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Old 4th February 2019, 18:41   #1
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Default Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

After moving to Ahmedabad in July 2018, the weekend getaway options have severely reduced. Especially the type of options my wife and I like i.e. mountains. The nearest hill-station is Mount Abu and for a person who has grown up travelling to Himachal, it’s like the first stop at Dharampur for food. (No disrespect to Abu and its fans)

Uttarayan (Jan 14) was a long weekend so we (my wife and I) decided to make a short trip to Rann of Kutch. While checking for stay options, I found a resort in Dholavira which was absolutely middle of nowhere and had the white Rann right behind it. The images and the limited reviews available online seemed positive so booked it for two nights.


Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-lrm_export_188791510398280_20190115_103429159_2.jpeg



Day 1

I had a late day in office on Friday so slept quite late thus couldn’t leave before 10 AM on Saturday. I was told the traffic and road conditions (because of a lot of speed-breakers) is bad till Sanand but it wasn’t too bad that day. Yes, there are some 10-12 speed breakers at every 200 meters but apart from that, this road is very good. Being a state-highway till Khirai where it joins NH 27 (numbers keep changing so not sure what it will be when you are reading it) there are no tolls but the road surface and planning (bypass all towns) is just amazing. It took us about 5 hours 30 minutes including a 30 minutes break.

The resort owner had called us around 11 to check whether we will have lunch. We thought we will get some options on the road thus refused. Dholavira is not a very popular tourist destination (more on it later) thus we couldn’t find any decent place to stop after Chitrod. So the only meal we had was breakfast at 11 AM in a place called Iscon Food Mall which only had Fafda and vada pav. We reached around 3.30 PM and the resort had run out of lunch. They prepare fresh food for the number of guests they have so we had to be contented with Maggi.

We booked standard rooms as the AC rooms were sold out. I feel the rooms were a bit small and didn’t offer any view from the room. I spoke to the owner who turned out to be a very nice person. He is the taluka head of that region and has a lot of knowledge about the region and its history. City dwelling has made most of us quite cynical and it’s moments and places like these which make us realise that there still are nice people around. Our rooms were changed to deluxe rooms with a view of rann. I negotiated the difference in price and checked in to the larger room with view and sit-out.

It was quite windy in Dholavira so the weather was quite pleasant in the evening. We just rested for the day and went for dinner around 8.30 PM. Food was as simple and delicious as it can get. Basic khichdi, Kadhi, some sabzi. The beauty of that place is no television and a very limited network. So, one can really enjoy nature, star gazing, and the company of family/friends.


Day 2

The following day was an early start as we wanted to catch the sunrise. Heard symphony of birds after ages. In cities, we only get to see pigeons which also has something against our beloved cars. Here, we could see all types of birds and the most special to me was – sparrows. I couldn’t even recollect the last time I had seen a sparrow, something which used to be a normal feature during childhood.

We stepped out and saw a jeep leaving for the sunrise point. We asked the resort owner if our car can make it to that point (an island in the salt field). He said it’s complete off-roading and the car won’t make it. He perhaps, sensed the disappointment in our faces while we were walking around and thinking how lovely it would have been to take Crusoe to the salt fields. The resort owner walked up to me and said let me take you to the field through another route. He took us to this off-road section behind the resort. I was nervous if Crusoe would make it and what if we get stuck? It was loose sand. He asked me to keep the momentum and not brake. Within 500 meters we were on the solid salt-fields. Finally, the dream of taking Crusoe to the salt-field came true.

We spent an hour there, clicking pics and soaking in the view. We returned around 8 and had a basic breakfast. We left for excavation site of Dholavira at around 11 AM. Dholavira is said to be the most modern/developed city during the Indus Valley Civilization. The way the water conservation was planned during that era is mind-boggling. The details about the Metropolis of Dholavira can be read in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dholavira and other online sources. Let me share what a very interesting guide told me.

I was sitting near the entrance to the Citadel and just observing the entire site when one of the guides walked up and started talking to me. He said that he used to work in ASI and after the excavation work stopped in 2005, he stayed back in Dholavira because of the attachment he had formed to that place. He explained the apathy towards Dholavira by authorities and public. Most people turn back from the parking or at best visiting the museum near the entry. There has hardly been any funding since 2005 and there are more areas marked for excavation, but the work has never started. It’s a place that’s hiding a link to our (mankind’s) glorious past yet it’s ignored by all.

