Things to Do in Kutch

In the depths of Gujarat lies its most magnificent region which is controlled by a marvellous natural phenomenon, and which has been the backdrop where one of humanity’s earliest civilizations played out their lives. With some of the best things to do in Kutch District of Gujarat, it is a fascinating place with a lot of stories to tell. The Great Rann of Kutch is the most popular attraction of Kutch. For most part of the year, the land that makes up the Rann of Kutch is a shallow wetland- mushy and uncomfortable. But as soon as the dry season sets in, it transforms into an awe-inspiring desert. White sands stretch out to the horizon, the scorching sun beats down upon the earth, groups of flamingos splash the white world with a dash of pink, and as the night falls, ghost lights (also known as Chir Batti) dance around the land. The Rann of Kutch comes alive with festivities for 3 months when the Government of Gujarat organizes the “Rann Utsav festival of the Rann”. But this salt desert is just one of the many fabulous attractions of the Kutch district. There are several monuments that are well worth a visit because of their unique styles of construction and interesting histories. Prag Mahal is an Italian Gothic Palace, made from an exotic combination of Italian marble and Rajasthani sandstone that stands next to the 18th century Aina Mahal in Bhuj.

The white marble halls of Aina Mahal are walls adorned with gold lace and covered with mirrors. The history of the Kutch region is fascinating- it begins from the Harappa civilization and also goes on to document the destructive earthquake of 2002. Kutch Museum is a great place to experience this history, as is Harappa Museum. There are several beaches in the Kutch region as well where some fun filled sea waves can be enjoyed as well as several ancient forts that give a solemn and grand aspect to the region. The region is also a favourite with pilgrims who like to make a religious tour of the powerful holy shrines in Kutch like Koteshwar Mahadev Temple- an ancient Shiva Temple, the 14th century Mata No Madh, and Haji Pir Dargah. 72 Jain temples also enrich the district. Check out the best things to do in Kutch District for your vacation here.

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Vijaya Vilas Palace
A summer palace named after Yuvraj Shri Vijayaraj, the heir of this kingdom makes Vijaya Vilas Palace one of Kutch's famous places. Beautifully made from the red sandstone, this palace offers some of the most exquisite stone carvings and tile work. It is an excellent work of artisans from various parts of India manifesting the vestiges of religious aesthetics in the palace.

Expanded over 45 acres of land, this palace embraces royalty offering splendid views. Palace has its own beautiful private beach and air-conditioned accommodation where the royal family of the Kutch state reside in the present time. 

Location: Vijay Vilas Palace Road, District Kutch, Mandvi Rural, Gujarat 370465

: Rs 20 for person, Rs 50 for camera and Rs 10 for vehicle

Timing: 9 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 6 PM on all days except Thursday.
Kalo Dungar
Wondering where to visit while you are in the largest district of India, Kutch? Well, remember to visit Kalo Dungar situated at the height of 1516 feet above sea level, offering a spectacle of the desert and sky melting into each other's arms and becoming one.

The vastness you witness here defines infinity, and the panoramic view of the Great Rann of Kutch is truly a feast for the eyes. Kalo Dungar, a Gujarati term translated to English denotes the Black Hills, hence standing true to the mesmerizing vision. With a history of Lord Dattatreya devoted to this place, it bestows it with a distinctive beauty and a sacred temple worth visiting. 

Location: Khavda, Kutch District

Price: Rs 100

Timing: 6 AM to 6 PM

Best Time to Visit: October to February
Kutch Museum
Originally established as the Kutch School of Arts, the Kutch Museum is replete with folk arts, ancient artefacts and insights about the tribal people. With an Italian Gothic architecture, the palace welcomes you with eleven major galleries catering to varied sections and is one of the prominent places to visit in Kutch.

With an Italian Gothic style architecture, the museum captures your attention as soon as you lay your eyes on it. The 11 major galleries in the museum cater to different sections, like anthropology, archaeology, textiles, weapons, music instruments, shipping and stuffed animals.The statue of ‘Airavata’ is also an attraction here. 

Location: Opposite Hamirsar lake, Ghanshyam Nagar, Bhuj, Gujarat 370001 

Price: Rs 5 for Indians, Rs 50 for foreigners and an additional Rs 100 for camera.

Timing: 10 AM to 1 PM and 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM on all days except Wednesday and public holidays.
Mandvi Beach
Who doesn't love beaches? With the sound of the gushing water and sunsets to die for, Mandvi beach is one of the favourite tourist places to visit in Kutch. An old historic port town and also a trading centre, it will hold you spellbound with its inebriating breeze and graceful flamingos.

It is also a perfect spot for the adventure lovers since it offers various water sports here. Not only that, you can also enjoy horse riding and some of the most delectable dishes from the food stalls around the beach. You sure wouldn’t want to miss out on its rich history and the attracting windmills. 

