Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rann of Kutch

Lately, Amitabh Bachchan has been popping up everywhere, and in his inimitable voice and diction has been constantly telling us “Kutch nahi dekha to kuch nahi dekha”. He has mostly been eulogizing the white sands of the Greater Rann of Kutch which happen to be a fair distance away from Ahmedabad. Since we were nervous about traveling too far with an infant we decided to check out Mr. Bachchan’s claim at the Little Rann of Kutch instead, which is a more convenient hop away from the state capital.

Amitabh hasn’t been kidding; this is a truly magical place. Photos and words will hardly do justice to the endlessness and the flatness of the marshes. Despite the monotony of the landscape the biodiversity is mindboggling. Of course, this region is known for the wild asses - the last breeding population in the wild - but what I hadn’t expected was the richness of the bird populations, both in variety and numbers. The Rann is dotted with little lakes and ponds, all teeming with humongous numbers of avians. Here are a few shots that give you an idea:
This one was a huge flock of Pelicans that seemed like a rain cloud had passed over our head.
Another massive flock, this time of Flamingos
A flock of bar-headed geese

It’s great that Gujarat is promoting this region, but tourism development cuts both ways. It may give the local populations an incentive to preserve what they have here, but increased human activity might take away from the very desolateness that gives this place its character. It will be interesting to see how this one goes.