Thursday, 9 May 2019

The Flame of the Forest

The Flame of the Forest

Come summer, the greens doth vanish
Dusty, parched and dry it is
In a flash they do appear
A bright red canopy takes over
The Flame of the Forest
Here to greet the scorching sun
A sight for sore eyes
Flamboyant in its regal majesty
Fiery blooms that arouse my glee
Harbinger of the summer’s zenith
Summers of fun and magic
Innocence and awe
A time to hide and seek
Beneath the flaming blooms
To dunk into old favourite tomes
Seek new adventures
Chase dragonflies
Hunt for luscious berries
Or simply laze
And gaze at the glory in red
Paens they sing of flowers many
None for this splendour in scarlet
Nature’s gift is the Gulmohur
Redeemer of a dull and drab summer

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Monday, 15 April 2019

Summer Snippets

As a casual, unbiased observer, I can tell you that folks exercising in Mumbai's open air at any time of the day, during the wonderful months of April, May or for that matter even October, are brave folks. They are the kind of recruits a commando team would aspire to have; relentless, persevering and undaunted by the rigors of a Mumbai summer. I drive past a walking trail with a wildly popular open-air gym and gaze in wonder at these striking examples of human grit and determination.
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 
Let me be more specific about the Mumbai summer. Temperature-wise, we used to be pretty cool in comparison to say Nagpur, Ahmedabad or Delhi, but nowadays Mumbai temperatures are casually touching the dreaded 4o degrees celsius mark. Add to this the additional scene changing aspect of humidity and we have a killer formula! A formula that can siphon your energy and bring you to your knees, crawling towards the nearest fan/AC in no time. 
I have observed that summers are the ideal time to host international cricket matches. It is one of those plots to legitimately slay your opponents using the advantage of your home turf's life-sapping climatic conditions. If we natives find the heat oppressive imagine what it would do to people accustomed to temperate weather?

At home, the most coveted seat during these months is the one directly under the ceiling fan. One that everyone fights to occupy at all times. The doorbell rings. I warily rise from this besotted seat and make my way towards the door, away from the radius of the fan coverage and the floodgates break out...sweat pouring from every goddamned pore. By the time I am staggering back to my sanctuary under the fan, the throne has been usurped by the offspring. A few emotional words reasserting the pains I went through delivering his big fat head, washing countless nappies and sleepless nights spent turning over the cold compresses on his hot forehead...and he finally relents and I re-usurp the throne.
You see I am conscientious about A.C usage, what with the ceiling-hitting electricity bills. But there is only so much self-control one can have. A few days into this kind of ill treatment from the weather gods and I buckle down under the pressure; the A.C is on 24x7, mind you, only in one room of the house and that is where you'll find the whole family, alongwith each one's set of inseparable mobiles and chargers. Doorbells go unattended, landline phone calls unheard, but honestly? Who calls or rings when the world is scorching at 38ΒΊ celsius and rising with 150% relative humidity?

Summers are the time when schools declare holidays, considerate to the fact that humans can endure either mental or physical trauma, only one at a time. Of course moms are exceptions to this rule, what with us being called super-humans or demons. 
The kitchen is one under-privileged area that does not have access to cooler climes. Cooking comes close to third degree torture. I see rivulets of sweat pouring down my arm and forehead as I stew over the stove and I am reminded to stay away from ordering outside food as I imagine strange filthy cooks poring over steaming pots in unventilated kitchens with giant burners and....ewww!! Swiggy, Zomato et al can keep promoting no-cook summers but I am not going down that alley! But, but, but, mommies are always expected to do their best under all circumstances, right? Your kids practically live to eat during summers and thus born out of survival instincts are, inventive one-pot recipes. I can claim fame to a few such time and effort-saving recipes myself (patents pending). Recipes that keep the offspring satiated for at least 2-3 hours, while you pick up the trail of fun activities enthusiastically begun and strewn all over the house, right until your next battle with the ladles and pans. And no, not sharing them here, you do remember this blog is all about relaxing and raving and not anything really helpful! 😈
Main meals aren't the only thing your summer cooking entails. You can't believe the amount of munchies and the gallons of beverages the kids and their friends can put away when they are upto various fun "activities" like playing online games or staring at the screen all day. Many moms make hay while the sun shines and are upto their elbows in pickle, jam and goodie-making adventures. I've indulged in such ventures too and beat a hasty retreat when I realized that the kitchen is a place of no reprieve or escape. 
By the time I am done ladling out the last batch of goodies and stirring a fresh bucketful of homemade lemonade, I hear a clang. The clang of a large, empty aluminium drum hitting the floor. The pack of wolves, they call kids has managed to polish off that huge mound of goodies, emptied the juice barrel while spilling half of it, before I even came out of the kitchen! That does it! Kurkure, Lays, Tang and whatsoever junk it is for you folks!

