LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH
Little Rann of Kutch is a unique place on earth with an unending possibility of exploration, numerous sites for unbelievable sights and unforgettable experiences. It is the only haven on earth for endemic Asiatic Wild Ass.
It is situated near ‘Sumera’ lake of Jogad village, 20 K.M. from Halvad and 45 K.M. from Dhrangadhra both are small revenue head quarter towns on the Ahmadabad-Kutch High Ways in Surendranagar district of Saurashtra region in Gujarat. We offer simple but comfortable accommodation and food. The very location of the kooba -huts at the verge of Little Rann provides the visitor a rare chance to explore
Some places in the world are known for lush greenery, others for steep cliffs and snowy glaciers and others still for refreshing water lapping against hot beaches. But of all the landscapes in the world, harsh deserts are perhaps the one that fewest people have experienced. Believing it to be not as pleasant as other landscapes, many people miss out on the tremendous beauty found in deserts. Precisely because there are very few people, visiting deserts like the Little Rann of Kutch which gives a traveler the chance to ponder a world before there were so many of us around.
Only after hours blanketed by the deep silences that fall on the salt flats in the middle of the day, when the only sound is the wind scraping along the sand, can you appreciate the sounds that emerge in the evening, the birds singing, insects chirping and the scuffle of small animals rustling in the brush. Only after looking out at the unending flats do you appreciate the greenery and rich wildlife that congregates on the beyts or islands that rise up out of the Rann. And only after getting to know the desert do you begin to understand a secret, that the beauty of life lies hidden in even the most seemingly desolate of places.
Best Time to Visit October to March
Fascinating Little Rann of Kutch
Covering an area of 4954 Km2, Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat State, India, is one of the most remarkable and unique landscapes of its kind in the entire world. Wild Ass Sanctuary is located in this Rann which harbours the last population of Wild Ass (Equus hemionus khur). It is a vast desiccated, unbroken bare surface of dark silt, encrusted with salts which transforms into a spectacular coastal wetland after the rains.
The present saline desert of the Little Rann (saline desert-cum-seasonal wetland) of Kutch is believed to have been shallow sea. The variety of the geomorphic facets of Kutch such as the present surface configuration, its landforms, drainage characteristics and relief pattern clearly reveals a complex interplay of tectonics, sea-level changes and lithology as also erosion and deposition.
The Rann can be considered a large ecotone, a transitional area between marine and terrestrial ecosystems. During monsoon, the Rann gets inundated for a period of about one month. It is dotted with about 74 elevated plateaus or islands, locally called ‘bets’. The largest plateau called Pung Bet has an area of 30.5 km² and the highest island Mardak is 55 m.
The vast cover of saline mudflats in the Sanctuary has no vegetation, except on the fringes and bets. Vegetation is largely xerophytic with the ground cover predominated by ephemerals. Their active growth is triggered by the advent of monsoon rains. Although the islands and fringes both have been colonized by Prosopis juliflora, the islands have a richer floral diversity than that of the fringes. 253 flowering plant species have been listed, out of which the number of species of trees was 18, shrubs-23, climbers/twiners-18, herbs-157 and grasses-37. Bets and fringe area of extensive marine saline flats of the Little Rann of Kutch mainly support a variety of indigenous plants like Suaeda spp., Salvadora persica, Capparis decidua, Capparis deciduas, Calotropis procera, Tamarix sp., Aeluropus lagopoides, Cressa cretica, Sporobolus spp., Prosopis Cineraria, etc. The dominant families representing more than 10 species are Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Cyperaceae and Poaceae. Herbaceous taxa are predominant over shrubs and trees. 107 species of algae are present in the water bodies of the area.
The Sanctuary is habitat to about 93 species of invertebrates, including 25 species of zooplanktons, 1 species of annelid, 4 crustaceans, 24 insects, 12 molluscs and 27 spiders. Totally 4 species of amphibians (frogs and toads) and 29 species of reptiles (2 species of turtles, 14 species of lizards, 12 snakes etc) occur. The mixing of tidal water from the Gulf of Kutch with the freshwater discharged from the rivers takes place in the Little Rann of Kutch, making it an important spawning ground for prawns. Metapenaeus kutchensis is the most dominant and important prawn in the area. The sanctuary provides an important feeding, breeding and roosting habitat for a large number of birds due to its strategic location on bird migration route and its connection with the dynamic Gulf of Kutch. According to an estimate about 70,000-75,000 birds nests in an area spread over 250 acres. Nine mammalian orders with 33 species/subspecies have been reported from the Little Rann of Kutch, including the world’s last population of the khur sub-species of the wild ass.
One has a chance here to see how salt is prepared out of saline sea water. On the peripherals of the Rann, there are ample salt panes, where salt manufacturers, locally known as ‘Agarias’ withstand great difficulties of living on the edge of the Rann and prepare salt. This entire area is a major producer of salt in India.
Fairs & Festival
Gujarat is a land of colourful fairs and festivals. In all, every year people of Gujarat celebrates about 3500 small and big fairs and festivals.
Such events give the local people an opportunity to take a brake from their mundane life and indulge into pleasant activities.
Kite festival, Modhera dance festival, Kutch Utsav, Bhavnath festival, Tarnetar fair, Mahashivratri fair, Holi festival, Chitra- Vichitra fair etc. are some of the known fairs and festivals celebrated in Gujarat.
All these ethnic fairs and festivals, enjoyed with full fervour by the locals add to the enchanting experience of one’s excursion.
Tarnetar Fair: Gaiety in abundance
Tarnetar is famous for its fair popularly known as the Trinetreshwar Mahadev Mela held near the Trinetreshwar Mahadev temple. Villagers from all over the region, dressed in their colourful traditional costumes and exquisite jewellery throng Tarnetar during this fair. About 100,000 people belonging to various tribes like Rabari, Kathi, Charan, Bharwads, Koli and other castes come to the fair. The fair attracts a large number of tourists from India and abroad.
HOTELS IN GUJARAT