Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh located in the western tip of Gujarat (primarily the Kutch district), India. It is divided into two main parts; Great Rann of Kutch and Little Rann of Kutch. It is located in the Thar Desert bio-geographic area in the Indian state of Gujarat. The area is also spread across the Sindh province in Pakistan. This is actually a seasonally marshy region and the word Rann in Hindi means desert.
This extensive salt marsh of western India and southeast Pakistan lies between the Gulf of Kutch and the Indus River delta. It was the scene of major border disputes in 1965 and 1971. Reading about it had always intrigued me and my desire to visit it was fulfilled recently when an All India Meet of the ‘HV Kumar - Fan, Forum & Message Board’ group on Facebook was arranged in this exotic place.
Incidentally the Rann is home to a lot of wildlife too and is home to the Wild Ass sanctuary and some amazing birdlife too. But since our visit was a short one, we concentrated more on the drive and marginally on the wildlife, while ensuring that we carried all our garbage to be disposed back home.
My ride began on my Royal Enfield’s Desert Storm from Mumbai on a cool morning at 0830hrs after a good sleep and a heavy breakfast. The ride was beautiful right upto Anand in Gujarat where I joined a few friends, whom I had interacted with online and met for the first time, in the hotel they had booked! They had driven in all the way from Pune. Was great meeting up and all the tiredness just wore off as we chatted through dinner getting to know each other.
Next morning after a sumptuous breakfast we left for Ahmedabad which was the scheduled flag off point for the meet. There were a total of thirty eight 4 wheelers and eight 2 wheelers divided into different groups, each led by a member of the ‘O’ (Organisational) team who would lead the team to the destination of the day – Zainabad.
We were guided to the last petrol pump just about twenty kms from Zainabad and asked to top up as there would be no fuel available once we started out on our journey across the barren Little Rann of Kutch, on the next day. The roads all along were beautifully maintained and was a pleasure to ride on. The speed limit on the state highways for cars is 100kms while on the Mumbai Pune Expressway it is 80kms! Strange but true.
Once everybody was shepherded into their respective accomodations, the ‘Meet’ began in right earnest as a face was put to the name one interacted with on the FB forum. It was a fun evening and after a lot of
accolades being showered on HV Kumar, a inhouse designed calendar containing photographs by members was launched followed by an excellent dinner of the local cuisine. It was announced that next morning everybody had to be in their respective vehicles to move on by 7am hence most retired early and like true travellers everybody was up and ready to storm the white desert, on the dot of seven!
It was a single convoy led by HV Kumar that vroomed off for the amazing ride through a desert that was
sparsely marked by a stone here and a flag there. Kumar had the GPS logs saved by Arnob Gupta, an amazing rider, who had crossed the desert a month back. It would have been so easy to get lost without the logs.
The ride was absolutely amazing. One had to be careful to ensure ride in line with the convoy with an
exception here and there to prevent falling off as the soil on the side of the track was either very soft or hard broken lumps. Fortunately we all made it without any mishaps and felt a sense of achievement at the end when we were back on a thin strip of tarmac on our way to Balesar where we stopped over for some delicious Kutchi lunch.
Post lunch the convoy set off again to view the most amazing sunset near Dholavira at Karni Border Out Post. There was a Dattatreya temple there which was looked after by the jawans at the Outpost. After
soaking in the beauty of the sunset we were treated to some yummy Kutchi Dabeli before being led off for dinner and dorm. For all practical purposes the Meet was over and everybody exchanged email ids to keep in touch.
With Vikas Malhotra from Ahmedabad, another great rider that I befriended on the ride, I left for Baroda the next morning. The ride again was just superb!
Spent a beautiful evening and stayed over at my cousin’s in Baroda and left for home the morning after.
Reached home after a fantastic ride of 1956kms in 4 days!