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The Rann, derived from a Hindi word meaning desert, is a seasonal salt marsh in the Thar Desert that lies covering a massive area of Gujarat, lining the Arabian Sea and extends to Pakistan's Sindh. Initially, it was an overflow river lake where water poured in from the surrounding Rajasthan rivers, but the dried lower reaches formed the present-day pan of throbbing specialized wildlife and amazing spectacles. A part of the Rann is a World Heritage Site, and it consists of scrub islets, short grasslands, and a variety of birds. The most prominent amongst these is the greater and lesser flamingo. The Little Rann of Kutch is a bird watcher's sweet haven and has incredible non-forest bird species.
Kutch district, Gujarat, India
3 hours drive from Ahmedabad airport
October to March
Mammals: Wild Ass, Indian Wolf, Striped Hyena, Desert Fox, Indian Fox, Asiatic Wild Cat
Birds: Lesser Flamingo, McQueen’s Bustard, Short Eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Pallid Scops Owl, Common and Lesser Kestrel European Roller, Pallid Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Lesser Florican, Demoiselle Crane, Cream-colored Courser, Sociable Lapwing, Common Crane, Spotted Sandgrouse, Red-necked Phalarope,
LRK, in the Rann of Kutch Seasonal Salt Marsh bio-geographic zone, represents the dry and arid mudflats of the Luni River. It covers north-western Gujarat and southern Pakistan's Sindh. The province's vegetation comprises grass and dry, thorny scrub.
The Little Rann of Kutch is famous as the natural habitat of the endangered Indian Wild Ass. During the drives, travelers can also spot the Nilgai, the largest antelope in India. Some other animals that are seen in the Sanctuary include the Indian Wolf, the Indian and White-footed Desert Foxes, the Golden Jackal, the Striped Hyena, the Desert, Jungle, and Fishing Cat, and smaller mammals like hares, hedgehogs, gerbil and field mice. The desert-dwelling reptiles in the Rann include the Spiny-tailed Lizard.
The Little Rann of Kutch is undoubtedly a bird watcher's paradise, but during December and January, it sores to unmatched beauty. The fauna list continues with the hoopoe-lark, the Indian courser, the short-eared owl, the McQueen's bustard, the peregrine falcon, the desert warbler, the greater and lesser flamingo, the Stolickza's bush chat, the common crane, the long-legged buzzard, the sandgrouse, the greater short-toed lark, and the highly-threatened cream-colored courser.
Wild Ass Sanctuary
The 4953-sq-km Sanctuary is home to the Indian Wild Ass (khur), wolves, blackbucks, and chinkaras. Being one of the rare spots in India where flamingos breed in the wild, October to March is a period when there is a huge bird population. The best way to explore the wildlife and birds in the area is by a 4X4 jeep safari.
A visit to the village takes you a step closer to exploring and experiencing the culture, textures, and handicrafts of the region.
The ladies of the Kharapat Rabari community of Little Rannhave mastered the art of doing embroidery using herringbone stitches. The creations are splattered with small mirrors and chain stitches in places of peacocks and other motifs. The village houses have magnificent embroidery on dowry sacks, wall decorations, horn-coverings for their cattle, and covers for the bullocks. Their traditional attires, known as chaniya-choli-odhani, heirlooms, and cushion covers, are intricately embroidered to perfection.
The villages around the Little Rannhouse a variety of weaves. Tangalio is a unique weave of the region. The wavers use knots to create motifs and figures in a dotted pattern. Some of the most common items include woven shawls, stoles, and garments.
The Mirs are known for their extraordinary beadwork to create braids, tassels, and necklaces. Moreover, Mir ladies use beadwork art to create bangles and sell them commercially.