Guj: કચ્છ kaccha
‘Salt Marsh Desert’ -Region, Gujarat
From Skt: kaccha, ‘marsh’; Hin/Skt: ran/īriṇa ‘desert, ‘barren land’.
The Great and Little Rann of Kutch/Kachch are salt marsh wetlands, submerged during the monsoon. They cover an area of around 27,000 sq. km.
The desert features bets or medaks, tracts of higher land areas which shelter wildlife during the annual floods (including chinkara gazelle, blackbuck and nilgai antelope, wild boar, jackals, hyenas, foxes, and jungle cats as well as flamingos, pelicans, storks and cranes).
This unique marshy landscape suggests that the Rann of Kutch may at one time have been the estuary of a great river. Even now, beneath the dry desert, there is evidence of underground water channels running below the sands.
The Agariya salt farmers, working in terrible conditions, harvest 75% of India’s salt [Worth Their Salt: A Fascinating Glimpse into the World of the Hardworking Salt Farmers of Kutch]
Kutch District itself, with a land area of over 45,000 sq. km, is India’s largest district.