Kutch is the name of a scenic, unforgettable district in the northern state of Gujarat. Kutch literally translates to a land that is intermittently wet and dry, and there is no better way to describe this district. Although it is traditionally regarded as a wetland, it is known for its sporadic spells of moisture and heat and is glorious to witness in both!
The Rann of Kutch, which is a seasonal wetland in the district, is also known for being one of the world's largest salt deserts with an area of a whopping 7,505 sq km! In the winters, it’s a wonderland in white and a natural phenomenon that is truly a sight to behold. It’s no secret that Kutch is massive. At nearly 45,091 square kilometers, Kutch is the largest district in the Indian subcontinent, bigger in area than whole states. It is nestled amidst four beautiful hill ranges and consists of nearly 27 tiny rivers! Kutch is also acclaimed for the region of Dholavira of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Kutch is an area of almost legendary significance. It is said that this spectacular district was so striking that mentions of it went back to Alexander, the Great’s travel records. It is also said to have religious significance as it was mentioned in Hindu mythology. For the longest time, Kutch did not have a ruler to call its own, as it was passed from one dynasty to another as the centuries passed. From the Mauryas to the Guptas, to the Maitrakas, until it finally acceded unto the dominion of India and was constituted an independent commissionaire in 1947 as India attained independence. In 1965, the Kutch State was merged with the Bombay State which was then divided into the two new linguistic states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, with Kutch becoming a district of the former.
The language spoken in the district is the Sindhi dialect of Kutchi and the current population of nearly 2,092,371 constitutes primarily of nomadic and artisanal communities. The traditional cuisine of the region consists mostly of roti paired with buttermilk, lentils, cooked vegetables, and curd. Because of its high constituency of vegetarians, meat plays a significantly less role in the culinary regime of the Kutch people.
Some of the dishes that you must savor while in the region are khichadi kadhi (rice and lentils), kutchi dabeli (pav filled with fried potatoes, pomegranate seeds, masala peanuts, and green chutney), locho (a steamed gram flour snack), pakwan (a savory snack), and Kathiyawadi thali (a thali with rice and a wide variety of assorted curries and cooked vegetables). If your mouth is already watering, also learn about a very special variety of Kutchi chicken biryani which has chicken masala sandwiched between three layers of fragrant rice!
Kutchi women traditionally wear a choli called abha or kanjari with lots of beaded and mirror work and intricate embroidery. Men wear the kurta-dhoti combination often called kediya-chorno. Kutchi clothing is known for its vibrant colors and details in design.
The closest airport to Kutch is the Bhuj Airport in the city of Bhuj, which is over 53 kilometers from the district. Bhuj Airport is well connected to the other prime cities of the country. This option is, however, only for domestic travelers. If you’re an international traveler wishing to travel to the Kutch district, you’ll have to book a flight to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in the capital city of Ahmedabad and then travel to the district, which is around 413 kilometers away.
Unfortunately, Kutch does not have any railway stations of its own. If you wish to travel via train, you can arrive at the Bhuj Railway Station and cover the rest of the distance (69.3 kilometers) by personal car or taxicab.
While traveling to Kutch by air or train is fairly tricky and involves quite a lot of additional time, Kutch is fairly well-accessible by road. The National Highway 341 connects the district to the city of Bhuj and makes road travel a safe bet.
Also Read: Things To Do In Ahmedabad
The best time to travel to Kutch is the winter season. In the months of October to February, the temperatures of 12°C - 25°C become steady, pleasant, and perfect for sightseeing and exploring the exteriors of the beautiful region. Another huge incentive to visit in this period is the colossal, world-famous Rann Utsav. Rann Utsav is a four-day carnival extravagance that symbolizes the rich tradition of celebration that the people of Kutch are famous for. It honors the ethnic dance forms, art, handicraft, and traditional music of the state. It also exhibits the beautiful architectural innovations of the region and is celebrated in different locations of Kutch. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that you ought not to miss on your Kutch trip!
The summers in the district can witness temperatures sky-rocketing to up to 48°C and are, therefore, not an ideal time at all to visit. While the monsoons might be slightly better off in terms of travel because of the pleasant dip in the heat, the rains might clog the roads and impede commute within the district.
