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Old 26th January 2015, 15:48   #1
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Default Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

WILD LANDS OF KUTCH

1030 in the morning and I am on a lonely sand swept broken road, camouflaged desert bunkers are all around me and I can imagine sharp eyes peering at me through the slits. This is the region of harsh reality far long away from the touristic hordes that visit Kutch advertised by Mr Amitabh Bachhan. This is where the camels and chitals roam free and unbashed , where men are suspicious of any and every movement , where the winds flow without any barriers and change the topography of a place season to season , this is Vighokote and my destination – Border Outpost Vighokote manned by BSF right on the barbed fence of the Indo-Pak International border.
Join me on yet another foray, this time on the Western extremities of this country. Join me for a trip to wildlands of Kutch.



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Old 26th January 2015, 15:52   #2
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# DAY I : Mumbai –Gandhinagar

1. For quite some time I was interested in a trip to visit the famous temples that are located in Gujrat. The original plan involved visit to few of the world famous temples and a drive along the coast of Gujrat. As usual to prepare for any trip I generally read about the places , region and during the course of this I came across tales of the Kutch. As I delved deeper into this , places like the Little Rann , Great Rann were discovered. Further digging in to the deep recesses of the world wide web and names like Kalo Doongar , Zainabad , India Bridge and Vighokote emerged. The names were there but nothing more than that except few accounts by individuals. A rough itinerary was formed by me taking into account a trip that was a mix of the temple circuit and also the wild lands. However due to certain unavoidable circumstances I was the only one left who could embark on the journey and hence decided not to do the temple circuit but rather focus on offbeat destinations located in Kutch region with emphasis on the RANN.

2. Accordingly the route was worked out and the first day involved a ride till Gandhinagar. The route was quite straight forward as I had been on this road barely two months ago. Accordingly by 0545 I was on my way. Mumbai was all misty and foggy in the morning as I turned the INDOMITABLE northwards towards Gujrat. The route was on NH 8 and I soon reached Silvassa where I stayed for a couple of hours to catch up on my family. By around 11 I was on the road again, soon after a few hundred kilometers it was time to marvel the beauty of The Narmada Bridge which connected Ankleshwar and Barauch. The bridge has been one of the iconic yet underrated tourist monuments among all bridges built in India.

3. Lunch was a simple affair at one of the numerous joints that are spread right after Barauch. It is not necessary to cross over to Barauch using the Narmada Bridge , one can also take the bridge on the NH 8 itself but my suggestion is to take the detour and do visit this bridge.

4. By 1600 hrs I found myself on National Expressway 1 which is a high speed corridor connecting Baroda with Ahmedabad. There is also a proposal to connect Ahmedabad with Mumbai with the construction of a new expressway. Lets see how and when does that materialize, till then the lifeline remains the trusty NH 8.

5. My favourite spot for a break on the NE 1 is near the exit to Anand, there is sufficient road width to park on the kerb, though it is not recommended to stop. However considering the width of the road at that point and the diversion, it is a nice option. I had a cup of tea out here and just sat for some time to soak in the feeling of the drive , with no other thoughts running thru my mind.

6. Ahmedabad was reached by 1815 hrs and I soon turned towards Gandhinagar , the road to which is quite smooth and fast. By 1900 I was at Gandhinagar , my destination for the night. I immediately went to see the Akshardham Temple where entry is permitted till 1930 in the evening.

7. The temple is one of the most securely guarded temples that I have visited , there is in fact no scope to see the temple from outside the perimeter and with a two tiered security barrier in place , one is totally sure that nothing unauthorized is taken inside and by this I mean no mobiles , cameras, bags , etc .

8. The main avenue leading to the main temple reminded me of the victory path leading to grand Roman Temples. The width of the avenue lined with pillars projecting soft light and shady trees stretched on both sides intended to project an image of imposing grandeur. Beautiful gardens nurtured on both sides with mini water fountains having submerged lights created a beautiful atmosphere.

