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Old 7th February 2013, 14:34   #1
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Default Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

The chill in Delhi was getting worst and with kids winter vacation set in we were again brainstorming for a quick getaway. With limited time 1 week with us we were not able to decide the destination. Just then an important meeting in Mumbai came up and decided to make it vacation cum official trip and zeroed in our destination as Bhuj - Kutch region.

Kutch has been long pending and it will requires at least 10-12 day to explore the region , hence decided only to explore Bhuj and Kutch. I was excited to visit Chari Dhand for birding and the driving experience. Kutch region is a birding paradise.

So the plan was finalised as

Delhi - Bhuj - Kutch - Ahmadabad - Baroda - Mumbai - Udaipur - Delhi

Hotel booking : Quick googling and got lots of good feedbacks for Hotel KBN and Prince at Bhuj.

The final itinerary was as below

Day - 1
Delhi - Palanpur - 860 kms


Day - 2
Palanpur - Bhuj - 325 kms

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Day - 3 Kutch festival, Rann, Kalo dungar & India bridge. Return to visit Chari Dhand.

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Day - 4 Bhuj -Ahmedabad - Bharuch (530 kms)

Day - 5, Bharuch - Mumbai - (340 kms)

Day - 6&7 @ Mumbai

Day 8 - Mumbai - Udaipur - (750 kms)

Day 9 - Udaipur - Delhi - (680 kms)


Total distance of : 3800 kms.

Last edited by v&v : 13th February 2013 at 19:58.
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Old 8th February 2013, 18:55   #2
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Day - 1 - Jan 2 - 2013

A quick weather check online revealed that dense fog was predicted on 2nd and for last 3 trips in Jan we had always encountered severe fog. So this time also it was nothing new. Quick check of fog lamps and other critical components were done.

Wanted to start early but blinding fog delayed the start to 6 am. Fog became severe after Manesar and progress was very slow. The traffic too was almost nil and we could drive at nonstop constant speed.

We encountered fog almost till Jaipur and it was very cold too. By 11 we reached Jaipur bypass.

After crossing Jaipur, the weather started improving. Visibility was much better and near Kishangarh, it was sunny. Totally opposite of what we encountered between Delhi - Jaipur.

We crossed Bhilwara by 2 pm. By 4 we crossed Udaipur and bypass road (Abu road) was empty we could gallop miles quickly. By 6 we reached Palanpur decided to call it a day.

Checked into Hotel Cappal which is on the highway. Budget hotel. Facilities were average. Food was very good.

Last edited by v&v : 13th February 2013 at 20:00.
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Old 11th February 2013, 16:19   #3
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Day - 2 - Jan 3 - 2013

Started our Journey by 6 am. Our target was to reach Bhuj before noon. A quick enquiry at hotel confirmed that NH15 was relaid recently.
Route taken was Palanpur - Deesa - Radhanpur - Samakhiali - Bhachau - Bhuj
Only Bhachau - Bhuj is under widening and diversion in between. Rest all the roads was awesome to drive.

Just before Adesar police check post, there was a huge water body / lake and there were lots of migratory birds.

Break for birding
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Pelicans
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Spoon bill
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Painted Stork
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We spent around 40 min there and continue our journey. By 12 we were at Bhuj and checked in at Hotel KBN.

Last edited by v&v : 13th February 2013 at 19:50.
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Old 11th February 2013, 16:54   #4
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Day-2
Bhuj city & Around


Post lunch by 3 pm we set-out for City tour. We selected following to see.

Kutch Museum
Parag Mahal - Clock tower
Swami Narayan Mandir
Hamirsar Lake



Kutch Museum is one of the oldest museum in Gujarat and has lots of ancient artifacts, paintings , arms, coins, sculptures. It also has good information and collection of seals & potteries. Worth visiting.

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Parag mahal - Main attraction is clock tower. There are only two in india, One in mumbai and other one is this.


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Sharad Bagh
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Swami Narayan Temple
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Chhatrdi - Royal Cremation Ground
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Hamirsar Lake
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Shopping : You can buy Bandhej Saree , Lehenga and lots of nick naks.

City
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Restaurant @ KBN Hotel designed as Aircraft Cabin
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City view from Clock town @ Parag Mahal
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Last edited by v&v : 13th February 2013 at 20:02.
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Old 13th February 2013, 18:43   #5
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

By 6 pm were covered the above places and reached Old Saraf Bazaar . Bandhani Saree are the popular stuff to buy from here. There are other lots of misc stuffs one can pick. Spent around 2 hrs and reached our hotel by 8.30.

Our last day at Bhuj was planned for Kutch and Bani grassland.



Bhuj can be the base to see other tourist interest places which are :

1 day for (100 kms onway)
Nakhatrana (Shiv temple) - Naliya( Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary) - Lakhpat - Narayan Sarovar , Koteshwar - boudhgufa, and Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary.

1 day for (80 - 100 kms)
Mandvi & Mundra - Kandla port (Gandhidham), Adani port(Mundra), Bhadreshwar temple, Mahadev temple, Mandvi for beaches, shipbuilding yard

2 days - 180 kms onway
Rapar & Zainabad - Dholavira, Zainabad is famious for Little Rann and wildlife sanctuary of Zainabad is famous for the rare Gudkhur or Asiatic Wild Asses , Modhera Sun Temple,

exit to Ahmedabad or Udaipur.