Summers are not always about holidays to hill-stations, exotic trips abroad....and family get-togethers? Sadly, they are not so common today as grandparents are older and less agile than they used to be, folks live continents apart and maybe, just maybe because hearts aren't as large as the homes we have today. 
While you can keep reminiscing about those notorious pranks you played on/with your cousins and the amount of grandma's food you scarfed, the truth is it was all in the past and you really need to stop boring gen-next with those stories! You need to make summers memorable for your kids. You do want them to inflict their kids with their own stories of childhood summers, dontcha? 😜
I've engaged in some rather fun and fulfilling art-craft summer projects when the kids where younger. One of the motivations to do so being to save myself from the hustle of shepherding them to the umpteen, highly expensive and over-rated hobby classes that mushroomed all over during this time. Classes that taught you to fold paper, mold and paint ugly vases, stick buttons in a pattern, go crazy with glitter, dance to a Bollywood tune using PT exercise steps...ahh, I could do this too. You see, these young wards make for some really awesome, enthusiastic and high energy-level helpers provided you package it well. Something fun, engaging, interactive, creative and yet not too mind-boggling or back-breaking. Intrigued? Again, Relax-N-Rave declines from sharing further.😈 

As the kids have grown older, summers are now all about exams and coaching schedules, designed to traumatize and distress students. For some pessimistic reason, most graduate/college exams are held in the month of May! Kids whiz in and out of home, to and from classes or test series. So now you are holding fort, ensuring they are sufficiently hydrated and nourished, carrying all their documents, not over-stressed or demotivated, ready and alert to pick up your purse and disapparate in a jiffy to where you might be needed. 
Holidays are a nightmare to plan with conflicting available dates, snarky dismissals and fussy stipulations over destinations being insta-worthy over everything else!  
Then I ponder, how will summers be when these birdies fly away from the nest. No extra cooking, cleaning, no screaming kids, no yelling back from me, books not splayed all over, beds neatly made, no toys lying on the floor to trip over, the throne under the fan all mine...sigh and oh so sad...boohoo! Life! 
We oldies would probably plan a getaway to cheer ourselves up. We'd start conversations dedicated to the hot, sultry weather, global warming, progress to how things have changed so fast and end up swapping stories of summers gone by.


This post has been published on WomensWeb as: 

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Monday, 14 January 2019

Kutch Diaries #Shopping

My Kutch trip so far with visits to Dhordo and Dholavira were experiences of cultural, geographical and historical significance. But I still needed to get my retail experience to round it all off!
Follow the three part Kutch Diaries series:

Kutch Diaries #RannKiKahaaniya >> Kutch Diaries #Dholavira >> Kutch Diaries #Shopping

After a refreshing overnight stay at Radisson Hotel, Kandla (read my Tripadvisor review) I was eager to venture on the last leg of my Kutch trip, shopping! 
With limited time on my hands, I decided to visit the highly recommended LLDC, Ajrakh Studio and Bhujodi. (Kandla - LLDC 42 km, 1 hr)

LLDC, the Living and Learning Design Center is one of a kind craft design, education, learning and resource center, a pioneering effort of the Shrujan Trust. A trust which has enabled the beautiful work of simple women from rural Kutch to reach across the globe while giving them a regular livelihood, maintaining records of their techniques, materials used, creating new designs to market their creativity to more contemporary tastes.