9. The main temple was simple enough from the exterior and had subtle hidden lighting all over. The interior contained idols of Lord Laxmi narayan and Guru Gopala krishnan. There is also an inner sanctum one level down which contains items and artifacts related to life of Lord Laxmi narayan himself. All these are hermitically sealed and maintained in a very scientific manner.

10. The temple though very grand did not seem like a temple to me, it looked more like a tourist destination, very pretty no doubt , however the restriction on clicking of photographs I did not agree to , especially when official photographers are available who will click and sell you the print. Somehow this difference in rule was too glaring to my eyes.

11. The visit over, I was back on the road and as I stood near the car I wondered where to stay for the night. Google search did suggest me few places and after a few calls the price range and review of one suited me. Hotel Skylon was close by and I found the hotel suitable enough.

12. The day drew to a close and I looked forward to the next when I would turn westwards and move deep into the arid lands of Gujarat.

ODO for the day 81801.

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GOLDEN GATE


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HISTORICAL BRIDGES


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PRETTY GUJARAT


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SUNSET ON THE HIGHWAY
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Old 5th March 2015, 08:10   #3
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# DAY II : GandhiNagar-Zainabad

13. Early in the morning I turned the INDOMITABLE westwards on the State Highway that transverse throughout the countryside connecting one region with the other. The National Highways are meant to cross over from one end of the country to the other but it is the State Highway that is the lifeline for the local population.

14. The destination for the day was Zainabad, a desert town on the fringes of the Little Rann. However early in the morning I was on my way to visit the Panch Dev temple within Gandhinagar. The visit was very rejuvenating as early morning visits to temples are very soul stirring. In my opinion I have not yet seen a city as planned as Gandhinagar, everything was so systematic and laid out in a proper manner with wide roads which have been designed to cater to voluminous amount of traffic , just the right amount of traffic directions and signboards even the various government buildings and offices projected confidence and positivity. The first stop was Adalaj, I heard about this place when I was just browsing through what all are unique for Gujarat. Adalaj village is famous for its Step well which is one of the largest in this country.

15. Step wells were built in the erstwhile era for storing water as well as were a source of congregation of the royalty for their recreational/religious purposes. They were built on old trade routes in the earlier era.The architecture was very detailed and intricate and depicted themes related to those times. The temperature is cooler inside the bowels and in the case of the step well at Adalaj , it comprises of five levels and each level depicts fine architecture and carvings.

16. From Adalaj I turned on SH 41 towards the dusty town of Kalol which was a few kms away. Post Kalol I was truly wandering on interior state highways passing through small towns called Kadi, Rampura, Mandal etc. The Narmada which is a lifeline for agriculture in Gujarat and feeds the hungry fields was never far as the Narmada Canal pumped water into the interiors. Lush green fields bear testimony to this vision.

17. By 1340 I was at Zainabad. My stay was at the Desert Coursers, a remarkable setup right at the fringes of the Little Rann managed ably by My Moulik the resident manager of the entire place. They were open for lunch when I arrived but I already had my lunch at one of the road side eateries on the lonely state highways which I had come to love. There is something special about food cooked on wodden logs and made to order.

18. I explained my requirement to Mr Moulik that I wanted to enter the Little Rann for some distance and spend time doing some photography. Soon I was introduced to Mr Iqbal who was the owner of Desert Coursers and he gave me crisp precise instructions as to how to enter the Rann and most importantly how to get out; for when the night falls the Rann acquires a different feel altogether.

19. Accordingly I left at around four in the evening and the next few hours were one of the most prized memory of the trip as I found myself in the company of various kind of migratory birds who visit the place as well as the Khurs ( Asiatic Wild Ass) . The feeling of having the entire Rann to oneself take some time getting used to but I made most of those moments and watched one of the most brilliant sunsets that I have ever seen as the day drew to a close with me in the middle of the nothingness.

