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The Ghostly Lights of the Rann

Uma Daga | February 13, 2022

The unexplained lights of the Rann have baffled people across the ages.

The Ghostly Lights of the Rann

It is while driving to the Rann of Kutch that we learnt about the chir batti. Local villagers refer to the ghostly lights as chir batti in their language; chir meaning ghost and batti meaning light.

We were told these dazzling ghost lights will make one forget the northern lights. As we travelled towards the great Rann, we hoped to get a glimpse of this unexplained phenomenon. As luck would have it, we could not spot the chir batti during our entire journey.

The ghost light sightings have been reported in the banni grasslands — a seasonal marshy desolate wetland. This place is located near the adjoining desert of the salt flats of the Rann of Kutch which lies close to the India–Pakistan border.

A mysterious phenomenon

According to local folklore, these lights have been a part of life in the banni grasslands and the Rann for centuries. However, little is known of them beyond the immediate area and people continue to call them ‘ghost lights’.

They occur on dark nights and are as bright as a mercury lamp that changes its colour from blue to red and yellow. It is said to resemble a moving ball of fire, which may move as fast as an arrow but then may also abruptly stop! Some have even reportedly seen it take on a pear-shaped form.

Witnesses claim the lights,  at times, appear to be playing hide and seek, and at other times follow them. Some reports claim the lights can only be seen after 8 pm on dark nights. They say the lights are always visible between two to ten feet above the ground. As per some, if one attempts to follow the chir batti, there are chances one could be misled from the road and get lost in the Rann’s unforgiving terrain.

A team of local and US-based ornithologists, and Border Security Force personnel have allegedly seen the lights too. They say the lights look magical on moonlit nights.

Whatever be the theories and explanations, catching a glimpse of these dazzling lights will surely be a surreal experience.

Uma Daga

Uma is a nature lover by birth, life enthusiast by choice, and a content strategist and writer by profession. As a freelance content developer and editor, Uma has worked with several international and domestic clients like the United States Embassy, Infoanalytica, Ezdia, Enventure, and the Aditya Birla Group, among many others.


Uma loves travelling, making friends, reading, housekeeping and learning new skills. She lives in Jalpaiguri – far from the maddening crowds – in the lap of nature and says, “You have to meet and spend time with me to understand why I am the way I am!”

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