Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Road to Heaven in Kutch

Road to Heaven in Kutch 

Few people knew about the white desert in Kutch before it was popularised by the then CM Mr. Narendra Modi. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations of Gujarat to be visited preferably in winter. One may enjoy the place the most in full moon night when the sky globe acts as a dome, full moon as a lamp and the white earth as a bed in which one merges into the nature to realise the ecstasy of life.. the wow moment of life. Dhordo, Hodako became the popular sites after yearly celebrations of Ranotsava but now one more destination the ‘road to heaven’ is attracting more tourists. 

Gujarat and Kutch were lucky to become the part of Indus Valley Civilisation. Earlier, Dholavira (333 kms from Ahmedabad - 130 kms from Bhuj) was missed by many tourists visiting Kutch due to its awkward northwesterly location. In absence of road from Khavda to Dholavira (58 km), the salt marshes area with white salty desert was unapproachable and therefore people were missing the beauty of nature too. Tourist going from Ahmedabad to Dholavira had to travel long route via Rapar and again Rapar to Bhuj to approach other locations of Kutch converting the international border. 

All know about the Greater Rann of Kutch but who knows about Khadir? It is located at the corner of an isolated island in the Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) which has 12 villages. It is famous for Desi Pearl millet (bajara). Rotala made of pearl millet and topped with pure makkhan or ghee is the delicacy of the area. Khadir in GRK is the most popular breeding site for thousands of pink greater flamingos. Flamingos come from Central Asia after the monsoon to build their nests, breed in shifts through the winter, and disappear in the summer. GRK is therefore called a City of Flamingos and Gujarat is known as mahiar for birds to come, breed and return. 

A newly build road from Khavda to Dholavira (58 km) now popular as ‘road to heaven’ has not only changed the route of the tourists but also stimulated the growth of the villages located in this area. The tourists travelling from Bhuj may enjoy mawa (condensed milk) of Bhirandiyara and mesuk and gulabpak of Siaram Sweets of Khavda enroute. As soon as they travel few kilometres on a new road towards Dholavira they enter into the white desert area with white Rann and salt marshes area. The beginning portion and end portions of the road are dry with white cover of salt and the middle part have saline water on the land creating white image of the area. The wind mixed with moist and salinity energised the visitors. Open the windows and hood of the car and feel the great drive in heaven. Beware of the bees when you stop for photography. They don’t bite but may make uncomfortable feel with their presence and flying around. It may be seasonal. 

After a great drive on the ‘road to heaven’ you enter into the ancient harappans site of Dholavira. It is known as Kotada (large fort) spans in area of about 100 hectares surrounded by two seasonal nallahs, Mansar in north and Manhar in south. It was unearthed by Mr. JP Joshi of Archeological Survey of India in 1967-68. The city is remarkable for its exquisite town planning, monumental structures, aesthetic architecture, water management and storage system. It has oldest sign board of the world with ten large sized signs yet to be decoded. It went through the seven significant cultural changes starts right from the virgin ground to to a creative period, gateways, drainage system, seals, script board, tools, beeds, weights, items of gold, copper, stone shell and clay, the functioning pillars, free standing columns, etc, to a decline or temporary desertion to a new and different culture of diverse pottery traditions. It started with urbanisation and became totally deurbanised might be because of continuous years of droughts and the site was never occupied thereafter. The excavated site takes an hour or more walk time depending upon one’s interest and a museum built nearby explains the details with articles and their narratives. A short film tells the story of the site that gives the glimpses of our glorious past. 

The ancient harappan site of Dholavira is now occupied by the tourists as it has accommodation facility of 22 AC rooms with a restaurant. A comfortable stay with delicious food wins the heart of tourists. Thanks to G-20 summit that has made the execution of the projects faster. We have the ‘road to heaven’ and the site of Dholavira is better organised with a museum, accommodation and restaurant. 

Do visit our glorious past at Dholavira via the ‘road to heaven’. 

कुछ दिन तो गुज़ारिए गुजरात में। 😊🌸🌼🌺


6 March 2023



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