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Great Rann of Kutch

Made up of a huge white expanse of salt offering a breathtaking landscape, the Great Rann of Kutch is an important destination for wildlife lovers and serious birdwatchers.

The Rann of Kutch has been described as "a desolate area of unrelieved, sun-baked saline clay desert, shimmering with the images of a perpetual mirage". 

The Great Rann of Kutch with an area covering 7,850 sqkm is located at the northern part of the Kutch region and spreads from the Rajasthan-Gujarat Border, along the Indo-Pakistan border region to Lakhpat in the west, near the Kori Creek.

The word “Rann” in Hindi language means salt marsh. During the monsoon large areas of Rann are submerged by up to 2 metres of saline water from the Gulf of Kachch and the salt-flats dry out during the dry season leaving massive amounts of salt, which make this a prime region for salt production.

In winter this vast expanse of mud and salt also provides shelter to thousands of pink Flamingos, Pelican and Avocet. The abundant avifauna includes rare Houbara bustard, lesser florican and Dalmatian pelicans. Shimmering with the images of a perpetual mirage, the dustiest and hottest region in India, The Great Rann of Kutch stretching for hundreds of square km in the State of Gujarat, also provides refuge for the endangered Asiatic wild ass and is home to several tribal groups. 

For better accessibility of this vibrant yet fragile eco system, The Great Rann of Kutch could be divided into four divisions, (i) Nadeshwari (Abode of Goddess in the middle of Rann) , (ii) Dholavira (Archeological site of world fame) , (iii) Khavda (Gateway to India’s some of the most unexplored regions) (iv) Lakhpat (Erstwhile seaport). 

One of the best bird-watching hotspots, the Great Rann provides great and varied habitat types that include deserts and wetlands, vast grasslands and swamps, providing a huge variety and abundance of birdlife. This flat landscape desert in the dry season turns into a vast moonscape like area of dried earth and thorn scrub attracting doves, bulbuls, coucals and silverbills for a chorus of delicate birdsong playing over the arid plains. Groups of Grey Francolins are heard among the grasslands at dusk.

The Phenomena of Chir Batti:
Cheer batti (Ghost light) is a unexplained strange dancing light phenomena occurring on dark nights reported from the Banni grasslands,
Local villagers and border security force personnel call these Chir Batti in their language Chir meaning ghost and Batti is light.
The balls of light appear bright and change color to blue or red resembling a moving ball of fire. The lights have been a common part of life in the Banni grasslands and the adjoining Rann of Kutch for a long time, but have not yet been explained.
Tribes
Kutch is endowed with a rich tribal culture of music, colourful clothes and jewellery. Tribes of this region include the Rabaris, Kolis and Bharwads. Many nomadic tribes like the Jat and the Halaris also come to Kutch.
Ahirs are supposed to be the descendants of the Yadav clan of Lord Krishna who dispersed after his demise.
Rabari’s are nomadic and carry all their belonging on the back of camels and move from one village to another. The Rabari came from Afghanistan, through Baluchistan. Rabari females are experts in embroidery work.

