Explore the popular day trip destination of Khichan, Rajasthan – News

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Coronavirus is not a problem for them, so they don’t stop traveling. Every year in October, they land in large numbers on the dusty lands of Khichan, a small rural hamlet in the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan, India.

These visitors are not humans; this is a type of crane species named Demoiselle by the 18th century French queen Marie-Antoinette for their grace. To escape the harshness of winter in their breeding grounds in Mongolia, Russia and northern China, they travel nearly 5,000 km through the mighty Himalayas to reach the warmer Khichan, their sabbatical for the next six months.

Following the centuries-old Indian tradition of “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means “The guest is God”, the local villagers take good care of their avian visitors. The credit for organizing the hospitality goes to Sevaram Mali, 40, who dedicated his life to the well-being of these winged creatures. With the support of other locals, he not only organizes 2,000 kg of grain per day to feed the birds, but also keeps a log of their movements and takes care of any birds that become ill or injured during their stay. He is even fighting with local electricity authorities to have overhead power lines replaced with underground cables so that the large-winged cranes can glide freely without any obstruction. In recent times he has received good attention in the local and international media for his laudable efforts, which are a prime example of a human-animal relationship.

Media attention not only made it famous, but also dotted the otherwise ordinary rural nest on the tourist map as a bird sanctuary to be discovered. With the news spreading, Khichan is emerging as a popular day trip destination for tourists visiting well-known destinations in Rajasthan – Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner – from which Khichan is less than four hours away. of road.

According to Sevaram, the first batch of birds arrived in Khichan in the early 1970s. Initially the numbers were very low and were fed by villager Ratan Lal Maloo in his garden. He was a Jain by religion and feeding the birds was part of his religious routine. However, as the news of the hot climate and the availability of food was likely passed by the cranes on their return season after season, the number of cranes flocking to Khichan has only increased. The current number of these winged visitors is estimated at around 30,000.

Their annual arrival awakens the impoverished village.

The serenity of the atmosphere is then invaded by the incessant “kraw kraw” pitches of the winged visitors, which sometimes turn strong enough to make people deaf. The dirt roads soon get dustier as bird lovers from neighboring areas begin to flock to see an incomparable spectacle of bird life in action.

During the day, birds can be seen around the nearby sand dunes, bodies of water, bushes and salt marshes, but the best exposure is in the morning when they congregate in a village courtyard, where Sevaram and other local villagers prepare food for them.

It’s a sight to behold as you watch thousands of these graceful, gray bodied, red eyed, two legged creatures with long black necks, pure white plumes, and a wingspan of over a meter descending over grains scattered to fill their belly. From a distance, the feed panorama looks like a patch of gray and black flipping up and down on a hint of yellow.

Few exciting things surprise viewers. Cranes do not enter the ring until there are no more humans. Before diving, they wait and observe the space from the nearby sand dunes and only begin to descend after receiving instructions from their leader who can be easily recognized. Since the feeding arena, often referred to as the open-air cafeteria, has limited capacity, it’s amazing how the first batch of cranes descend, eat, and fly to make room for the next.

If you are staying at the resort there are other things to see and do. Guests have the rare opportunity to experience the unspoiled desert life by visiting neighboring villages, where the friendly locals welcome them to their mud houses called ‘Dhanis’, tell their lifestyle stories, show the crafts they produce and even ask to have a cup of tea with them. Their hospitality touches hearts and reveals a different kind of India.

During their stay, guests have ample time to hunt cranes in various locations at different times of the day, see them up close, learn about their characteristics, and capture their myriad actions through the lenses.

The trek through the sandy domain on the back of a camel – the ship of the desert – is a highlight of the stay. Gently crossing the dunes to the rhythm of the ripples, it is not uncommon to be transported back in time to the time of the camel caravans traversing these sandy paths from China and Turkey to Italy and Spain, this region. then part of the famous Silk Road.

The cranes and the desert combine with the comfort of the place to provide a memorable experience of a different character. It is worth adding this expedition to the list of things to do on your next visit to India.

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