The Little Rann of Kutch, a vast and spectacular unbroken expanse of 5,000sq km, is a Unesco Heritage Site and holds pride of place among Gujarat's tourist spots. Once the water dries out after the monsoons, the land transforms into a salt pan where salt is harvested by the Agariya tribesmen, agar meaning salt in the local language.
The region is home to the world's only remaining population of khur, the Asiatic wild ass. This species genetically hails from the horse family and looks like a cross between a horse and a donkey. They are as graceful and strong as horses and can run at about 50kmph.
But the Little Rann is also a breeding place for Indian flamingos. Also, being at the crossroads of the Palearctic migration streams, it attracts masses of migratory birds during winter. And being close to the Gulf of Kutch, it is an important feeding, breeding and roosting place.
An estimate by the Gujarat forest department puts the number of nests there between 70,000 and 75,000 over 250 acres, which makes it a great place to spot and photograph birds in their natural habitat. We managed to spot more than 30 species in just four days.
HOW TO REACH
The Little Rann of Kutch is a 130km drive from Ahmedabad which will take about three hours. Dhrangadhra town on the Ahmedabad-Kutch national highway is the gateway to the Little Rann. The nearest airports are in Ahmedabad, Rajkot (175km) and Bhuj (about 265 km).¬†
SPOTTED IN WINTER
Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Pallas,s Gull, Steppe Eagle, Common Kestrel, Montagu's Booted Eagle, Bank Myna, Jungle Babbler, Indian Roller, Cormorants,Knob-billed Duck, Rufous-tailed Lark, Great Egyptian Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, River Tern, Wagtail.Short-eared Owl, Lesser Krestel,Rusty-bellied Sandgrouse.