Kutch is the largest district in India. Kutch literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry. The major part of this district is a shallow wetland known as Rann of Kutch. This is a flat desert of salty clay and mudflats. Bhuj is the district headquarters of Kutch. The district is well connected by road, rail and air. The predominant language here is Kutchi and Gujarati. The district is inhabited by a variety of groups and communities of nomadic, semi-nomadic and artisan groups. The major part of the population follow Hinduism while Swaminarayan Sampraday also has a huge following. Many Kutchi also follows Jainism. Kutch is Mineral rich region with a very large reserve of Lignite, Bauxite, Gypsum among other minerals. Due to the existence of two major ports, transportation as a business has thrived. The salt production also forms a major part of the economy here. Kutch experiences extreme climatic conditions. The climate here ranges from a peaking high of 49°C in the summer to 8-10 °C in the winters. November to March is the best time to visit.
History: The history of Kutch can be traced back to Indus Valley Civilisation period. Kutch is also mentioned in Greek writing during Alexander. After the independence of India in 1947, Cutch State acceded unto the dominion of India and was constituted an independent commissionaire, Kutch State. Kutch state was merged with Bombay state and later divided into linguistic states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)
Airport: Bhuj has well-connected flights to Mumbai.
Rail: Bhuj is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Shalimar, Bangalore and many other cities of India by railways.
Road: State Transport buses are available from the ST stand in the middle of the town to various places in Gujarat. Additionally, many private tour operators also run frequent buses to major cities in and outside Gujarat.
Local: Auto rickshaws are available for transportation within the city. Tour operators provide vehicles for hire. One can even hike a bike from the sole bike rental in Bhuj, M.K Auto.
Prag Mahal: Prag Mahal is named after Rao Pragmalji II. The Mahal has a tall clock tower which can be seen from every corner of the city.
Aina Mahal: Aina Mahal is a palace of mirrors and an important tourist destination located close to the Prag Mahal.
Kutch museum: The museum has a good collection of historical artifacts depicting culture and tradition of Kutch.
Hamirsar Lake: The water reservoir is situated within the city and provides an ideal spot for bird watching in the heart of Bhuj.
Royal Chhataris: The royal cenotaph, at 20mins walking distance from Hamirsar Lake.
Ramkund Step Well: An old square step well situated close to the Hamirsar Lake.
Bhujia Hill: The city of Bhuj is named after Bhujia hill. Bhujia fort was constructed on the hill for the defense of the city. It is the highest point of the city.
Khari River bed in Kodki: About 11kms from Bhuj, Khari riverine in Kodki village offers a view of an extraordinary work of nature. The wind and water have eroded the river bed to form amazing rock formation.
Rudramata Lake: The biggest water reservoir in Kutch. Located in a picturesque surrounding, this lake is a wonderful destination for nature lovers.
Kutch Fossil Park: It is located 56 km from Bhuj near Gondiyar village, Tal, Than, Nakhatrana. This is a single man’s private collection. A war veteran Mohansinh Sodha traveled thoroughly through this region collecting fossil for display in this museum.
Mandavi Beach: It is located at a distance of 60kms. One can enjoy a camel ride on the shores. Vijay Vilas Palace and Swaminarayan Temple are located close to the beach.
Dholavira: It is an archeological site that contains the ruins of Indus Valley Civilisation. It is one of the largest and most prominent Harappan sites in India.
Hodka Village: 48 Kms from Bhuj, located at the edge of the Rann of Kutch, in the heart of Banni grassland provides a unique experience of rural life.
Rann of Kutch: This is the seasonal salt marsh. The area is a flat desert of salty clay and mudflats. The spectacular sight of the boundless white desert under the moonlight presents the stunning creation of nature, unique to this world.
Banni Grassland: The Banni grassland of Gujarat is the largest natural grassland in the Indian subcontinent and an area that is both socio-culturally unique and ecologically valuable. It lies on the outer southern edge of the marshy salt flats of Rann of Kutch.