Getting There
Located at Ajrakhpur village, 15 kms from Bhuj, it is easily reachable by public, private transport, chhakada rickshaws.

Admission Fees
Adults - Rs 50
Children - Rs 20

Tue-Sun (10 a.m - 6 p.m)

Photography is strictly prohibited in the museum.

The LLDC, Shrujan Trust

The LLDC center in itself is a visual treat with it's eco-friendly, energy conserving architecture. The tour of this center begins with an inspiring and informative AV in the auditorium. The museum consists of three galleries, a library and a craft studio.
The galleries have state-of-the-art temperature, light and humidity controls to carefully maintain the treasures they display. 

On display are the myriad hand-crafted perfections, the intricate hand-embroideries of 12 different Kutchi communities with over 50 different styles! Art and craft that has been passed down through generations from mother to daughter is being documented and preserved and it is a fantastic effort pioneered by the founder of the Shrujan Trust Late Smt. Chandaben Shroff (or Kaki as she is lovingly called).

Some stories behind the crafts of Kutch
We were fortunate to have an extremely passionate guide, a Shrujan Trust volunteer who took us through the galleries and gave us enlightening insights into the cultural and socio-economic background of the talented fingers that did all the beautiful handwork. 
Image source
When we asked about the entirely black clothed community Rabari women, he explained that they wore black because of either of these three reasons:
1) Legend has it that a Muslim king fell in love with a Rabari girl but the community refused his proposal. When the furious king threatened to kill the entire community, they escaped with the help of a Muslim man from the king's court. He was consequently killed for the treachery. It is to mourn the death of this man who helped to save their honor that the Rabari women wear black.
2) The Rabaris wear black to mourn the death of Lord Krishna whom they worship.
3) The woolen yarn came from black and white sheep. Since the black yarn didn't have takers, they used it for themselves while they sold off the white yarn.

We came to know that the Dhebhar Rabari community women had totally stopped the custom of using their embroidery work for themselves. This was because of an age-old dowry system wherein girls had to painstakingly make several pieces of embroidered garments and only then be allowed to get married. Community members finally decided totally scrap and ban this practice so that the girls could get married at the right age and not be restricted to getting married only after their dowry was completed. Today, these women create embroideries only for commercial purposes, thanks to the work of NGO's.
Another interesting fact I learned was that the intricacy and amount of embroidery on the garments worn by females - the ghagro (skirt) , choli (blouse) and odhani (scarf), varied according to the stage of life they were in. Playful, fully embroidered clothes for the besotted child, whimsical elaborate embroidery for the teen girls, just choli embroidery for the busy married woman and bare minimum embroidery for the old woman.

Shrujan has taken the pains to document and display the various kinds of embroidery patterns, styles, methods followed by different nomadic, semi-nomadic artisans of Kutch communities such as Rabari, Ahir, Aari, Jat, Mutwa, Meghwals, Node, Sodha, Harijan etc. 

The embroidery consists of five elements: Mirrors, Motifs, Stitches, Borders and Style. An interesting fact we learnt was the communities living in close proximity often picked up each other's embroidering styles and incorporated those into their own unique styles.
Our Shrujan volunteer made us smile when he told us that the talented embroidering communities often quietly listened to instructions from various NGO's regarding design inputs and finally executed what they thought best!
Small samples of individual stitches in craft rings depict the intricate patterns and stitches while specially created frames display the richness of the work in all their glory. Some of the works take well over 6 months to a year to complete! It is mind-blowing work of such high quality and intricacy! 

