The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi) and forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It is the world's 17th largest desert, and the world's 9th largest subtropical desert.
About 85% of the Thar Desert is located within India, with the remaining 15% in Pakistan. In India, it covers about 170,000 km2 (66,000 sq mi), and the remaining 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi) of the desert is within Pakistan. The Thar desert forms approximately 5%(~4.56%) of the total geographic area of India. More than 60% of the desert lies in the state of Rajasthan, and extends into Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana. The desert comprises a very dry part, the Marusthali region in the west, and a semidesert region in the east with fewer sand dunes and slightly more precipitation.
|Great Indian Desert|
A NASA satellite image of the Thar Desert, with the India–Pakistan border superimposed
|Countries||India and Pakistan|
|Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana|
|Sindh and Punjab|
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. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast. The sand is highly mobile due to strong winds occurring before the onset of the monsoon. The Luni River is the only river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited to 100–500 mm (3.9–19.7 in) per year, mostly falling from July to September.
Salt water lakes within the Thar Desert include the Sambhar, Kuchaman, Didwana, Pachpadra and Phalodi in Rajasthan and Kharaghoda in Gujarat. These lakes receive and collect rain water during monsoon and evaporate during the fat season. The salt is derived by the weathering of rocks in the region.
The soil of the Thar Desert remains dry for much of the year and is prone to wind erosion. High velocity winds blow soil from the desert, depositing some on neighboring fertile lands, and causing shifting sand dunes within the desert. Sand dunes are stabilised by erecting micro-windbreak barriers with scrub material and subsequent afforestation of the treated dunes with seedlings of shrubs such as phog, senna, castor oil plant and trees such as gum acacia, Prosopis juliflora and lebbek tree. The 649 km (403 mi) long Indira Gandhi Canal brings fresh water to the Thar Desert. It was conceived to halt spreading of the desert to fertile areas.
There are few local tree species suitable for planting in the desert, which are slow growing. Therefore, exotic tree species were introduced for plantation. Many species of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cassia and other genera from Israel, Australia, US, Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Peru and Sudan have been tried in Thar Desert. Acacia tortilis has proved to be the most promising species for desert afforestation and the jojoba is another promising species of economic value found suitable for planting in these areas.
There are several protected areas in the Thar Desert.
Stretches of sand in the desert are interspersed by hillocks and sandy and gravel plains. Due to the diversified habitat and ecosystem, the vegetation, human culture and animal life in this arid region is very rich in contrast to the other deserts of the world. About 23 species of lizard and 25 species of snakes are found here and several of them are endemic to the region.
Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are found in the desert in large numbers such as the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), chinkara (Gazella bennettii) and Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) in the Rann of Kutch. They have evolved excellent survival strategies, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different conditions, and they are mainly nocturnal. There are certain other factors responsible for the survival of these animals in the desert. Due to the lack of water in this region, transformation of the grasslands into cropland has been very slow. The protection provided to them by a local community, the Bishnois, is also a factor. Other mammals of the Thar Desert include a subspecies of red fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) and the caracal.
The region is a haven for 141 species of migratory and resident birds of the desert. One can see eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures. There are short-toed eagles (Circaetus gallicus), tawny eagles (Aquila rapax), greater spotted eagles (Aquila clanga), laggar falcons (Falco jugger) and kestrels. There are also a number of reptiles.
The Indian peafowl is a resident breeder in the Thar region. The peacock is designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of the Punjab (Pakistan). It can be seen sitting on khejri or pipal trees in villages or Deblina.Bishnois Dharmaguru Jambeshwar was an ecologist.
The natural vegetation of this dry area is classed as Northwestern thorn scrub forest occurring in small clumps scattered more or less openly. Density and size of patches increase from west to east following the increase in rainfall. The natural vegetation of the Thar Desert is composed of the following tree, shrub and herb species:
The Thar Desert is the most widely populated desert in the world, with a population density of 83 people per km2. In India, the inhabitants comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants also include both Muslims and Hindus.