We returned around 2.30 PM and had another basic and delicious lunch. We spoke to the resort manager (son of the owner) and booked a trip to the island on their jeep (Rs 2000 for the trip). We left for the island at around 4.30 PM and it was a 30 minutes’ drive through very bad roads and a lot of dust. The experience in that island and beyond it was truly amazing. We saw deer, wild ass (from distance) and just vastness. The salt-fields on the other side of the island was as vast as the horizon. We were the only people till as far as we could see. We waited till the sunset to catch it on the horizon and then returned. While it’s a basic experience but the feeling of vastness and being in the middle of nowhere is too precious for us city-dwellers. We returned at around 7.30 PM and later had similar ghee infused delicious food.

Day 3

Next morning after breakfast, we just sat outside our room and observed the birds and listened to their symphony for hours. Finally, we got ready and checked out around 12 PM. A guy who was staying in the resort asked for a lift to the nearest town with a bus stop and had an interesting conversation with him during the journey. He (in a nutshell) lives to travel and does it in a shoestring budget. Just spends on his gadgets and travel, in fact, hitches a ride as much as possible. Works in resorts/hotels to arrange for the stay and is living his passion in this manner. Here’s his Instagram profile if anyone wants to follow. https://www.instagram.com/traveller_babu/?hl=en

After dropping him at Rapar, we were thinking about a place for lunch. In this trip, we had only eaten simple vegetarian food so I was craving for some fancy food. Travelling for me is as much about food as it is about the journey. We checked that there’s a Radisson in Kandla and it will be a detour of about two hours. The roads were just fantastic from Chitrod to Kandla and it took us much lesser time than what Google suggested. We had a nice and relaxed lunch and then started for Ahmedabad at around 4 PM.

Kandla to Ahmedabad is so good that we managed it in less than four hours including a stop at CCD (Dhrangadhra) and a couple of tolls. We could manage decent speeds without being rash or careless, that’s how good the state highways in Gujarat (especially this stretch) are. We were at home before 8 PM and could rest properly before getting back to work the next day.

This short but relaxing trip really helped us connect with each other better because there’s no distraction of technology or television there. For a change, we were talking instead of binging on some show or movies. The ignored excavation site, the vastness of Rann, the simple people, homemade regional food, singing of birds, and our magnificent steed (Crusoe) made this trip very special.

Some pics from the trip (clicked from my S9 and wife’s Pixel) are in the following posts. We didn’t bother to take the camera out. Go-pro and webcam had some footage of the road but pretty much ordinary. Nothing exceptional except a glance of a Nilgai that jumped across the road.

Thank you for reading!!!

Last edited by Biraj : 4th February 2019 at 21:34.
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Old 4th February 2019, 18:50   #2
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

A little bit about Crusoe before I start with the pics:

Crusoe is now almost seven years old and has done 61,000 KM (achieved the 60K milestone in this trip). I had been contemplating about replacing Crusoe with an SUV or more luxurious sedan for quite some time however I could never convince myself to sell Crusoe. Perhaps this trip was needed to rekindle my affection for Crusoe.

The fantastic roads of Gujarat highways, broken patches from Rapar to Dholavira and the off-roading (mild) to reach salt fields made me fall in love with the car again. It's such a capable and versatile car. We can cover a distance in quick time with comfort and safety so a perfect companion for road trips. Once again, All Hail Crusoe!!!

Here are the pics, finally...

The route to Dholavira
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-screenshot-20190203-5.26.08-pm.png

Gujrati breakfast
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190112_112048.jpg

Waiting for the rail to cross
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190112_13284901.jpg

Entry to the SH towards Dholavira
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190112_135310.jpg

Arrow straight roads
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The first sight of salt fields
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The resort. https://www.rannresortdholavira.com/
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190112_165552.jpg

Our cottage
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190112_170711.jpg

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These birds came to say, Hi!
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Setting sun from our room
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Resort's location
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-screenshot_20190113090023_maps.jpg

A tent for storage of supplies (I guess)
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190112_211938.jpg

The track to the salt field
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_072455.jpg

Soaking in the Rann
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Crusoe deserved new shoes after this
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_074523.jpg

Rising Sun
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_074540.jpg

Vastness
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_074413.jpg

The bird too was enjoying the sunrise
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This too was there...
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_080433.jpg

The track we took
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_095217.jpg

Last edited by Biraj : 4th February 2019 at 22:07.
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Old 4th February 2019, 21:27   #3
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Pics contd...


The excavation site at Dholavira


Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_121730.jpg

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A long weekend, Sunday, free entry, yet, no one in the frame...
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Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_122151.jpg

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Back at resort
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The way to the island
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_163225.jpg

Deer
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_165951.jpg

Dusty track
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Another deer
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_171455.jpg


Middle of nowhere
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_173330.jpg

Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-screenshot_20190113173441_maps.jpg


Setting sun
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190113_173830.jpg

Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_1816099.jpg


Driving back after sunset
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_184209.jpg

Resort at night
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-img_20190113_205750.jpg


Next morning
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190114_100532.jpg



Bidding goodbye to the magnificent Rann


Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190114_120856.jpg

Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190114_121052.jpg

The final stop before home
Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira-20190114_183233.jpg

Last edited by Biraj : 4th February 2019 at 22:27.
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Old 4th February 2019, 23:18   #4
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Mod's note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th February 2019, 01:48   #5
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Thanks for sharing this geographical wonder and the land of our ancestors - Harappan civilisation. Always wondered, why did they chose to live in the middle of salt, what was the source of fresh water, what kind of vegetation/agriculture they practiced in such a demanding landscape, many many questions....