Contemporary turn to Ethnic Embroidery
Earlier these embroideries were made by the Kutchi women only on cotton or woolen fabrics over skirts and blouses mainly as wedding trousseau but today they cater to contemporary markets. Embroideries are made on fabrics like chanderi silk, raw silk, tussar silk, satin, mangalgiri cotton, ikkat, linen, jute silk etc. Modern garments such as pallazos, dress yokes, kurtas, stoles, tunics, jackets, gowns, accessories such as bags, purses, mobile pouches and furnishings such as table runners, coasters, wall-hangings, cushion covers, bedcovers etc. are now adorned with intricate mirror-work, colorful embroideries like Pakko, Aari, Kharek, Neran, Suf, Garasiya Jat, Mutva etc.
I tried my hand at block printing at the Craft's studio.

The Shrujan store is a treasure trove of the most exquisite collection of the best of Kutchi hand embroidered products where I went totally head-over heels shopping! The prices are steep but when you realize how much time each painstaking project takes, you make no bones about coughing up the amount! Each product comes with a tag mentioning the kind of embroidery and the name of the artisan. You are in essence paying to own nothing less than a prized heirloom! Do check out the slideshow above to see the different kinds of embroidery works.

You can easily spend 3-4 hours at the LLDC and still be left wanting to spend some more time, like I did!

Additional reading: 
Communities and Culture of Kutch - Gujarat
The Rabaris: The Nomadic Pastoral Community of Kutch

The Ajrakh Studio
From the LLDC we headed to the nearby Ajrakh Studio famous for Ajrakh block printing and dyeing. Ajrakh printing is a lengthy process in which multiple block printing and washing of the fabric happens several times with natural dyes and natural color fixatives like lime, tamarind paste and even camel dung.

The Ajrakh Studio belongs to world-famous Ajrakh artisan Dr Ismail Khatri and his family carrying on an ancestral art. You can watch a wonderful AV which shows how the entire dyeing and block printing using multiple blocks is carried out. Though we could not meet the legendary Dr Khatri when we visited, he is usually around and speaks to visitors about the intricacies of his art and trade. The adjoining store has beautiful ajrakh-printed fabrics, stoles, sarees, bedsheets etc. that are now in great demand world-wide.

Additional reading:
Ajrakh - A Journey with Dr. Ismail Mohammad Khatri

Our next stop was the famous textile and handicraft village of Kutch, Bhujodi that is about 8 km from Bhuj. Vankars, the weaving community live here and entire families are involved in the weaving, dyeing and embroidery process. Most of the yarn is mill-produced that is woven in looms while the dyeing in the traditional tie-and-dye process is also carried out here. One can enter the homes of the Vankars and observe them at work where they create beautiful shawls, blankets, sarees and more.
Running short of time, I had only time enough to quickly browse through the place.
The shops here sell terrific stuff at very reasonable rates and are a must visit for any one visiting Bhuj. I visited Rakhiyo Hastkala shop and was blown by the variety and reasonable prices of some really amazing handicraft works, bandhini sarees, cutwork dress materials, embroidered pallazos, handbags, purses, wall-hangings and more.

Additional reading:
The Vankars of Bhujodi: Woven in Warmth
Bhujodi Weaving - Bhuj

You could check out this article for your more extensive shopping in Bhuj:
Shopping in Bhuj, India

And there! I was at the end of my Kutch trip! Time to head back home with happy memories, experiences, interesting trivia and lots of shopping bags! 
If you are a shopping or textile enthusiast you should plan your Kutch trip to explore the richness of talent here.

I researched these resources for you to plan a textile trail of Kutch:

1) Kutch Adventures India connects travelers with skilled artisans of Kutch as well as to non-government organizations to promote and preserve the arts and crafts of Kutch.
2) Matsya Craft Tours offers customized craft tours to various villages in Kutch.
3) Breakaway offers tours to hamlets in Kutch to see age old priting, dyeing and embroidery techniques alongwith interactions with the artisan communities.
4) Indus Discoveries has special tours to visit the artisan communities that are an essential part of the cultural heritage of Gujarat



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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and it does not intentionally promote any place or property. All the information and opinions shared here have been gathered and compiled by me based on my personal experience. 

