Celebrate Christmas at Rann of Kutch: Mr. Patwal & Co.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
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Stretching for 10,000 sq kms, the white salt desert at Kutch region or the Rann of Kutch is a geographical wonder. Situated in the northwestern part of the vibrant state of Gujarat, the Kutch area attracts tourist during the months of November, December and January where the Rann is formed and at its best. Not only that, the Kutch region is home to rare wildlife, is full of culture and history and is the site of the Harappan civilization. Probably this is why Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has correctly said “Kutch Nahi dekha toh Kya Dekha” (If you have not seen kutch, then you have not seen anything). We, at The Great Escape, invite you to be a part of our elaborate Kutch festival this December as we take you to the untouched white salt desert and showcase the rich art and culture of the Kutchi region. Our 4 day itinerary is jam packed with activities as we cover the length and breadth of the entire Kutch region and indulge is some delicious local Kutchi cuisine. From visiting the site of the Indus valley civilization at Dholavira, an island in the middle of the Rann, to visiting local artisans at Bhuj to camping in luxurious swiss tents, to celebrating the Rann Utsav at Dhordo to visiting the most beautiful and secluded beach at Mandvi, our 4 day itinerary will leave you nothing less than satisfied. So, go on and pack those bags, afterall “Kuch din toh gujaro Gujarat mein”
Double sharing basis
(bf, lunch & Dinner)
It's midnight and our journey begins :) 12:00 am: Pick up from Ahmedabad airport 6: 00 am: Enjoy the first view of the Rann. We will stop over at the Rann to witness sunrise and take a lot of pictures 7:00 am: Reach our Resort at Dholavira. Freshen up. Have breakfast. 9:00 am: Introduction. Followed by a short tour of the area. 10:00 am: Rest 12:30 pm: Lunch 1:30 pm: Drive to the site of the Indus Valley Civilization. 2:30 pm: A guided tour of the Indus valley civilization. Our guide has more than 25 years of experience at the site and was a part of the team that did the initial excavation at the site. 4:00 pm: Visit the museum. 4:30 pm: Drive to the fossil park. A guided tour of the fossil park Fun fact: You will find a 1000 year old fossilized tree trunk at the park :) 5:30 pm: Explore the Rann. Enjoy sunset at the Rann 6:30 pm: Drive back to our resort 7:30 pm: Reach the resort. 8:00 pm: Dinner. THE DAY IN DETAILS Once everyone is picked up, we will start our journey from Ahmedabad to Dholavira. Dholavira is around 360 kms from Ahmedabad and is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus valley Civilization of the Harappan culture, dating back to 4500 years ago, while the other site, Lothal is more exhaustively known and easier to reach. Dholavira, also locally known as Kotada (which means large fort), sprawls over 100 hectares of semi arid land and is one of the islands in the Great Rann of Kutch that remain above the flood plains in months when the rest of the desert is submerged in monsoon. It has 2 seasonal streams, Mansar in north and Manhar in South. Visit to Dholavira offers us a memorable experience that comes with being surrounded by the Great Rann of Kutch. It is a unique insight into the pioneering Harappan mind, with one of the world’s earliest and best planned water conservation systems and what might be the world’s first signboards, written in ancient indus script.Journey to Dholavira itself is beautiful, taking you through the saline desert plains, where you can spot wildlife such as Gazelle. Nilgai (blue bull) and various types of birds. After Dholavira, we will move to the Fossil Park to check out some ancient fossils and if lucky spot flamingo’s. By evening we will return to campsite.
