The concluding part of the Kutch Expedition , as we venture deeper into the arid vastness of the Rann and its surrounding regions .
DAY IV : Dholavira-Bhuj
I left Dholavira early as had a long way to cover and as i retraced my path towards Rapar I was feeling warm within to have been fortunate to visit places like Dholavira and Khadir bet which not only are beautiful but also have a strong historical significance.
Soon after Rapar I turned right towards chitrod to join NH 15 which was supposed to take me to Bhuj, which was my destination for the day. As a piece of suggestion avoid taking the NH 15 towards Bhuj rather opt for the Anjar Bypass road for it will save on a lot of Kms, time and fuel.
Rapar is I realized quite a prominent town it was bustling with activity in the morning. This country is so huge that in many parts people just live their lives in entirety with no consciousness of what is happening in other extremities of the country and as I traveled on these roads I was constantly remembering of my journey in secluded places like the regions of Ladakh or for that matter the forested areas of Karnataka.
Around 8 km ahead of Bhuj I stopped at a small village called Bhujodi which showcased the arts and crafts made by various artisans as per the geographical locations within Gujrat. The Hiralaxmi park is a must visit for the above and one can even buy stuff at subsidized rates. After spending close to an hour out here I decided to go towards Bhuj and look for a place to stay.
In the evening I went to look around Bhuj and visited the Kutch museum as well as the Laxmi Narayan temple which look resplendent in the evening.
# DAY V : Bhuj-Vighokote
Today was going to a significant day as was supposed to reach right up till the Indo-Pak International Border at BOP Vighakote. The route was not clearly defined anywhere and I had no references other than something known as India Bridge which was the entry point for those wishing to reach Vighakote.
So the first way point was to reach Bhindiarya , where the diversion to the left took one to the town of Dhorodo as well as to the Rann Utsav while straight ahead if one marched , it would lead to places like Kalo Doonagr as well as India Bridge.
On this route one would reach a small town called Khavda where one has to take a left diversion.I reached India Bridge by 0945 hrs and the morning winter was stretched across the bridge onto the dried out Rann. The bridge can be visited by tourists however one is not permitted to cross the bridge without permits. The bridge is the final one prior to the international border with Pakistan hence probably it is known as India Bridge.
As I had the requisite documents in place I was able to cross over and announce myself at the TCP on the other end. Out here after a detailed scrutiny I was asked to proceed ahead,. Vighokote lies far ahead from this place deep inside the arid lands which is dotted by bunkers all over.
The road goes through a BSF war memorial called Dharamshala which was a reminder of the sacrifices made by so many to defend this country , the road was narrow and broken in places with the tall grasses encroaching upon the road itself.
It was a total surreal experience to drive on this part of the country with each step getting one closer to the border which was too real and not like the touristic one at Wagah or the not so distinct one in Ladakh or Himachal . Out there it was totally demarcated with definite barbed wire fencing and watchtowers and bunkers. This was real deal.
I will not be going into specifics with respect to the details that I saw on this road as I am not sure abt the security related issues but it was the experience of a lifetime to reach right till the International Border which was merely a feet away and the highlight of the entire trip . The road was totally devoid of any kind of traffic and the red colour INDOMITABLE definitely invoked reactions from those who were guarding our borders.
It was late afternoon by the time I was back to India Bridge and thereafter I turned towards Kalo Doonagr to visit the ancient temple of Lord Dattatrey who walked this earth hundreds of years back. The route to the temple which is situated on top of Kalo Doongar becomes extremely narrow in the last 04 kms leading up to the summit and is quite tricky to drive upon. The site is also the highest point in the entire Kutch region and on a clear day one can see the entire Rann of Kutch spread out for miles around merging into the horizon.
After paying my respects at the temple which also has a folklore of Jackals visiting this temple every day evening since the time Lord himself walked out here , I turned back towards Bhindiarya for I had to visit the great white desert.
It was a literal race against time as I wanted to be in the white desert while the sun was setting so I gunned the INDOMITABNLE to eat up the miles ahead. Flying through the lonely road I kept my place in the race against the sun and eventually bought the steaming INDOMITABLE to a halt at the entry to the white desert.
For those who wish to stay the night there, the government has set up tent city which caters to shelter as well as food and then we have the Rann Utsav where the entire finery of Gujrat is showcased in terms of handicrafts, clothes , food and other categories. I was interested not in this but in being with nature so I moved ahead till the people became scanty as I wanted to feel the moment of the sun setting over the horizon and the white desert change its texture and brilliance with each passing moment , neither was I disappointed with the spectacle which followed as the visuals depict.
# DAY VI &VII : BHUJ-VAPI-MUMBAI
I started the day early as I had a long way to cover and my target was to reach Mumbai.This concluded my visit to the Kutch region where I had the opportunity to see many interesting and unique structures , hopefully it was a fruitful insight depicted by me.
|Road Help||Google Maps|
|Mobile Connectivity||Adequate except Dholavira|
|Best time to visit||Nov – Feb|
|Rann Utsav Info||Website has lots of onfo & permit is needed|
|F&B||Highway dhabas are great|