The Rann of Kutch

Posted in Asia | August 3, 2010 | Comment Now

With a name that hides the true nature of its bounty, the Little Rann of Kutch is far more than its name suggests. Unique and teeming with flora and fauna, it is the only place on earth for you will find the rare chestnut colored Asiatic Wild Ass, but that is not the only thing entirely unique to it. It is a mix of sights and scenes that have to be seen to be believed, and the entire region is ripe for anyone looking to explore further inland and make discoveries that will surprise.

It is the sort of haven a backpacker craves, nature at its most austere and open. The very location of the wildlife park, in the Thar Desert province, might suggest that the place is desolate and devoid of any life, but nothing could be further from the truth. Any number of Pelicans, Gazelles and Blue Bulls exist here, besides Chinkaras and Flamingoes amongst others, and the vast array of wildlife truly beggars belief, situated as it is in the most unlikely of places. There are several tours organized by the good people that maintain the wildlife park and sanctuary that is the Little Rann of Kutch, and these include Bird and Jungle safaris, camel cart safaris and horse back rounds too.

The Rann of Kutch is geographically unique in that it was at one time a part of the Arabian Sea. With the passage of time, and the exertion of geological forces, the land separated from the sea and what was once the Arabian Sea is today an undulating landscape encrusted with salt and bathed by water with the onset of the monsoons. How then does this lifeless land support intelligent life? That is because there were once islands formed on the seabed ages ago which are now covered with grass and scrub foliage, and these little patches of higher ground are where the wildlife, including the ‘Gudkhur’ (Asiatic wild ass) find sustenance.

Where there are herbivores such as the Gudkhur, black bucks, nilgai and the Chinkaras, there are bound to be Chinkaras waiting to make a killing. The main meat eaters of this region are the endangered Indian wolf, desert fox, Indian fox, jackals and a few hyenas. A safari can be organized that takes you through a tour of the region and offers a ringside view of life in the Rann of Kutch, where you must be careful to avoid the temptation of chasing the black bucks and other wildlife over the ragged features of the terrain. There is little here by way of scenic beauty, but the exclusivity of the wildlife makes this sanctuary a must-visit, even if just to see the ass. At least you won’t leave feeing like one, take our word for it.

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