Kutch... the topography of this vast region of Gujarat is mostly dry with minimum or no vegetation. When team Smartstay.in visited Kutch in July, 2015, most of the time during our exploration, we were greeted by dust storms and barely a human in sight.
This made us wonder, how do people live and survive in such extreme conditions? What do they majorly do for an earning? What are the opportunities they find or are given to grow in life, to sustain in these conditions?
We spoke to a few locals while in Bhuj and what we learnt from them was an eye opener!
Until the year 2005, life was miserable for the locals in Kutch due to lack of opportunities to earn a decent livelihood. The cars carrying tourists were often surrounded by desperate locals and beggars; there was lack of food, water and work opportunities.
The destination is very rich in cultural and heritage and is known for its massive White Desert called, White Rann of Kutch. The desert is white, but unlike the normal sand laden desert, this one is spread out with natural salt and extends to touch the neighbouring Pakistan.
An opportunity was recognized by Gujarat Tourism of India and all three were combined brilliantly to create a celebration of timeless culture! Since summers are harsh and monsoons unpredictable, winter season was chosen to pull out this newly churned event which was created with zero expectations. Initially, to understand the kind of response and mindset, Rann Utsav was started and continued for a month. It saw little success, but was not given up on.
It turns out that Rann Utsav has been accepted on a global scale for its amazing aura surrounded by lights, colours, culture, dance, music, food, handicrafts by local artisans and lots more!
Rann Utsav now continues till date between the months of November and February each year and now goes on for 3 full winter months with a massive platform of over 300 luxury tent set up, various handicraft and food stalls, adventure sports, cultural programs and nearby setup of bhunga (mud hut) resorts offering ethnic stay options for guests wanting to experience the essence of Gujarat!
Each year, a new bhunga resort springs up near the White Rann of Kutch, providing alternate stay options to guests and helping accommodate the vast number of national and international travelers and tourists with comfortable and hygienic stay options and meal facilities.
Life has thus found a new meaning amongst the locals at Kutch giving them various opportunities and making them ready to face on a new tomorrow with an upbeat attitude! Today, the people of Kutch feel content and gear up throughout the year to meet the expectations of tourists and travelers who wish to take away a piece of this amazing land of culture as memoirs in their hearts!
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