90 km northwest of Ahmedabad (Gujarat), the Rann Riders Resorts at Dasada village, unfolds the engaging experiences of Little Rann of Kutchh.
Accompanied by conversant and passionate naturalists and guides, sign-up for panoramic photo safaris, self-drive cross desert safaris, birding, horseback riding and safaris, camelback riding and safaris, camel cart rides and safaris, captivating village excursions, camping, fishing, motorcycle and cycle tours, compelling cross-country jeep and wildlife safaris, and participate in the music and dance of local communities.
Some years ago a world famous ornithologist and I were hosted by our mutual friend Muzahid Malik who had set up the Rann Riders. Muzahid comes from an illustrious lineage traced to the 15th century. His ancestor, Baktiar-ud-din was awarded the 24 sq mile jagir (Indian equivalent of a dukedom) of Dasada for military service rendered to the Sultan of Gujarat and bestowed the title of Malik Bakhan.
In keeping with the tradition of their ancestors, the owners of Dasada extend their undivided attention to every guest, garnished with the generous hospitality of the Kathiawad region.
The Rann Riders Resort works equally well for an off-beat lazy holiday, active adventure and discovery, quality time with the family, bonding with friends, an experiential honeymoon or getaway for a couple, and for an epicurean’s delight.
About the property
Set amidst agricultural fields and wetlands, each of the 32 air-conditioned cottages (in single, double and twin configurations) at the Rann Riders Resort, provide a dry dressing area and a tiled bathroom with western-style toilet fittings and hot-and-cold water showers. The cottages have wheel-chair access, provide a tea and coffee maker, free internet, the expected toiletries (razor and toothbrush on request), and a make-up mirror.
The resort has a meeting room with AV equipment. Massages, laundry and babysitting services are available. There is ample secure parking space. Note that the reception and restaurant are open only during the day.
Single occupancy Rs.7000
Double occupancy Rs.8000 (specify twin bed or double bed when you book)
Extra bed Rs.2500
Up to 2 children can stay in a room occupied by 2 adults. Children below 6 years stay free, and for children between 7 to 12 years of age, the charge of Rs.1500 includes an extra bed.
The price for room occupancy is on jungle plan, valid from 01 July 2017 till 30 September 2018. Jungle plan includes accommodation in an air-conditioned cooba, plus a choice between a half-day jeep safari (am or pm) on the salt flats to see wildlife or to villages and tribal communities. You can opt to have the village safari by camel-cart!
Breakfast Rs.300 per person
Lunch Rs.550 per person
Dinner Rs.700 per person
Jeep safari (up to 6 persons) Rs.3000
Horse safari (3 hours) Rs.3000 per person
Bullet Bike Safari per person Rs.4000 for 6 hours, Rs.2500 for 3 hours
Camel cart safari (up to 8 persons) Rs.2000
Evening folk dance Rs.4500
Prevailing taxes, presently 18%, are applicable on the final billed amount. Park entrance charges are extra, on actuals. Major credit cards are accepted, and ATM and banking facilities are available.
Book Your Trip to the Rann Riders Resort here
Forest Department Entrance Charges in Rupees
Jeep or car up to 6 persons
Indians Weekdays 400, Weekends and Holidays 500
Foreigners Weekdays 2400, Weekends and Holidays 3000
Camper or wagon up to 15 persons
Indians Weekdays 1000, Weekends and Holidays 1250
Foreigners Weekdays 6000, Weekends and Holidays 7500
Heavy motor vehicle up to 60 persons
Indians Weekdays 3500, Weekends and Holidays 4375
Foreigners Weekdays 21000, Weekends and Holidays 26250
Indians Weekdays 40, Weekends and Holidays 50
Foreigners Weekdays 600, Weekends and Holidays 750
Indians Weekdays 200, Weekends and Holidays 200
Foreigners Weekdays 1200, Weekends and Holidays 1200
Indians Weekdays 10000, Weekends and Holidays 10000
Foreigners Weekdays 60000, Weekends and Holidays 60000
Continental and Indian cuisine is served on the buffet table, pre-plated or camp-style around a fire. The Indian barbeque is a specialty. On prior request Gujarati meals, regional specialties of the Maliks of Dasada, Bengali meals and seafood can be arranged.
Vegetarians have an extensive selection of Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine from the a la carte menu.
Best time to go
The Rann Riders Resort is open around the year. October through March are the coolest months, with temperatures between 35 to 10 degrees Celsius. Summer temperatures vary between 25 degrees Celsius during the evening and can soar to 42 degrees Celsius during the day.
How to get here
The nearest metro city is Ahmedabad, 90 km and about 2 ½ hours’ drive. The airport at Ahmedabad has domestic and international flights. Ahmedabad is also a convenient railway junction, connected across India. The nearest railhead 30 km away is Viramgam, is connected to Mumbai.
What to do here and around the property
Rann Riders offers a fleet of open vehicles for safaris on and around the Little Rann of Kutch.
Take an open vehicle safaris in scenic and culturally rich countryside of the Rann, or experience it on horseback, by cycle, motorcycle or self-drive. Rann Riders Dasada offers an unforgettable safari experience.
