Chhari Dhandh in BhujThe phrase Chhari actually means affected by salt while Dhandh means a shallow saucer like wetland. The Chhari Dhandh is an upcoming and recently famous ecological reserve of Kutch. This wetland is unique in the sense that it gets swampy only after heavy rainfall. Its actual location is in Fulay village in Nakhtaran Taluka which lies about 80 km to the North western part of Bhuj.
The Rann as you may know covers nearly 25% of the Gujarat state. It is an arid salt desert and the Chhari Dhandh with its eclectic combination of flora and fauna is like an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Flora and Fauna of Chhari DhandhOrnithologists (bird lovers) and nature lovers will find a paradise in Chhari Dhandh as it is home to 78 species of birds and 32 species of desert foliage including Raptors, Wild Grass and Cacti. Apart from the species of birds which populate this area about 100 more different species of birds can be found as they return home or go on their annual migratory trip.
Flamingoes in all their splendid mating plumage can be found at Chhari Dhandh when they embark on their migratory trip across the globe. The other species of birds found here are Spoonbills, Painted Storks and other birds which normally populate Wetlands. Dung beetles abound here especially in the monsoons. Amongst animals desert cats and foxes apart from Chinkara and Wolves are found here. You will find the knotty branches of Gando Bawal tree and Mitha and Khara trees growing on the edges of the Chhari Lake.
Activities in Chhari DhandhThe BHNS or the Bombay Natural History Society had opened a huge center at Chhari Dhandh (supervised by famous Ornithologist Dr S.A Hussain) for studying the migratory patterns of birds. Now nature camps are held for educational and recreational purposes here. Chhari Dhandh has been awarded with the title of Convention Ramsar site and classified as one of the Wetlands of India that has supreme importance in the ecological chain. There is a nature trail organized By Gujarat Government Tourism department which encompasses Chhari Dhandh, Dhinodhar and Dhoradho. The Chhari Lake has boating facilities and recreational fishing facilities for tourists.
Work is going on to set up a Nature Interpretative Center at Chhari Dhandh. Tourists can seek information about the wetland at this center. There is also a watch tower at Chhari Dhandh which allows tourists to spot nearby specimens of birds and animals and also get a good view of the wetlands. Currently Chhari Dhandh holds the position of “conservation reserve” in India.
Tips to Visit Chhari DhandhIf you are not a trained Zoologist or Botanist then you are advised to take on the services of a guide who can help you spot animals and birds in the wetland of Chhari Dhandh. The place looks spectacular in the sunrise and sunset so make sure you arrive on time to catch the view. There is a government guesthouse in the bird sanctuary of Chhari Dhandh which has unique Bhoongas or house of mud. You can stay here overnight or opt for the JP Resort at Nakhtarna for a more sophisticated experience. Best time for bird watching is November to December. It’s better to take a Jeep from Bhuj to arrive at Chhari Dhandh. The road is not so good but the beauty of the wetland makes up for it.
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