20. The drive back was one of utmost concentration as darkness had fallen quickly and I realized that it is definitely no joke to be out in the Rann all alone , the probability of getting lost are immense and I took my time getting out of there.

21. Finally I reached back to the resort and had a wonderful hot dinner followed by great conversation. My stay was in one of the most admirable set ups that I had ever stayed in and all credit goes to the administrations and staff of Desert Coursers, definitely a place to stay for those who are venturing to this side of the country.

ODO for the day 81957.


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PANCH DEV MANDIR @ GANDHINAGAR


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STEP WELL @ADALAJ


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MORNING SUNRISE


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Attached Thumbnails
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Old 5th March 2015, 18:32   #4
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#DAY II : The visuals continue ...

the visuals from the Little Rann of Kutch !!!

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THE DESERT COURSERS


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THE INDOMITABLE : MY HEART STANDS PROUD


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AT LRK


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DURING THE SUNSET


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LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH


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PHOTO SHOOT


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SUNSET


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BEAUTY


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THE RIVER NARMADA FLOWS


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Old 7th March 2015, 13:25   #5
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Default Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th March 2015, 15:26   #6
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Default Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

Quote:
Originally Posted by swsumit View Post
#DAY II : The visuals continue ...

the visuals from the Little Rann of Kutch !!!

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Thanks swsumit. Locations are awesome and photographs do justice to the beauty. Which camera used here? Looking forward to the further postings.

Cheers
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Old 7th March 2015, 19:18   #7
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Originally Posted by rsm97 View Post
Thanks swsumit. Locations are awesome and photographs do justice to the beauty. Which camera used here? Looking forward to the further postings.

Cheers
Hello,

thanks for the encouragement , the camera used is Canon 70D.

Regards
Sumit
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Old 7th March 2015, 19:38   #8
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# DAY III : Zainabad-Dholavira

22. Today I was going to move further into the Rann and my destination for the day was the island of Khadir Bet surrounded by the salt plains of the Rann, Dholavira the site of the Harappan excavations ; fifth largest exhibit of the erstwhile Harappan civilization , discovered in 1968.

23. The State Highway was a pleasure to drive upon and I left Zainabad by 0700 hours . I always love early morning departures, somehow an early start definitely eases up a lot of stuff and mentally is most relaxing. The first main town coming up was Radhanpur. I caught up on NH 15 out here and was soon cruising towards Adesar. The scenic vistas spread all along till Radhanpur shone with an array of early morning freshness that was extremely rejuvenating. From Radhanpur till adesar, the highway cut through the arid landscape of Gujrat interspersed with pockets of fresh water which were filled with various aquatic birds and at one place I was in awe with the swarm of Pelicans who had covered the entire water surface.

24. At Adesar I left the NH 15 and turned right towards Bhimasar from where I took the route to the next big town called Rapar. The roads were quite respectable considering that these were remote state highways and not much traffic was seen. Rapar is the last stop where one can get decent food or fuel prior to the run till Dholavira. Dholavira is around 85 km from Rapar itself. At Rapar I turned right onto SH 51 and continued ahead on a lonely road in the afternoon heat.

25. After a small village called Balasar one has to cross the white desert which stretched across on both sides of the road as far as the eye can see and it truly is a magnificent sight to the eyes especially for a newbie. I just stopped the INDOMITABLE and in the silence of the afternoon day looked in awe at the sight spread out in front of me, the white desert coupled with the blue sky and the black tarred road cutting in between , it was a portrait worthy of appreciation.

26. I reached Dholavira village by 1400 hrs and soon checked into Toran GH where I was the only one it looks like. After a delicious lunch I met my guide Mr Jamal who was to take me on a guided tour of the excavation site and of I trooped off with him .