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Kutch Diaries #Dholavira

If you think you have seen the White Desert by just visiting Dhordo in Kutch, you are sadly mistaken. The real White Rann is in places of lesser commercial exploitation, such as Dholavira. That and a visit to the site of the ancient Harappan city of the Indus Valley Civilization, make Dholavira a must-see on your Kutch itinerary!
So if you are planning to experience the ongoing Rann Utsav (Nov-Feb) in Kutch, don't miss Dholavira!

Dholavira locally known as Kotada timba located at Khadirbet in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district, Gujarat is an archaeological site that contains the ruins of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization/Harappa City dating back to nearly 4500 years ago. 

The site discovered in 1967-68 has been under excavation by ASI since 1990. Having studied about the Indus valley civilization in history at school and recently read the fictional book Harappa by Vineet Bajpai, I was extremely interested in visiting this place. A half day trip up and down from Dhordo or Bhuj is more than enough but if you are really keen on archaeology you can plan to stay overnight at Dholavira. 

Getting there
By road,
Bhuj - Dholavira - 220 km (4.5 hrs)
Dhordo - Dholavira - 300 km (5.5 hrs)

On the drive when you are nearing the Harappan site you will be blown by the first sighting of the white salt desert, unlike Dhordo this desert is really white!
Rann Resort Dholavira
We halted at Rann Resort Dholavira for a simple yet delicious lunch. This place is pretty close to the Harappan site and looked quaint enough for an overnight stay if one decided on staying on. Most people return back to Bhuj after the Dholavira visit.

What you can see at the Dholavira archaelogical site
The Dholavira site is quite large at over 120 acres and a detailed tour with an archaeological dept. approved tour guide will take you not less than 2 hrs. 

The ancient city is a marvel of the mathematical precision of architecture, advanced structural and modern town planning, water conservation, sanitation of a bygone era. One will be awed to see the mighty reservoirs, underground channels for rain-water harvesting, the fortification of the city with immensely thick walls and the sandstone blocks used for construction. The city has planned areas like the citadel, middle town and lower town, wells, bath areas, the sporting arena etc.

The archaeological museum has on display pottery, seals, vessels, beads, jewelry, tools, dolls and other artifacts that are quite well-preserved. 

The Dholavira signboard bearing inscription with ten Indus characters that is still undeciphered is such a marvelous find!
I am not mentioning all the nitty gritties of the archaelogical tour we had because these are better explained in the Dholavira wikipedia page!

Additional reading
The Rise and Fall of a Harappan City

Fossil Park, Dholavira
About a 4 km from the excavation site is the Fossil Park that lies exposed to elements. You can see the ancient fossils of trees from the Jurassic era here. The fossil park is sadly yet to receive attention from the authorities. Anywhere else in the world, it would have drawn so much more excitement and enthusiasm. Here it seems to be just a lame exercise in attempted archaeological preservation.
More than the fossil park at this point we were mesmerized by the vast white desert lying in front of it. This is supposedly a no-permission area, but the man who claimed to be caretaker of the fossil park graciously allowed us to stroll on the "real" white desert!
The sun was dazzling in its intensity and the endlessly stretching white desert reflected it back. THIS was the "White Rann" we'd been promised, pristine and unsullied! 
Walking on the salty desert we could literally hear the salt crunching under our feet.

Kya aapke reth me namak he? 😜

Azure blue and crystal white!
THIS is the REAL thing folks!
After we knocked ourselves silly clicking innumerable snaps trying to capture the surreal surroundings, we decided to start back on the drive to Kandla, Gandhidham. 
Dholavira - Kandla (192 km - 3 hr 45 mins)

On the drive from Dholavira to Kandla we saw these colorful Kutchi womenfolk walking homewards after a day's work in the fields. Shy at first, they warmed up quickly and agreed to pose for pics with me!
A long day comes to an end! What a fulfilling one it was! Visiting an ancient civilization, enjoying the real white desert and carrying sweet memories of color in a barren landscape! We have just a day left to enjoy beautiful Kutch and we will be done with our short yet memorable holiday!

