A tiny village in the middle of a desert gets overrun with tourists for four months a year.
Dhordo, located in the middle of the Rann of Kutch desert, is to host the Rann Utsav festival from November 2023 to February 2024 showcasing a variety of art, music and dance along with a wide array of other events.
The festival, also known as Tent City, aims to introduce visitors to the town’s indigenous culture through performances held in the shimmering moonlit landscape.
Outside of festival dates the village has a population of less than 1,000 people, but despite this it was named the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) best tourism village in 2023, partly due to the festival’s popularity and also due to the way it recovered from the 2001 Bhuj earthquake.
During festival season the population skyrockets to 8,000 with visitors coming from across the world.
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The UNWTO said of the village: “From salty marshland to an iconic destination of the Western Indian Subcontinent – Dhordo, in the Rann of Kutch, has become the face of Gujarat’s development.
“Tourism has projected this formerly nondescript village onto the world tourism map.”
Thanks to tourism the area’s economy is growing due to the fact its products are now being promoted nationally and internationally as those who have visited become fascinated by the way these items are made.
Festivalgoers can expect to see a “magnificent” display of vernacular architecture according to the Gujarat tourism board which promotes the event, along with colourful fairs which are held on beaches or by the banks of the lakes.
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The rapid increase in tourism has even allowed the village to create banks, ATMs and introduce cashless payments in many of its businesses.
Those wishing to see the event for themselves will need to get an Entry Permit of White Rann at Dhordo from the tourism board’s website and will need to fly from the UK to Ahmedabad, which is around 380km away from Dhordo before travelling to Bhuj and then on to Dhordo by bus.
A return flight from Gatwick to Ahmedabad will cost about £1,163 with Air India.
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