27. The excavation site , 5000 years old is something that is to be seen even by people like me who have very little knowledge in this subject. In the afternoon I had the entire place to myself as I met no other soul in the vast site. The knowledge of Mr Jamal was excellent and he explained to me each and every aspect of the lost city built at the time of early civilization. The walled city was atleast seven generations old and the greatest feat of those who conceptualized this city was availability of water all round the year in the absence of any river. There was no river which was a source of water for those who stayed in this city and one can see the vast network of tanks and wells coupled with innovative canals that were built to store rain water and utilize them all through the year.

28. It remains a mystery as to why was this city was abandoned, for it is established that it was abandoned and not conquered for everything is intact, no signs of destruction, what caused the people to just abandon what they built for generations, if one just sits back and thinks on what could have been the compelling reason it sends shivers within.

29. Anyways after the detailed tour I said good bye to my guide and turned towards Border Outpost Karni built on the edge of the great Rann which forms the gateway to our neighboring country. There is also a temple dedicated to Lord Datttatrey who walked on this earth even befoe the Ramayana and Mahabharata. After a visit to the temple I was directed to visit an astonishing miracle of nature, an old tree whose age has been established with radioactive dating and which has transformed into a fossilized creation with time. The age is around some millions of years old and remarkably the tree has not self destructed with the passage of time but rather fossilized thereby remaining the same for ages to come. I was appalled to see that there was no major efforts to showcase such a unique creation in nature and it was existing in solitude at the edge of the white desert away from prying or interested eyes.

30. Evening dusk was approaching and I wanted to capture the sunset over the Rann , hence I quickly made my way back to the BOP post and settled down to capture the glory of a sun set over the white desert , there was no other soul in that barrenness other than the BSF jawans and it was definitely a moment to remember in a series of moments 

31. A perfect end to a day as I bid adieu to the sun sitting on the edge of a barren white desert in the presence of a powerful civization of the bygone era.

ODO for the day 82250


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AT RANN LAKE



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THE PARCHED EARTH



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BEAUTY



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EARLY MORNING SYMPHONY



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SARAS



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PELICANS



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THE NARMADA CANAL



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KUTCH SPECIAL



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ON THE HIGHWAY



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FAMOUS SIGNBOARD DEPICTING WHAT LIES AHEAD



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Old 8th March 2015, 14:29   #9
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Smile Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

Great Travelogue. Even better pics.

BTW, I hope you tankedup at Silvassa.
I was there last month on my bike and couldn't believe how cheap the fuel is. Made sure even the last air pocket was replaced by fuel from the tank of my P220. And great road too.

The last pic just took my breathe away. Eagerly waiting for the next part.


5 stars.
Cheers.

Last edited by DevilzzzzOwn : 8th March 2015 at 14:30. Reason: Forgot to add "LAST" in the last sentence.
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Old 9th March 2015, 08:48   #10
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# DAY III : Zainabad-Dholavira

The visuals for day three continue as i visit the excavation site at Dholavira , my very first visit in my entire life to an excavation historical site ...

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THIS KIND OF SYMMETRY AND PRECISION , IN THAT ERA IS FASCINATING


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TANKS BUILT TO STORE WATER THROUGH THE YEAR


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Old 9th March 2015, 12:29   #11
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Default Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

Those are some FAB pictures. Loved your narration too.

How many days do you reckon are enough for a trip to the Rann of Kutch from Mumbai? I know it is a vague question but I hope 5 days are enough for a round trip? I think I can simply use your itinerary.

My parents and I have been planning a trip since quite a while now and Kutch has been on the radar. Your travelogue has once again re-ignited the desire for a trip there
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Old 9th March 2015, 12:44   #12
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Default Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

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[b][u]

THIS KIND OF SYMMETRY AND PRECISION , IN THAT ERA IS FASCINATING


Attachment 1347884
Visiting the Harappan Civilization is one of my dreams and watching Dholavira in the pics is absolutely rhapsodic ! Thanks for sharing

And that artifact - it stands as the testimony to a high level skill and visualization of our ancestors which is just fantastic.

