RADventure Feb 2019

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
Halting in between at Bhopal & Baroda, meeting friends and family along the way, we arrived at Kuchch on Feb18th. Arunava, our fourth member had already arrived by then (he chose to fly to Bhuj due to business compulsion). While awaiting our arrival, he went about his research of the flora, fauna and most importantly food! So that we could get into business without any waste of time.
Arriving at GRK on 18th Feb 2019
 While most know Kuchch, Gujarat, for its Wild Ass sanctuary, GRK and LRK. Its history, geomorphology, even the native breeds of Kuchch (cattle, dog, camel) makes the region unique and worth exploring beyond the Rann. Apart from its diversity & beauty, the people of Kuchch are amazing souls. They really make a world of difference. Tough & hard working with a never fading smile in such a tough terrain. Listening to their stories and their struggles during this visit, has been a great learning.

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.


Unknown said…
Mesmerizing AD! Stupendous spirit in you at its very best
After a long time I got a chance to read a blog on the Ranns and it definitely brought a smile on my face. It was both dreamy as well as informative.Eagerly waiting for part 2
Amazing feat AD. Great shots. Thanks for sharing the details on the rich diversity of Kuchch. Really informative.
Unknown said…
Excellent! Also traveling with you through your description. Shall wait for part 2.
KS said…
Brilliant pictures & awesome & mesmerizing writing!!
Keep posting!! Thank you for sharing..
Rumno said…
Nice travelogue. The contrast is truly amazing. You also need luck to go through without incident. You truly felt the trip in your soul. Will wait for the next. It evoked a lots of memories too.
I did blore to Gujarat over 32 days, the most striking were the Rann of Kutch, the white desert of sands. They looked spectacular.