Location: Around 64 km from Bhuj district, Mandvi Rural, Gujarat

Timing: Open 24 hours

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Shree Swaminarayan Temple
The majestic grandeur and charm of the Swaminarayan Temple makes it one of the Kutch's famous places. With stunning white marble on its facade and the enduring idols, this temple is a striking example of robustness. It is one of the 7 temples that Swaminarayan established himself as a place of spirituality.

Along with the entire life history of Swaminarayan, the temple also contains audio, kirtan and spiritual collections suitable for Vaishnav followers. It has a really pious atmosphere filling the hearts of everyone who visits here with peace and contentment. This temple is a place you should not miss out on when visiting Bhuj,

Location: Police Station, Tirth Dham, Shree Swaminarayan Road, Opp City, Bhuj, Gujarat 370001

Price: Free

Timing: 5:30 AM to 10 PM

Best Time to Visit: October to March.
Behold the remnants of Harappan civilization, walking you through the history of its rise and fall in the seven stages. Witness this archaeological site and travel to a world of the past which is worth harking back to. Dholavira is also very famous for its water management system which allowed it to proper amidst an arid stretch.

It is spread over a 100 hectares of land and shows continuous evolution. Dholavira has been studied and some interesting facts about the Harappan Civilization have been revealed. It also a major attraction among the tourists because of its intriguing excavations of the civilization. 

Location: Khadir Bet, Kutch District

Price: Free 

Timing: 6 AM to 8 PM

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Aina Mahal
Aina Mahal, also known as Hall of Mirrors, bewitches the tourists with its Venetian-style chandeliers, silver objects, scroll paintings and jewelled swords. The association of this place with the story of its architect Ramsinh Malam, who was taken to the Netherlands to master the art of tile making, emanelling and clock making, adds to the magnitude of this remarkable palace.

There is also a museum manifesting paintings, photographs and royal possessions. It is one of the well-known places to visit in Kutch. Built during the rule of Lakhpatji, it possesses an Indo-saracenic architecture which makes it unique and attractive, taking  your breath away.

Location: Maharao Of Kutch, Darbargadh Chowk, Bhuj, Gujarat 370001 

Price: Rs 20 for person and Rs 30 for camera

Timing: 9 AM to 12 Noon and 3 PM to 6 PM on all days except Thursday. However, it only costs you

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Marine National Park
Being the first marine conservatory in India, Marine National Park is one of the well-known places to visit in Kutch. It offers a surreal experience to anyone who visits this aquatic world of coral reefs, starfishes, sea urchins and many more. Distributed in 42 scattered islands in an archipelago, Marine National Park is a home to endangered aquatic animals protecting them from poachers.

With about 108 species of red, brown and green algae and 70 species of sponges, the park is  one of the main attractions among the tourists. Housing innumerable species of living beings and most of them being visible to the eye, this conservatory is a must visit if someone wants to experience nature in its true essence. It is recommended to hire a guide  when visiting the Marine National Park in order to ensure a rich and smooth experience. 

Location: Asha Marudi, Gujarat 361330

Price: Rs 150 per person

Timing: 8 AM to 6 PM on all days 

Best Time to Visit: October to June
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is a spectacle of life procreating in deserts. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest in the state and is also home to innumerable birds and animals. You will find blackbucks, chinkaras, nilgai, white pelicans, avocets and waterfowls. A distinct mix of flora is what will also mesmerize you when observed closely. You will come across kahri jar, mithi jar, kerdo, hermo baval, bokhani. If you love staying intune with nature and being embraced in the arms of nature provides you with peace, then Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place for you. 

Location: Rann of Kutch, Kutch District

Price:  Rs 250 on weekdays to Rs 280 on weekends for Indians and Rs 1200 and Rs 1500 for foreigners respectively. An additional of Rs 50 for a still camera for Indians and Rs 350 for foreigners.

Timing:  6 AM to 6 PM on all days. 

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Narayan Sarovar
Named after Lord Narayan, an embodiment of Lord Vishnu, Narayan Sarovar is a holy and divine place of worship for Hindus. The glimpse of the setting sun, the sea and the temple are enchanting. It is also one among the five holy lakes of Hinduism.

A very unique holy experience, Narayan Sarovar is said to be formed when the foot of Lord Vishnu touched the land and the water erupted out of that spot, blessing it with a shape of a pious. The place holds a fair every 11th to 15th of Kartik (Nov-Dec). You can also witness a number of birds like herons, plovers and egrets. 

Location: Lakhpat, Kutch district,Gujarat, India.

Timing: Open 24 hours.

Best Time to Visit: October to February
Roha Fort
An epitome of historical grandeur, Roha Fort still stands firm after 550 years. If you love going into the details of the past and have an interest in history, this fort will capture your attention. Built by Thakore Noganji, it is unique to its beauty and comprises 52 villages under it.

Built with stone and baked bricks, the fort looks like a temple. Roha Fort is also famous for a poet, Kalapi composed his poems on the roha hill because of the calmness and the peace around. It is a nature’s delight as some birds like peacocks can be spotted here. 