As the Arabian Sea separated from this land mass of 5000 sq km, it left behind a vast featureless plain encrusted with salt, that floods during the rains. The islands on that ancient seabed, called ‘bets’, rise above the salt flats. The bets are covered with grass and shrub, and support a variety of wildlife, including the endemic Gudkhur (Asiatic wild ass).
Animals include the desert fox, desert cat, jungle cat, hyena, the endangered Indian wolf, black buck, blue bull and Indian gazelle, hares, gerbils, the Indian pangolin and hedgehogs. You may also spot the common sand boa, saw-scaled viper, cobra, Indian rat snake, spiny tailed lizard and the monitor.
Declared a Ramsar Site, between October to March over 280 species of bird can be seen and photographed. Download the bird list here.
At the resort itself you may spot kingfishers, spot-bill, comb ducks, herons, egrets, shikara hawks, ibis, rose coloured starling and the Saras cranes.
The Rann itself is a birding paradise. Expect to see coursers, plovers, shrikes, babblers, warblers, chats, green pigeon and sand grouse. Around the lakes, especially between Octobers to March expect to see incredible numbers of demoiselle and common crane. You will see pelicans, storks, ibises, flamingos, a variety of duck and water fowl. The Rann is the hunting ground of raptors like the short-toed eagle, Aquila eagles, and 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.
During the rains in July, August and September, the lesser florican breed in the grasslands and the vegetation around the wetlands becomes the breeding ground for painted storks, several species of resident ducks and other waterfowl. Colonies of the lesser flamingo breeding have been recorded and photographed in the Little Rann of Kutch during these months.
Birding sites near Dasada include a number of seasonal wetlands, the Nawa Taloa, Patdi fort and the many reservoirs around. 44 km from Dasada is the 105 sq km Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, one of the finest birding sites in Western India.
The women of pastoral Kharapat Rabari community do exquisite embroidery using herringbone stitches interspersed with small mirrors, and occasional chain stitches for peacocks and other motifs. The Bharvad women of Ambala village near Dasada now work largely on embroidery machines.
A unique weave of this region is the Tangalio, with adept weavers adding extra knots on the weft to create motifs and figures in a dotted pattern on the woven fabric to create shawls, stoles and garments. Another intricate weaving method of the region is Ikat. While ikat weaving uses a neutral weft, the double ikat requires exceptional skill and precision. At Patan, about 80 km from Dasada, weavers of the Salvi community make double ikat sarees called Patola.
The Mirs of Dasada do beadwork to create braids, tassels, and necklaces. Mir women have begun to make beaded bangles commercially.
At the Rann Riders Resort, space is given to weavers to demonstrate their weaves like Ikat and Tangalio. Guests staying at the property get an opportunity to buy sarees, shawls, stoles and fabric pieces directly from the weavers without any commission or middle-person’s margins.
Tarnetar Fair (Aug/Sept)
About a 100 km from Dasada is Tarnetar (Trineteshwar), believed to be on the original course of river Ganga. The fair is attended by eligible herdsmen who sport brightly embroidered umbrellas, and unmarried girls from pastoral tribes, who get to select their husbands in the old Swayamwara tradition.
The Ravechi Mela is the most important fairs for the Rabari community of Kutch. The fair takes place at the Ravechi Mata temple where the people of Kutch can be seen at their colourful best.
Modhera Dance Festival (January)
45 km from Dasada is the 11th century Sun Temple at Modhera. During the classical dance festival, the temple is illuminated, and dancers from different parts of India perform on the occasion.
Modhera Sun Temple (45 km)
The temple is so designed that at sunrise of the equinox light falls on the murti in the sanctum sanctorum. Sadly weathered with time, you will still get to see traditional erotic sculpture, with that of various gods and goddesses, carved torana arches mounted on kirti stambhas, a large rectangular step-well 108 smaller shrines and friezes from Indian epics like the Mahabharata.
Patan (70 km)
The 8th to 14th century capital of Gujarat, Patan is famous for its Double Ikat Saree and the exquisitely sculptured Rani ki Vav (stepwell). Leading down seven storeys to the water level, the steps are string-coursed by sculpture depicting the avatars of lord Vishnu, Hindu Goddesses, Jain idols and beautiful apsaras. Behind the water is a beautiful sculpture of Lord Vishnu reclining on a serpent.
Jhinjhwada (19 km)
Jhinjhwada has the remains of an old fort. Its huge gateway has superb sandstone carvings.
Munsar Tank (30 km)
On the outskirts of the walled town of Viramgam is this 12th century tank, enclosed by scores of intricately carved temples.
Bahucharaji (30 km)
This temple to Bahucharaji, is considered one of the 52 Shakti peeths of the mother goddess. The temple is revered by the eunuchs, and hosts an important fair at night (March or April).
Sankeshwar (25 km)
This town is named for its life-size white idol of Bhagawan Sankeshwar Parshwanatha in the Padmasana posture. The temple is believed to date from the 12th century, was rebuilt, and has 52 subsidiary shrines with a walkway for pilgrims.
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