Home Tags Desert Camping

Tag: Desert Camping

Rann Utsav – Cultural Fiesta of the White Salt Desert

Rann Utsav Cover Image

Behind the dry and arid region of the desert, stands a place with rich history of arts, culture and heritage. The eerie silence of the barren lands is enough to give you goosebumps, but add to beauty of the place. I never knew deserts can be beautiful until I visited the magnificent desert of Kutch. That’s the unique charm of the place, which makes you wonder about the miracles of nature. 

Rann Utsav Tent city front image

Rann of Kutch is around 50 km from Bhuj city, hence if you visit there you must experience stay at tent city in Rann Utsav. Been there, done that, here is an account of magical experience at Rann Utsav.

The Arrival

Image of People welcoming with music at Runn Utsav
A Musical Welcome

The tent city is located at Dhordo village, which is located around 50 km from Bhuj city. The pick-up facility is provided by the Rann Utsav team, arranging pick-ups from railway station and airport. After a good 1.5 hour ride, as you step down from the vehicle, you are welcomed on the sounds of the dhol accompanied by folk dance. The energy of the beats wears off your fatigue. Above all, it livens up the atmosphere.

Tent City Experience

After checking in the tent city, you are at your leisure to explore the place. Spread across an area of 5000 sq.meters, tent city houses 500 tents and cottages, 2 dining halls, a shopping area, some photo points and one activity area. But, the good part is the availability of golf carts to ferry you around the place. 

For the shopaholic souls, there’s a dedicated area to let out the inner shopping monster. There’s a plethora of items on sale, for instance, bandhni duppattas, hand-woven shawls, metal artefacts etc. You can also try your hand at various crafts like pottery and clay modelling at nominal charges and make your stay worth. The dining experience is one not to be missed. An excellent spread of Gujarati cuisine is on offer, not once or twice, but four times a day. Enough to leave you with foodgasm. 

Magical & Mystical White Rann

As the evening nears up, you grab your camera and head towards the mystical white rann to witness the beauty of the desert. A barren salt flat that extends over an area of 17000 sq. km and stretches across International Border to Pakistan. Once upon a time this area was a seashore. But owing to tectonic movements, a part of ocean dried up in the region leaving behind the huge flat salt plain. 

White Lands and Purple Skies
Lit under Moonlight

In an honest opinion, the place is worth all the hype. The white backdrop appears so beautiful that you just cannot take your eyes off them. And it becomes even more beautiful when the full moon shines at night. As long as your sight reach, everything is shining and sparkling under the beautifully lit moon. It is one experience you must have in your lifetime. It’s just like a fairy tale ending to an eventful day.

If the moonlit desert wasn’t enough to enthral you, a captivating sunrise definitely will complete the formalities. As you notice the changing shades of the skies from black to pink to orange to blue, from the horizon, emerges an orange ball with a Midas touch, turning everything to gold. 

Captivating Kalo Dungar

Still being hungover from the magnificent views of the white desert, after a sumptuous breakfast, you head towards Kalo Dungar. Standing at an elevation of 300 m above sea level, Kalo Dungar is the highest peak of Kutch and was used as a compass in olden days while travelling. 

Sunset at Kalo Dungar

It takes around one hour ride from Tent City to reach Kalo Dungar. The peak is situated around 500 m from the parking spot and you can either walk or enjoy the camel-back ride to the top. Once at the peak, you have a panoramic view of the desert and the back-waters of Khari River. On a clear day, you can even see Indo-Pak border through binoculars. 

There is an interesting legend associated with the place. Over 4 centuries ago, there lived a saint named Pachmai Peer on the hills. One day a pack of wild jackals appeared in his ashram and stood expectantly in front of him. Looking into their eyes, he realized that they were famished. All that he could offer them was a spartan meal of rice and dal. And offer he did, and the jackals went back with their tummies full. 

Jackal of Kalo Dungar

The ritual of feeding continued for months till one day when there was no food in the ashram.  Realizing that his guests will have to go back hungry, the Peer, in a gesture of unimaginable generosity, chopped off his hand and offered it to the jackals, saying ‘lo ang’, which meant ‘here, eat my hand’. The jackals, as on every other day, went back satiated. But from that day onwards, the inmates of the ashram have made sure that the jackals of Kalo Dungar are fed, not once but twice a day. And they haven’t missed it even once in the last 400 years.

Marvelous Mandvi

After witnessing the generosity of the saint, we return to base and have a lavish lunch at the Tent City. After an hour of leisure time, we set off for Mandvi Beach. If anyone asks me about my favourite beach destination of Gujarat, Mandvi beach wins hands down. 

The pristine blue waters of the sea are a treat to sore eyes. The huge windmills set at the shore add to the beauty of the shores. And the flocking sea-gulls become an icing on the cake. 

A couple of kilometre towards the north of the beach stands the magnanimous Vijay Vilas Palace. The central high dome on the pillars, the Bengal domes on the sides, the windows with coloured glass, carved stone ‘Jalis’, domed bastions at the corners, extended porch and other exquisitely stone-carved elements, make the palace worth visiting.  