Charri Dhandh: The Chari-Dhand wetland conservation reserve is located on the edge of arid Banni grasslands and the marshy salt flats of the Rann of Kutch. The abundance of water during the monsoons attracts birds to this unique wasteland. Thousands of flamingos, Common cranes and other wetland birds including hundreds of Painted storks and Spoonbills among others can be spotted here.
Khavda: This is the home of potters and leather craftsman.
Kalo Dungar/ Black Hill: Kalo Dungar or Black Hill is the highest point in Kutch. It is located at 97 km from District headquarters of Bhuj. The hill is also famous for the 400-year-old Dattatreya temple.
India Bridge: India Bridge is the last civilian point towards the Pakistan border. Vigakot army outpost lies beyond the bridge.
Dhordo Village: This is the gateway to the white Rann. It is 16kms from Hodka Village.
Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary: Kachchh Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary also known as Lala–Parjan Sanctuary is located near Jakhau village in Nalia. It is 78 km from Bhuj. Driving on the state highway 49 for 70kms, leaving the Jakhau village on the right one has to stay on the highway for another 8 km to reach the main entrance of the Sanctuary. The main bird species of the sanctuary is the great Indian bustard, locally called “Ghorad.” The sanctuary also is habitat for harriers, common cranes, black partridges (local name: kalo tetar), sand grouses, black and grey francolin, spotted and Indian sandgrouse, quails, larks, shrikes and plovers.
Narayan Sarovar Lake: Narayan Sarovar or Narayansar is a village and place of pilgrimage for Hindus on the Kori Creek. It is located in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch The ancient Koteshwar temple lies only 4 km away.
Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary: Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary is a unique eco-system near Narayan Sarovar. It has 15 threatened wildlife species and has desert vegetation comprising thorn and scrub forests. Its biodiversity has some rare animals and birds, and rare flowering plants. The most sighted animal here is the chinkara.
Purneshwar Temple: It is about 35 Kms from Bhuj. It is a 9th/10th century A.D. temple raised on a high plinth and has some fine sculpture on display.
Other places of interest are Swaminarayan Temple, Kera, Lakhpat, Mundra, Siyot Caves, Khamir, Matanamadh, Tapkeshwari Temple, Layari, Gandhidham.
This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip.
Day 1: All the destinations within Bhuj can be covered within a day. Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal, Kutch Museum, Ram Kund Step Well, Hamirsar Lake, Royal Chhataris, Kodki and Bhujia hill are located close to each other.
Day 2: Fossil Park, Layari, Mandavi.
Day 3: Dholavira, Tapkeshwari Temple in Rapar.
Day 4 and 5: Naliya is close to Narayan Sarovar. Those interested in bird watching and wildlife sanctuary can make a two day trip from Bhuj, making a night stay at Jakhau village in Nalia. There are a couple of decent accommodation in Jakhau. In these two days, one can cover Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, Matanomadh, Narayan Sarovar Lake and the Wildlife Sanctuary and then return to Bhuj.
Day 6 and 7: Banni Grassland, Hodka, Dhordo, Great Rann, Charri Dhandh, Khavda, Karo Dungar, India Bridge. Tourists are only allowed to visit these places with prior permission from BSF at the check-post at Bhirandiyara, on the way. A night stay at Hodka village or Dhordo is must, to enjoy the rural life with the Kutchi people.
Hotels: Online booking is always preferable for discounts in tariff. Hotels in Bhuj are Ryan Resort, Hotel Prince, Grand 3D, Hotel KBN, Regenta Resort, Shiv Hotel, Click Hotel, Abha International, Hotel Raj Mahal, Divya Jyot Residency, Gangaram Hotel, City Guest House and many more. Hotels at Jakhau are not available online but there are a couple of hotels and those provide on the spot booking. Hotels in Hodka and Dhordo are Shaam-e-Sarhad, Mahefeel E Rann Resort, Rann Kandhi Resort, Gateway to Rann Resort, Toran Resort and more.