The Highway Rann
Site of the Indus Valley Civilization
Sunset at Rann
Swiss Tents with attached bathroom
(bf, lunch, tea & Dinner)
6:00 am: Wake up Call 7:00 am: Breakfast 8:00 am: Drive to Bhujodi 1:00 pm: Lunch 2:30 pm: An interactive session with the Vankars (weavers) of Bhujodi as they talk about their age old tradition of weaving fabric 4:30 pm: Head off to Bhuj fort. 5:30 pm: Climb to the top of the fort. Enjoy sunset from the fort 6:30 pm: Start to our campsite at Mankuwa 7:30 pm: Reach our campsite. Allot tents. Followed by dinner 9:00 pm: Bonfire and singing THE DAY IN DETAILS We start early today. After some delicious breakfast, we drive to Bhujodi village which is just 8 kms before Bhuj. What makes Bhujodi special is that the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants are involved in the art of weaving. The weavers, also known as Vankars, have been passing down the tradition of weaving for generation. We will visit none other than Vankar Vishram Vajli, a multigenerational weaving and dyeing business run by Shamji. Shamji has transformed the venture into a prosperous business with clients all over India and abroad. Not only that, he is the recipient of the UNESCO Seal of Excellence award. Shamji and his family will walk us through the entire process of weaving and show us how wool sourced from the Rabaris(shepherds) is spun, starched and dyed into beautiful shawls, sarees and fabric. If we are lucky, we might get to see Indigo dying as well Did You Know? A fabric from Kutch is different from a straight weave. The highlight of their weave is an extra weft, woven by a technique typical of this place. You won’t find it anywhere else. After the session at Bhujodi, we will head off to witness a beautiful sunset and a view of the Bhuj city from the Bhuj fort. After that we head off to our campsite at Mankuwa. Located amidst fields of dates and pomegranates, our campsite is a treat for the nature lovers. Decorated beautifully in Kutchi style, this campsite will be more than your home for the next few days. You will be staying in comfortable canvas tents on double sharing basis with each tent having its own attached bathroom.
The Vankars of Bhujodi
The house of Vankar Vishram Vajli
Swiss Tents with attached bathroom
7:00 am: Wake up call 8:00 am: Breakfast 9:00 am: Leave for Nirona village to visit the Khatri family that performs the legacy artform of Rogan painting. 12:00 pm: Lunch at the house of a local Kutchi family 1:30 pm: Leave for Kala Dungar 3:00 pm: Reach Kala Dungar. Climg to the top 4:00 pm: Start to Dhordo 5:30 pm: Visit the Rann Utsav. 8:00 pm: Start back to the campsite. THE DAY IN DETAILS Kutch has always been known for its wealth of culture and handicrafts. And one thing that we really do not want to miss is exploring a few local art forms. So, after breakfast we will head to “Nirona” village. Located around 40 kms north of Bhuj, Nirona village is where we can find three very unique local art forms — one of which even made its way to The White House. Yes, we are talking about the popular Rogan art, a legacy art form that has been taken forward, for the past 300 years, by the Khatri family of Nirona. What is Rogan Art? The word Rogan comes from Persian and means ‘oil-based’. The process of making the natural colours used in the art gives it such a name. Castor oil is heated on fire for about 12 hours and then cast into cold water to give a thick residue called the rogan. This is then mixed with stone pigments to lend it different hues. Next, the artisan uses a six-inch metal stick to paint with a fine thread of rogan on cloth. Seeing it live makes us realize how delicately the rogan thread has to be led with precision to give shape to one’s imagination. Next in the list is The Luhars of Nirona, and their popular Copper Bell art. Preserving it for the last 10 or so generations, many families in Nirona get their livelihood totally out of this. Copper Bell art has mainly originated from Sindh, and even today many villages, around the border area inside India and Pakistan make it. Once done with Copper Bell, we move to the art of Lacquer, practiced by a semi nomadic tribe called Wada, in the Banni area in and around the villages of Nirona and Bhirandiayara. Obtained from the sap of the Rhus Tree which changes colour from white to brown upon exposure to air, Lacquer is a simple reflection of zigzag patterns creating waves of colors mixing with one another and adorning simplest of the products like wooden spoons, bread rolling pins, containers, toys, utensils etc. Our lunch is arranged at the house of a local. Served with lots of love and