Tuesday, July 29, 2014

24 Hours In The Little Rann Of Kutch

The Little Rann of Kutch, 5000 sq.m of expansive flat land is spread as far as the eye can see and is an explorer’s paradise. Home to the last of the Indian Wild Ass and other fauna like foxes, nilgau's and a variety of birds, it makes an ideal weekend getaway from the busy city of Ahmedabad.

Monsoons are not the best season to visit but since I am in India currently, we decided to drive down and explore this strange terrain. 

 Here is a recount of our 24 hours at the TheLittle Rann of Kutch that might just inspire you to make a weekend trip soon!

We leave bright and early for Dasada that borders The Little Rann. It is raining so it takes us around 2 hours to reach the resort. The roads are surprisingly clean and smooth. Other than a few animal induced traffic jams on the way, it is a pleasant drive.

Just a usual walk on the road! 
We finally reach the little village of Dasada. The RannRiders Resort is around twenty-five kilometres from The Little Rann. The resort is green and widespread. It reminds me of a little village. Our rooms are tiny mud huts. The hut verandah and its swing make an ideal place to snooze or read a book. The interiors are modern and air-conditioned. There are no TV’s so you are forced to explore the outside!

The Resort Entrance 
Home for the night
The gardens 
The resort is home to a variety of animals and birds. Surrounded by a lake on one side and endless farms on the other, it houses around ten well-bred horses, chickens, turkeys, emus, cows, peacocks and lots of lazy dogs.

We walk around the resort to build a good appetite for lunch. The staff is friendly and always smiling. They are happy to answer questions regarding the animals and the village. The stable caretaker will let you ride the horses if you know how to ride.

Hungry from our long walk, we settle in the open communal dinning room where we are served an extensive spread vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian dishes made with local produce. The food is hearty and is served with love making it one of the best meals I have eaten in a while.

Look who came for lunch?
After an hour-long siesta, we are ready for our safari. The rain gods have heard our prayers and the sun is out!

It takes around forty minutes to reach The Little Rann. I am hoping to see the usual cracked, dry surface but monsoons have played a trick and though the land it flat, the cracks are filled and have sprouted lush, green grass!
Driving through ancient villages 
We spot herds of Nilgau’s on the exterior of The Little Rann. As we drive further into the land, we finally find the endangered Indian Wild Asses. A cross between horses and donkeys, these beautiful creatures have the strength of the donkey and are as swift as horses. They can run at around 50 kilometers per hour. Our guide and driver Ayub attempts quite a few races with them that are thrilling and fun.

The protected and endangered Indian Wild Asses 

We stop at the marshland in the middle of The Little Rann for a quick photo break and to watch hundreds of flamingos crowd the waters.

Bird watching can be a lot of fun! 
Salt pans

Ayub somehow finds his way back from this flatland that looks endless. We are back in time for a swim and ready to hog on some more food!

A little patch of cracked earth 

 The resorts pool makes an ideal setting among pink and red bougainvillea trees. The water is clean, fresh and just what we need after the thrilling safari.

Back at the dinning hall, we are served excellent barbecue and an array of North Indian fare.

The next day, we are awakened with hundreds of chirping birds and a bright blue sky. Piping hot breakfast of eggs made to order and fresh juice is served stuffing us enough for our journey back home.

An impromptu dance by one of the peacocks makes a fitting end to our twenty-four hours at The Rann Riders Resort.

The perfect goodbye! 

If the city has tired you and you want to take some time off to introspect, reflect and be amidst nature, get down to this rustic, simple place that reminds you all you have been missing in the daily city buzz. That is what it did for me!

The lowdown

How to get there – 90 km From Ahmedabad, the best way is to drive. The closest railway stations are Dharangadra and Viramgam

Service – 5 stars! The staff is friendly, attentive and caring

Rooms – If you are looking for 5 star comforts amidst nature then this is not the place to go. Nevertheless, the rooms are clean, spacious and air-conditioned. (But who is spending time indoors?)

Best time to visit – Just after the monsoons, September to November

The damage – the 24 hours package including lodging for 2 people, 3 meals (water and soft drinks are unlimited), resort facilities (riding, swimming) and a safari will burn a 7500 INR hole in the pocket

Extras – Apart from the usual safaris and horse riding, the resort arranges visits to the village to see local artisans at work

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