Jaw dropping. The Rann of Kutch

The sense of pride, the humility, the knowledge/information and above all the sense of sharing is so spirited amongst the local folks we interacted with, in our very short trip to the Rann, it enhanced my own awareness of things important to be reflected upon. When they say *Kuch din toh guzariye Gujarat mein*, the script writer understood the stunning spectacle called The Rann of Kutch.

Rann is no ordinary land. It is an experience 
A deep sigh 
A connection 
A wantonness of the soul

The hot sun, drew me to its halo and blaze, while being mesmerized watching the arid land, gaze back unflinchingly. The first halt was Ekal Na Rann (into Black Dungar -which btw ain't black, more like brown) into the Great Rann ...we sped through arrow straight roads from Bhuj, leaving in our wake, swirling dust.  

If seeing the Rann by the setting sun was wow, upon seeing the Rann by night light, I was transfixed. The moon made its appearance, sparkling its glitter on this incomprehensible vastness that fades off towards infinity.  An unimaginable black sky with more stars and constellations than I had seen in my entire life was spread above me. The app on my BlackBerry StarTracker, was having a field day, I wondered to myself, how come I have never seen such a sky in my own city?! Or do sooo many stars only show up in the desert? The starry sky seemed to merge with the unending dark horizon, leaving me spell bound, speechless, in awe. Within fraction of seconds, I was lying on my back in the salt land, staring up at the starry night, mesmerized, time stood eternally still. The whipping cold wind made me realize how alive that moment was. The entire universe was staring down back at me - twinkling. In absolute silence

It was almost a different planet. It was nothing short of a scene out of a sci-fi movie... I have seen many interesting places in the world, but I had never seen a sight like this ever in my life. It was not clear if what we were witnessing was actually reality, were we in the present? Or were our eyes playing tricks? Standing in the middle of one of the largest salt deserts in the world! Sometimes it felt like salt, sometimes snow, sometimes water....where were we?! 

The natural landscape of the Rann is white, till the eyes can see! With its blinding heat and barren expanses the landscape is equally mesmerizing and inhospitable. Too hot by the day where you find yourself peeling layers of clothes, too cold by night, where the thickest of wool seems too little. 

We walked on the cracked land, feeling the soft ground giving way as we walked. We took our steps gingerly, slowly, carefully (imagining all Hollywood scenes where the earth opens up or a quicksand engulfs humans!) . Every now and then, my shoes would dig into the ground, realizing, the wet white beneath my feet.  

What was more astonishing to hear was that in the Rann of Kutch, they pump up the ground water and dry it up in the sun. The ground water levels are unusally high for what is barren and dried up land, with many underground streams. Wow. Unimaginable! 

The story has it, given how vast with extreme temperatures the Rann is, if anyone is lost in it, no search is undertaken. They are just considered lost and the locals call those lost in the Rann white souls. They will never be found. A reality check?

There are no roads, no signs, no cars, no lights, no shops, no stops! Had to all the time remind myself to not drift away too far. Yes the mobile network works very well. But consider this, if you are lost, how will you give directions to rescue you? 

Food was delightful all through the journey, Dabeli, gatiya, jalebi, thali,, theplas,chunda, poha at various halt points. We didn't really have to refrain constantly about *less oil* as the food most often was low on fats and awesome on flavour. 

The few hours spent in the greater Rann in moonlight, perhaps counts as the most surreal experience of my life. The desert bathed in the diffused glow of the moon light – a huge expanse shining like a gazillion brilliant diamonds! Soaking in the atmosphere of calm and peace, feeling one with nature. Had it not been the biting cold that eventually drove us to the warmth of our car, we would perhaps have pitched a tent and stayed up all night. Discovering such a unique, unusual place in itself is not just a matter of pride that it belongs in India, felt eternally grateful to have experienced it too. 


Aijaz Ahmed Pitafi said...

Working on a drainage project in 2008, on our side, in the same vastness, we got lost after sunset and wandered in the area for almost a night before got rescued by Rangers.

Rahul said...

Wow!!! Simply amazing..
Neva thot that Rann had so much to offer. We r blessed as a nation to have a such a beautiful place.
I hope u wont mind me doin 'choree' of d pics u have used here lol:)))
Its a magical place and on top most priority in my traveling list now....
Thx for sharing ur experience:)))
Best wishes for ur upcoming trips :)

nkitt said...

great article, such a clever use of words and photographs, you brought it all to life. keep doing the good job.
looking forward to many more such write ups.

Shweta said...

I have been to the Great Rann, 2 years ago. Now would I be able to capture it as a story, you have? Absolutely not. I would have simply said...its vast land till the eyes can see, and its white. Thats it!:) Look at the romance you have created here, am in awe of your narration. I went back in my head, trying to imagine the Rann I had seen, with your story telling:) You ever consider writing professionally?

Rajj said...

We were lucky to have been to the Rann on a full moon night. While the desert was stunning, the crowds were too much, and Dholavira was in fact a full house. Somehow felt that compromised the peace that shld have been preserved intact.

Pharma Pharmer said...

Wow! toh kitne din gujaare aapne gujarat mein?


Anon said...

You write very well. You have travelled wide & far. #rann does look mysteriously calm!


Anon said...

After a very long time.... Where have you been!


Anon said...

Very nice….shall surely visit J & as always so beautifully expressed – you should send to National Geographic ( Travel Magz)



Mee said...

TY all for your inputs and appreciation:)) If the #Rann were a country, it would be more than 3/4th the size of Israel, much bigger than Jamaica or Qatar or even East Timor! Thats how vast and raw it is:))

@Aijaz: I met our soldiers, they asked us to be very careful and not drift off too deep, and all credit to them, they do keep an eye on all ppl:))- felt safe and watched over:))

@Rahul: We attended a local temple aarti in the evening, thanked God for our blessings and such beauty, also prayed for the safety and progress of our country and it's Jawans.

@Nkitt: When the place and ppl are as stunning as rann, the writing gets easy:))

@Shweta: u say to-mae-to, I say to-maa-to...thats the only differenece:)))

@Pharma Pharmer -It was a rushed trip, two days is all we cld spare:)

Anon said...

Your blog on Rann of Kutch is good, inspires me to go there. Ho jay ga ek din.


weisel said...

its so immense nd breathtaking landscape you wana get lost there , and yes the night star gazing experience is something so so intense and connecting to the higher cosmos, ,takes you to a different level all together of universe!!!

Anon said...

What an awesome travelogue, loveeed this post! Loveeee your blog actually:):)