About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert. The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry. A colourful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry.
Jodhpur, the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest zone. 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.
In the years 1965 and 1971, population exchanges took place in the Thar between India and Pakistan. 3,500 Muslim families shifted from the Indian section of the Thar to Pakistani Thar whilst thousands of Hindus also migrated from Pakistani Thar to the Indian section of the Thar.
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata mention that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert.
There is also a small present-day Sarasvati River (Sarsuti) that joins the Ghaggar.
The epic Mahabharata mentions the Kamyaka Forest situated on the western boundary of the Kuru Kingdom (Kuru Proper and Kurujangala), on the banks of the Sarasvati River to the west of the Kurukshetra plain, which contained a lake known as Kamyaka. The Kamyaka forest is mentioned as being situated at the head of the Thar desert, near Lake Trinavindu. The Pandavas, on their way to exile in the woods, left Pramanakoti on the banks of the Ganges and went towards Kurukshetra, travelling in a western direction and crossing the Yamuna and Drishadvati rivers. They finally reached the banks of the Sarasvati River where they saw the forest of Kamyaka, the favourite haunt of ascetics, situated on a level and wild plain on the banks of the Sarasvati abounding in birds and deer. There the Pandavas lived in an ascetic asylum. It took three days for Pandavas to reach the Kamyaka forest, setting out from Hastinapura, on their chariots.
Human habitations on the banks of Sarasvati and Drishadvati had shifted to the east and south directions prior to the Mahabharata period. At that time the present day Bikaner and Jodhpur areas were known as Kurujangala and Madrajangala provinces.
The Thar is one of the most heavily populated desert areas in the world with the main occupations of its inhabitants agriculture and animal husbandry. Agriculture is not a dependable proposition in this area because after the rainy season, at least one third of crops fail. Animal husbandry, trees and grasses, intercropped with vegetables or fruit trees, is the most viable model for arid, drought-prone regions. The region faces frequent droughts. Overgrazing due to high animal populations, wind and water erosion, mining and other industries have resulted in serious land degradation.
Agricultural production is mainly from kharif crops, which are grown in the summer season and seeded in June and July. These are then harvested in September and October and include bajra, pulses such as guar, jowar (Sorghum vulgare), maize (zea mays), sesame and groundnuts. Over the past few decades the development of irrigation features including canals and tube wells have changed the crop pattern with desert districts in Rajasthan now producing rabi crops including wheat, mustard and cumin seed along with cash crops.
The Thar region of Rajasthan is a major opium production and consumption area. The Indira Gandhi Canal irrigates northwestern Rajasthan while the Government of India has started a centrally sponsored Desert Development Program based on watershed management with the objective of preventing the spread of desert and improving the living conditions of people in the desert.
In the last 15–20 years, the Rajasthan desert has seen many changes, including a manifold increase of both the human and animal population. Animal husbandry has become popular due to the difficult farming conditions. At present, there are ten times more animals per person in Rajasthan than the national average, and overgrazing is also a factor affecting climatic and drought conditions.
A large number of farmers in Thar desert depend on animal husbandry for their livelihood. Cows, buffalos, sheep, goats, camels, and oxen consists of major cattle population. Barmer district has the highest cattle population out of which sheep and goats are in majority. Some of the best breeds of bullocks such as Kankrej (Sanchori) and Nagauri are from desert region.
Thar region of Rajasthan is the biggest wool-producing area in India. Chokla, Marwari, Jaisalmeri, Magra, Malpuri, Sonadi, Nali and Pungal breeds of sheep are found in the region. Of the total wool production in India, 40-50% comes from Rajasthan. The sheep-wool from Rajasthan is considered best for carpet making industry in the world. The wool of Chokla breed of sheep is considered of superior quality. The breeding centres have been developed for Karakul and Merino sheep at Suratgarh, Jaitsar and Bikaner. Some important mills for making Woolen thread established in desert area are: Jodhpur Woolen Mill, Jodhpur; Rajasthan Woolen Mill, Bikaner and India Woolen Mill, Bikaner. Bikaner is the biggest mandi (market place) of wool in Asia.