Looks like there are new staying options at Dholavira, would be great if you can share more information.

By the way do you know when does Rann utsav happen ? Btw, the dark Linea looks stunning with respect to contrasting Rann.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 5th February 2019 at 02:05. Reason: More questions
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Old 5th February 2019, 11:05   #6
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Thanks, Biraj, for this report with amazing photographs. I enjoyed reading it. Your linea looks amazing on the salt plains.

By the way, why don't you share the name of the resort? It would be helpful for many of us.

Last edited by SJM1214 : 5th February 2019 at 11:11. Reason: Minor Change
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Old 5th February 2019, 11:57   #7
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Great post(s), thanks! And very timely, am planning to head there by car in March, so your posts are very useful. (I last visited Dholavira and the Rann in 2007 by bike!)

Looking at the pics, I guess you stayed at the private resort there. I believe there is also a government resort that is closer to the archaeological site? Any idea if it was open?

Since the Rann Utsav is still going on, what was the crowd like? Still crowded or getting lesser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Always wondered, why did they chose to live in the middle of salt, what was the source of fresh water, what kind of vegetation/agriculture they practiced in such a demanding landscape, many many questions....
The landscape 4,500 years ago (about the time Dholavira was estimated to have been settled first) must have been very different from what it is today. There may have been other sources of water, the land may have been more fertile. Several possibilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
By the way do you know when does Rann utsav happen?
Usually between early-November and end-February every year. (No disrespect intended, but a simple Google search would have yielded that info. )

Last edited by am1m : 5th February 2019 at 12:01.
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Old 5th February 2019, 16:33   #8
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Biraj enjoyed reading your post , totally a different geography for us down south, Rann is in my wishlist so your post is an added motivator to visit that part. Thought there is plenty of bird life there, were you not able to capture the winged beauties. Your car looks stunning in the vast expanse of emptiness.
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Old 5th February 2019, 17:38   #9
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

We visited runn in november 2018. The urge to drive on the salt flats is too strong, but if every tourist starts doing so there would be little left for others.

Just a request to all bhpians and those who would be reading this post, please dont drive on the runn.
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Old 5th February 2019, 17:44   #10
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Always wondered, why did they chose to live in the middle of salt, what was the source of fresh water, what kind of vegetation/agriculture they practiced in such a demanding landscape, many many questions....
Thanks, Thermodynamics

The climate and geography back in that time were very different from what it is now. The sea was much closer to Dholavira than it's now and also there are records of major climate change (globally) around 1800 BC so it must have not been this arid back then. Some say the climate change around that period was the reason for the end of the Harappan era.

Rann Utsav is taking place right now and will end in this month. It usually happens from Nov-Feb every year in Dhordo, which is on the other side of Rann from where I was. Dhordo is very crowded around this period and is also not as raw or clean as Dholavira.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJM1214 View Post
By the way, why don't you share the name of the resort? It would be helpful for many of us.
Thanks, Shreyas

I had put the link in one of the captions but will put all the details below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post

Since the Rann Utsav is still going on, what was the crowd like? Still crowded or getting lesser?
Thanks, am1m

Yes, the government resort is still open but I haven't heard great things about the service and maintenance. The private resort (details below) I stayed in has recently opened and quite good. It was slightly expensive but considering the location and how far the nearest town is, it does seem worthy of the premium. There's one more option, Flamingo. It was on the way and looked basic but good from outside. It's inside a school compound and is probably an NGO.

I skipped going towards Dhordo (Bhuj) side and stayed put in Dholavira. This place had no crowd. We were the only ones on the salt-field. In hindsight, it was a good decision. The guy we gave a lift to had come from Dhordo and he said that it's very crowded and dirty with plastic bottles and chips packets lying all around. Moreover, it hasn't rained in Kutch for over two years so the salt plains have gone a bit dark, more so on the Dhordo side (perhaps due to pollution). So the tent operators there got salt sprinkled to make it look good for Instagram.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majumon View Post
Thought there is plenty of bird life there, were you not able to capture the winged beauties. Your car looks stunning in the vast expanse of emptiness.
Thanks, majumon

Unfortunately, it hasn't rained in Kutch for over two years thus there's very little water anywhere. The migratory and seasonal birds gave Kutch a miss this year. The resort guy was saying that until last year, Flamingos used to be visible from the place where the resort is now. Moreover, I had left my camera and carried only the smartphone so couldn't have captured them well even if I had spotted one.

