Rann Utsav 2015 Dates
November 18, 2015-February 29, 2016
Rann Utsav is a magnificent festival that transforms a desert into a lively, enticing and a city full of life and radiance. It is a magical transformation of a barren land into colorful canvas!
You won’t believe the transformation until you witness it. If you visit Rann of Kutch before November, you would see nothing but salt beds splattered in a dry area. However, during the months of November to February, the district turns into a carnival capital of the country!
What is Rann Utsav?
Rann Utsav, also termed as Kutch Utsav or Kutch Festival is one of the important carnivals of Gujarat. Rann of Kutch is a large area of salt marshes located mostly in Gujarat. The Utsav (meaning festival) held in this white salt desert can be called a Celebration of Life! The vibrant desert carnival of Gujarat brims with life in winter months. The carnival is celebrated for several weeks, starting from mid or end of November to the end of February. In simple terms, Rann Utsav is the cultural festival of Gujarat. A desert turned into a lively cultural carnival for over 3 months when everywhere there is colour, music, dance, luxury, laughter and life!
Rann Utsav was commenced from the year 2007 as a 3 day festival! It has now celebrated as a 3 months festival. Just imagine, how big, how classic, how exemplary and how artistic the Utsav is!
Kutch Festival is a landmark that glows with colors, elegance, festivity mood and cheerfulness spread all over place for three months. Travelers fly from various parts of the world and gather at Kutch to enjoy the carnival.
The Tent City of Rann Utsav
An exclusive tent city is created as a part of this fiesta. The tent city is one of its kinds! You can see beautiful large tents spread all over Kutch area where Rann Utsav is celebrated and all these tents illuminate with enchanting lights creating a mesmerizing atmosphere!
Intriguing Facts about Tent City of Rann Utsav
When it is said a tent city, it is just that- a city made of over 300-400 tents!
- About 123 acres of barren land is transformed into most enticing fair using materials worth of minimum of Rs 50 lakhs.
- Hundreds of workers spend day and night to create the trademark tents of this glorious fair, every year.
- 9 massive clusters are formed which houses 350 tents as guest accommodation. These tents are divided into four categories.
- There are 125 premium tents with luxurious facilities.
- The tent city has 125 AC Swiss cottages and 100 Non AC Swiss cottages.
- There are 2 gigantic ‘Darbari’ tents that are constructed to redefine the term, ‘Luxury!’ These special tents are submerged in luxury! The lavishness exceeds what you would experience in a five-star hotel!
- The interiors and exteriors of the tents are inspired by the tribal arts of Kutch.
- The tent city looks quite extraordinary with cozy atmosphere!
In addition to these 350 cottages, there are additional tents constructed to serve the visitors and guests. The tent city consists of,
- A spa and naturopathy clinic
- A conference centre
- A yoga training centre
- A leisure club
- A modern café
- 2 luxurious fully air-conditioned restaurants
- Special areas for various activities and events deck
When you enter the tent city, you would go speechless by the royalty depicted at the reception! More than 300 hospitality staff are employed to take care of the guests at the Tent city of Rann Utsav.
- In the year 2014 – 2015, about 21000 guests were accommodated in the tent city.
- More than 3 lakh visitors took part in the Utsav, from 13 countries.
- Every day, Rann Utsav welcomed about 3000 visitors!
- This figure is expected to get increased at least 30 % this year (2015- 2016)!
Rann Utsav Video
Kutchi Village Resort in Rann Utsav
Next to the tent city, there is a replica of a village, a typical village of Kutch district of Gujarat. It entirely consists of Bhunga huts or the round huts which are the real identity of Kutch desert areas. Made with mud, these traditional Bhunga huts are considered engineering wonders due to their superior architectural structure. These huts naturally keep cool in summers and warm in winters and are so strong that they are not destroyed by natural calamities like desert storms, earthquakes etc.
This village having real Bhunga huts in Rann Utsav serves as a resort. So, if you want to have the real taste of living in a traditional Kutchi house, you can book a Bhunga hut when you go for Rann Utsav! This is a unique resort not to be found anywhere in the world!
Arts and Handicrafts of Rann Utsav
Visitors and guests who stay at Tent city spend the day and night in the stalls exhibited by the artisans from the nearby villages. Kutch and some interior places of Gujarat serve as the hometown for several intricate and spell-binding handicrafts. In fact, every village is specialized in some form of art and craft. These arts and handicrafts support their livelihood.
Lately, we have been seeing a lot about ‘Ethnic Sale!’ advertised on television and online. In fact, the ethnic sale can take place only in these types of cultural fairs and art festivals. Ethnic Sale is one of the important parts of Rann Utsav. Innumerable varieties of authentic and traditional ethnic stuff is displayed and sold by the inhabitants of the Kutch district. In addition, NGOs also join hands with the local artisans to sell the ethnic products.
The famous artwork in salwars and sarees is made here. Patchwork in the fabric, bandhani, natural dyeing, block-printing, rogan art, etc. are the popular variety of artwork that can be seen here. You can buy the authentic varieties from Kutch! You can flaunt your beauty and style wearing the original bandhani saree or an exquisite block-printing and natural dyed salwar suit, back at home!
Highlights of exquisite Handicrafts at Rann Utsav
Mutwa Embroidery of Kutch
Detailed Embroidery and mirror work is one of the most popular forms of embroidery for which Kutch is known. Mutwa embroidery is particularly famous for which people pay thousands of rupees. And these are worth paying for as women from villages of Kutch work for months together to make a piece of exquisite embroidered cloth. A quilt called ‘godri’ takes as much as 8-12 months to be made.
People from Ludiya village, located in Kutch solely rely on their mud wall painting or mud mirror art! These mud works are used for walls of the village huts. Surely, the mud wall painting and other mud work fascinate the visitors at the Utsav.
