Rajasthan Desert Experiences of India
The Land Of Mirage And Miracles
Arid, but full of attractions! Welcome to the land of camels, sand dunes, thorny bushes, sand dunes! Welcome to the deserts of India! These golden sands of India cover about 208,110 sq km of area. Spread over four states in India (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat), these deserts are the most dry and hot places, geographically. However, the nights are quite chilly.
The deserts can be divided into two parts- the great desert and little desert. The great desert forms a part of Thar desert which extends over Pakistan in the west while the smaller one is known as the Rann of Kutchh that mainly covers the state of Gujarat. Thar Desert is situated in Rajasthan, covering 61% of its geographic area (about 180,000 sq km). Contrary to this, the Rann of Kutchh covers an area of about 45,000 sq km.
Also known as the Great Indian Desert, the Thar Desert is bordered by Indus and Sutlej river in the west and the Aravalli ranges in the east. Three of the most attractive cities of Rajasthan- Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner are a part of the Great Indian Desert. Out of these three, Jaisalmer is mostly sandy or stony and lies in the heart of the Thar desert. Around 42 km from Jaisalmer is the immensely famous Sam Sand Dunes. A camel safari to this place offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the true magic of the Thar desert. Lying at the edge of the Thar desert are the cities of Jodhpur and Bikaner. These places are also perfect for providing an insight into the life of desert region by camel safari. These enchanting camel rides take you to the journey of various forts, palaces and havelis built by the Rajput Kings.
The ride on the ship of the desert (camel) is the most appropriate activity to explore the lifestyle of the local villagers, flora & fauna, and the historical remnants. Desert Safari is a thrilling experience to visit the unending sand dunes of Jaisalmer and Bikaner. There are day treks, which leave in the morning and return at night, as well as overnight trips.
Another add on to the safari is the cultural shows in these sand dunes. Various camps are organized and lit with oil lamps. The entire region echoes with the traditional music and the local dancers perform amazing dances. Having dinner at the campfire watching the traditional aspects of the sandy state is a unique experience.
Fairs And Festivals
Rajasthani fairs and festivals are considered the most vibrant and colourful occasions. They reflect the vigour and lifestyle of Rajasthani people. These are the occasions when the golden sands come alive. Rajasthan celebrates every festival and organizes a fair for every religious occasion, season and for every harvest. Rajasthanis are crazy for celebrations.
During the 'Desert Festival', Rajasthan reveals brilliant colors, music and laughter. People, dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, give wonderful folk performances. Another attraction is the 'Pushkar Fair', which is considered as the biggest cattle fair in the world.
Rajasthanis are known the best artisans in designing and manufacturing carpets, lac bangles, jewellery, outfits, light furniture and other small handicraft items.
Flora And Fauna
These barren deserts have a total of more than 700 species of plants, out of which about 107 belong to the grass category. These plants have the capacity to survive in the driest of conditions and most of them are edible, especially the grass variety.
The fauna or animal species of the desert region is also noteworthy, which includes a wide array of desert cat, desert fox, the winter-visiting houbara bustard, several sandgrouse species, a few reptiles, blackbuck, chinkara, the Indian wolf, caracal, great Indian bustard etc.