Trailing Gujarat: Little Rann of Kutch, Salt Plains and Heat Mirage

Little Rann and Heat Mirage
                                               Little Rann and Heat Mirage
Next morning, we visited to Devji Bhai along with the girls. Devji Bhai was not ready to club the tourists despite having enough space in the vehicle. I called the taxi guy and convinced the girls to club with us and ditch Devji Bhai entirely. Taxi arrived and we were on our way to Little Rann via Bajana-Patdi side.
Wild Ass Sanctuary near Dhrangadhra
                                             Wild Ass Sanctuary near Dhrangadhra
Popularly known as Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch lies on the edge of Great Rann. It is a vast barren land of salt marsh where few brave souls do salt-panning. Little Rann is such a hostile terrain that even locals don't dare to enter deep inside the sanctuary because incidents of getting lost due to heat mirage is very common in this region. Little Rann is also considered one of few breeding grounds of Flamingos.
Salt Pans inside little rann sanctuary
                                             Salt Pans inside little rann sanctuary
Unlike others, our trip to Little Rann was quite quirky where we were arranging everything on demand.  Taxi driver was a usual guy and was not aware of the routes inside the sanctuary. We stopped at a salt pan and hired a worker as a guide to help us locating the routes. After hitting some wrong routes, we finally sighted a herd of Asiatic Wild Asses which was grazing behind the bushes. These are really shy animals and generally run away if you get closer. I approached the herd very carefully and got some awesome shots…. Tried the same approach for birds but they few away…. Birds don’t like me… I know that…. J.. All the nearby ponds were completely dried out so we missed the sighting of flamingoes and other migratory birds… Asiatic Wild Ass is a remarkable creature and not an inch behind the Lion of Gir.. Surviving in such a harsh terrain is challenge for any living specie..
Birds in Little Rann Sanctuary
                                             Birds in Little Rann Sanctuary
In my opinion, flora and fauna are not the prime attraction of Little Rann. It’s the heat mirage which stands it apart from any other geographical wonders. It’s the hallucinating side of the desert which reflects it as an archipelago. I can connect to the mythical stories where protagonist was lost in the desert for the wild goose chase for the water.. Water which does not exist but tempts you with its reflection… you try to chase it…try to clasp it to quench your thirst…but it does not exist…. It’s an amazing reflection of Human feelings… need, desire, delusion, action, possession, disappointment…  and Ironically its without attachment….  True reflection of the whole vicious circle…   What a philosophical impact it has to its visitors… In the middle of floating islands, I might be the water for distant observers….
Herd of Wild Ass in Little Rann
                                                Herd of Wild Ass in Little Rann

How to reach Dhrangadhra: Dhrangadhra is mainly visited by the Independent travelers to Little Rann of Kutch. It lies on main Bhuj-Ahmedabad highway and very well connected with both of the cities. Dhrangadhra is 210 km east of Bhuj and 126 km from Ahmedabad. Frequent state transport busses ply on this route.

* Samakhiali to Dhrangadhra: 82 INR, 114 km, 3 hours. Busses are in each hour.

Accommodation in Dhrangadhra: Most of the budget hotels of the town are located near Navyug Cinema. 300 INR for a room with attached bathroom and 200 INR for a room with bathroom outside. Most of the travelers stay in these low-end options.  Not as nasty as you get in other big cities.

Heat Mirage in Little Rann of Kutch
                                            Heat Mirage in Little Rann of Kutch

Restaurant in Dhrangadhra: Many small restaurants in the main market serve typical Gujarati Thali. Breakfast options are in surplus. Restaurant besides the bus stand is one of my favorite. It’s on the first floor and easily noticeable. However it’s a bit on the higher side. Food is awesome there. Dhrangadhra is a good option for trying local Gujarati food.

Little Rann Entrance Bajana
                                             Little Rann Entrance Bajana

Visiting Little Rann of Kutch from Dhrangadhra: It can be tricky. Forest Department does not run Safari in the Sanctuary and they will also direct you to Devji Bhai who is the only person arranging tours for the sanctuary. Undoubtedly Deviji bhai has got enormous knowledge about the sanctuary..it’s flora..it’s fauna..routes etc but his working ethics are not favorable to Independent travelers.  I went to Devji Bhai for arranging a tour to the sanctuary but I did not like the quotations he put and his reluctant attitude for not clubbing the travelers.  Finally I decided to arrange everything own my own in lesser budget. Here is my take based on the research I did.