Last edited by v&v : 13th February 2013 at 20:03.
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Old 13th February 2013, 19:05   #6
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Day - 3
Plan - Start early - Visit Kalodungar, India bridge. By 10-11 by at Kutch festival.
Noon - Chari Dhand.

Started early by 7.30. Road to Kutch is very good and early morning there was not traffic.

Kalodungar - its around 10 kms further ahead of Khavda village. There is no specific marking point. There is a narrow road goes through a village all the way to the hill top.
The view is awesome.

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Another 5 kms ahead is the India bridge. (Permission is required to enter).
We walked on the bridge. Spent 15 odd minutes there and headed to Rann of Kutch.

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Last edited by v&v : 13th February 2013 at 19:12.
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Old 13th February 2013, 19:27   #7
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Kutch festival was at Dhordo Village, which is further 34 kms from SH45 and 20kms from Khavada Village. There is a checkpost where one has to register and pay the fee to enter Great rann of Kutch and Kutch festival.

As we were coming from Kalodunger , no one stopped us and register our vehicle. Early morning when to crossed this place, no one was there at check-post.

We reached Dhordo by 12.30. From Dhordo village it another 6 kms to the festival site. There was nothing much happening at festival site during the day. Most of the activities are in evening. The area was very dusty too. We quickly moved to Rann.

This is where we were stopped for Entry Pass. He too was surprised how we were allowed without registration. Finally on request he allowed us pass after keeping by DL.

Check post for Registration
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Dhordo village
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Kutch Festival Site
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Entry to Great Rann of Kutch - One has to drive 3 kms further inside

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Old 14th February 2013, 10:00   #8
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Thread moved to Travelogues section from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing
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Old 14th February 2013, 10:48   #9
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

let me be the first to take this opportunity to thank you for the thread and pics. Ofcourse Kutch is a birders heaven. Good set of pictures and keep them coming. If all goes well, i will do a Kutch trip in 2013 birding season.
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Old 14th February 2013, 11:39   #10
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Very nice pictures and TL. Gujarat is very good for birding and the pics that you have put up till now just whet the apetite. Waiting for more, bring it on.
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Old 14th February 2013, 14:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
let me be the first to take this opportunity to thank you for the thread and pics. Ofcourse Kutch is a birders heaven. Good set of pictures and keep them coming. If all goes well, i will do a Kutch trip in 2013 birding season.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
Very nice pictures and TL. Gujarat is very good for birding and the pics that you have put up till now just whet the apetite. Waiting for more, bring it on.
Thanks aravind84 & Sachin. Very true there are lot of sites for birding. Naliya, Chari Dhand, Rann, Narayan Sarovar.
This trip i could not find much time. Surely there will be another trip this year end.

Some more pic of Bhuj

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This area of Bhuj city was completely destroyed in 26 Jan 2001 Quake
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Ashapura mata mandir
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Swami narayan smruti
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Old 14th February 2013, 21:24   #12
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Very interesting travelogue with nice pictures. Watching this space keenly & waiting for more.
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Old 17th February 2013, 12:59   #13
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

By 2.30 we left Rann and headed to Chhari dhand.

The traditional route from Bhuj is from Nakhatrana, then to fulley village , from there you can enter the Grass land. From Bhuj its around 80kms. So a little chat with locals suggested that there is an alternate route via VANG village. The road are bad but SUV can enter though this route.

This was the route take by us to enter the wet land.
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The distance to Vang village was around 80 kms from Rann utsav and it took good 1 hrs to reach the village. We missed couple of turns and finally reached the village. Even from Vang village it a narrow road that leads to the open grassland. Finally with help of villagers we were able to find the route. Once you cross the village, you will not find a single human being there. It was open grass field and make sure GPS recorder is on and recording tracks so that you can come back from where you started.


Road to Vang village
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Route from Vang village to Grasslands.
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This is the main track which can be seen on maps. There are hundreds of small tracks also. Rather i should say you can drive to any direction you wish. Its just open land. We drove around 35 kms and was real fun to drive. Must say it was little scary too.
Also only MTNL connection was working.

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Old 20th February 2013, 13:42   #14
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Default Re: Discover Gujarat : Great Rann of Kutch, Bani Grass Land & Bhuj

Awesome Pics V&V! Kutch is my native place(area around Naliya to be precise) and we hardly visit these places when we visited earlier, but since last 5-7 years whenver we visit we've visited all of the above sites! Dholera is another site you should visit! Also RANN RIDERS runs a Camp site deep inside the Rann near India Bridge where you can Ride/Drive and Camp + visit the Local Artisans etc.

Kutch-The Arid dryland has a paradoxic beauty, which is shown in your wonderful pics!! Great Pictures and Fantastic travelogue!
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Old 20th February 2013, 15:02   #15
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Awesome travelogue V&V. I was at Bhuj and GRK on Jan 2nd and 3rd! My travelogue is stuck as my laptop has crashed
The beauty of the white desert is something which cannot be described in words. Kalodungar was so special to us. The sunset from this place is breath taking.
Also the birds, there are so many and so beautiful. After the visit to Kutch, me and wifey have become bird enthusiasts
I liked the Aina Mahal too. One question, did you experience any magnetic activity near Kalodungar. You might recall there is a board marking the start/ end of magnetic region. People say the speed of the car increases suddenly while returning from Kalodungar. I did not feel so, did you?
Great snaps and keep them coming.
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