The Rajasthan desert or the Thar Desert in western Rajasthan is the biggest desert in India. The Thar Desert or the Great Indian Desert encompasses about 70% of total landmass of Rajasthan and hence it is identified as the "Desert State of India". The Thar Desert embraces the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur.
Actually, Rajasthan desert is a greater part of the Thar Desert that is spread across the western part of India and the southeastern Pakistan. Thus this huge stretch of barren land extends into the southern part of Haryana, Punjab and Northern Gujrat and Sind province of Pakistan. The desert in Rajasthan is bounded by the Sutlej River in the northwest, the Aravali mountains in the east and the salty marshland of the Rann of Kutch in the south and the Indus River in the west.
The Thar Desert covers approximately a total area of 446000 sq kms and India 208110 sq kms of land is covered by this huge desiccated land.
The Rajasthan desert is predominantly characterized by three lansforms-
The sandy stretch of Thar with sand dunes
Hillocks, salty marshlands, gravel, shifting sand dunes, fragments of rocks, scrub vegetation and rare oasis are scattered over the vast sandy expanse of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Luni is the only river that meanders through the desert and reaches the Arabian Sea through the Rann of Kutch. Interestingly according to the paleontologists the present day scrubland of Rajasthan was said to have lush vegetation in the long past. They discovered that Rajasthan was the stamping ground of the dinosaurs and their ascendants300 million years ago.
The scorching heat of the sun shining right above the hands, vast tracts of land with just sand all around with an occasion interruption of rippling sand dunes, where the life-giver water is scarce and the only vegetation generally found are the thorny bushes marks the landscape of a desert and so it is in the desert of That. Except for few things that makes it stand apart. Add to this picture, people wearing brightly hued costumes, women in their ghagharas wearing heavy jewellery and hiding their faces in veil, magnificent and majestic forts and palaces that are splendid examples of architecture, the haunting music and songs and performers that seem to be made of rubber as they dance and perform feats of acrobatics, the hunch-backed camels, royal kings seated on richly bedecked elephants and many, many legends that are an inseparable part of a rich culture and you get the picture of the Thar desert in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan's folklores and folk songs are rich which chivalry, valor and romance of these Rajput kings and beauty, sense of fidelity the pride of their queens who would rather commit jauhar (self-immolation) in the hour of defeat of their men than allow the hands of the enemy as much as touch them. Rajput rulers proved themselves to be great patrons of art, architecture and religion, which can still be seen in the form of magnificent palaces, splendid temples and various forms of arts and crafts including dances, paintings and stone carvings of the state.Today, Rajasthan is a tourist's paradise with its palace complexes that have been turned into hotels and museums and camel, jeep and elephant safaris that transport the guests to another level of human existence.
Rajasthan desert becomes very hot during the summer and it experiences extreme climate. Days are hot and the nights are cold .The desiccated land becomes more parched and dry during the summer owing to the scorching heat of the sun and the temperature reaches the peak of 49°C.
But in the night the temperature falls to a great extent and becomes less than 20 degree C. During winter it may even reach the freezing point-0 degree C at night. Winters are very short and continue only for two months December and January.
The desert receives annually an average rainfall of less than 25 cm. Amazingly the local people have adapted themselves with extreme temperature variations and constant water shortage.
Do Not Miss Out On
The best way to acquaint yourself with the diversities of the desert is to become a part of it and camel safari is the ideal way to do it. Travel to the interiors of the desert and witness charming little villages and the amazing hospitality of people in trying conditions. Camp at night under the star lit sky and have local food cooked on makeshift stoves made of wood and charcoal...an amazing experience.
Big open roofed jeeps are a wonderful way of experiencing the life of Rajasthan, especially during the winter months when the warm rays of sun amidst the cool breeze makes for a heady combination. Jeep safari makes travelling on rough roads easy and helps the traveller explore things as less developed tribal regions, tiny villages, ruins of ancient forts and temples.
Created by the games of wind, the sand dunes of Rajasthan have an amazing charm about them that can even overshadow its most amazing forts and palaces. Often visitors with less time on their hand prefer to witness the beauty of these endless sand dunes to that of the numerous historic structures. The best way to explore the sand dunes around Jaisalmer is to take a camel or jeep safari.
CAMEL FESTIVAL(BIKANER) - 07 - 09 Jan. 2012
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