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.
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.
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.
But we got to see another herd a little later. To me it seemed that they were walking home at the sunset.
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.
The family who managed the salt pond offered us tea in the true Kutch style! That is how you drink tea in Kutch!
I was thickly coated with dust after the safari. So a hot water shower was most welcome.
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.
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!
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!
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.
40 thoughts on “Little Rann of Kutch: Wild Asses and Flamingos Galore!”
I wasn’t aware of the salt bit here… you sure had a lot of fun in Kutchh 🙂
Yes Archana it was a great trip, well organized too!
Lovely Post Mam Mam ; M in love with the Pics !!
Thank you Pooja.
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.
I didn’t read my phrase correctly Ravish! And yes I too vaguely remember the saucer being more common in my childhood!
Did you see the Great Indian Bustard? Kitchen had been the graveyard of many an invading army.
Nope we did not see the Great Indian Bustard but I have seen one near Jaisalmer. Have not been to Kitchen.
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!
If you go back I know you will enjoy LRK and then try to solve the mystery again!
Great pictures. The flamingos look so beautiful 🙂
Thank you Purba.
The wild asses look pretty cute. Flamingoes, Salt pans and wilderness – a lot packed in this safari.
Yes Bushra and I want more!
Wonderful safari you had. Beautiful pics.
Thank you Arun.
Amazing place! Great captures, Mridula!
Your posts always give the real feel of a place:)
Thank you so much Amit.
Lovely post and beautiful pics.
Thank you Sims.
Mridula ji, Nice post. Beautiful photos.
Thank you Rupam.
Loved reading this post.. tempting me to visit LRK..
Do go, you will enjoy it a lot.
Was there in January. Fabulous place for birding! Loved it and found it really underrated.
I agree Divsi, I so would like to go back!
Beautiful pics again. Never knew Rann of Kutch has little and great parts…
Yes Sadhvi and they are quite far from each-other.
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 🙂
Shweta if we plan well, I am game for going together!
And who thought one day Wild Asses will be stars of wild life right next to Lions 🙂
Ha ha I didn’t put two and two together!
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.
Ami we always neglect places around home!
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.
The flamingos were certainly nearer than that here Chaitali. And it was a lot of fun drinking Chai with saucer!
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”!
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.
Truly informative post! Didnt know so many things about the Runn, aspiring to visit there soon now 🙂
Wishing you a great trip, whenever you go Swati!