You should have included Lothal , the port town of Harappan civilization , in your tour ,which is not too far from Ahmedabad.

,The town might have been abandoned due to the fall in trade with the other commercial centers in the east [ Harappa, Mohenjodaro ...], which in turn have been abandoned due to a environmental, ecological and geological factors[ Shortage of rainfall, non-availability of wood and feed fro livestock, change in course of rivers]. And also coupled with the successive dry seasons during the collapse of IVC [ Indus valley Civ.] , the people of Dholavira might have found the water problem to be too much to handle.
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Old 9th March 2015, 15:00   #13
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Default Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

That was a real feast for the eyes. Every snap you captured is really breath taking. Thanks for expressing your take on Gujarat with some wonderful pictures.
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Old 9th March 2015, 19:32   #14
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Default Re: Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilzzzzOwn View Post
Great Travelogue. Even better pics.

BTW, I hope you tankedup at Silvassa.
I was there last month on my bike and couldn't believe how cheap the fuel is. Made sure even the last air pocket was replaced by fuel from the tank of my P220. And great road too.

The last pic just took my breathe away. Eagerly waiting for the next part.


5 stars.
Cheers.
Yup i did top up at Silvassa , glad for the encouragement

regards


Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
Those are some FAB pictures. Loved your narration too.

How many days do you reckon are enough for a trip to the Rann of Kutch from Mumbai? I know it is a vague question but I hope 5 days are enough for a round trip? I think I can simply use your itinerary.

My parents and I have been planning a trip since quite a while now and Kutch has been on the radar. Your travelogue has once again re-ignited the desire for a trip there
hii ,
glad u liked the pics , days would depend on what you would like to see , do contact me in case you have something specific in mind ,

tc

Quote:
Originally Posted by poised2drive View Post
Visiting the Harappan Civilization is one of my dreams and watching Dholavira in the pics is absolutely rhapsodic ! Thanks for sharing

And that artifact - it stands as the testimony to a high level skill and visualization of our ancestors which is just fantastic.

You should have included Lothal , the port town of Harappan civilization , in your tour ,which is not too far from Ahmedabad.

,The town might have been abandoned due to the fall in trade with the other commercial centers in the east [ Harappa, Mohenjodaro ...], which in turn have been abandoned due to a environmental, ecological and geological factors[ Shortage of rainfall, non-availability of wood and feed fro livestock, change in course of rivers]. And also coupled with the successive dry seasons during the collapse of IVC [ Indus valley Civ.] , the people of Dholavira might have found the water problem to be too much to handle.
Hii ,
glad you liked the pics.

The reasons that you mentioned are all the possible causes , but i do believe that the city was a imp outpost of a larger kingdom and was built for trade and strategic importance. It is definite that there could have been a natural cause which caused the inhabitants to take a decision to abandon it , seven generations did live there

regards

Quote:
Originally Posted by PISTONS View Post
That was a real feast for the eyes. Every snap you captured is really breath taking. Thanks for expressing your take on Gujarat with some wonderful pictures.
Hii ,
i am glad that you found it so

regards
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Old 10th March 2015, 07:28   #15
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# DAY III : Zainabad-Dholavira

The visuals of day III continue as i found myself standing on the edge of the Khadir Bet and stepped into the Rann Lake looking onward towards the Bhanjao Hills standing in the midst of emptiness with the temple of Lord Dattatrey behind me to stand as my silent custodian ...

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TEMPLE OF LORD DATTATREY


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ON THE EDGE OF RANN LAKE



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SOLITUDE



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SALT - FOUR LETTERS ONE WORD



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WHITENESS ALL AROUND



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THE FOSSIL



Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-tree-5.jpg



Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-white-desert-9.jpg



Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-white-desert-10.jpg



Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-white-ddesert-11.jpg



Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-11.jpg



Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-rann-2.jpg


Kutch Expedition with a Mahindra Logan-rann-1.jpg
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