Great Rann of Kutch
The majestic Rann of Kutch is a sprawling 2897-square-mile salt marsh located in the Thar Desert, spread over Kutch and south Pakistan. A land of extreme temperatures, the Great Rann of Kutch is one of the most isolated deserts in the world, sought after for its scenic white-carpet landscape by travelers and filmmakers alike.
In migratory season, the Rann’s vast silvery sands dotted with hundreds of striking pink flamingos make for a vision hard to forget. The Rann is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and forest reserves, and also plays host to the legendary desert festival Rann Utsav.
A must-catch sight at the Rann is the unexplained dancing-lights phenomenon called Chir Batti that shows up on a clear night quite randomly. With the mystifying city of Dholavira at the heart of the desert, the lure of the Rann becomes doubly magnetic.
Indus Valley Civilization
A hundred hectares of an unbelievably advanced city shrouded in five thousand years of mystery – and that’s just the beginning of the Dholavira epic. One of the five largest metropolises of the Harappan civilization, Dholavira is a site of immense archaeological interest. It’s located on the Khadir Bet island in the Great Rann of Kutch. Being in India, it is also the most accessible of the major Harappan sites. Older than the Egyptian Pyramids, Dholavira displays remnants of a highly sophisticated urbane culture. It was inhabited as early as 2650 BCE by a tribe way ahead of its time. These ancients had mastered hydraulic engineering and water conservation, built ingenious systems of streets, reservoirs and defense, and crafted a variety of stone and metal antiquities. A tour of the Archaeological Museum and Fossil Park reveals many such incredible discoveries. The most intriguing find here is the famous Dholavira signboard – in all likelyhood the world’s earliest – carrying a cryptic ten-letter inscription. These strange symbols have stunned not just scores of archaeologists and historians worldwide, but also inspired the insignia of Run The Rann.
The people of Kutch are a colorful breed, and not just by virtue of what they wear. Kutchi artisans skilled in weaving, embroidery and handicrafts are applauded across the globe for their exquisite craftsmanship. Run the Rann will utilize and showcase this creativity by employing the artists to design medals and headwear for race participants and winners.
As people, the Kutchis are delightful hosts, resourceful workers and a genuinely heart-warming community. Run the Rann will involve these people in several on-ground activities, providing them new platforms to work and learn while being part of an event of international scale.
Their bonds with the past unsevered, the Kutchis still sing folk songs that speak of four historic cities, including Dholavira. Undoubtedly, this cradle of the ancients remains even today a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of the diverse culture of Kutch.