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Banni Grasslands: Quick Facts

Location

The Banni grasslands, situated at 230 19'N to 230 52'N and  680 56'E to 70032'E, are a semi-arid grassland ecosystem located on the southern border of the Great Rann of Kachchh in the Kachchh district of Gujarat state.

Uniqueness

Banni is an important grassland ecosystem of India. The grassland is rich in biological diversity including herbs, shrubs, grasses, mammals, reptiles and birds. The ecosystem is one of the largest staggering grounds of migratory birds in the world. It also acts as a shallow wetland during good monsoon years and provides an important habitat for the rare and threatened as well as migratory avi-faunal species. Part of Banni is now mostly converted into woodland due to the invasion of Prosopis Juliflora. Banni provides many ecological services and options for livelihood support for the local communities, specifically the Maldharis.

Climate

Arid desert type of climate. During summer months, temperature hovers around 450c and above. During winter, the temperature is between 100c to 150c. Banni experiences an average annual rainfall of 315 mm between June and September.

Visiting season

October to April

Visitor facilities

Developed by Gujarat Tourism Development Board. Still photography is allowed, videography is allowed within a limited area. Local villagers often act as tourist guides. Banni villages offer home-stay opportunities. Resorts are also available at reasonable rates.

Getting to Banni

Banni is 65 km away from Bhuj, the district headquarters of Kachchh. Bhuj is well connected by air, road and railways. Regular bus and cab services are available from Bhuj to Banni.

Local Cuisine

Bhuj is famous for its traditional Kachchi cuisines, including the unlimited Gujarati thali with its rotlas, vegetables, sev tomato, lentils, kadhi and much more. Most places here offer only vegetarian food. The town is popular for traditional fried snacks such as khakhra, papad and jalebi. Other Gujarati delicacies include dhokla, thepla, fafda, khandvi, hahdwoh, ganthia, oondhiya as well as sweets like ghevar, puran poli, basundi and more.

Local Craft

The people of Banni live in a hut known as Bhongi or ‘Bhunga. Embroidery, lacquer work, wood carving, leather work are some of the famous forms of handicrafts found in Banni.

Local Festivals

The Banni Pashu Mela is an annual event organized by the Banni Breeders' Association. The fair provides a good platform for explaining various animal husbandry practices.  

Biodiversity

The Banni is home to great biological diversity, having 37 grass species and 275 bird species. Reptiles include the spiny-tailed lizard, common monitor lizard, vipers, sand snakes and blind snakes. The water bodies of Banni support over 150 species of migratory and resident birds which include flamingos and many species of wading birds and ducks. The wild animals of Banni include the Nilgai (blue bull), Chinkara, Black buck, Indian hare, Wild boar, Jackal, Grey wolf, Caracal, Hyena, Fox, Jungle cat.