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Desert Coursers Zainabad - Gujarat

WELCOME TO DESERT COURSERS
We began in 1984 to provide access to the wildlife and culture of the Little Rann of Kutch. We have eco friendly cottages, well equipped with modern amenities and serve freshly prepared local cuisine. Our goal is to provide our guests warm hospitality and access to the wildlife and local culture. Our safari’s and custom tours are designed to provide you with unmatched experience that will leave you breathless. Please explore our site to know more about Desert Coursers, and more about our heritage and responsibilities.

Our Resort
Desert Coursers, the resort at Zainabad was started in 1984 by Shri Mohammed Shabbir Malik, and today is run and managed by his Son, Shri Dhanraj Malik.
Zainabad got it’s name from Dhanraj’s Great Grandfather Malik Shri ZAIN KHAN JORAWAR KHAN
Desert Coursers is the premier establishment for birding, culture and experiencing the Little Rann of Kutch.
It is located next to a lake and the accommodation here is in the form of eco-friendly cottages. The environment friendly cottages are locally known as Koobas, they have a traditional design and are ethnic and comfortable. Koobas are equipped with all modern amenities, air-conditioning and have attached bathrooms with hot and cold showers. Hygiene and safety are never compromised.
Our cuisine served buffet style is endemic and has never failed to satisfy the guests.
Over the years we have hosted guests who came for a break, guest who are serious birders, corporate guests who conducted their programs and meeting to internationally renowned birders and film makers including Bollywood films.
The property attracts over 70 species of birds and is nestled in a green, natural environment.
The ambience offers an oasis to relax and soak in the quietness and fresh air

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Film & International Projects
National Geographic
BBC
Star TV
Bollywood movies
Examples
Citizens of Earth – Bahar Dutt (CNN IBN). Indian Diaries – my travels on a eunuch (Mark Shand), Tropic of Cancer.
The Sidi Malunga Project: Rejuvenating the African Musical Bow in India

Typicla Day
Afternoon arrival at the Resort is greeted with tea. The air is filled with sounds of chirping birds and the rustling of trees. After a short nap, or a walk about, you are ready for the jeep safari into the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK). The vehicle is typically an open 4x4 and driven by a trained guide.

The safari begins with going past local villages, waving to numerous children and viewing the rich culture and colors of rural India, of course wildlife is all around, and one can see francolins, coursers and birds of prey along the way. You arrive at the entrance into the LRK, this is a dramatic moment because of the expanse of land and water you see.

As you drive into the LRK, you see the Wild Ass, as you approach the water bodies you see that they are teeming with birds, both local and migrants. Spend time bird watching and watch the sun setting. At times the orange sky of the setting sun is pierced with the pink hue of the flamingoes leaving the water. After sunset you drive back after spending about 2-3 hours. Dinner at camp is often followed by a camp fire. The night sky is set alight by the beauty of the milky way.

Culture
The customs and colors of the local Rabari’s and Bharwad’s
The beauty of moving nomadic tribes, the Jat and Halari’s

Music and Art Special Events

Local musicians and instruments
Endangered music of the Sidi’s
Magic shows

Fairs and Festivals

Make arrangements to visit local Gujarat festival like - Tarnetar, Ravaichi, Chitra vishetra
Gujarat tourism site for list

Important Local Sites
MODHERA -
Modhera is famous for the sun temple. The Modhera temple has resemblance with the Konark and Khajuraho temples in architectural style. Built in 1026-27 by King Bhimdev, it was partially damaged when Mahmud of Ghazni raided it. The Sanctum Sanctorum, was designed such, that the rays of the rising and setting sun on the day of equinox, fell on the bejewelled statue built by the Suryavanshi Solanki Rajputs, in honour of their ancestral God. The sculptures on the walls of the temple resemble the Konark and the Khajuraho temples.
DHRANGADRA, HALVAD & VADHVAN - The historic Jhala Rajput capitals, still retain their old monuments. The fort of Halwad, with its intricate jarokhas, facing the lake, and the chattries of the Jhala Rajputs, are worth a glimpse.

JHINJUVADA -
The old fort of Jhinjuwada, is strategically situated. It must have protected the Solanki Rajput kingdom, from invaders travelling across the coastal creeks and saline plains of the Rann of Kutch.

PATAN -
Established during the Solanki era, this town is famous for its architectural wonders. A pretty town with lots of old walls, gates, temples and monuments, the greatest reminder of the golden period of Gujarat, is the Rani-ki-vav step wall.

PATDI -
One of the few Patel family ruled states in India, Patdi was the 12th century capital of the Jhala Rajput rulers,before they moved to Halwad following a peaceful firman, issued by the Sultans of Ahmedabad.

VIRAMGAM -
Medieval fort walls surround Viramgam town. The town features in the history of the Solanki Rajputs, the Gujarat Sultanate, the Jagirs, old houses and Havelis can be seen in the town.

NALSAROVAR BIRD SANCTUARY -
More than a 100 sq Km in area, Nalsarovar is a birdwatchers paradise, with home to numerous migratory and indigenous birds. The huge lake and its islands, attract huge flocks of bird, especially in winter. Padhars and Bharwads have settlements along the lake. The nearby fields are good for seeing sarus cranes, quails and partridges. One can take a taxi or bus to watch the Ducks, Geese, White storks, Rosy Pelicans and Flamingoes at the sanctuary. Two ancient temples of interest are also located within the sanctuary.

Wildlife
Wild Ass, Nilgai, Jackal, Indian & Desert Fox, Wolf, Desert Cat, Jungle Cat, Flamingoes, Cranes (Demoiselle, Common and Sarus), Ducks, Geese, Larks, MacQueens Bustard, Sykes Nightjar, Sand Grouse and Harrier, Owls

Social Responsibilty
The people of Zainabad are farmers & salt manufacturers. Through Desert Coursers, the Family supports a host of social projects around Zainabad. While some profits are used for the upkeep and modernization of the Resort, this is always balanced to make sure most of the profits are ploughed back into the society. This includes running a High School that is accessed by local and children
from nearby villages.

In 1999 local water wells were reconstructed to provide water to about 2000 people, in the same year, opened a boarding school for about 40 children whose parents are salt manufacturers and hence deprived of education. The school gives them basic education, lodging & boarding and an escape from being in a labor intensive salt pan.

On the 26th January 2001 we had an earth quake, it was the biggest disaster that any one had experienced. Most of the village schools collapsed. ZHEDP built a girls school in Zainabad which now educates about 350 girls from 5 to 12 years, out of which about 175 are fully supported by ZHEDP, clients and friends of Desert Coursers. Recently with the help of some clients we have put a drinking water facility in this school, it is the only school having this provision. As most of the houses had collapsed, people needed food & clothing, ZHEDP helped more than 2000 families by providing this. During this time ZHEDP helped the Red Cross and other organisations to distribute the relief material. The vehicles of Desert Coursers were used for transporting the sick and injured  to nearby hospitals.

In February 2002 another big disaster struck Gujarat, the Riots. During this time Desert Coursers came as big help, the cottages accommodated the people who had fled and lost their dear ones & belongings. The Resort became a refuge camp providing people the much needed medical & food facilities. Desert Coursers is still helping families like these with work opportunities so they can survive. Free education is given to their children.

In 2006, Akaash Ganga was inaugurated. Here we provide room, board and schooling for under privileged children with specific attention to the girl child and salt worker children.

Young people from all over the world donate their time to teach the children something new. Others
provide funds and specific donations.

Recognition : Best Educator presented by the Education Minister

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