India

In Frames | Where a road is the destination


Till not so long ago in Gujarat, the distance from Bhuj to Dholavira was around 240 km via Rapar and Bhachau.

But in the run-up to the G-20 Summit, the Government of India cleared 31.9 km-long Khavda-Khadir road, through the Rann of Kutch, on a priority basis (though road widening works are ongoing).

The road was originally sanctioned in 2019, but was delayed, and finally opened for tourists in 2023. Dholavira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site was once a Harappan city situated on the island of Khadir, where the remains of the famous Indus Valley Civilisation can be found.

Now, it takes just 130 km to reach Bhuj, the capital of Kutch, says Jilubha Sodha, sarpanch of Dholavira.

The Rann of Kutch is famous for its white salty desert sand and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world.

Motorbike tourists who shared images of the road, while it was under construction, say it was a “heavenly experience” to be riding there. And so the name ‘Road to Heaven’ stuck, as can be seen on Google Maps.

Many tourists, particularly bikers, and YouTubers travel just for the road trip. This magnificent stretch of road passing through the Great Rann of Kutch, where both sides are the endless white Rann, is a favourite destination for them to explore.

There are many other locations for nature lovers in Khadir, such as Fossil Park, Bokad Gado, Bhim Godo, Sonpari, Cheria Bet, Chhipar, Sunset point at Bhanjado Hill, and Dholavira.

With all these sites, the Road to Heaven has put Khadir on the world map, says local social worker Mahadev Barad.

Tourists interested in bird watching, wildlife, history/archaeological, art and handicraft, tribal studies are already flocking to this area. Many of them also visit Smriti van Earthquake Memorial of Bhuj.

The Road to Heaven seems to be the pièce de résistance.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Road of tranquillity: An aerial view of The Road to Heaven in Kutch district of Gujarat.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Gates of paradise: Entrance to the Road to Heaven from Khavda side in Kutch District.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Blissfull journey: View from a tourist bus travelling through the Road to Heaven.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Rich history: A guide explains about Dholavira archaeological site to visitors.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Birds of heaven: A group of Lesser Flamingos seen from the Road to Heaven.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Work continues: Road expansion works ongoing at the Road to Heaven.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Search of frames: A pre-wedding shoot at the Road to Heaven.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

Gracious hosts: Workers make traditional Bhunga huts for travellers to stay near the Road to Heaven.

Photo:
VIJAY SONEJI

To infinity: A sunset seen from The Road to Heaven.



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