The live stock depends for grazing on common lands in villages. During famine years in the desert the nomadic rebari people move with large herds of sheep and camel to the forested areas of south Rajasthan or nearby states like Madhya Pradesh for grazing the cattle.
The importance of animal husbandry can be understood from the organization of large number of cattle fairs in the region. Cattle fairs are normally named after the folk-deities. Some of major cattle fairs held are Ramdevji cattle fair at Manasar in Nagaur district, Tejaji cattle fair at Parbatsar in Nagaur district, Baldeo cattle fair at Merta city in Nagaur district, Mallinath cattle fair at Tilwara in barmer district. Live stock is very important to the Thar desert people.
Forestry has an important part to play in the amelioration of the conditions in semi-arid and arid lands. If properly planned, forestry can make an important contribution to the general welfare of the people living in desert areas. The living standard of the people in the desert is low. They can not afford other fuels like gas, kerosene etc. Fire wood is their main fuel, of the total consumption of wood about 75 percent is firewood. The forest cover in desert is low. Rajasthan has a forest area of 31150 km2. which is about 9% of the geographical area. The forest area is mainly in southern districts of Rajasthan like Udaipur and Chittorgarh. The minimum forest area is in Churu district only 80 km2. Thus the forest is insufficient to fulfill the needs of firewood and grazing in desert districts. This diverts the much needed cattledung from the field to the hearth. This in turn results into the decrease in agricultural production. Agroforestry model is best suited to the people of desert. Some Institutes have done good work in Agroforestry.
The scientists of Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), have successfully developed and improved dozens of traditional and non-traditional crops/fruits, such as Ber trees (like plums) that produce much larger fruits than before (lemon-size) and can thrive with minimal rainfall. These trees have become a profitable option for farmers. One example from a case study of horticulture showed that in situation of budding in 35 plants of Ber and Guar (Gola, Seb & Mundia variety developed in CAZRI), using only one hectare of land, yielded 10,000 kg. of Ber and 250 kg. of Guar, which translates into double or even triple profit.
Arid Forest Research Institute, (AFRI) situated at Jodhpur is another national level institute in the region. It is one of the institutes of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education ( ICFRE ) working under the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India. The Objective of the Institute is to carry out scientific research in forestry in order to provide technologies to increase the vegetative cover and to conserve the biodiversity in the hot arid and semi arid region of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Dadara & Nagar Haveli union territory.
The most important tree species in terms of providing a livelihood in Thar desert communities is Prosopis cineraria.
Prosopis cineraria provides wood of construction class. It is used for house-building, chiefly as rafters, posts scantlings, doors and windows, and for well construction water pipes, upright posts of Persian wheels, agricultural implements and shafts, spokes, fellows and yoke of carts. It can also be used for small turning work and tool-handles. Container manufacturing is another important wood-based industry, which depends heavily on desert-grown trees.
Prosopis cineraria is much valued as a fodder tree. The trees are heavily lopped particularly during winter months when no other green fodder is available in the dry tracts. There is a popular saying that death will not visit a man, even at the time of a famine, if he has a Prosopis cineraria, a goat and a camel, since the three together are some what said to sustain a man even under the most trying condition. The forage yield per tree varies a great deal. On an average, the yield of green forage from a full grown tree is expected to be about 60 kg with complete lopping having only the central leading shoot, 30 kg when the lower two third crown is lopped and 20 kg when the lower one third crown is lopped. The leaves are of high nutritive value. Feeding of the leaves during winter when no other green fodder is generally available in rain-fed areas is thus profitable. The pods have a sweetish pulp and are also used as fodder for livestock.
