Know about India's largest salt desert

Jan 29 2020 04:30 PM
Know about India's largest salt desert

In the Indian state of Gujarat, 100 km from the Arabian Sea, there is a snow-like white salt field in the barren desert, which extends to the border with Pakistan in the north. It is also known as the Rann of Kutch. This turtle-shaped area is divided into two parts - the Great or Great Rann is spread over 18,000 square kilometers. The second part is called Chhota Ran which is spread over 5,000 square kilometers. Combining these two, a wide plain of salt and tall grass is formed, which is one of the largest salt deserts in the world. From here, India gets 75 percent salt. Every year in the summer month, the monsoon rains cause flooding in the Rann. The dry fields of white salt disappear altogether and in their place become a shimmering sea. Both the Rann of Kutch is situated on the western border of India between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of the Indus River in southern Pakistan. Bada Ran is about 100 km northeast of Bhuj city. It is called the endless 'white desert' of India. There is little wildlife in it. Chhota Rana is to the south-east of Bada Ran. It is a sanctuary for immigrant birds and wildlife. Despite this, there are many similarities between the two races.

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The torrential rain of monsoon starts here in late June. Till October, the flood situation remains here. Then slowly the water starts evaporating and leaves salt crystals behind. When the water decreases, the migrant farmers start a salt field and start cultivating salt. From winter to next June, they extract as much salt as they can. The geological origin of the Rann of Kutch began around 200 million years ago in the pre-Jurassic and Jurassic periods. Many centuries ago there was a sea route here. Ships going upstream in the Gulf of Kutch and the Indus River used this route. The people of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's first largest civilizations, flourished here from 3300 BC to 1300 BC. About 200 years ago, several severe earthquakes have changed the geographical shape of the place. Earthquake tremors raised the land here. Here a series of trenches filled with seawater formed which together formed a 90-km long and 3-meter deep ridge. It lost contact with the Arabian Sea.

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Earthquakes trapped saltwater in the desert here, which created the specific topography of Rann. "We found a ship's mast in the desert. It was trapped here during an earthquake and could not reach the sea," says geologist Dr. MG Thakkar of Kranthi University, Kranthiguru Shyamji Krishna Varma of Kutch University in Gujarat. "That was a wonderful sight. A wooden mast in the middle of the barren desert." To promote tourism, the Government of Gujarat provides financial assistance to local, cottage handicraft enterprises. The art and craft of nomadic communities living in the Kucch region are famous all over India. In fact, many styles of printed clothes being prepared in the Rann of Kucch are extinct elsewhere. These include batik block printing, Bella printing with natural colors and lacquer printing with castor oil. The state government is promoting handicrafts by making them part of the annual Rann Utsav. The annual festival, which runs from November to February, reflects the music, dance, crafts, and local culture.

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