---------

The resort i stayed in:

Rann Resort, Dholavira
https://www.rannresortdholavira.com/

ADDRESS :
370165, Dholavira-Janan Rd,
Gujarat 370165.
PHONE:
+91 99781 12327
E-MAIL :
info@rannresortdholavira.com

Map - https://goo.gl/maps/5AUjpjjYL3C2

PS: No network apart from Vodafone works in Dholavira. Not even Jio or BSNL.
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Old 5th February 2019, 18:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spgv View Post
Just a request to all bhpians and those who would be reading this post, please dont drive on the runn.
+1 to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biraj View Post
The guy we gave a lift to had come from Dhordo and he said that it's very crowded and dirty with plastic bottles and chips packets lying all around....So the tent operators there got salt sprinkled to make it look good for Instagram.
This is what I was afraid of and this is why I'm going in March - even though it will be hot, at least the crowds from the Rann Utsav will have gone away. Most of our so-called 'patriotism' and 'love for the country' is precisely that- just for show through movies and social media. We lack even the basic respect for the country to not litter and dirty even our most treasured places.

Last edited by am1m : 5th February 2019 at 18:50.
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Old 8th February 2019, 08:06   #12
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biraj View Post
A little bit about Crusoe before I start with the pics:

Crusoe is now almost seven years old and has done 61,000 KM (achieved the 60K milestone in this trip). I had been contemplating about replacing Crusoe with an SUV or more luxurious sedan for quite some time however I could never convince myself to sell Crusoe. Perhaps this trip was needed to rekindle my affection for Crusoe.

The fantastic roads of Gujarat highways, broken patches from Rapar to Dholavira and the off-roading (mild) to reach salt fields made me fall in love with the car again. It's such a capable and versatile car. We can cover a distance in quick time with comfort and safety so a perfect companion for road trips. Once again, All Hail Crusoe!!!

Here are the pics, finally...
[center]
The route to Dholavira
Attachment 1844906
Thanks for sharing and hope you had a great out of city without any disturbances.
I could see a lake i.e. Rann of Kutch lake in the map but no sign of that in your snaps!!
Is that non-existent now?
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Old 8th February 2019, 10:06   #13
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biraj View Post
After moving to Ahmedabad in July 2018, the weekend getaway options have severely reduced.
I am also in the same situation like you Biraj. After spending good 4 years in Gurgaon & awesome 2 years in Himachal, getaway options have severely reduced. However, me and my friends have covered Daman, Mt Abu and Udaipur from Ahmedabad by car and Indore, Jabalpur & Panchmadhi by train. We even did Bhavnagar to Goa on a Duster. Now, Ahmedabad to Ladakh is in the making
There are some places you can cover easily from Ahmedabad like Daman, Diu, Silvassa (yes, it has mountains but small) & Indore. These all are in the 350 to 400 Km range. Also, flight and train connectivity is very good from Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Keep exploring.

Happy travelling.
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Old 8th February 2019, 17:11   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolmind View Post
I could see a lake i.e. Rann of Kutch lake in the map but no sign of that in your snaps!!
Is that non-existent now?
Thanks, coolmind

The lake you see in the map is the salt plains we were on. It might have been a lake thousands of years ago. It's now one of the largest salt desserts in the world.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NPX View Post
I am also in the same situation like you Biraj. After spending good 4 years in Gurgaon & awesome 2 years in Himachal, getaway options have severely reduced.
Thanks, NPX

I have started exploring whatever is available. Have already done coastal Gujarat and have now started with other places. Have planned a trip to Gir later this month and have combined Diu just in case it's entirely vegetarian in Gir.
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Old 19th February 2019, 10:34   #15
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Default Re: Quick run to the Rann – Ahmedabad to Dholavira

One question, are there enough petrol stations around the Great Rann? I'm planning to drive to Dholavira, spend a day there and then drive back to Bhuj and on to Lakhpat. Are there enough petrol stations (one or two would be enough, I guess) along the way?

Was thinking of carrying a 20l steel jerrycan with petrol, but would much rather not. I guess if there's a petrol station at Rapar, that would be more than enough. I see a Reliance petrol station on the map at Rapar, just wanted to check with someone who has done the route recently.

Last edited by am1m : 19th February 2019 at 10:37.
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Ahmedabad-jaisalmer-ahmedabad- Trip Logs ramkya1 Travelogues 38 28th August 2018 17:50
Fun in the Rann - New Years at Rann-Way! mathranik Travelogues 15 4th January 2010 13:53


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