Stretching across miles in Western India’s Kutch and Eastern Pakistan’s Sindh is the seasonal salty marsh called the Great Rann of Kutch. It is a part of the Great Indian Thar desert while the Rann, literally translates to desert. It is 7,505.22 square kilometers in area and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. The Great Rann measuring about 15 meters above sea-level is located between the gulf of Kutch and the Indus river. The salty marsh is formed as the shallow waters evaporate or retreat leaving behind the endless salt deposits across the land. But no amount of facts or images prepare one for the spectacle that the Rann truly is.
The Rann Utsav organizes tents as living quarters for tourists who visit the Rann each year. The festival offers one a chance to take in the endless white beauty, live in tents, soak in the traditional kutchi culture and marvel at the diversity of India. The tents too with their bright colors and patterned designs offer a Kutchi insight. Held in the winter months when there is the palpable chill in the air in the evenings and the sharp hot sun during the day, the Rann on full moon nights is magnificent.
When the Gujarat tourism sends out images of the full moon shining down on the salt stretch complete with the silhouette of the camel, one does get a picture, but standing in the Rann with the sun rising on your east and the moon setting on your west is something else altogether! That makes me want to think that the Rann is truly a natural wonder of the great sub-continent.
Salt as we superstitious bunches know is a great absorber of all negativity. Hundreds of times I have had a fistful of salt take away the “buri nazar” or literally the evil eye of bad people. For what it’s worth, it worked, and hence I’d like to believe that it was worth it’s salt! As I bunched up a chunk of the salt crystal for a friend I could not help but marvel at the white as snow stretch. It was all white as far the eye could see just barely distinguishing the horizon before the sky took over.
At night under the velvety moonlit night the Rann is breathtakingly beautiful, so beautiful that my words are definitely not going to do any justice. It’s one of those natural beauties like the Grand Canyon, the Himalayas, Ladakh, the Swiss Alps or the Natural Parks. Like most of the times, in case of beauty, the camera hardly does much justice. And its obviously heart-wrenching to see litter in terms of paan residue, plastic bottles or packets strewn around. Though touted as an eco-zone, sterner action would hopefully do away with litter.
A thing of beauty is joy forever and more often than not beauty inspires happiness and brings poetry to the heart.
As a Haiku novice, here are my takes on the Great Rann of Kutch through succinct Haikus!
no bird in sight
a sheet of white
faces of might
coming in flashes of sight
rush of light
full-moon embedded amidst