warmth, this can be counted as one of your best meals in the Kutch region. After lunch, we will head off to Kala Dungar. Kala Dungar or the Black hill is the highest point in Kutch, at 462 m. From here, the entire northern horizon vanishes into the Great Rann, the desert and sky often becoming indistinguishable. It is one of the few non-coastal locations where you feel like you are at the edge of the earth, on the brink of incomprehensible vastness that fades off towards infinity. Looking out from the Black Hills, you can understand the tremendous effort that those who undertake the crossing of the Great Rann have to make. Since this is one of the places where a civilian can get closest to the Pakistan border, there is an Army post at the top; beyond here, only military personnel are allowed. The hill is also the site of a 400-year-old temple to Dattatreya, the three-headed incarnation of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva in the same body. Legend says that when Dattatreya walked on the earth, he stopped at the Black Hills and found a band of starving jackals. Being a god, he offered them his body to eat and as they ate, his body continually regenerated itself. Because of this, for the last four centuries, the priest at the temple has prepared a batch of prasad that is fed to the jackals after the evening aarti. After enjoying the view from Kala Dungar, we head off to Dhordo to be a part of the Rann Utsav. Rann Utsav is a fest. Locals from all over the Kutch region set up stalls selling their wares. The "mela" is colorful. There is musical performance, activities and lots of food. Our evening is for merriment. With our bags full and our wallets lighter, we head back to our campsite by the night.
Enjoying A Meal
Rann at Dhordo
Entry To Rann Utsav
Stay Not Included
(bf & Lunch)
7:00 am: Wake up call 8:00 am: Breakfast 9:00 am: Free time. We will be arranging some activities for the team. Those who want to go for Bhuj sightseeing can head off to visit the Swaminarayan Temple, Aina Mahal and Parag Mahal. Others can stay at the camp 12:30 pm: Lunch at campsite 1:30 pm: Start towards Mandvi 3:00 pm: Visit the Vijay Villas palace 4:00 pm: Head off to a secret beach. Not many people are aware of this beach at Mandvi. This beach is one of the most pristine and isolated beach in that area. 5:00 pm: Reach the beach. Enjoy sunset at the beach 7:00 pm: Head off for dinner at Mandvi. If time permits, we will visit the ship building yards. 8:30 pm: Start for Ahmedabad. THE DAY IN DETAILS The morning is free. Relax at the campsite or go touring the Bhuj town, we have left it on you. After lunch, pack your bags and get ready to leave for Mandvi, our last destination in Kutch region. Once a famous port and now an important tourist attraction in Kutch, Mandvi is one such place where one can expect sea, sand and sun. Mandvi is an old port town and served as an important trading center until Mumbai came into the picture. We will visit the bank of Rukmavati River, where we can see handmade wooden ships. We will stand at the Tower of Wagers, where once wealthy shipowner used to gather, awaiting the return of the trading fleet from East Africa, and bet on whose would arrive first and a little away from the Mandvi beach we will visit the Vijay Vilas Palace, which is now a resort and is known for its fantastic architecture. We will spend the evening at our secret beach followed by some delicious dinner. Overnight journey to Ahmedabad in Tempo Traveler post dinner. Expect to reach Ahmedabad between 4:30 am to 5:30 am the next day
Fun Time at Campsite
Fun Time at Campsite
Sunset At The Secret Beach
Vijay Villas Palace
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𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐉𝐎𝐘 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝘋𝘪𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘔𝘦𝘨𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘢 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘴, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴? 𝘖𝘳 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘒𝘶𝘵𝘤𝘩, 𝘎𝘶𝘫𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩? 