You could follow my Kutch Diaries here:
Kutch Diaries #RannKiKahaaniya << Kutch Diaries #Dholavira >> Kutch Diaries #Shopping

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and it does not intentionally promote any place or property. All the information and opinions shared here have been gathered and compiled by me based on my personal experience.

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Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Friday, 28 December 2018

Kutch Diaries #RannKiKahaaniya

I have a penchant for planning holidays on the mountains or beaches and my family keeps complaining that all the holiday pictures look the same with similar locales and scenery!
A short sojourn with my better-half to Kutch, changed our holiday routine and scene! 
We started the trip on a spiritual note with a visit to the amazing Somnath Temple, then visited the Rann Utsav at Dhordo, followed by a trip to Dholavira and a bit of retail therapy at Bhuj
The ongoing Rann Utsav was something I'd wanted to attend for a while now. There was hardly enough time to plan, pack or do any kind of research about the trip, so yeah, I totally went on this trip with a clean slate - no expectations and a mild curiosity about the White Desert. You know at a certain point in life, you are happy with any holiday that doesn't involve domesticated chores like cooking, cleaning and serving!


Our 4N/5D itinerary was something like this: 
Besides the flights from Mumbai to Rajkot and from Bhuj to Mumbai, all other journeys were made by road in a dear friend's chauffeured car (friends totally rock, don't they?!). 
A special word of thanks to some really dear friends of the better half who made this entire trip so memorable and enjoyable for us!
Follow the three part Kutch Diaries series:
Kutch Diaries #RannKiKahaaniya >> Kutch Diaries #Dholavira >> Kutch Diaries #Shopping

Reaching Bhuj
After a 6 hour drive from Rajkot, we arrived under a blindingly bright sun at Dhordo. Highway roads in Gujarat are really good, so the long drives aren't too tiring.(Rajkot-Dhordo: 308 km). You can directly arrive at Bhuj by road, rail or air as Bhuj is well connected via all routes. We stayed for a night at The Tent City, Dhordo. You get a Tent City pick-up coach (fixed timings) from Bhuj to take you there. (Bhuj-Dhordo: 81 km)

Tent City, Dhordo 

The Tent City is something you may detest if you are the kind of traveler who loves serene environments and craves solitude. Sorry folks, this is just not the place for you!
This is a place that is totally festive, mela-like, bursting with people, energy, wares and colors! Well, consumerist that I am, I obviously loved it all!
Interestingly, the entire set-up is a temporary one that is erected and set up for just the four months of the Rann Utsav (Nov-Feb) and then dismantled lock, stock and barrel.
The grand Reception lounge
The Tent city has 400 tents spread across 9 clusters, two large dining halls with a capacity of 350/200 respectively, an art gallery, a club house with indoor games, a rejuvenation spa, conference area, a handicrafts bazaar, open air entertainment. The larger tents are grouped in clusters of 32 tents while smaller tents in groups of 68 are arranged in a semi-circle overlooking the entertainment area which also has the interesting Skyzilla. They have a medical center and round the clock CCTV surveillance. The network connectivity is extremely good in this area.
I was overall impressed with the magnitude and efficiency of the personnel (about 350) that milled about this mini-city to manage the day-today smooth running of the facility. Personnel are always at hand to assist you at every nook and corner.

