Planning a visit to Kutch. Here's few details that will help you with your trip
Make sure you make Bhuj as your base and then plan around your itinerary. Go to Bhuj in cooler months Nov to Feb. Also the Kutch Desert Festival takes place from Dec to Jan. Check dates and book early
Road - Drive from Ahmedabad to Bhuj via NH8 (5 hrs approx.) Once you reach Bhachau there are 2 routes to reach Bhuj. Via Bhachau - Bhuj bypass (Saves 1 hour) or via Gandhidham route
Bus services from major cities (Ahmedabad / Rajkot / Vadodra) are available
Bus operators: Sahjanand Travels / Patel Travels / Eagle Travels / Somnath Travels
Train - Bhuj has a rail line connected from Mumbai with daily 2 trains and more on others days of the week. Bhuj is the last stop so don't fear missing it. Sleep to your hearts content.
The train halts for 30 mins at Gandhidham for engine change. Post Gandhidham a diesel engine is used to take you further
Flights - Among the costliest route in India. (Thanks to NRI)
Tickets can go upto 15K for the 1 hr journey. Book early or book with Jet Airway miles
Jet & Air India fly to Bhuj from Mumbai
Spice Jet flies to Kandla (Near Gandhidham) from Mumbai
There are number of hotels and resorts in Bhuj. Also dormitory style hostels have recently come up. Check travel sites and book
Everything from Bhuj is approx. 50 kms. You can either opt for a private cab, public state transport or private bus services.
State Transport buses can be boarded from Bus Stand or from Jubilee Circle
Bhuj Bus Station: 02832220002 (Nice helpful staff. Be patient and you will get your info)
Almost every bus enters / exits via Jubilee circle. You need to ask and stand in the route direction
Rickshaws are available. Do sit in a bigger type of rickshaw called the "Chakada" They normally ply of fixed routes on sharing basis
Mata Nu Madh - 100 kms from Bhuj
Stopover at Patel Ice Cream in Mankua which is on the way
Next stop is Nakhtrana - Have some lovely dabeli and kadak
(If you are early have the food items upon return)
You can have lunch at the temple. Nice dal rice is served as prasad with some farsan. If spiritual then get the chunni back which can be asked from the temple priest and keep it at ur home
Head over to Narayan Sarovar which is 25 kms from Mata Nu Madh. Temple.
If requested and have time priest will also cook for you.
Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary is 15 kms from the place. Accessible only via private vehicles. Don't forget to carry enough food and water
Lakhpat. 28 kms from Narayan Sarovar is Lakhpat. It has fort and Gurudwara
Kalo dungar means Black mountain & India - Pak border are on same way and should be covered on same day
On way to White Rann you will pass by Tropic of Cancer. Stopover and get a few clicks. Remember your Geography lessons
Head over to Kaala Dungar and get mesmerised with the views of the desert. Its lovely to view sunset / sunrise from this point
India Bridge can be seen from here which connects onwards to Pakistan border
Once you are done it would be afternoon
Head over for lunch at Shaam-E-Sharad / Hodko resort - Dhordo Village
Check details here: http://www.hodka.in/shaam-e-sarhad-village-resort/concept/
India - Pakistan Border
50km from Kala Dungar is the border. You cannot drive there without prior permissions. How to take permission?
You will need to hire a car and get the car number / driver details from the travel agency. Tell them you are taking permissions for the border visit. The same car and driver needs to be accompanying you on the scheduled day.
Need to write to collector of Kutch letter asking permission to visit the India - Pakistan border with below details:
Date of travel
No of passengers
Name and details of each passenger
Id proof submitted (Attach self attested id proof xerox. Avoid PAN card)
Car model and registration no
Car RTO papers xerox
Once permission is granted only the said passengers and car number is allowed to pass all check points and visit the border
Mobiles will have to be kept with the army personals upon entry to the 50 kms stretch going till the border
Check calendars and if possible consider coming around the time when its a full moon night. It would be worth the visit.
The place is buzzing with tourists and locals during the Kutch Rann Utsav or the Kutch Desert Festival 01st Nov 2018 - 20th Feb 2019)
Check multiple times before booking tents etc during the festival. Multiple privates resorts have come up around the area and are active during the festival
Start early and head to Mandvi. The ship building town
Places to visit
Vijay Vilas Palace. Also has a private beach which has a fee. Worth paying and wandering around
Check the ship building yard as you enter Mandvi