Also read: 8 Amazing Beaches In Gujarat
Some public inter-city and inter-state buses offer their services in and around Kutch. You could also book yourself a private bus service for a limited number of days to visit the various places of tourist interest in the district.
Since the road is the only network that is accessible throughout Kutch, it is possible to explore the city via your personal car or taxicab services.
Kutch and Bhuj have plenty of rickshaws that enable you to travel locally with ease and on a budget. The standard fare is around INR 300 to INR 500.
While there are plenty of spots in Kutch that can be enjoyed on foot, it also heavily depends on the weather. In the winters, the region witnesses a salubrious climate range that makes it possible to be traversed on foot. But the summers are often scorching and do not allow for any external expeditions let alone on foot.
Also read: 7 Things To Do In Kutch
Gujarati cuisine in Kutch is just fafadas and jalebis.
If you’re not acquainted with the Gujarati culinary background, there is a good chance that you believe something of this sort. Owing to pop culture and movies in India, Gujarati culture is viewed in a rather constricting, narrow lens. Gujarati, especially Kutch cuisine, is a spectrum of very many mouthwatering varieties of food and snacks, each more delicious and varied than the last. They often cook large thalis with interesting combinations of prepared vegetables often paired with rice or roti and offer an ever more mind-boggling variety of vegetarian snacks and desserts like basundi, shrikhand, ghari, pakwan, etc.
The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in the country. It houses a wide range of desert wildlife and flora and consists of the magnificent Flamingo City where every year, thousands upon thousands of flamingos regularly breed and populate. For the history buffs, the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary might hold even more fancy as it also holds the fossilized preserves of animals from as ancient as the Dinosaurian Era!
Remember when we said that the allure of Rajasthan has been around for centuries? Well, that’s also because of Dholavira. Dholavira in Kutch is said to be a site of a civilization as old as 4500 years! It is said to be one of the four major Harappan sites. It has been around since 1450 BCE and is today an archeological site of great historical importance as it contains the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization like utensils, terra cotta items, bronze remains, etc. from thousands of years ago. Locals today regard the place as Kotada Timba.
Also read: Exploring The Adalaj Stepwell In Gujarat
For an aesthetic blend of foreign and Indian architectural styles, visit the Prag Mahal. Built sometime in the early 19th century, the vast edifice employs Gothic-style windows, Corinthian pillars, and even has a clock tower! Done up entirely in red sandstone, the Prag Mahal offers a deep and elegant insight into the architectural ingenuity that characterized the region in the 19th century. If you want even more of a reason to visit the structure, what if we tell you that the Prag Mahal featured quite heavily in many popular Hindi movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Lagaan, etc!
Now that you must have got a clear perception of what Kutch is like through this article, you still do have more options to explore the stunning Kutch. The yellow sands, camels, stunning views, food, shopping markets, etc.
How Many Days Are Enough For Kutch?
3-4 days ought to be sufficient to explore the region of Kutch. As Kutch offers lots to see and explore in terms of monuments, wildlife, food, etc. demarcating your days on the basis of what you’re more inclined to see would ensure a more well-rounded travel experience.
Is Rann Of Kutch Safe?
Rann of Kutch is generally regarded as a safe region. Tourists seldom have any negative experiences with regard to their personal safety.
How Do I Get To Kutch By Flight?
You can fly to Kutch by booking a flight to the Bhuj Airport (if you’re a domestic flyer) and taking a cab to the district. The other option is to fly to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in the capital city of Ahmedabad and then reach Kutch by road.
How Far Is Kutch From Ahmedabad?
Kutch is around 413 kilometers away from Ahmedabad, which is around 8-10 hours by road.
Is Alcohol Allowed In Kutch?
As Gujarat is legally a dry state, alcohol is not (ethically and legally) available in the state, and this naturally goes for Kutch too.
What Is Famous About Kutch?
Kutch is known for its white deserts, beautiful handicrafts, historic forts, calming beaches and Dholaveera, one of the five largest Harappan sites.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Kutch?
October to February are the best months to visit Kutch.
What Is The Old Name Of Kutch?
Kutch was previously known as the Kingdom of Kutch when it was a prncely state under the ownership of the British Raj.