Besides the evening entertainment on the grounds, through the day one can avail a host of sport activities ranging from Paramotoring, ATV rides, Segway and Trikke rides, Paintball etc. besides sightseeing tours to nearby places such as Kalo Dungar, Mandvi beach, Mata nu Madh etc. These are not included in the package and one needs to individually book and pay for them.
The shopping here is pretty well-stocked with the famous Kutchi handicrafts, embroidered fabrics and more, probably a tad costlier than at Bhujodi but not too much. These are alright for souvenir shopping but the products are most probably machine-made and mass-produced instead of the claims of being handmade. The entire setup is a visual delight with a play of colors showcasing the art, culture and spirit of the Gujarat through the Rann Utsav.

Tent Package
The Tent City has differently sized and priced tents. All tent package stays include fixed timing coach pick up from Bhuj and drop off along with local sightseeing tour of Bhuj. The package also includes pick up and drops along with camel buggy rides to the White Rann twice, once in the evening to view the sunset and once at night for the moonrise. All meals beginning from bed-tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea to dinner are included in the deal. 

Weather during our stay (Dec 3rd week) was extremely pleasant at a maximum of 27 and minimum of 9 degrees celsius.

Food is pretty good at the Tent City dining hall. Dishes from Punjabi, Continental, Gujarati and Kathiawadi cuisines are on the Menu. The delicious meals at the large dining halls are efficiently managed and catered by the Sayaji group of hotels. 
Dining Hall

Our Stay
While we checked in at the large reception area, our bags were whisked off in a jiffy. We were explained the itinerary for our stay and escorted in one of the several golf carts to our tent. We had opted for the Premium tent (Rs 10,000/person/night) and it was really a pretty neat set up with AC/Heater, comfy bed, TV, sitting area, bath-toilet area etc. 
We took the evening coach starting from the gates to the White Rann at around 5 pm to enjoy the sunset. A short 15 minute ride takes you to the white desert through a BSF check point. Another 2 minute camel buggy ride drops you off to a point from which you are free to marvel and wander the White Rann.
I was under the misapprehension that the White Rann would have white sand. 
The Rann of Kutch is a vast, low lying salt flat that extends along the western edge of India. During the rainy season, water level of the adjacent sea increases enough to cause the flooding of the Rann. As the waters recede, the area dries leaving behind mud encrusted with salt. By winter all the water evaporates, leaving behind a white, salt covered terrain.
Honestly speaking, the Rann at Dhordo isn't all that white, thanks to the heavy footfall, camel buggies, dung et al!
We enjoyed a beautiful sunset unfettered by man-made structures listening to lilting folk music by local singers, marveling the surreal white terrain around us!
Back at the Tent city we headed to the bazaar and indulged in some souvenir shopping. That done, it was a scrumptious dinner at the assigned dining hall. The city is beautifully lit at night, with aesthetic lighting that pleases the eye yet is bright enough to serve it's purpose.
Next we headed to the entertainment area which had a host of brilliant live performances ranging from catchy Bollywood and interactive Garba beats, dance by the Siddi community, folk singers and performing artistes.
Around 10 pm, we took the coach again to catch the beauty of the White Rann in the beautiful full moon (yes, we couldn't believe that we had timed our trip so well!). 
The night air was nippy and we were glad we'd packed our warm things!
It took us a little time to get adjusted to the night light. Once we did, we were left awestruck at how well we could see in just the moonlight because of the white terrain reflecting the light back. Indeed a marvel! Sadly, people were going crazy with mobile flash modes marring the beauty of the moment. 
After a comfortable night's sleep in the cozy tent, rendered cozier by the heater and warm blankets, we had breakfast at the dining hall. It was time to check out of Tent City for the next leg of our tour to Dholavira, the archaeological site of the ancient ruins of Harappa carrying happy memories of lovely experiences at THE TENT CITY!

The Tent City Itinerary Booklet
You can get more information on the Rann Utsav and Tent City, Dhordo HERE

Stay tuned for the next leg of my Kutch Diaries at Dholavira.

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and it does not intentionally promote any place or property. All the information and opinions shared here have been gathered and compiled by me based on my personal experience. 

Copyright © 2018 KALA RAVI