Rann Of Kutch

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India >> Gujarat >> Bhuj >> Attractions >> Rann Of Kutch

Rann Of Kutch

History

Think of a desert and the first thing that springs to mind is acres of desolate land, desiccated of the last drops of water, unyielding to both flora and fauna. No wonder then, that the thought of a desert attracting visitors aplenty does sound almost unbelievable, and at the very least intriguing. The Great Rann of Kutch however, is a desert unlike any other, lying at a distance of 72 km from Bhuj in Gujarat. Officially the world’s largest salt desert, blanketing 16000 sq. km of Gujarat and the Sindh Province in Pakistan, the desert is yet another example of the artistry of Mother Earth.

The thing however, that truly marks out the Rann of Kutch from other deserts of its kind is that the area is lost to water during the monsoon season, remaining submerged for a good four months, while bedazzling the observer with gigantic parcels of white sand in the remaining eight. The desert owes its name to the Hindi word 'ran' that stands for 'desert'. Home to the Kutchi People, the desert is unforgiving hot during summers. Still, nature has found a way of breeding here as well, as evidenced by the multitude of plant life, with grasses such as the Cenchrus species as well as juiceless prickly shrubs that are found in plenty.

The arrival of winters and the Great Rann of Kutch is transformed into a breeding ground for flamingos and pelicans. The Rann holds exclusivity in the sense that it is the only place in India where flamingos breed, and is a dwelling for around 13 species of lark. Also renowned for the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, it has the last surviving population of wild ass, along with ménages of the desert fox, golden jackal and the Indian Wolf among others.

Best time to visit

The months of October to March are the best time to visit as it is the tourist season. Summers are uncomfortably hot and should be avoided.

Trivia

The nights of Rann bear witness to an unusual dancing light phenomenon known as Chir Batti or the ghost lights.

The Government of Gujarat hosts an annual festival known as the Rann Utsav that lasts for a period of three days, aimed specifically at exhibiting local culture.

Also of note are the handicrafts of Kutch, popular all over the world for their unusual styles such as Soof, Sindhi, Ari, and Mutwa.

Timing

It is advisable to make a beeline for the desert in either morning or late evening, as it can get unbearably hot otherwise.


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