Ajrakh Block Prints
Ajrakhpur is a small village in Bhuj district of Gujarat, but is the largest producer of block print fabrics popular by the name of Ajrakh block print. They are famous for their unique block prints and organic colours.
Intricate weaving and decorative arts
Families in the village join together to create various handicrafts like bead work crafts, mirror work fabrics, lace work, decorative footwear, wall hangings, decorative items, quilts and blankets etc. Just like peeling the skin of potatoes, women in villages sew the beads and mirrors with embroidery designs in a fabric. However, to experience the same, you should give a visit to the villages.
Painted Pottery of Kachchh
Another specialty of Kutch are Potters and their beautifully painted pottery! The art of pottery serve as livelihood for the natives who believe their art is as old as the Indus Valley Civilization! The potter’s community was the first inhabitants of the Kutch and it is precisely depicted through their pottery art. Almost everything is crafted with pottery. From pots and plates to bells and unimaginable decorative pieces, you would be mesmerized to see the amazing line of products. Men make pottery on potter’s wheels and women paint them beautifully.
Ludiya village of Kutch, also called “Gandhi nu gaam,” (Gandhi’s village) is famous for its wood carvings. Similar to pottery, wood carvings is a traditional family occupation in Kutch. Wood carving is not limited to decorative pieces, but luxurious furniture, bedding sets, dining tables and a lot more.
You can find a lot of leather products displayed at the Utsav by the artisans. Guess what, the leathers are made from scratch! The people in village who engage in doing leather work process the raw leather for days with traditional techniques and make art works or daily use items that would appeal to the people living in cities.
Apart from all the art and crafts, you can enjoy the delicious local sweets and dishes like the mouth watering mawa made with milk. It is also referred to as Khoya in other places. If you are a foodie or have a sweet tooth, you shouldn’t miss it!
Attractions of the Rann Utsav
Rann Utsav serves as a hub to many attractions in the nearby locations. Following are the some of the not-to-miss attractions to include in your schedule when you are in Gujarat for Rann Utsav.
Camel safari in the salt marsh is very popular activity in the Rann of Kutch. It is organized on every full moon day at Kutch. The camel safari becomes extra special during the Full Moon Days. Visitors who take part in the Rann Utsav never miss a camel safari on the full moon day. It provides a unique and a whole new experience.
Dance and Music Gala
While the colors of the day at Rann Utsav blend with arts and crafts, the night shows-up a different tale! Rann Utsav literally indicates an extravaganza of music, dance and a lot of cultural events celebrated at night, every day. Colorful cultural dances and processions, folklore, music, parades by the inhabitants of the Kutch give you an out of the world experience!
African tribal dance is one of the highlights of the cultural events. This is performed by Siddhis with African inheritance. These people came from Africa with Portuguese sea traders and settled here. Now they have come to be known as Siddhis. Sit back and enjoy the unique sounds and dance of Gujarati speaking Siddhi tribal music having African origin.
Of course, you also enjoy the traditional music and dance of Gujarat performed by local artisans. As mentioned above, the cultural events, music and dances depict the diversity of the region. Experience the unique folk dancing performances of the artists from the villages.
Date the moon
The special day in the Rann of Kutch is full moon day. Although Kutch has nothing but salt beds, on the full moon day, the crystal white salt beds brim with life. It appears like a magical and mesmeric attraction. The salt marsh glows like a heavenly place when the full moon adds a lustrous outlook, accompanied by the soothing breezy and cold climate.
Rann Utsav is more celebrated as a holiday on the full moon day and flocked by thousands of visitors. Enjoy the pristine shades of the salt marsh (it doesn’t actually look like salt beds) blended with the full moon views amidst the music and dances. It provides an enchanting experience to cherish forever.
Rann Utsav also hosts other activities for the tourists beyond camel safari, music, dance etc. It includes, horse rides, bird watching, archery competition, bicycle tour, paramotoring, indoor games like pool table, table tennis, chess, etc. which provides remarkable experience to the visitors.
Things to do and Places to See during Rann Utsav
Go Religious – Narayan Sarovar
Also called as Kera Shiv Temple, the age of the temple is more than 1000 years. Go visit it while you are there in Gujarat for Rann Utsav.
A Wild Call – Wildlife Sanctuary
The nature lovers and the wild life enthusiasts shouldn’t leave Kutch without giving a visit to the wildlife sanctuary in Kutch. The sanctuary houses a plenty of rare and interesting wildlife species like foxes, wild asses, and a lot of migratory birds! It is in fact famous for various species of birds that visit the marshlands.
It is a small town which bounced back beautifully after the 2001 earthquake.. Remember the movie Lagaan? The movie was shot here and don’t miss out the palaces. Bhuj is only one and half hours away from Kutch.
Kutch may be quite hot during the day time. You can chill out at the shores of Mandvi beach, playing with the cool waves and enjoying a camel safari.
Pay a visit to the nearby villages specialized in handicrafts and see for you how the mesmerizing arts and crafts are given shape by the local artisans, live!
How to go to Rann Utsav?
Rann Utsav is organized from November till February. Gujarat Tourism offers the state-of-the-art accommodation and facilities to all those who wish to be a part of the Rann Utsav. Visitors have the facility to choose from standard tents to luxurious tents, built near the white Rann of Kutch. In addition, many travel agencies also organize a tour for the enthusiasts who want to visit Kutch during Rann Utsav.
The End of Rann Utsav
Once the Utsav wraps at the end of February, the white desert loses it color and charms, become a dry desert once again! Just like us, the desert awaits the arrival of winters to get decorated and celebrated! Rann Utsav is truly a feast for vision and mind!