𝘖𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘉𝘩𝘶𝘵𝘢𝘯’𝘴 𝘎𝘋𝘗 𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦’𝘴 𝘏𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴? The joy of traveling is to wholly immerse yourself into the story of the place that you travel to and we at TGE Travels bring nothing less than that on the table. Our well thought out itineraries give a deeper insight into the culture and history of a place by getting our travelers closer to the local communities, their customs, cuisines and lifestyle. And it goes without saying that we are the queens of finding offbeat locations, stays and activities which we bring out in all our itineraries. TGE stands for The Great Escape and a trip with us is like pressing the “Escape” key from the mundane routine to an exciting and cherishable travel experience 𝐖𝐇𝐎 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐖𝐄? Established in the year 2016, TGE travels was founded by Reetu Yadav and Jamila Kapasi, two expert mountaineers who had more than 6+ years of experience in mountaineering and the outdoors. TGE Travels is infact one of the rare travel and outdoor companies wholly owned by women with a vision of adding more women leaders in the unconventional outdoor leadership roles. What started as just a trekking company, TGE Travels has evolved into a more wholesome style of traveling by adding experiential traveling as one of its primary services. Our team at TGE Travels are a bunch of travel experts who want to add a meaning to your excursions. We are a strong unit of on ground team leads, backend supports and partner vendors who work cohesively to make your trip smooth and memorable. 𝐖𝐇𝐘 𝐓𝐆𝐄 𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋𝐒? 𝑺𝒎𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝑮𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒑𝒔 Even before Corona, we have firmly believed that traveling in small groups is the best way to form connections and gain experiences. Now more than ever, we are committed to limiting the group size. Our travelers might meet as strangers but we ensure that they leave as friends. 𝑨𝒎𝒂𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑻𝒆𝒂𝒎 𝑳𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒔 What makes TGE Travels awesome are our team leads. They are the reason why our travelers choose to travel with us again and again. Full of energy and enthusiasm, our team leads are the ones who bring the whole group together. Their energy bounces off our travelers and within no time, the entire group forgets that they were just strangers just sometime ago. But of course, our team leads are also very skilled in handling any situation and ensuring the trip goes as smoothly as possible. 𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝑻𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑶𝒖𝒕 𝑰𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 We have spent endless hours brainstorming on itineraries to bring out the unique stories of the place that we travel to. Not only that, while designing any itinerary our team personally travels to the location to identify experiences and off beat locations. We try to provide the best experience within the timeframe and budget and that has made us popular as one of the more thought driven travel itinerary planners. 𝑪𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒚𝒔 We select our accommodation partners meaningfully. Our stays should have a story to tell. This encourages us in going beyond the standard hotels and instead delving into a wide range of accommodation options where we can choose from authentic homestays, which to us is one of the best ways to learn about the culture of a place, to beautiful resorts that are situated at the perfect picturesque locations to boutique hotels that are elegant and charming. 𝑺𝒂𝒇𝒆 𝑴𝒐𝒅𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 Just like our accommodation partners, we give a lot of importance in choosing the right transport partners. Most of our journey is on road and we ensure our travelers are comfortable in the vehicle. Our drivers become a part of the group and it's amazing to see how our travelers treat them as just one of their own. When it comes to bike trips or Scooty trips, we ensure the two wheelers are well serviced and maintained. Apart from that we always have a support vehicle with us throughout the journey 𝑫𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒊𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝑭𝒐𝒐𝒅 Food is an integral part of our itineraries. Hence all meals are planned in advance allowing our travelers to taste the unique cuisines of the regions that they travel to. We encourage our travelers in trying out local delicacies but never hesitate to deliver something comfortable immediately if the local food does not suit their palette. 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒍 We firmly believe in responsible tourism. Apart from the standard no littering policy, we encourage our travellers to be sensitive to the local communities.
