Early December morning, with the rising sun glistening in our eyes, we set off on a Jeep Safari into the Little Rann of Kutchch to visit the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Going through Dasada and Patdi, we entered into the marshy wet land areas of the Rann. It is a part of the Thar Desert in the Kutchch region of Gujarat. A seasonal salt marsh where winter brings in flocks of migratory birds from far off lands, the wetlands are a breeding ground for thousands of birds coming in from colder Siberia and Arctic regions. The sudden opening up of the wetlands with thousands of birds was a sight that is etched in our minds. The beautiful flamingos constituted a major part of the bird population. Pelicans and Siberian cranes flew in perfect synchronisation landing on the wet marshes. Painted storks, common egrets, and even Imperial eagles and hawks can be sighted here. Storks, ibises, spoonbill, sand grouses, various species of lark and ducks can be seen mingling with each other. This is for sure a bird watcher’s paradise which even novice enthusiasts like us can enjoy.
The Little Rann of Kutchch is famous for the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. It is the last known place where the ‘Ghudkhur’ or the Indian Wild Ass can be spotted. These beautiful tan and white creatures are endangered and roam here in perfect harmony with nature. They are neighbours with the Nilgai or the Asiatic Antelope. They feed on the shrubs and bushes like acacia which grow in plenty here. Chinkara or Indian gazelle, desert fox, jackals, Indian wolves, blackbucks, and striped hyenas are also said to roam the Rann but we were not fortunate enough to sight any of them.
Evening brought us back in to the Rann for another exciting sighting of the birds with very helpful tips from our driver cum guide of the Jeep safari. But the best part of the evening was the sunset. The sunset in the western sky is beyond comparison and no description or photo can ever do justice to this huge ball of bright orange fire suddenly disappearing into the horizon. It is by far the best of any sunsets that I have ever experienced.
The two days of nature adventure will be hard to experience anywhere again.