Gujarat as a state is a vault for several tourist attractions which consist of heritage sites, religious sites, beaches, museums, sanctuaries, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Indus Valley Civilisation sites, etc. The Gir National Park and the Kutch region are the most popular and unique tourist attractions in Gujarat, and needless to mention the Dwarkadish Temple, one of the four Char Dham shrines of India. Another mind-blowing addition to Gujarat's tourism wonder is the 597 feet Statue of Unity, the largest statue in the world.
There are several well-mapped itineraries to cover the major spots of tourism in Gujarat, which usually takes 8 to 10 days. However, with a limited time period for a vacation in Gujarat, a visit to Rann of Kutch and Gir National Park can be a perfect plan. The distance between the two destinations is around 460 km and there are several other sightseeing options in between. But where’s the harm in trying something different? Traveling along the roads or railways in a new city is always a matter of excitement.
Rann of Kutch
The specialty of the Kutch region lies in its white desert, which is trodden by thousands of tourists every year. Walking through the white bed of the salty desert will take you to a state of nihilism, where you can only see the white land that meets with the blue or orange sky on the horizon. In the Kachchh district of western Gujarat, the Rann of Kutch is a salted marshy land in the desert of Thar. ‘Kachchh’ implies the fact that the desert land alternates between dry and wet states in between the monsoon and summer seasons.
The famous ‘Rann Utsav’ arranged by the government of Gujarat is held every year from November to February and is a fest of music, dance and fairs. Tents are set up for tourists to stay and experience the enchanting carnival. The nighttime in the white desert on a full moon night is indeed a heavenly view to get mesmerised.
The tourist season to visit Rann of Kutch is from November to March. Several resorts are available 5-6 km away from the desert land. You can enjoy the night shows of cultural performances arranged in almost all the resorts. A few kilometers of walking through the desert brings close to the Pakistan border and therefore permits are required to visit the salted desert, which are obtained at the check post. The view of the Rann of Kutch during the sunset is no less than a magical land when the orange sky meets the white desert.
Bhuj is the nearest city to the Kutch region at a distance of about 85 km. Both airways and railways can be availed till Bhuj. From Bhuj, you can rent a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler to reach the Rann of Kutch. In order to get a view of the white desert from an elevated perspective, visit Kalo Dungar (Black Hill), the highest point of Kutch from where you will get a panoramic view of the desert land. Other nearby attractions includes Mandvi Beach, Kutch Museum, Dholavira, and Kutch Bustard Sanctuary.
Sasan Gir National Park
The road distance from Bhuj to Gir National Park is around 402 km, which adjoins a drive of almost 9 hours. Alternatively, you can cover the distance by train from Bhuj Railway Station to Junagadh Junction. The distance between Junagadh Junction to Sasan Gir National Park is about 73 km, which can be covered by road. Flights from Bhuj Airport to Keshod Airport or Rajkot Airport are also available and can be time-saving yet costly alternatives.
Sasan Gir is the majestic home to the world’s largest population of Asiatic Lions. Jeep safaris are available in three slots, two in the morning and one in the afternoon. A Gir Lion Tour is a must on your visit to the national park. The current count of the lion population as of 2020 is 674. The area was once the hunting ground of the Nawabs of Junagadh. 2 nights and 3 days are enough to get enthralled by the jungle kings at Sasan Gir.