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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Quotations from Devji Bhai:
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