* If you are interested just to sight the herd of Wild Asses and Salt panes then Kuda is the convenient entrance to the sanctuary.  A return trip to Kuda will cost you 1000 INR with private taxi. Taxi driver will take care of the permit thing. You might not need it at all. 

* If you want to try your luck with birds (especially flamingoes) then you can take Dhrangadhra >> Malavan >> Bajana >> Patdi >> Kharagauda >> Little Rann route which is some 120 km return trip. Private Taxi (Indica) will cost you 1800 INR for this trip. If you want it officially then permits can be arranged from the forest check post at Bajana.

Number of the taxi driver: 0987930014

*** Never compel your taxi driver to take you in the interior of the Rann. Even these guys are not aware of the routes. Getting lost is not a big deal here.

Pathways inside Little Rann Sanctuary
                                       Pathways inside Little Rann Sanctuary

Quotations from Devji Bhai: 2000 INR for one trip, 3000 INR for 2 trips which exclude the Camera fee. Morning trip starts at 8:00 AM and ends at 11:00 AM. Evening trip is from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. These trips are with 4*4 wheel drive vehicles. Devji also offer tent accommodation inside the sanctuary. Suitable for high-end travelers only.

Entrée Fee in Little Rann Sanctuary: 1050 INR (Foreigners) & 350 INR (Indians)
Camera Charges: 50 INR for Indians & 350 INR for foreigners.

Little Rann Sanctuary is an alluring landscape which will stay in my memories for the philosophical teaching through heat mirage. Later we drove back to Dhrangadhra answering the perpetual queries from German girls. There could have been another trip to Kuda but we traded the idea with the journey towards Jamnagar.  Another appetizing meal at Dhrangadhra and we were off to Jamnagar…

 

Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order

Trailing Gujarat: Train to Bhuj

Trailing Gujarat: Bhuj, Capital of Kutch

Trailing Gujarat: Northern Kutch, Dhordo and Kalo Dungar

Trailing Gujarat: Western Kutch, Lakhpat and Narayan Sarovar

Trailing Gujarat: Southern Kutch, Beachline of Mandvi

Trailing Gujarat: Eastern Kutch, Splendor of Rapar and Dholavira

Trailing Gujarat: Dhrangadhra, a lesser known delight of Gujarat

Trailing Gujarat: Little Rann of Kutch, Salt Plains and Heat Mirage

Trailing Gujarat: Jamnagar and Marine National Park, Narara

Trailing Gujarat: Dwarka, Where Pilgrims meet the end of earth (Read: Sea)

Trailing Gujarat: Junagadh, City of archaeological attractions

Trailing Gujarat: Gir National Park, last home of Asiatic Lions

Trailing Gujarat: Diu, Real thirst-quencher

Trailing Gujarat: Alang, Where Ships come to die

Trailing Gujarat: Champaner and Pavagadh

Trailing Gujarat: Ahmedabad and Lothal

Trailing Gujarat: Patan, Modhera and Separation

Dear Vishnu   Like your blog

Dear Vishnu

 

Like your blog and candid comments - i also feel that the rates quoted are on the higher side and that is like taking advantage of being the only one who can arrange safaris.

Can you pl give me number of the Taxi Driver - the numbr you have written is incomplete(only 9 digits - all mobiles have 10 digits).

 

If possible pl also give number for hotel in dhrangadhra.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Arvind Ghode

78740 11133

 

Hi Arvind, Thanks for

Hi Arvind,

Thanks for highlighting it. I will check diaries from my previous travels and see if i can find the complete number.

+- Vishnu

I will be touring the :Little

I will be touring the :Little Rann of Kutch" with the "B.N.H.s (Bombay Natural history)" tour group from Friday(15-12-2014) to Monday(15-12-2014). Your blog was very informative. Thanks.

Thanks for the comment. Keep

Thanks for the comment. Keep dropping by.

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