Prosopis cineraria is most important top feed species providing nutritious and highly palatable green as well as dry fodder, which is readily eaten by camels, cattle, sheep and goats, constituting a major feed requirement of desert livestock. Locally it is called Loong. Pods are locally called sangar or sangri. The dried pods locally called Kho-Kha are eaten. Dried pods also form rich animal feed, which is liked by all livestock. Green pods also form rich animal feed, which is liked by drying the young boiled pods. They are also used as famine food and known even to prehistoric man. Even the bark, having an astringent bitter taste, was reportedly eaten during the severe famine of 1899 and 1939. Pod yield is nearly 1.4 quintals of pods/ha with a variation of 10.7% in dry locations.
Prosopis cineraria wood is reported to contain high calorific value and provide high quality fuel wood. The lopped branches are good as fencing material. Its roots also encourage nitrogen fixation, which produces higher crop yields.
Tecomella undulata is one more tree species, locally known as Rohida, which is found in Thar Desert regions of northwest and western India. It is another important medium-sized tree of great use in Agroforestry, that produces quality timber and is the main source of timber amongst the indigenous tree species of desert regions. The trade name of the tree species is Desert teak or Marwar teak.
Tecomella undulata is mainly used as a source of timber. Its wood is strong, tough and durable. It takes a fine finish. Heartwood contains quinoid. The wood is excellent for firewood and charcoal. Cattle and goats eat leaves of the tree. Camels, goats and sheep consume flowers and pods.
Tecomella undulata plays an important role in the ecology. It acts as a soil-binding tree by spreading a network of lateral roots on the top surface of the soil. It also acts as a windbreak and helps in stabilizing shifting sand dunes. It is considered as the home of birds and provides shelter for other desert wildlife. Shade of tree crown is shelter for the cattle, goats and sheep during summer days.
Tecomella undulata has medicinal properties as well. The bark obtained from the stem is used as a remedy for syphilis. It is also used in curing urinary disorders, enlargement of spleen, gonorrhoea, leucoderma and liver diseases. Seeds are used against abscess.
Desert safaris on camels have become increasingly popular around Jaisalmer. Domestic and international tourists frequent the desert seeking adventure on camels for anything from a day to several days. This ecotourism industry ranges from cheaper backpacker treks to plush Arabian night style campsites replete with banquets and cultural performances. During the treks tourists are able to view the fragile and beautiful ecosystem of the Thar desert. This form of tourism provides income to many operators and camel owners in Jaisalmer as well as employment for many camel trekkers in the desert villages nearby. People from various parts of the world come to see the Pushkar ka Mela (Pushkar Fair) and oases.
Rajasthan is pre-eminent in quarrying and mining in India. The Taj Mahal was built with white marble mined from Makrana in Nagaur district. The state is the second largest source of cement in India. It has rich salt deposits at Sambhar. Jodhpur sandstone is mostly used in monuments, important buildings, residential buildings, and such. This stone is termed "chittar patthar". Jodhpur has also got mines of red stone locally known as ghatu patthar used in construction. Sandstone is found in Jodhpur and Naguar districts. Jalore is biggest centre of granite processing units.
Lignite coal deposits are there at places Giral, Kapuradi, Jalipa, Bhadka in Barmer district; Plana, Gudha, Bithnok, Barsinghpur, Mandla Charan, Raneri Hadla in Bikaner district and Kasnau, Merta, Lunsar etc., in Nagaur district. Lignite based Thermal power plant has been established at Giral in Barmer district. Jindal group is working on 1080 Megawatt power project in private sector at village Bhadaresh in Barmer district. "Neyeli Lignite Barsinghpur Project" is in progress to establish two thermal power units of capacity 125 megawatts each at Barsinghpur in Bikaner district. Reliance Energy is working on establishing power generation through underground gasification technique in Barmer district with an outlay of about 30 billion rupees.