Location: Roha Village, Gujarat 370675

Timing: Open 24 Hours

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
This sanctuary offers you a safari experience so that you can catch the sight of a wide variety of animals and birds closely. Established in 1973, Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary covers an area of 494 km providing a thrilling experience for everyone with an adventurous heart.

Camel and jeep safaris here should top your bucket list if you are an adventure and wildlife traveller. Found nowhere else in the world, the fascinating Indian Wildass can be spotted here offering you a once in a lifetime experience that you should not miss out on. 

Location: Old Officers Colony, Dhrangadhra, Gujarat 363310

Price: Rs 250 on the weekdays and Rs 280 on the weekends. 

Timing: 7 AM to 1 PM and 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM on all days and closed on Wednesdays.

Best Time to Visit: November to March
Kanthkot Fort
A ruling place for many rulers, Kanthkot Fort stands isolated yet sturdy since the 8th century. You can also come across remnants of three temples in this fort, making it one of the fascinating places to visit in Kutch. With a rich history associated with this fort, there is so much to explore for someone who is intrigued by history and forts.

Kanthkot fort also has a sun temple showing an image of the god of sun with folded hands. Its architectural importance also lures the tourists making it one of the most visited tourist destinations in Kutch. 

Location: Kanthkot, Gujarat 370135

Timing: Open 24 hours

Best Time to Visit: October to February
If you want to witness the red-laterite soil and sandstone hills, this reddish-brown archaeological site is the right place for you. It is also one of the most visited tourist places in Kutch. Possessing horse remains from 2000 BCE makes it one of the most intriguing tourist destinations while visiting Kutch.

Although the vegetation is scarce here with just cactus, small babul and pilu trees, it holds a distinct place for a traveller because it is significant to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is also said that a 750m wide river flowed through this site which is now a small stream.

Location: Rapar Taluka, Kutch District

Timing: Open 24 hours on all days.

Best Time to Visit: November to February
Siyot Caves
Step into these rock-cut, unexplored caves of ancient times that witnessed Chinese travellers in the 7th century. The inscriptions, carvings and architecture make this a place of interest for the tourists. They are also known as 'Kateshwar Buddhist Caves' exhibiting its association with the Buddhists through the sanctum and an ambulatory.

Nestled in a remote part of Kutch, their location adds to the mysteriousness of the caves. With a rich historical background, these caves will captivate your attention and intrigue someone with a love of history and research to get into the depths of it’s past and explore it further.

Location: Kateshwar, Gujarat

Price: Free

Timings: Open 24 hours on all days
Bhadreshwar Jain Temple
Also known as Vasai Jain Temple, it was built after 45 years of Lord Mahavir's death, this temple retains the original Parshwanath idol from 500 BC. Bhadreshwar Jain Temple is a site of historical significance for Jains, and the intricately carved details add to its glory.

With its striking beauty and splendid white marble pillars, the temple stands tall attracting the tourists and all the religious people. With very positive and pious vibes, visiting the temple transports you into the world of peace and tranquility. Bhadreshwar Jain Temple is not only visited by the Jain but the tourists from around the world find solace here. 

Location: Bhadreshwar, Gujarat 370410

Price: Free

Timing: 6 AM to 9 PM

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Hamirsar Lake
This is a perfect place for all the lovers of solitude. Hamirsar lake is the ideal spot for relaxation, allowing you to swim or enjoy the calmness of the water. You can also stroll by the lake or enjoy the shade of a tree and just be on your own.

Hamirsar Lake is an attraction for all those who love photography because it’s surroundings are so captivating and beautiful that you cannot resist capturing it. You can also reach other famous tourist destinations like the Kutch Museum, Aina Mahal just by strolling by the edge of the river. 

Location: Bhuj, Gujarat

Timing: Open 24 hours 

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Dhinodhar Hills
A fusion of trekking and pilgrimage destination, Dhinodhar Hills is one of the magically exciting places to visit in Kutch. With Dhoramnath Shrine in its bosom, it is a sacred place devoted to Dhoramnath. Providing a perfect opportunity for trekking, it is one of Kutch's famous places for trek lovers.

These quaint, quiet hills entice all the nature lovers with its mesmerising beauty. You can also witness some animals on the way to your trek like sheeps, dogs and lovely birds. The hexagonal rocks and pillars will take you by surprise while you are climbing your way up to the peak. This is also a reason for these hills being a famous tourist spot. 

Location: Nani Aral Village, Nakhatrana Taluka, Kutch District

Timing: Open 24 Hours

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary
Surprise for you nature lovers! This wildlife sanctuary offers you diverse species of birds making your heart brim with ecstasy. If luck is on your side, you can also spot the rare species of Stolicska's Bushchat, Indian Sandgrouse, Quails, Larks and White-naped Tit here.

The lovely, pink flamingos will leave you awe of their beauty. Do not miss out on this sanctuary if you want to be  blown away by the beauty of exquisite and delicate nature. It will delight you in ways you never imagined and will touch your heart by the time you leave. 

Location: Jakhau village, Abdasa District.

Best Time to Visit: October to February

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