Vast white land surface with nothing else on it and which shines like the surface of moon in a moonlit night can be nothing else but Rann of Kutch. The white surface of this portion of Thar Desert is due to the deposits of salt over it.
The word Rann has been derived from Sanskrit meaning the desert while Kutch is the District of Gujarat that is mostly inhabited by the Kutchi people. This place finds mention in Rigveda and Mahabharata. Even Alexander was aware of the white salt desert of India.
Rann of Kutch is basically a salt desert and probably the largest salt desert that becomes marshland during the rainy season of the year. The area gets flooded due to many rivers like Ghaggar, Luni, Rupen and West Banas River draining into this desert. In the Monsoon season the clay laden soil gets drenched in water and since the land is just 15 meters above sea level water does not drain properly leading to standing water and marshy Kutch.
The climate of this region varies according to the season. In summers the temperatures may soar as high as 49.50 C while in winters the temperature may drop down to 00. For visiting this place winter is the best season.
In winters there is a festival organized by the Government of Gujarat to promote tourism in the region. This festival, known by the name of Rann Utsav, lasts for three months, that is, from December to February. During this time the whole area looks like city of tents. The guests are given accommodation in the luxurious tents and are offered various types of activities during the day. At night there are arranged various cultural programmes for the guests. You can also indulge in shopping during the festival because there are various stalls that are laden with local handicrafts.
Rann Utsav is a great opportunity for the people who are visiting the place as well as the people who are performing and putting up stalls there. The visitors can have a glimpse of the amazing culture of the kutchi people, enjoy camel ride in the white desert, get a taste of the food of the region and do a lot of activities that are usually not available elsewhere while the people of Kutch get an opportunity to grow economically due to the influx of the tourists.
Rann of Kutch was a great are of conflict since it lies close to the international border which India shares with Pakistan but after the war of 1965 the border dispute in this area has come to an end. The other problem that is of major concern is the draining of polluted water by Pakistan through Sir Creek. This drain is leaking due to floods and is now flooding as well as polluting the water bodies on Indian side.
You can also witness Chir Batti or the ghost lights in the region. This is a dincing light phenomenon and is exclusive to Rann of Kutch, Banni Grasslands as well as the wetlands. This phenomenon is unexplained and occurs on the dark nights. The lights are bright and change colors and are seen only after 8 pm.
Rann of Kutch is a mystery in itself and must visit to unfold this mystery.
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