The most anticipated part of our trip. The most awaited. Had been thinking to be here since years.
The White Salt Desert. The land of Agariyas, the traditional salt makers. The area is the dried sea, become marshy in rainy season. Is surrounded by mangrooves and desert vegetation. At the centre is the big unending white dried crystallized salt.
We have timed this perfectly, it was time for Runn Utsav.
There Runn Utsav is set up few kms before the desert. This is a good opportunity to try the Gujrati cousine, art and craft work. A specialty here, promoted by government as well, the camel milk and it's products. Camel milk tastes good, a little salty and sweeter than cow. Also tried camel milk ice cream and tea called Modi chai. Tried the local food for lunch, seemed authentic and had traditional taste.
The white Runn is protected area and is under conservation. One has to take a pass to enter. There is a road built on this desert, which is built on cement slabs because it turns marshy in rainy season.
This road takes into the white salt crystals. It feels as if a totally different planet. There are no words to describe the view, it can only be experienced. I jump with joy:
There are camel rides available which take you inside. But we decided to walk, we walked about 1.5 kms inside. It's totally white here.
We decided to stay till sunset. We could see the white sand glowing. One of the most unique sunset I have ever seen.
They have arranged some light show for night. Looked really awesome when these lights reflect. On the other side they didn't do any lighting, you can see the crystal glowing in night. As we bid adieu to this dry sea salt desert, this day will forever be in my memories.
Some history about this land:
It is believed that Saraswati entered sea from here and in it's last life, it used to get dried up here, thus causing this marshy and salty area. Sea also recedes and gives the salt. There are significant scientific proofs. Can't believe I was standing on the course of Saraswati.
, one of the largest cities of Indus Valley Civilisation, with stepwell
steps to reach the water level in artificially constructed reservoirs.There are more than 150 geographical sites of dinosaur fossils of different periods in Kutch.
In early Hindu books narratives, the region is, under the name of Kachchha or tortoise or coast land, mentioned as a desert with few and wild people
The history of Kutch, a region in the extreme west of the western Indian state of Gujarat, can be traced back to prehistorical times. There are several sites related to Indus valley civilization in region and is mentioned in Hindu mythology. In historical times, Kutch is mentioned in Greek writings during Alexander. It was ruled by Menander I of Greco-Bactrian Kingdom which was overthrown by Indo-Scythians followed by Maurya Empire and Sakas. in the first century, it was under Western Satraps followed by Gupta Empire. By fifth century, Maitraka of Valabhi took over from which its close association with ruling clans of Gujarat started. Chavdas ruled the eastern and central parts by seventh century but were came under Chaulukyas by tenth century. After fall of Chaulukya, Vaghelas ruled the state. Following conquest of Sindh by Muslim rulers, Rajput Samma started moving southwards to Kutch and ruled western regions initially. By tenth century, they controlled significant area of Kutch and by thirteenth century they controlled whole of Kutch and adopted a new dynastic identity, Jadeja.
For three centuries, Kutch was divided and ruled by three different branches of Jadeja brothers. In sixteenth century, Kutch was unified under one rule by Rao Khengarji I of these branches and his direct decedents ruled for two centuries and had good relationship with Gujarat Sultanate and Mughals. One of his descendants, Rayadhan II left three sons of whom two died and third son, Pragmalji I took over the state and founded the current lineage of rulers at the start of the seventeenth century. The decedents of other brothers founded states in Kathiawar. After turbulent periods and battles with armies of Sindh, the state was stabilized in the middle of eighteenth century by council known as Bar Bhayat ni Jamat who placed Rao as a titular head and ruled independently. The state accepted suzerainty of British East India Company in 1819 when Kutch was defeated in battle. The state was devastated by an earthquake in 1819. The state stabilized and flourished in business under subsequent rulers.
Upon the independence of India in 1947, Kutch acceded unto the dominion of India and was constituted an independent commissionaire. It was created a state within the union of India in 1950.
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