Celebrate India – Rann Utsav with Yatra.com It has been a while since Mr. Amitabh Bachchan first appeared on TV endorsing Gujarat Tourism. It doesn’t look good if an elderly person has to ask you to do the same thing again and again; therefore I finally gave in, packed my bags and headed straight to Gujarat during the Rann Utsav. Now, let us digress for just a minute. I am sure most of you remember that scene from the movie Munnabhai MBBS where the foreign tourist visits the Dhobi Ghaat to capture in his camera the ‘True India, Hungry India, Poor India’. Well, I say bring the man to the Rann Utsav and let his dream be shattered because trust me, his ‘True India’ and the one on offer here are worlds apart. Rann Utsav is organized with the sole purpose of celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Gujarat, no strings attached (except that it’s organized during the full moon). And, the best place to stay during the festival are those fancy tents erected in the Dhordo Village in Rann (just make sure to get your bookings in advance because the tents are in short supply). But, as they say once you are in, ‘YOU ARE IN’. Gujarat is one of the most flourishing states in the country and I experienced it first- hand during this festival. The handicrafts deserve a special mention because it is one of the most integral parts of the festival. All the handicraft specialties like handloom weaving, pottery, Bandhani (tie & die) fabrics and many more are available in abundance during the festival. The best part was that I even got to see a lot of artisans at work, thus making the entire experience very special and personal. I also indulged myself in a plenty of other activities that just kept the feel going for the 3 days of the festival and even after it was over. To begin with there were over 30 local troupes performing folk dance and music, under the open sky, on a moonlit night accompanied by the winter breeze. Honestly, it was magical. It definitely outshined every other aspect of the entire festival but that does not mean that the rest was boring. The fairs held near the beach or the lake offer such a profusion and plethora of colours and variety that it is literally overwhelming and that is how I ended up buying more souvenirs than I actually needed. Apart from all the above mentioned stuff (as if all this wasn’t enough for 3 days) I really enjoyed doing the usual touristy stuff for a change i.e. sightseeing. I was surprised to discover the kind of variety on offer. There was the famous bird sanctuary of Chari Dhand, the thousand year old Kera Shiva Temple, archeological site of Dholavira, the White Salt Desert (can’t miss it) and much more. I couldn’t possibly see them all so I picked the sanctuary and the archeological site. I took a jeep for the first one and a guide (essential) for the latter and loved the contrast that they gave to the entire experience. At the end of it all when I looked back I felt that I did the right thing to follow Mr. Bachchan’s advice. Gujarat surely has a credible experience to deliver to all those who come looking for wonders. If not for him, you owe it to yourself to visit this festival and gain once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is Joy signing off, May the lord point your feet in the right direction and also give you a little nudge from time to time, Travel happy and travel safe always, Ciao.