RANN OF KUTCH – It’s one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world— an endless sea of salt marshes or ‘Rann’ of Kutch. Divided into the Great Rann and the Little Rann, the marsh covers more than 12,500sq km between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of the Indus River situated in southern Pakistan. The grasslands as well as the desert harbour some unique wildlife including several endemic and endangered animal and plant species. Don’t miss the Indian wild ass or the thousands of greater flamingo that nest in the mudflats of the Rann. You could also catch the Rann Utsav in the winter months, where tented accommodation helps you soak up the vibrant culture of the region. The tent city in Dhordo is 80km/ 1.5 hours from Bhuj, and about 410 km/6.5 hours away from Ahmedabad.
SUN TEMPLE, MODHERA – The Solankis of Gujarat were Suryavanshi Gurjars, or in other words, descendants of the Sun God. Bhimadeva I of the Solanki dynasty built this magnificent Sun Temple in Modhera on the banks of the river Pushpavati way back in 1026 CE. And, like so many temples dedicated to the sun god around the world, it was designed to be lit-up by the first rays of the sun on the summer solstice every year. Again, like so many other sun temples, this one too is located at 23.5 degrees, quite on the Tropic of Cancer. The temple complex has three separate, axially aligned segments: the pond of surya kund, the sabha mandap and the guda mandap. However, no prayers or rites are offered in this temple complex. Modhera is located 102km/2 hours away from Ahmedabad.
RANI KI VAV – The vavs or stepwells of Gujarat have traditionally been a system of subterranean water storage. However, the well preserved Rani ki Vav or the Queen’s Stepwell at Patan in Gujarat takes that to a different artistic level altogether. This multi-storeyed structure situated on the banks of the river Saraswati was built in 1063 CE by Rani Udayamati in loving memory of her husband, Bhimadeva I. An inverted temple saluting the sanctity of water, Rani ki Vav leads down seven levels and into a rectangular tank. It is a work of homage, a work of art and a work of architecture all at once—a marvel of a complex technique accompanied by enormous attention to intricate detail. Needless to say, it has been named as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Patan is 130km/2.5 hours from Ahmedabad.