The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is located on parts of the Great Rann of Kutch, which is primarily an extremely hot, dry, and dusty zone. It is the largest in Gujarat, encompassing a true saline desert where thousands of Flamingos nest and breed and was declared a sanctuary in 1986.
Covering an area of 7506.22 sq. km, Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest in Gujarat. It is also known as ‘Flamingo City’ as thousands of Flamingos nest and breed here. Earlier, it was the city of Dholavira of the Harappan civilization, which got buried over time. It was excavated here that piqued the interest of many archaeologists across the globe. Today, it is a major attraction as it is the only area where flamingos breed regularly.
Moreover, Kutch Wildlife Desert Sanctuary is famous for being one of the largest seasonal saline wetland areas. It has a water depth between 0.5 to 1.5 meters. However, post-October/November, the water dries, and the area turns into a saline desert.
Wildlife at Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
Little did people know, the Kutch Desert has been in the news many times as records of fossil recovery of dinosaurs, crocodiles (of the Dinosaurian period), and whales (of the tertiary period) have been found here. Along with these, fossilized forests have been seen in the rocks that date back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras.
Further, many small spiny-tailed lizards reside in abundance in the Kutch Desert. Chinkara, Fox, Hyena, and Nilgai are other faunas in this desert. Birdwatchers will be in great luck as the sanctuary has plenty of resident and migratory birds, including raptors and the Houbara bustard.
The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is inhabited by a wide variety of wild animals like hyenas, foxes, wolves, and chinkaras. In addition, most mammals like the Nilgai, Wild Ass, and the Black Buck, seen in the Wild ass Sanctuary, are also found here.
The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary not only houses animals but birds as well. It is famous for being home to colorful flamingos in large numbers. Flamingos sporting a riot of vibrant colors of dark red, yellow, and blue are to be seen here. In fact, the site is called Flamingo City near the Solanki Bet.
Also, the reserve houses the White Pelican and the Avocet, making these their breeding grounds. The Great Indian Bustard, Stolzca’s Bushcat, painted sandgrouse, larks, tits, raptors, steppe eagle, tawny eagles, and various water-fowls can be seen here.
A visit to the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary gives a complete picture of the wildlife in Gujarat, exhibiting a plethora of wild species in the form of birds as well as mammals. This excursion makes the tour to Gujarat nearest to perfection.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary has two hills named Kala Dungar and Goro Dungar. On this hilly island live many microhabitats like grassland, barren wasteland, scrubland, agricultural land, irrigation reservoir, and village ponds. Both hills have scrubs like kahri jar, mithi jar, gorad, hermo baval, kerdo, bokhano, Prosopis chilensis, etc.
More About Flamingo City
The renowned Flamingo City, where thousands of flamingos can be seen, entices travelers from across the world to visit Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary. Flamingoes breed here typically during the year and construct their muddy nests, lay eggs, and rear young ones.
The late Maharao Shri Khengarji of Kutch revealed the nesting of flamingoes in 1883. And in 1998, the same was reported by the Border Security Force (BSF) and State Forest Department (Bhuj- Kutch). Dr. Salim Ali traveled to Flamingo City in 1945 and estimated their population to be half-million birds. Along with Greater Flamingo, Ladder Flamingo, Rosy Pelican, and Acocet were also seen breeding in the Great Rann.
More About Dholavira
Dholavira was one of the most distinctive sites of all the Harappan sites and was famous for its remarkable planning, architecture, and water-management system. The culture of this 5000-year-old civilization of Indus Valley lies buried at Dholavira. It is also said that Dholavira is the sixth-largest city of the Indus Valley civilization.
Dholavira was a fortified city covering 48 hectares. Set amidst three complexes - a citadel, a middle town, and a lower town- the city's people know about copper working, stone dressing, pottery, manufacturing molded bricks, and more. They are also found to be masters of the mass production of beads and pieces of domestic items of semi-precious stones and shells. Yet, even with such knowledge and a thriving culture, the city was on its decline around 2100 BC.
Today, you can visit the wildlife sanctuary and the nearby areas. Hire a guide who will explain the details and show you places around the sanctuary that were once thriving with people and culture.
Best Time to Visit Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
Winter is the best season to visit Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary. Between October and March, the weather remains pleasant with low temperatures, making wildlife exploration more enjoyable. Make sure to wear a generous amount of sunscreen, carry woolen clothes, and keep yourself hydrated.