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The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is located in the Rajasthan  northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, to the west of the Aravalli Mountain Range. The Thar Desert forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. About 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining part in Pakistan. Thar covers an area of approximately 77,000 square miles.

It is the world’s 17th largest desert, and the world’s 9th largest subtropical desert. Thar constitutes one of the five major physical divisions of India.  The Thar Desert encapsulates a number of district in the state including theBarmer,Jaisalmer, Jodhpur. The Thar also manages to swallow certain regions of Gurjrat, Haryana and even Punjab. With such a huge and humbling stature.

The desert has a volatile climate, with temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and dropping to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. May and June are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures rising to 122 °F (50 °C). During January, the coldest month, the mean minimum temperature ranges between 41 and 50 °F . Only about 10 percent of the area is made up of sand dunes, while the rest of the geography includes rock formations, salt lake bottoms and fixed dune areas.

The Thar Desert extends between the Aravalli Hills in the north-east, The Great Rann of Kutch along the coast and the alluvial plains of the Indus River in the west and north-west, High and low sand dunes, sandy plains, low barren hills, etc characterize the landscape of the desert. The desert presents an undulating surface, with high and low sand dunes separated by sandy plains and low barren hills, or bhakars. 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.  The sand is highly mobile due to strong winds occurring before the onset of the monsoon. TheLuni River is the only river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited to 100–500 mm per year, mostly falling from July to September.

People and their Life in Thar Desert :

The desert of Thar is inhabited by a huge number of poeple. Animal Husbandry and agriculture contribute majorly to the economic status of the households. Huge projects of power and irrigation has made it possible for the deserts areas to undertake agriculture.The main population of this desert is of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.Urbanisation has not yet seeped in into the desert and a large number of families still live in ther huts made out of local and natural materials.The prevelant culture in the desert is full of color and joy.Folk Dance, Food, Music etc are all much appreciated in the desert. Rajasthan is also house to a large number of festivities including Holi,Gangour, Blaji Dham Yatra, Gogaji, Bhopaji Puja Ramdevji Yatra etc. About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert. A colourful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry. 

Bikaner and Jaisalmer are located in the desert proper. A large irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral, and hide and wool industries are prominent. The desert’s part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture, heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants who belong to different religions, sects and castes.

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Flora And Fauna :

Snakes and Lizards are usually the most common thing here with 25 and 23 species of them found in the desert respectively. Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India  are Bustard, the Chikara, the Black Buck,and other living things like birds, particularly the Quail and Francolin, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different conditions, and they are mainly nocturnal. 

Vegetation :

There is a Lots of variety of vegetation in the desert.  The natural vegetation of the Thar Desert is composed of the following tree, shrub and herb species ound in this areas are as much as 700. 107 of which are merely kinds of grass. The endemic floral species include Calligonum polygonoidesProsopis cinerariaAcacia niloticaTamarix aphyllaCenchrus biflorus. When there are good rains, crops are exaggerated, cattles too find themselves in good condition with abundant food and harvest.

Salt water lakes :

There are a number of salt water lakes in Thar desert. These are Sambhar, PachpadraTal ChhaparFalaudi and Lunkaransar where Sodium chloride salt is produced from salt water. The Didwana lake produces Sodium Sulphate salt. Ancient Archaeological evidences of habitations have been recovered from Sambhar and Didwana lakes which shows their antiquity and historical importance.

Tree species of Thar Desert :

Some of the essential tree species in the region of Thar Desert include: Acacia senegal, Albizia lebbeck, Acacia jacquemontii, Acacia leucophloea, Azadirachta indica, Salvadora oleoides, Tecomella undulata, Anogeissus rotundifolia, Prosopis cineraria and Tamarix articulate. Some of the small shrubs and trees are Calligonum polygonoides, Acacia jacquemontii, Ziziphus zizyphus, Ziziphus nummularia, Balanites roxburghiiCalotropis procera, Suaeda fruticosa, Aerva tomentosa, Clerodendrum multiflorum, Crotalaria burhia, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Lycium barbarum,Grewia populifolia, Euphorbia neriifolia, Cordia rothii, Commiphora mukul, Maytenus emarginata, Capparis deciduas and Mimosa hamata.

Desert for recreation:

Thar Desert provides the recreational value in terms of desert festivals organized every year. Rajasthan desert festivals are celebrated with great zest and zeal. This festival is held once a year during winters. Dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. The fair has snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels, of course, play a stellar role in this festival, where the rich and colorful folk culture of Rajasthan can be seen. Camels are an integral part of the desert life and the camel events during the Desert Festival confirm this fact. Evenings are meant for the main shows of music and dance. Continuing till late into the night, the number of spectators swells up each night and the grand finale, on the full moon night, takes place by silvery sand dunes.

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Posted in: Rajasthan
 

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