There is large storage of good quality petroleum in Jaisalmer and Barmer districts. The main places with deposits of petroleum are Baghewal, Kalrewal, and Tawariwal in Jaisalmer district and Gudha Malani area in Barmer district. Barmer district has started petroleum production on commercial scale. Barmer district is in the news due to its large oil basin. The British exploration company Cairn Energy started production of oil on a large scale. Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwariya are the major oil fields in the district. This is India's biggest oil discovery in 22 years. This promises to transform the local economy, which has long suffered from the harshness of the desert.
The Government of India initiated departmental exploration for oil in 1955-56 in the Jaisalmer area, Oil India Limited's discovered natural gas in 1988 in the Jaisalmer basin. Also known for their fine leather messenger bags made from wild camels native to the area.
The Thar desert seems an ideal place for generation of electricity from wind power. According to an estimate Rajasthan state has got a potential of 5500 Megawatt wind power generation as such it is in the priority of the state govt. Rajasthan State Power Corporation has established its first wind power-based power plant at Amarsagar in Jaisalmer district. Some leading companies in the field are working on establishing wind mills in Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner districts. Solar energy also has a great potential in this region as most of the days during a year are cloud free. Solar energy based plant has been established at Bhaleri in Churu district to convert hard water into drinking water.
There are a number of salt water lakes in Thar desert. These are Sambhar, Pachpadra, Tal Chhapar, Falaudi 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.
Water scarcity plays an important role in shaping life in all parts of Thar. Small, intermittent ponds, whether natural (tobas) or man-made (johads), are often the only source of water for animals and humans in the true desert areas. The lack of a constant water supply causes much of the local population to live as nomads. Most human settlements are found near the two seasonal streams of the Karon-Jhar hills. Potable groundwater is also rare in the Thar desert. Supplies are often sour due to dissolved minerals, and are only available deep underground. Wells that successfully bear sweet water attract nearby settlement, but are difficult to dig, possibly claiming the lives of the well-diggers.
According to 1980 housing census in Pakistan, there were 241,326 housing units of one or two very small rooms. The degree of crowding was six persons per housing unit and three persons per room. For most of the housing units (approximately 76 per cent), the main construction material of outer walls is unbaked bricks whereas wood is used in 10 per cent and baked bricks or stones with mud bonding in 8 per cent housing units. A large number of families still live in jhugis or huts which are housing units formed with straws and thin wood-sticks. These jhugis are susceptible to damage from the occasional high winds. But the poverty leaves no other option to these jhugiwalas (people living in jhugis).
The river Luni is the only natural water source that drains inside a lake in the desert. It originates in the Pushkar valley of the Aravalli Range, near Ajmer and ends in the marshy lands of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, after travelling a distance of 530 km. The Luni flows through part of Ajmer, Barmer, Jalor, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Pali, and Sirohi districts and Mithavirana Vav Radhanpur region of Banaskantha North Gujarat. Its major tributaries are the Sukri, Mithri, Bandi, Khari, Jawai, Guhiya and Sagi from the left, and the Jojari River from the right.
The Ghaggar is another intermittent river in India, flowing during the monsoon rains. It originates in the Shivalik Hills of Himachal Pradesh and flows through Punjab and Haryana to Rajasthan; just southwest of Sirsa, Haryana and by the side of talwara jheel in Rajasthan, this seasonal river feeds two irrigation canals that extend into Rajasthan. It terminates in Hanumangarh district.
The Rajasthan Canal system is the major irrigation scheme of the Thar Desert and is conceived to reclaim it and also to check spreading of the desert to fertile areas. It is world's largest irrigation which is being extended in an attempt to make the desert arable. It runs south-southwest in Punjab and Haryana but mainly in Rajasthan for a total of 650 kilometers and ends near Jaisalmer, in Rajasthan. After the construction of the Indira Gandhi Canal, irrigation facilities were available over an area of 6770 km² in Jaisalmer district and 37 km² in Barmer district. Irrigation had already been provided in an area of 3670 km² in Jaisalmer district. The canal has transformed the barren deserts of this district into rich and lush fields. Crops of mustard, cotton, and wheat now flourish in this semi-arid western region replacing the sand there previously.