Naliya,Chari Dhand ,Banni Grasslands
Naliya Grasslands An important grassland habitat home for the endangered Great Indian Bustard and significant as the only sanctuary with three species of bustards– The resident Great Indian Bustard, The Lesser Florican, Macqueen’s Bustard in winter Chari Dhand Dhands are shallow water bodies have rich biodiversity that support an envious migratory home of avian species Endangered Dalmatian Pelican ,Oriental Darter ,Blacknecked Stork ,Indian Skimmer. More than 30 types of Raptors has also been recorded. Banni Grasslands Covering more than 3000 sq km of which a major portion of highly saline is lies in a important bird migration path. Recognised as a paradise for raptors and Endangered species White-backed and Long-billed Vulture.
Lakhpat
Lakhpat boasts a unique landscape, with very little remains of the village, was a port town earlier. The town is strategically located on the India-Pakistan border.The name has a significance as during ancient times this one time prosperous maritime trade generated a daily income of one Lakh (1,00,000) Kori, and old currency of Kutch state. After a short prosperity, Lakhpat lost is maritime significance in 1851 AD, with the Sindhu river changing its course. The place is fortified with several gates and bastions made of stone.
Mandvi
Towards the south of Bhuj, one of the finest beaches in Gujarat, Mandvi, could be explored and experienced with its ancient royal connection of the Maharao of Kutch. The place brought immense prosperity to the royal family as this was an important sea trade. The sailors were considered very daring and adventurous, it is believed that Vasco Da Gama, for his navigation, hired one of the sailors from this town. It would be a good option to visit the Maharao’s private beach with white sands and a great sea views .
Dholavira
A massive archeological site belonging to the Harapan Civilisation, one of the world’s first greatest civilization, Dholavira holds great historical significance for the international archaeological fraternity. It dates back to 2900 BC and is memorable for its wonder planning and exceptional engineering.
Koteshwar
Inheriting the name from one of Lord Shiva’s name “Kotilingeshwar”, Koteshwar, is the cave temple known for the natural formation of many stone lingas. The mythological belief is such that, King Ravana’s urge for being immortal he did tapasya of lord shiva. Shiva heavily satisfied with his penance granted him one boon in the form of a Linga which on being worshipped Ravana could be immortal. But in arrogance he dropped the Ling which while touching the ground turned into thousand Lings. Failing to recognize the original Ling, he lost the boon.
Kala Dungar
Overlooking the spectacular Rann of Kutch, Kala Dungar having an area spread of 956 hectares, is home to the Duttatreya temple where white foxes could be seen in ample. This place has spiritual significance due to Guru Dattatreya, also locally called as “Pachchhmani Pir”. Since time immemorial these foxes respond to the call of steel plate beats and shouts and come to eat the food of rice laid specially for them. Kala Dungar is about 120km from Bhuj via state highway 45. Located at a height of 1,500 ft this is the perfect place to get a bird’s eye view of the endless expanse of the Great Rann of Kutch with beautiful ever changing shades of white to the lightest of pink and grey and then white could be seen. To get a proper view of the foxes it would be advisable to see the aarti, a ritual performed in homes and temples in which incense and light is offered to a deity (Hindi), at 12 noon as after sunset the foxes are not clearly visible.
Kutch is popular for its embroidery, appliqué work, bed sheets and cushion covers.  You may shop for Patola Silk Sarees, Bandhanis (tie and die), Ghagra-cholis and marriage costumes. You will also find interesting wall hangings, embroidered quilts, cradle clothes, cloth toys, and embroidered footwear.
It can be quite interesting to learn more about the process of each.
Bhuj is considered to be an access to the Rann of Kutch and the Rann Utsav which is also known as the desert festival is held every year in February/March.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
Rudra Mata
Bhuj
Viramgam Junction
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
28 Km 01H 42m
75 Km 03H 38m
125 Km
134 Km 04H 12m
167 Km 08H 30m
175 Km 05H 32m
198 Km
Probably the largest wild life sanctuary in India with an area of approx 4950 km2, Little Rann of Kutch is one of the most remarkable and unique landscape of its kind in the entire world and renowned for the Asiatic Wild Ass Sanctuary.
28 Km 01H 42m
75 Km 03H 38m
Bhuj, the capital of the former native state of Kutch is now the head quarter of the Kutch district. It is a fascinating old walled city with labyrinthine alleyways, old palaces with intricately carved wooden pavilions, and striking, brightly decorated Hindu temples.
125 Km
Overlooking the spectacular Rann of Kutch, Kala Dungar having an area spread of 956 hectares, is home to the Duttatreya temple where white foxes could be seen in ample. This place has spiritual significance due to Guru Dattatreya, also locally called as “Pachchhmani Pir”. Since time immemorial these foxes respond to the call of steel plate beats and shouts and come to eat the food of rice laid specially for them. Kala Dungar is about 120km from Bhuj via state highway 45. Located at a heig
134 Km 04H 12m
On the banks of Rukmani river lies a small town of Mandvi in Gujarat. It was once considered the summer retreat of the erstwhile Maharajas of Kutch. Mandvi has some of the loveliest unspoilt beaches in the western part of India and is also well known for its unique tradition of hand crafted ship building.
167 Km 08H 30m
175 Km 05H 32m
198 Km
Dholavira is the archaeological excavation site of an ancient city . It is amongst the five largest Harrapan ruins of Indus civilization discovered in the Indian subcontinent. The site was occupied from 2650 BCE, till about 2100 BCE. Dholavira is a Tentative UNESCO world heritage site.
482 Km 13H 36m
Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state of Gujarat. The bustling metropolis is a fusion of old world charm and emerging modernity. It has a rich history of Muslim heritage.
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Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 23 °C 44 °C
Winter 10 °C 36 °C
Average summer temperatures hover around 44°C but can reach highs of 50°C, and the minimum winter temperatures approach or even drop below freezing. The July to September monsoon rains flood the vast, flat area to a depth of about 0.5 m. Several rivers-the Bhambhan, Kankavati, Godhra, and Umai from the south, the Rupen and Saraswati from the east, and Banas from the northeast-drain into the Ranns during the monsoon.
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