Birding paradise :
With its small lakes and extensive fields, little Rann of Kutch
offers good birding. Grey and pond herons, egrets, pied and
white-breasted kingfishers, spotbill, nakta (comb duck), saras
cranes and other birds can be seen at the waterfront. The bushes are
also rich in birds and shikra hawks have been seen perched on the
trees at the resort. The resort is also a roosting spot for rosy
pastor (rose-coloured starling). The trees also provide suitable
nesting areas for ibises, egrets and pond herons to breed.
The Little Rann of Kutch is a birding paradise
and has been declared a Ramsar Site. During the safaris in the Rann
expect to see large flocks of larks, and other dryland birds like
sandgrouse, coursers, plovers, chats, warblers, babblers, shrikes.
Among the many winter visitors are the houbara bustard and spotted
The best birding is at the lakes and marshes in
and around the Rann where birds gather in numbers beyond
comprehension during the winter months from October to March. These
are the months when demmossile and common cranes are seen in
incredibly large numbers. The wetlands also attract flamingos,
pelicans, storks, ibises, spoonbill, a variety of ducks and other
The Rann is also the hunting ground of raptors
like the short-toed eagle, aquila eagles, six species of falcon,
buzzards and three species of harrier. It is one of the few places
where harriers can be seen roosting on open-ground at night.
Dasada is the base to visit the bird-rich Nawa Talao lake, a
number of seasonal wetlands near Dasada, the village lake of Dasada,
the wetland near Patdi fort, Viramgam town lake and many reservoirs
of Surendranagar district that offer good winter birding
opportunities. Birds like rose-coloured starling and green pigeon
are often seen at Dasada village.
In the monsoon months of July, August and
September, lesser florican visits the grasslands of Surendranagar
District to breed and the vegetation around the wetlands becomes the
breeding area for painted storks, several species of resident ducks
and other waterfowl. Lesser flamingo breeding colonies have been
recorded and photographed in the Little Rann of Kutch during these
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Dasada is 44 kms. from Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, a 105 sq kms.
sanctuary comprising a large lake and its surrounds. Nalsarovar is
renowned as one of the finest birding places in Western India.
Besides the extensive variety of birds seen in large flocks at the
lake, and their predators like the marsh harrier and fishing eagles,
visitors can also watch passerine birds at the neighbouring bushes,
grasslands and fields. Saras cranes are a frequent sighting in the
fields around Nalsarovar. Culture, Textiles & Handicrafts While in
Dasada, you can visit pastoral settlements and villages along the
Rann of Kutch.
The tours visit the pastoral Vadiara and
Kharapat Rabaris of Dasada, known for their embroideries, the
silk-weavers colony at Dasada, and Ambala village of the Bharward
shepherds and goatherds. During this tour, guests can shop for
embroidery directly from the Bharwad women of Ambala and the Rabari
women of Dasada.
The weaving cooperative at Bajana and other
artisans’ workshops can also be included in the tours.
Other communities near Dasada are Padhars
(primarily fishing people), the semi-nomadic Bajanias and Mirs,
Jaths (Muslim herders), and the Siddis.
Approx 70 kms from Dasada is the historic city of Patan known
for its Patola silk weavers. These weavers belong to the Salvi
community and are believed to have come here from South India during
the patronage of the Solankis who reigned over Gujarat in the 11th
and 12th centuries. The Salvis practise an intricate weaving
technique called double ikkat which involves dyeing both the warp
and weft threads according to the final design before setting them
on the loom for weaving. The result is an extremely rich fabric.
Only a few weavers in Okinava, Bali and Patan use the double ikkat
techniques making the Patola a collectible.
Many textile and handicraft experts stopover at Dasada en route
to Bhuj, Banni and other areas known for their rich array of
handicrafts including embroideries of Rabaris, Bharwads, Jaths,
Muthwas, Sodhas, Lohanas, etc, besides bandhini tie-and-dye, block
printing, woodcarving, metal crafts and pottery.
For those who want to buy the handicrafts of
Kutch, Rann Riders Resort has an in-house shop of Kala Raksha, a
registered society, trust and non-profit NGO working to preserve the
craftsmanship of Kutch by assisting local communities known for
their handicrafts. KALA RAKSHA produces some of the most exquisitely
hand embroidered and patch worked products made in Kutch. Using only
natural fibers, and wherever possible natural dyes, the Trust makes
a wide range of garments, accessories and home furnishings. KALA
RAKSHA began with income generation, which is the primary concern of
the village artisans. But the Trust views income generation as a
means to comprehensive development and now also works in preventive
health care and basic education. Kala Raksha has encouraged women in
each community in which it works to begin self-help saving groups.