The palace is hosts a private beach and is home to the Royal Family of Kutch. A closer look and you can recognize the shooting spots from the movies Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Lagaan.  The topmost point offers an unobstructed view of the sun slowly setting into the Arabian Sea, ending a day full of events.

Cultural Events at Tent City

You return from Mandvi around and have a gourmet dinner ready for you, but the fun isn’t over yet. You move towards the activity area where you will get up close and personal with the colours and flavours of Gujarati folk performances. 

The stand-out performance of the night is the Siddi Dhamal. The Siddis are the descendants of the indigenous Bantu tribes of East Africa, who migrated to the subcontinent during the Colonial Era. Bringing the African touch of Zumba and Haka, Siddi Dhamal is one refreshing act performed on the beats of the Bongos. It is another experience that livens up your mood and incites the inner aboriginal in you.

As the music plays in long into the night, you enjoy every moment of it and reminisce the wonderful moments spent in the magical, mystical and beautiful desert of Kutch.  

Essential Backpacking Tips For Absolute Beginners: Backpacking is no more a Challenge

Tourist backpack and sleeping pad on a background of mountains, Georgia (Svaneti)

Johnny took his first backpacking trip. He was an amateur hiker. In this particular hike, he had travelled a long way, hiking over mountains and through some of the roughest terrain known to man. It was a grueling task, one that required stamina, patience, and endurance. After all that way, all that work, and all that effort, surely our hero Johnny deserves a good, long rest. A good night’s sleep, safe from the dangers of wildlife is just what the doctor ordered. The place was pitch black, the night young and quiet. All he needed was the comfort of the big, comfy tent………………………… which was missing! Apparently, amidst all the excitement, he had forgotten to pack it in. Basically, it was going to be a long night.

Moral of the story? Don’t be like Johnny. Backpacking and/or camping requires thorough preparation, physical capabilities and adequate equipment to do so successfully, and without harm. Failing to do so could at best lead to minor inconvenience, at worst……….

Let’s not go there. Instead, let’s talk about how you, our beginner backpacker, can avoid doing as Johnny, and go have a great experience on your first, or early, backpacking experience. We have previously published a post focusing Tips of your first trip.

Preparations For Backpacking Trip

First and foremost, you have to take various preparations before the hike itself. There are several things to consider when preparing, including navigation, travel time, distance and security. Here is a list of things that will be absolutely necessary. Also, depending on whether you are going to a beach or a hike, camping or a backpack, stuff will change.

MAP and GUIDEBOOK

Tourist backpack and sleeping pad on a background of mountains, Georgia (Svaneti)

This one is a no-brainer. The map is the best way to navigate across the hike. It will show you the way, help you plan your route and indicate the direction of the nearest town if something bad happens. In today’s world, many people use smartphone map apps, which could be a more portable, water-proof option over bulkier, paper maps.
The guidebook will give information that will help alongside the map in deciding how to plan the travel, such as easier ways to go, shortcuts that may be harder to pass through versus longer, easier routes, and so on. It will also give details on campsites that are popular, frequented backpacking routes and rules specific to a particular trail.

GEAR

There are two basic questions to answer when deciding what to take.

  1. Do I absolutely, positively, most definitely need it?
  2. If I don’t need it, will it make my journey any easier?


If either of the answers or both, is a no, then you don’t have to take it with you. Even though it is understandable if you want to bring certain familiar items from home, carrying as little as possible will make it easier to travel, organize and pack/unpack. Basically, anything that does not help with traveling, food, organizing, or disposing of waste can be left back home.

FOOD

Arguably the most important on the list, taking the right type of food is essential in having an easy travel. Obviously, it is impossible to cook extravagant, fulfilling meals on a campfire. It is also impossible to carry very many items to cook (and cook with!) on your travels.

The best approach to food is having ones that are simple and easily cooked and cleaned. The easiest choice is having meals that need boiling water, such as instant noodles. All you do is add boiling water to it, and soon enough you have edible noodles. If that isn’t good enough, most one-pot meals such as ramen noodles or angel hair pasta is a good alternative, since they require very little work to be put in. Lastly, if you are willing to put
in the work and time, take food that can be easily cooked over a campfire. Marinated chicken can be grilled over a fire, and so can vegetables like tinned mushrooms.

SKILLS

Finally, you will need to learn some basic skills before you set out. Whether you plan on going alone or with somebody, you need to learn how to pitch a tent. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering offers an Adventure Course which will teach you basics for you adventure trip. While this may seem simple, trust us when we say, PRACTICE! Practice, so that you can do it fast. This will save plenty of time for doing other things and also save you from potential embarrassment!

Another handy skill to have is knowing how to light a campfire from items found in nature. We are sure most people have seen it done on Nat Geo or Discovery, but it is hardly as easy as they make it seem. This is why it is important to learn this as well. Most people will likely carry a lighter, but in the event that it goes missing, this skill will help loads. Better safe than sorry!
One last skill that needs a shout-out is, well, one that most people would not want to shout out. Dealing with nature’s call in the middle of nowhere, what a terrific thought! Sadly, you must learn how to answer it while in nature’s territory, without a single toilet in sight.
Never thought you would miss those seats now, did you?

