Google Maps or Maps.Me! Heading there in the next week to do some hitchhiking which I’m really looking forward to!

    • yes Evan, it’s not on any nativagtion apps. Use Google maps to get to the town of Zunzuwada. In Zunzuwada, just ask anyone which way for the temple, you will find a gate at the exit of Zunzuwada, there’s only one road (well, technically there’s no road) that passes through that gate and takes you to the temple. So just stand underneath that gate and stop any vehicle going towards that direction. I’m sure you wont need the maps inside, that’s the charm of it… of getting lost 😉

  8. Aishwarya Iyenagr

    Hi Dev,
    I am a Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger from Bangalore, and I do a little bit of travel posts too,
    I am planning a trip to Rann during the Valentines Day 2018. I was very skeptical about taking up any packages or even book any tent. All of your 3 blogposts are really informative.

    More over I have hardly 3 days of time, And
    1. wanted some expert advice from you on whether its safe to stay in the Vachhraj Dada temple/Dattatreya temple kalo dungar.
    2.How time consuming is it to get any transport from there to the main Rann area for all the festivities.

    It would be of great help if you could respond.
    Regards
    Aishwarya Iyengar

  9. Very interesting post and enthralling pictures. I have visited kutch last year 2016. There i had seen Bhuj, Mandvi, Anjar, Gandhidham however could not got a chance to see the Great Rann of Kutch. Khavda is additionally eminent for its Sweets.

  10. thanks for sharing your experience, your ideas and advice help to save some money! I like your blog, thanks for your hard work, keep moving!

  11. Nice post and information. kutch is on my list and this will help me a lot

  12. Hi Dev,
    Interesting stuff and informative guide. Well, we are a group of friends who love cycling to explore the places. We would love to ride in little rann of Kutch. Can you please guide, will it be possible to cycling from Zinzuwada to Palasava passing through the rann? Is it cyclable trek?

    • Totally. Though you might want to find a solution for punctured-tyres, as some places have tiny spikes coming out of the cracks, but as far as riding is concerned, it’s totally doable. Zinzuwada to Palasva is 20(something) + 30(something) kms. So if you like, you can also crash at VacchRaj temple in between, and even park your bikes inside the temple and they’d be safe.

  13. Lost With Purpose

    Hi Dev, great stuff! We’re traveling in Gujarat now, so this super helpful. Especially since we travel on a pretty low budget. Do you think it’s possible to stay at the temple as a foreign tourist?

    • A Caucasian showing up at the temple might definitely be something new, but trust me if you show up there, and look hopeless, there’s no chance that the temple committee won’t not let you in. Still, to give you some assurance, there are 5-6 provisional stalls, right outside the temple premises, run by local villagers, I’m sure they’ll arrange something. So rest assured, finding a place to sleep should be no problem! Go for it!

  14. Steps Together

    Very nice post.. thanks for sharing such a useful information

  15. Very interesting information and will be definitely helpful to others. I want to add more more place to stay at very reasonable cost. Dattatreya temple kalo dungar.

    They offered decent accommodation at very reasonable cost and serve food as well. During my last visit I stayed there and really enjoyed clicking nature early in the morning. To avoid crowd at Dhordo, I stayed overnight at this location and went to white rann during early morning.

    Let me know if you need any contact information about this place.

    • Hey Jignesh. Thanks for the information. This will be of much help to the readers. Can you please also mention how much they cost, if they have a fixed price chart, or are we required to do some donation (at will), just like in other temples? And anyone who shows up at the temple gets to stay there? If booking can be a problem, can you please share the person in charge’s number, so that those who wish to travel and stay there can arrange. Thanks!

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