- GENERAL INFORMATION
The vast and arid expanse that is the Great Rann of Kutch lies to the north of the Tropic of Cancer, at the top of the Kutch district. The Great Rann of Kutch, is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and theSindh province of Pakistan. It is about 7,505.22 square kilometres (2,897.78 sq mi) in size and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. The Great Rann of Kutch, along with the Little Rann of Kutch and the Banni grasslands on its southern edge, is situated in the district of Kutch and comprises some 30,000 square kilometres (10,000 sq mi) between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of the Indus River in southern Pakistan. Miles and miles of empty land, interspersed with green thorny bushes and cloudless blue sky is the hallmark of this holiday destination. Great Rann of Kutch lies on one of India’s most important avian highways (both the birds flying from the southward in winter and the few species migrating eastward from the middle-east and Africa stopover in this area)
This is one of the hottest areas of India – with summer temperatures averaging and peaking at 49.5°C. Winter temperatures reduce dramatically and can go below 0 °C. Rainfall is very less while average annual rainfall – 14 inches. The three main seasons are: Summer, from February to June, Monsoon season, from July to September, Winter, from October to January.
The Rann of Kutch is the only large flooded grasslands zone in the whole Indo-Malayan region of the planet. The fact that the area has desert on one side and the sea on the other provides the Rann of Kutch with a variety of ecosystems, including mangroves and desert vegetation, The tropical thorn forest (Scrub forest) had these layers of golden colored grass (speargrass) and thorny shurbs. The Banni Grasslands is protected reserves in the Salt marsh region of Rann of Kutch in Kutch District. Banni Grasslands is known as rich biodiversity and a long wildlife protected forest in India.
The area is well famous for Indian Wild Ass found in the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary at Little Rann of Kutch. Indian Wild Ass or khur shares the land with other wild animal such as Indian wolf, desert cat, hedgehog, golden jackal, threatened blackbuck and the biggest antelope Nilgai. Wild animals in the wild Sanctuaries of Kutch district includes Indian boar, Striped Hyena, desert fox and the Caracal.
Greater Rann of Kutchh is land of vast salt marshes and semi-desert areas. The marshes are also a resting site for migratory birds, and are home to over 200 species of birds including Grey Hypocolius, Grey Napped Tit, Small Minivet, Common Iora, Lesser & Greater Flamingos, Painted Sandgrouse etc. Banni Grasslands is an area spanning 3500 sq kms having a a large shallow lake of 80 sq kms.
Grey Hypocolius,White-naped Tit, White-browed Bush Chat (Stoliczka’s Bush Chat), Indian Bustard, Macqueen’s Bustard , Lesser Florican , Marshall’s Iora, Sykes Crested lark, Sykes’s Nightjar, Hoopoe Lark, Common Cranes, Steppe, Tawny, Greater Spotted, Booted, Bonelli’s and Imperial Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Kestrels, Redheaded Falcon, Lagger Falcon, Honey Buzzard, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl,,Crab Plover, Whitebellied Minivet, Painted Sandgrouse, Indian Courser,, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Grey Jungle Fowl, White-rumped Vulture, Green Avadavat (Munia) are the some of the birds found in Kutch. The coastal creeks good for close-views of flamingoes, herons, egrets.