Check Out: Create Your Trek Story at Hampta Pass

EXECUTION

Now that you are set, let’s look at some practical advice when you are on the road itself.

STAY ON ESTABLISHED CAMPSITES
Any good camper will tell you that established campsites have the advantage of being easy to locate, and containing certain amenities such as bear-proof storage, which makes it easier to keep food. There are also certain places where setting up camp is more convenient, and where fresh water is within reach.
They are also more likely to have other people setting up camp nearby. Having people nearby, especially campers with more hands-on experience, will help you learn and get assistance from them. It also provides mental comfort, having other people to socialize with. It also helps keep away wild animals, because they tend to steer clear of areas where more people are located.

DELAY TRIP DURING BAD WEATHER
During the wetter seasons, it is best not to go camping. Rain not only adds more pressure on an already difficult experience, but it also takes out the fun. Make sure you schedule your trip in a manner where the weather is dry during the entire trip. If rain is forecasted, it wouldn’t hurt delaying by a week. Why get wet in the middle of nowhere, while going long distances and carrying a heavyweight?

WEAR LIGHT CLOTHES DURING BACKPACKING TRIPS
Having lighter clothing helps to move faster. Wear something comfortable, helps absorb sweat and also protects from the wear and tear of nature.

CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF
Always clean up whatever mess you make on the go. It is the right thing to do (you know it!) but it also makes it your campsite less prone to being discovered by wild animals.

Take our word for it. Be prepared, be smart, and be careful. The fun and excitement will come as long as you stay safe and sound.

9 reasons why Pushkar Mela is must visit once a lifetime

0

The very known Pushkar Mela is celebrated every year in the month of October- November, around full moon night of Hindu month Kartik or the Kartik Purnima. The seven day long fair is a preparation of months and attracts masses of tourists from all around the world.

Pushkar Mela has various reasons that make it world famous.

1. Largest camel trading fair in the world:

Pushkar Mela: Largest camel trading fair in the world:
Pushkar Mela: Largest camel trading fair in the world:

Nomads, herders and visitors come together here in large numbers for buying and selling livestock. Not only camel but it is the market for the trading of all kinds of livestock. This would be the only one-time experience to see thousands of camels and cattle together at a place like this.

2. Dive into different colors of hot air balloons:

hot air balloons in Pushkar Mela
hot air balloons in Pushkar Mela

Numbers and vibrant colors of hot air balloons will give your eyes an amazing view in both the ways, either while flying in one or viewing it all on the deserts of Pushkar city. It is great to have a panoramic view of that pretty cultural crowd from one of those balloons. Also a must activity to collect wonders in your camera.

3. Unusual and bizarre competitions:

Unusual and bizarre competitions in pushkar mela

You will feel weird about yourself knowing about the competitions that take place here at Pushkar Mela. The longest mustaches competition, turban tying, ‘matki phod’ are some of them. These will gift you unforgetful memories for your lifetime.

4. Collection of some new items for shopaholics:

new items to shop at pushkar mela

The place is enormous for buying and filling your bags with colorful Rajasthani souvenirs. Those colored ‘ghagra –choli’, ‘pagdis’ and ‘juttis’ will definitely catch your eyes and help you prepare for the coming festive seasons.

5. Fusions of band performances:

Fusions of band performances at pushkar mela

Hey there all music lovers, the place can surprise you with many world famous band performers, performing with cultural fusion here. Well-known artists and performers from all corners of the world reach out at Pushkar Fair for live band shows with full on fusions.

( Also Read: 10 Destinations to Visit in India for your bachelor Trip. )

6. Camel- cart ride:

Camel-cart ride at pushkar mela

Do go for a camel ride or beautifully decorated camel- cart ride here. It will give you the touch of kings and queens from ancient. And the camel ride in deserts is never a ‘no’.

7. Finest Rajasthani Cuisine:

Finest Rajasthani Cuisine at pushkar mela

Also not a disappointment for the ‘foodie’ inside you. This is a one hand opportunity for you to please your taste buds with all sorts of Rajasthani cuisine. Kachori, Churma and many more are must try at the fair.

8. Desert Camping:

Desert camping at pushkar mela

Camping is a forever fun and then night under the stars on the cold dusky desert is an ad on for enjoyment. Groups dancing, singing and staying together will be everlasting in your hearts.

9. A composition of Culture:

Composition of Culture at pushkar mela

Rajasthan is full of immense pleasurable activities and the Pushkar Mela is the place where it comes all together. Puppet shows, ‘kalbeliyas’, desert kite flying and many more. You get chance here to be the part of it. It is the event you can touch the originality of Rajasthan.

So if this is your first trip, do read our article “Tips, Advice & Plannings for your first trip

FOLLOW US

460FansLike
1FollowersFollow
1,021FollowersFollow
47FollowersFollow
756FollowersFollow
19FollowersFollow
6SubscribersSubscribe

POPULAR ARTICLES