Little Rann of Kutch: Wild Asses and Flamingos Galore!

Wild asses in any other conversation might raise a few eyebrows but not when you are visiting the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) in Gujarat. It is the sanctuary for the wild ass and as a bonus you get to see a lot of flamingos too!

I am curious why is the Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) great and the Little Rann little? After all the LRK sanctuary is spread in 4954 square kilometers and there is nothing little about it. I tried searching for the same but it still remains a mystery to me.

I did two safaris in LRK both in the evening and morning. We were staying at the Bhavana Farm Stay in LRK. Given that it took me 5 years to spot a tiger in the wild, I went to the safari with an open mind. I was not sure if the star attraction, the wild ass, would give a darshan at all.

The sanctuary is about 8 kilometers from the farm stay. On the way we stopped at a salt making unit. I was amazed at the speed they were working! From there we headed straight to the sanctuary. The landscape is arid and flat. It doesn’t glisten white as GRK but this land has salt as well. And yet it has a dark brown/black hue.

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Nilgais at LRK, Gujarat

Our first stop was for a group of Nilgais. In our college campus at IIT Kanpur there used to be Nilgais, I have seen them at many other places too. At LRK you are allowed to get off the vehicles.

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Within a few minutes of the drive, we saw our first herd of wild asses. It was a large group peacefully chewing something on the ground. It has to be grass, though where it was is again a mystery. Someone complained that we could not get closer to the herd and our driver promised more action on the morning safari.

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Wild Asses at LRK

But we got to see another herd a little later. To me it seemed that they were walking home at the sunset.

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A Salt Evaporation Pond at LRK!

We then visited a salt pond. It was managed by a single family living in a small hut. The hut had a Tata Sky connection though. They took us to the salt ponds and explained how the standing water was used to harvest salt.

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That is how You Drink Tea at Kutch!

The family who managed the salt pond offered us tea in the true Kutch style! That is how you drink tea in Kutch!

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The Evening Safari at LRK

I was thickly coated with dust after the safari. So a hot water shower was most welcome.

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Sunrise at LRK

The next day we were up with the sun. It helped that the sun got out at 7.30 am. We were off for our morning safari at LRK.

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Common Cranes at LRK

We were almost immediately rewarded with a sighting of common cranes, they are migratory visitors from Siberia. In the morning, our patch was full of them, they could be sighted in almost every corner we cared to look at!

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A Steppe Eagle at LRK

LRK is known for the sightings of raptors and we met this steppe eagle as well. All the while we were there, he stood motionless on the branch!

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Flamingos at LRK

My last date of the day was with flamingos at LRK and they flock there in large numbers. It was my first tryst with flamingos in the wild. Before LRK I had only seen them at the bird park in Kuala Lumpur. It was in their august company that we had our packed breakfast. We did not leave behind any scrape of paper or food.

I loved the time I spent at LRK. I hardly saw two other safari jeeps other than ours. I say go there before it becomes completely mainstream.

PS. I was invited by Gujarat Tourism on this trip.

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40 thoughts on “Little Rann of Kutch: Wild Asses and Flamingos Galore!”

  1. Great captures, Mridula. Enjoyed the fun in ‘Wild Ass Darshan’ phrase. In my childhood, I used to think about the use of saucer in the same manner as shown in the pic.

    1. I didn’t read my phrase correctly Ravish! And yes I too vaguely remember the saucer being more common in my childhood!

    1. Nope we did not see the Great Indian Bustard but I have seen one near Jaisalmer. Have not been to Kitchen.

  2. When I was planning my trip to Gujarat even I was intrigued as to why LRK is ‘little’ and GRK ‘great’! I did not get any satisfactory answers either 🙂
    Unable to visit LRK is one regret I still have after visiting Gujarat.
    But thanks to you I did get a mini tour of it through these awesome pictures!

  3. My native is Kutch and I havent been there yet, shame on me 🙁 At the same time the positive side is that I can invite you and we can go together 🙂 Loved each picture and some amazing action shots of the wagging tail 🙂 Loved this post 🙂

  4. Have heard so much about this sanctuary, Gotta head there the next time I go home 🙂 And yes, slurping tea off the saucer with sounds is an amazing experience.

  5. Beautiful photos! Ahhh the Kutch way of drinking chai – thanks for refreshing my memories! Were the flamingoes close by? We went to see them in Sewri in Mumbai and they were there in large numbers, but you had to look through binoculars to be able to see them clearly, else you could see their form.

    1. The flamingos were certainly nearer than that here Chaitali. And it was a lot of fun drinking Chai with saucer!

  6. While the post is remarkable, loved the “I say go there before it becomes completely mainstream.” bit, which sounded a wee bit like one of those forwarded jokes on whatsapp that end with “Market mein naya aaya hai. Jaldi forward karo” 🙂

    Jokes apart, I had never associated a safari with the LRK or GRK. They were always just those salt deserts extending into eternity. Thanks for adding another reason to my already growing list of “Reasons to visit Kutch”!

    1. Kutch is beautiful whichever way you look at it. If you are looking for such places Panna in Madhya Pradesh another one that needs to be visited soon. No zone system when I went.

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I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.

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