We were driving down from Little Rann of Kutch to the ancient civilization of Dholavira. The 246 km journey through pristine nature to reach the once vibrant 5000 yr old site was a canvas where the virgin colours of nature unfolded at every bend. Within the first 100 kms we came across cotton trees with snowy white tops swaying with the wind and bright yellow mustard plantations gleaming under the morning sun. We stopped for a while watching the white and yellow compete for our attention. However, like all good parents, we were equally mesmerized by both. A little ahead we saw something moving in a large pool of water and I literally jumped out of the car thinking it was a moving island. It turned out to be a group of migratory birds who were huddled together and floating on the water. All our attempts to maintain complete silence were in vain since some of them broke away to fly high. The next 15 minutes was a lesson on the power of coming together accompanied by constant clicks to capture the magical moments.
The next hour we drove through arid land and small villages, waving at young children, the occasional camel rider, shy women in search of water and fighting hard to ward of sleep. Suddenly, I woke up with a jerk and we were on a silken stretch of tarred road with pristine white on either side. We were on the bridge crossing over to the island of Khadir Bet which was home to the ancient civilization of Dholavira. The car came to a grinding halt at my untimely screeches and before the driver realized, I had exited out of the rear door and jumped down on to the White Rann (White Salt Desert). It was as white as it could be since it was rarely visited and its virgin beauty shone under the afternoon sun. We rolled over, held some in our palm to carry back home, lest we get another opportunity. I tend to carry some soil or stone from every place as a memoir since it carries the stories and fragrance of the place like no other.
I tried my best to keep an open mind but the tone was already set from the sights that came up on the way as a foreshadow of the once vibrant, pristine, virgin and cultured civilization of Dholavira. More about the 5000 year old civilization of Dholavira in a later post.