‘What makes the desert beautiful is that it somewhere hides a well.’- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
While this general perception speaks of the sublimity of a desert, what makes the White Desert in Gujarat stand out is that somewhere it hides the monumental Rann Utsav- a festival of spirit, a carnival of music and the flag bearer of the rich and glorious Gujarati traditions. Since its advent in 2008, the Rann Utsav has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors each year from all around the world and its popularity has only grown manifolds. An indulgence for all senses, your taste buds enjoy an authentic food experience, your ears celebrate the sounds of folk music, and your eyes are treated to the splendid panoramas of the glimmering desert. An air of merriment and oneness envelopes leaving you overwhelmed at everything you witness here.
Also called the ‘Tent City of India,’ this festival goes on for 3 months at Dhordo, hosting a multitude of exciting activities and offering numerous experiences for guests to cherish forever. Binding generations together, Rann Utsav is a delight for families, friends, couples and even travellers who enjoy solo sojourns. A huge set up of about 300-350 tents accommodate guests who then go around the tent city exploring the activities that the Rann Utsav has to offer. The accommodation is a unique experience on its own. Imagine the luxury of comfortable beds, wooden flooring, air-conditioners, and clean washrooms - right in the middle of the desert. It really is as surreal as it sounds! You may choose as many as you like, but we pick for you the top 5 experiences that are a must-do when attending the Rann Utsav.
1. Witness the grandeur of the sunrise and sunset at the White Rann
A little white wonder just ahead of Dhordo where the Rann Utsav takes place, the White Rann is much like a white canvas waiting to be filled with colours of nature. Your first tryst with the place is enough to leave you mesmerized- a vast stretch of barren land lying in front of you- like a muse for an artist, so flawless and exquisite. But once you watch the hues of the setting or the rising sun touch the land, it seems nothing less than a masterpiece. Changing with the different moods of the sun- the natural colours tease your eyes with new a guise, every step of the way. Usually a visit to the White Rann is a part of your package when visiting the Rann Utsav. A camel cart or bus brings you to this wonder from the tents where you stay and you can choose to witness the sunrise or the sunset or both when here.
2. Indulge in exciting adventures at the Skyzilla and the adventure arena
Keeping your adrenaline pacing, there is an entire area dedicated for guests to enjoy some thrilling adventures at the Rann Utsav. The Skyzilla is a staggering 60 feet tower where one can partake in a range of adventure activities. Zip-lining, rock climbing, sky fall, pendulum swing and a rappelling wall, these activities allow you to face your fears and conquer them.
P.S. Safety will never be a concern.
3. Para-motoring your way through the sky
While this may count as another adventure, para-motoring deserves a special mention on this list because it is, in fact, one of the most enthralling experiences for anyone. It is one thing to walk around the white desert and the tent city, and absolutely another to look at it from a bird’s eye view. The visuals are breathtaking to say the least. Hundreds of colourful tents dotted across the desert and the salt desert in all directions as far as the eye can see – this is one experience you would definitely want more than once.
4. Rejuvenate at the spa and massage facility
Keeping in mind that you’re on a holiday and need to rejuvenate and relax, at the Rann Utsav you will find an entire tent solely dedicated to spa and massages for the guests. Take a break from your everyday rigmarole; spend an hour or two with massage experts working the magic of their skills on your nerves. It does not get any better!
5. A visit to the handicrafts and shopping market at the festival
How can any holiday experience be complete without shopping? Gujarat is particularly popular for its handicrafts, embroidery cloth and hand block printing. At this market, you will find all of it and more! Woodworks from Gujarat are also very famous, which is another item that you can easily spot here. Women will love accessories and jewellery here- especially silver work in the form of earrings. Seashell toys here make for beautiful gifts and can be taken home for friends and loved ones.
Bonus Tip: The cultural performances including Gujarati folk dance and music- and other shows like the Kachhi Ghodi dance and puppet shows- happen at regular intervals at the Tent city and should not be missed when visiting the Rann Utsav.
So, are you ready to get going?
For more information on Rann Utsav, visit Gujarat Tourism