It's always a pleasure travelling with TGE! The one thing I love most is their attention to detail, which ensures that your trip is a memorable one. Travelling with TGE is a wholesome experience, you see the larger more iconic places with no compromise on the little things. Travel with them if you want to interact with the people of the place, eat their food, in short experience their lives. These guys do a superb job of making everyone comfortable and everytime I travel with them I make beautiful bonds with all the other travellers. I would 100% recommend TGE to everyone who has the travel bug. It doesn't get better than this! ☺️❤️
I have known Reetu and Jamila for many years and have worked with them in the past. But this was the first time I decided to travel with them as a participant. When Reetu told me about exploring Spiti in winters I was completely on board. The itinerary sounded exciting and the pricing less. S my friend Manish and I immediately signed up for it. One of the best decisions I ever took. Spiti in winters in beautiful. The 7 days with the team was wonderful. We spent our days driving around the valley and our evenings dancing to pahadi songs. The planning was perfect with utmost care given in the choice of stay and comfort. Of course the highlight of the trip was spotting a snow leopard. Overall it was an amazing trip and I am looking forward to join many more with The Great Escape
Shravan Kumar Poshetty
Should I describe with “perfect planning” / “meticulous coordination”/ “cordial organiser”...might be with all of it.
Flawless execution is what makes them unique and organiser Reetu Yadav has let all of us experience it with her executional capabilities...
Clarity n flow of communication:-5/5
Comfort in Mode of Travel:-5/5
Action in Emergency:- very swift 5/5
Team has proved that its not all about the commercial trip but also the cause which is concealed in their carryings. What we pay at Flemingo Resort at Dholavira goes to educate and for taking care of more than 400 students and their boarding facilities as well.
Its not over yet, you will be pleased to meet the gifted souls from remote villages who are manifested in their respective disciplines like Rogan Art (Hon’le prime minister himself have gifted one to Barack Obama), Wood Art and Bell Art, Textile etc.
You will get to eat the delicious food made out of love from the local (A1 class food).
Off all, well planned itinerary and the execution is commendable. We RoK team who departed on 12th Dec’19 are truly happy with the onsite organiser Reetu Yadav and the offline backbone Jamila Kapasi who took good care of each of us at every stretch.
Their intact affirmative relation and proper delicacy in their execution makes then unique.
My best friend is much impressed with their proceedings and that makes me much happier than ever.
Last but not least, am fortunate to have rest 13 of the participants as part of my extended family. Again the credit goes to TGE.
Kudos to the team and i look for further association with “THE GREAT ESCAPE” ( you have already give our team a great escape from the routine.
Way to go TGE team!!!
Kumar Tarur Parameswaran
Such great detailed planning at micro level and being open and upfront about the tour details impressed me at the very start. They lived up to their promise in every which way.
TGE’s expression of their solidarity towards the cause of the villagers by getting travellers to interact with them in a lively way and help the villagers in their livelihood was one of the primary reasons I chose to travel with TGE.
TGE means immersive experiential travel and what you get in return and come away with are unforgettable lifetime memories.
Looking forward to many more tours with TGE. Reetu and Jamila pull your collars up. Way to go! You will go miles!
The great escape recently took care of my 10 days family trip to Bhutan. We were 9 of us, including 2 kids and 2 elderlies. Each detail of the trip was so beautifully planned and coordinated. Jamila was personally in touch with drivers, hotels and homestay owners to ensure we ar getting the best of experience. We never even had to look for directions, call hotel or tell driver about anything. Everything was already taken care of and we were just the guests in very true sense. Such a wonderful trip it was. Everything was so beautiful including all the places where we stayed.
Much thanks to Jamila and the great escape team to make it work like magic for us!
- Private transportation from Ahmedabad to Ahmedabad. (A/C Tempo Traveler) - Stay at a resort in Dholavira on double sharing basis - Stay in swiss tents on double sharing basis at Mankuwa Campsite - All meals except dinner at Dhordo - Rann Utsav Permits - Activities at Campsite such as bonfire, music, local Kutchi dress to wear and take pictures in - Experienced team coordinator - Experienced guide at Dholavira - First Aid
- Airfare - Dinner at Dhordo - Personal expenses of any kind - Meals on commute - Tips
Policy and Terms
CANCELLATION POLICY 20 days before the event start date: No Refund 20- 40 days before the event start date: 50% Refund Before 40 days of the event start date: 75% Refund