So yeah as I’d mentioned in my earlier post, there wasn’t a specific reason for choosing Kutch (over other alternatives) as my next solo travel destination. But what clearly set it apart was that unlike Ladakh, Coorg or Goa, I’d never set foot in Kutch before. To be honest I knew very little (or actually may be nothing) about Kutch until that point. I knew there was the White Desert aka The Rann of Kutch. That’s about it.
So planning my itinerary with my homestay host was a rather interesting beginning. Solo holidaying to places like Trasi in Karnataka, Wayanad in Kerala or for that matter even Coorg involved very little ‘exploring’ – I’ve been content with staying put in one place and simply unwinding ('There's beauty in the downtime'). A well planned itinerary meant that I was gearing up for a power-packed next few days in Kutch. With the exception of reading up on the some of the recommended sites, I relied solely on my host’s inputs.
With my backpack lugged on my back I found myself a spot on a ST bus from Bhuj to get to my homestay – and this would mark the beginning of my love story with the arid landscape of Kutch. And this would take me more than anyone else by surprise more so because I was coming from a slightly higher pedestal I’d found for myself in the light of having travelled to Ladakh (twice!) already – after all it is a desert at an altitude.
Of the five days I spent in Kutch, three were spent on the road. Day 1, I visited the craft villages at Bhujodi, Khamir, Ajrakpur in the company of the autorickshaw driver who would provide with snippets of information about literally everything (more on this and some of the other conversations I’ve had in my next post).
It surprises me how in spite of the hour of the day I’d embarked to make this trip (it was around 11 AM and mind you summer was only beginning to embrace us but the temperature was in the range of 34 – 37 degree C), I wasn’t the least perturbed by any of it. The landscape – it’s sheer expanse, miles and miles of nothing but flat plain land – complimented by the dry but hot air had already begun to have a certain effect on me.
The 100 odd kilometre drive to the White Desert on Day 2 only helped me realize that this landscape did in fact stir something within me.
Was it those rare yet deep splotches of colour found in flowers that bloomed in the bramble clusters?
Or was it my brain’s inability to comprehend distance courtesy the flat land that seemed to extend into the horizon?
Or in the race against time to reach the Rann of Kutch before the sun set so we could see it in daylight as well as moonlight?
I was but just once before stunned into silence by nature and this undoubtedly was at TsoMoriri in Ladakh. I encountered my second such moment when on the full moon night I stood spellbound at the Rann – salt crystals from the dry marshland bed sparkling in the rays on the moon.
Finally on the day I was to depart from Bhuj, I made way to Dholavira the archaeological site that contains ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization making a road trip of almost 300 kilometres only to finally admit to myself that this scorched, parched and barren place on the planet had worked its charm on me. I was smitten.
To see the haze of vapour emanating from the ground causing you to see nothing but a blur in front of you was a thing from the television until this trip happened.
To stand awestruck bang in the middle of the Indus Valley civilization’s ruins and fossils, marvelling at the immense thrust to town planning 2500 years before Christ was never even dreamt of.
To have a second opportunity to view the Rann from the exact opposite side of the lake (minus the water) almost 400 kilometres away from where I stood enchanted by the moonlight a few days ago and admit to myself that the Creator did some fun stuff with them brushstrokes was a dream come true…
To rave about mud, sand and nothing but dust when the temperatures were hovering around 40 degree C and we were stranded with no food in sight for over 50 odd kilometres and still be kicked about the idea of witnessing nature in all her glory was me falling in love with that banjar zameen…
Continues with iWander | Discovering Velas – The epic journey [Part 3]...
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