The westernmost part
of Gujarat is virtually an island; during the monsoon period from May
onwards, it really is an island. The Gulf of Kutch divides Kutch (also
known as Kachchh) from the Kathiawar peninsula. To the north, it is
separated from the Sind region of Pakistan by the Great Rann of Kutch.
The salt in the soil makes this low-lying marsh area almost completely
barren. Only on scattered `islands' which rise above the salt level is
there vegetation. During the dry season, the Rann is a vast expanse of
hard, dried mud. Then, with the start of the monsoon in May, it is
flooded first by sea water, then by the fresh water from rivers as they
fill. Kutch is also separated from the rest of Gujarat to the east by
the Little Rann of Kutch During the winter, the Gulf of Kutch is a
breeding ground for flamingos and pelicans. The Asiatic wild has
lives in the Little Rann of Kutch and part of the area has been declared
a sanctuary for this rare animal. Few tourists make it to this remote
part of India.
There are buses to Anjar every 30 minutes from the bus stand in Bhuj. To
Lilpur, there is one direct bus at 30 am (Rs 20). Or take one of the
many buses to Rapar and get another bus from there. Alternatively, ask
the driver on the bus to Rapar to drop you off at the turn-off to Lilpur,
and walk the three km to the village.From Ahmedabad, take a bus to
Dasada, 12km north-east of Zainabad (two hours, Rs 23). From here there
are local buses to Zainabad. There are also direct buses from Rajkot.
Alternatively, taxis which take up to four people can be arranged
through Desert Coursers for around Rs 4.50 per km.
Rann of Gujarat
Access to the
Little Rann of Kutch, home of the last remaining population of khur
(Asiatic wild ass) in India, is possible from either Bhuj or Ahmedabad.
As a number of tours depart from Ahmedabad to this region, information
has been included in the around Ahmedabad section.
Little Rann of Kutch, the barren expanse of 'desert' (actually salt
plains) which divides Gujarat's western region of Kutch from the rest of
Gujarat, is the home of the last remaining population of khur (Asiatic
wild ass) in India. There's also a large bird population.
can be treacherously difficult to explore as the desert consists of salt
deposited at a time when the area formed part of the delta of the River
Indus. This means that rain can quickly turn parts of the desert into a
sea of mud, and what to the untrained eye looks like solid ground may in
fact be a thin crust of dry silt with soft mud underneath. Hence it is
essential to have someone along who is familiar with local conditions.
town of Zainabad, l05km north-west of Ahmedabad, is very close to
the Little Rann of Kutch. Desert Coursers (Tele: (079) 448699) is a
family-run tour company which organises interesting safari and cultural
tours on the Rann.