A bird's eye view

A bird's eye view

A bird's eye view

I have never been particularly lucky with bird sightings. Somehow, every time I’ve visited a bird sanctuary, my sightings were never anything extraordinary. However, this trend seems to have changed during my visit to Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary at the Little Rann of Kutch.

Located 54 km from Ahmedabad, a rather long dusty drive took us to the sanctuary. The Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is one of the largest water-bird sanctuaries in the country and covers an area of 121 sq km. The water depth does not exceed 1.8 m, which makes it one of the largest shallow lakes in the country.

The lake, with many boats dotting its shore, stretches as far as the eye can see. A boatman, after much haggling over the price, took us on a two-hour ride around the lake.

The first thing that strikes the visitor is the clear placid water, interspersed with foliage and a sense of serenity like no other. The Nalsarovar Sanctuary is mainly a wetland. In the first five minutes, we spotted seagulls, which swooped low into the water to gorge on the ghatias we had bought earlier as snacks for the journey.

The sanctuary is unique as it has a huge lake and marshes where one can see flamingoes, pelicans, geese, cranes, storks, ibises, spoonbill, wading birds, swallows, fishing eagles, osprey and harriers among several others. We also spotted Brahminy ducks, which can always be seen in pairs.

Other sightings include the yellow wagtail, egrets and cranes. An island located in the lake is inhabited by villagers, who were dressed traditionally with oodles of silver jewellery.

The women here dish up traditional Gujarati vegetarian fare. For a mere Rs 50, you can feast on a meal of thick rotis made of wheat flour called bhakri, garlic chutney and two curries — a traditional potato curry and the famed tamatar sev with a piece of jaggery.

This place has a charm of its own and is a must-see destination while touring Gujarat.

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