Thar Desert of Rajasthan is situated partly in
India and partly in Pakistan. Bordering the desert
on four sides are, Indus plains to the west, Aravalli
Range to the southeast, Rann of Kutch to the south,
and Punjab plains to the north and northeast.
Also known as the "Great Indian Desert",
Thar covers an area of approximately 77,000 square
miles (200,000 square km). Thar constitutes one
of the five major physical divisions of India,
the other being Himalayas, Northern Plains, Central
Plateau and the Eastern and Western Coastal Plains.
It occupies the western and northwestern parts
of the state of Rajasthan. The other states of
India into which the Thar Desert stretches are
Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana.
and low sand dunes, sandy plains, low barren hills,
etc characterize the landscape of the desert.
Most of the sand dunes are forever in motion and
keep on changing their shapes and sizes. The older
dunes, however, have stabilized to quite an extent
and may rise to a height of almost 500 feet (150
m). Thar Desert is also dotted with playas (saline
lakes), locally known as dhands, which are scattered
throughout the region. The desert tract receives
low and erratic rainfall annually, ranging from
about 4 inches (100 mm) or less in the west to
about 20 inches (500 mm) in the east. The maximum
rainfall is received during the period of July
Deep in the heart of the Thar Desert is Jaisalmer,
one of the last princely bastions in the region.
The rich merchants engaged stone-craftsmen who
worked delicately on the sandstone mansions they
built, filling up facades with sculptural filigree,
screen windows, delicate pavilions and beautiful
balconies. Today, these veritable art-museums
are still inhabited, and their colorful celebrations
and festivals have placed Jaisalmer Fort firmly
on the world tourism map.
It preserves the eco-system of the desert within
it's confines. The Monitor lizards, desert foxes,
porcupines, occasional wolves and black bucks,
and the great indian bustard are found here, forming
an ecological chain revolving around cactii and
other hardy desert plants.
In the midst of the endlessly undulating, stark
yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, rises the
golden sandstone city of Jaisalmer,
like a beautiful mirage, on top of the mythical
Trikut hill. Once a year in winter, the empty
sands around Jaisalmer come alive
with the brilliant colour, music and laughter
of the Desert Festival. The very rich and colourful
Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a
few days. Handsome Rajasthani men and tall beautiful
women dressed in their brilliantly hued picturesque
costumes dance and sing haunting ballads of valor,
romance and tragedy.
The usual fair attractions are there - snake charmers,
puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers do brisk
business. Camels, the lifeline of the desert,
play a major role. Proud moustached villagers,
dressed in their ethnic best come astride their
picturesquely caparisoned camels to join in the
camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics,
camel races and décor, camel polo, tug
of war and the like.
The Langa and Manganiyar folk musicians, the brisk
pace of Rajasthani folk dances like Gair, Dhyap,
Gangaur, Ghoomar, Moria, Terathal, Rajasthani
handicrafts are the other attractions at the festival.
Thar Desert supports vegetation consisting of
mainly stunted scrub and a few sporadic trees.
Gum arabic acacia and euphorbia on the hills and
khajri (Prosopis cineraria) tree in the plains
are some other vegetation in the desert. Black
buck and chinkara (gazelle), amongst animals and
francolin, quail and great bustard, amongst birds
can be seen inhabiting this region. Sand grouse,
ducks, and geese are the common migratory birds
to the area. A tour of the Rajasthan Thar Desert
of India takes you on a brilliant ride of the
golden hues. The camel rides as well as the beautiful
sunsets of the desert enchant both your mind as
well as your soul. Don't forget to include this
magnificent desert on your tour to Rajasthan.
You will definitely love every part of your trip
to this marvelous and outstanding destination.