This was our 3rd year of participating at Rann Utsav. The word “Rann” means desert. Rann utsav is an annual function organized by Gujarat Tourism where thousands of people from all over the world come to visit the Great White Desert of Kutch district. The function particularly organizes at the time of Full Moon where the white desert looks awesome in the moon shine. Our astronomy club also takes part in this function by showing interesting sites to the tourists around the desert through binoculars and also showing celestial objects like The Moon, planets through telescopes.
This year we carried our club’s 6-inch reflecting telescope and my 25x100 binocular. I along with 9 club members started journey at 6:45am. The function organizes at two different places in the northern part of Kutch. The first place is “Kala Dungar” or the Black Hill which is situated some 80 Km North of Bhuj. The hill is the tallest in Kutch district and is famous for Lord Dattatrey’s Temple. The other place is Dhordo Village.
We first approached at the top of Kala Dungar. The views of the great white desert of Kutch were really mind blowing! I then set my 25x100 binocular and located “The India Bridge” for tourists. The India Bridge was 19 Km away from our place but after seeing the view through my binocular the people reacted that it seemed as it was just 1 km away!!
Then at 3:12, the C.M. of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi arrived at Kala Dungar. He saw few interesting sites through the binoculars as well as through spotting scopes. At 4:00pm we left the place for Dhordo Village. After 10pm we set our instruments in the vicinity of the tourist tents. About hundreds of tourists looked through my 25x100 binoculars and also through our club’s 6-inch reflecting telescope. They saw the moon through the binoculars and somebody said the moon looks like the white desert of Kutch! They also glimpsed two moons of Jupiter through a telescope. Actually all the 4 moons were visible but Europa was very close to Jupiter. Ganymede and Callisto were just 4.2” apart, hence they saw one satellite instead of two..!
Overall this year’s Rann Utsav was great especially for site seeing. This year we had more interactions with people. They were very much excited to know about celestial objects and interesting sites in the desert of Kutch.