Kuchch …. Far and beyond the RANN
(Part 1 of 2)
We drove from Kolkata to Kuchch and beyond on Feb11, 2019, initially a team of three (WingCo TK Sarkar, Runa, and I), on a 46 day odessey across the western and northern region of India. This journey was accomplished on a Mahindra Scorpio from ZoomCar.
From the far east to the remotest west, from the wetlands to the arid lands, a distance of 2500 km we witnessed a glimpse of India and its stark diversity.
An enlightening contrast!
|Setting out from Kolkata on Feb11,2019|
|Arriving at GRK on 18th Feb 2019|
During this trip, the idea was to visit the White Rann desert on a full moon night. 19th happened to be our rendezvous with the full moon.
Kuchch is ecologically rich and has a rich wildlife diversity too.
Kuchch also the largest district in India, is one of the most arid regions in India, a drought is not something that the people of Kuchch are unfamiliar with. What differs each year is the intensity. The region is witnessing its worst drought in 30 years. It is to be seen to be believed. Yet life goes on without any bickering.
|Camels heading to a waterhole to quench their thirst|
Kuchch literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry. A large part known as ‘Rann of Kutch’ is shallow wetland which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during other seasons. The same word in Sanskrit origin means a tortoise. The land is virtually an 'island' resembling a tortoise "Katchua or Kachbo". The Rann has made Kuchch famous for its marshy salt flats become snow white after the water dries up each season thus forming the white desert. Last three years, in the absence of monsoon, its been very different.
|Enjoying a drive on the Rann|
|Sunset at Banni Grassland accompanied by CEDO team|
Kuchch is made of four interesting zones.
i) Coastal Zone - demarcating the southern fringe
ii) Kachchh Mainland - divided into the central portion comprising rocky upland, northern hill range and coastal plains,
iii) Banni Plains and the Grassland -marked by raised fluviomarine sediments, mud flats and salt pans;
iv) The two Ranns - Great Rann (also known as ‘the white desert’ or GRK) in the north and Little Rann (aka LRK) in the east comprising vast saline wasteland.
...to continue in Part2.