White Desert

Top choice nature reserve in Around Bhuj

The name White Desert probably conjures up images of vast, silent expanses of searing salt desert where you can quietly meditate on life. Well, you can rub that image right out. Yes, the desert itself is magnificent, but in season thousands of domestic tourists descend on the place each day, bringing with them everything you didn't expect to find in this remote corner of India.

There's a giant tent city to accommodate visitors, a toy train, an entire full-size passenger plane (though nobody could explain its relevance to anything) and designated selfie spots with plastic camels – and that's all before you reach the parking area.

From the parking area there's a 1.3km trail to a viewing tower overlooking the great salt expanse. Many people ride to the tower in carts pulled by mules or camels painted – for no apparent reason – to look like leopards. Although it's far from a meditative experience it's an awful lot of colour and fun.

A permit is needed to visit, and this is paid for and processed in the village of Bhirandiyara. You'll need a photocopy of your passport and visa.


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