Besides providing water for agriculture, the canal will supply drinking water to hundreds of people in far-flung areas. As the second stage of work on the canal progresses rapidly, there is hope that it will enhance the living standards of the people of the state.
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. Special efforts go into dressing the animal for entering the spectacular competition of the best-dressed camel. Other interesting competitions on the fringes are the moustache and turban tying competitions, which not only demonstrate a glorious tradition but also inspire its preservation. Both the turban and the moustache have been centuries old symbols of honor in Rajasthan.
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.
A Muslim resident of Thar shared his account by saying: "In our village, Hindus and Muslims have been living together for decades and there has not been a single day, when I have seen a religious conflict. No loud speaker is used for Azaan at the time when Hindus are worshiping in their temple, and no bells are rung when it is time for namaz. Nobody eats in public when it is Ramazan and Holi is played by every member of the village." I had always heard stories about interfaith harmony from Sindh but it was so much more amazing to see it firsthand. The love and brotherhood that exists between the Hindus and Muslims of Mithi is a perfect example of pluralism and the tolerant Sufi culture of Sindh.
In the 1965 war, Pakistan captured a large area of the Indian part of the Thar desert, and in 1971 India captured a large part of the Thar desert in Pakistan. Many UCs in Pakistani Thar were Hindu majority areas, and Pakistani Thar as a whole was dominated by the Hindu upper caste who controlled most of the productive land and livestock. They also dominated the politics of Thar and strictly enforced caste divisions, making upward social and economic mobility almost impossible for the Hindu lower castes. Their control over the caste system also ensured the maintenance of agriculture-related infrastructure through baigar (forced labour) and the protection of forests and pasture lands. Following the 1965 and 1971 wars, the Hindu upper castes and their retainers fled to India. As a result, the feudal institutions that managed agricultural production and the maintenance of infrastructure collapsed. This has had severe repercussions on the natural environment of Thar. In addition, the lower castes were freed from serfdom and to some extent from discrimination. Many of their members, as a result, have acquired education and are important professionals and NGO leaders. Apart from the migration of Hindus to India, 3,500 Muslim families moved from Indian Thar to Pakistani Thar. They were given 12 acres of land per family (a total of 42,000 acres), thus introducing another factor in the social and political structure of Thar and creating a new interest group.
It was not 1947 but the Indo-Pak war of 1971 which proved to be the game changer on this part of the border, since it was then that Hindus from Sindh, worried about persecution in Pakistan, fled to India. The cross-border train service had already been stopped following the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, and resumed only in 2006. Hindu Singh Sodha, a 15-year-old at that time he fled Pakistan in 1971, has set up the Seemant Lok Sangathan, which has been fighting for citizenship rights for all Hindu refugees from Sindh. During the war, Muslims from this region also fled to Pakistan.
Another woman, Amnat, a resident of Umerkot had a similar story to tell. She was married at the age of 17 and her husband took her to Pakistan. She is presently 60 years old. Her husband passed away 23 years ago. “My father Abdul Karim had also migrated from Rajasthan, India to Umerkot”. One of reasons is that his daughter lives in Sindh. Her father narrated to her that at the time of Pak-India wars, Muslims in the border’s districts were robbed, killed and harassed by the Indian army, hence he preferred to migrate to a Muslim country like Pakistan to avoid confrontation. She recalled that in the 1965 War between Pakistan and India; Kaprao, Konro, Boath, Vauri, Gahrr jo Tarr, Dedohar, Mate ka Talha, Bijhrar, and a number of other border villages were evacuated. Four persons were killed in the village of Kaprao by the Indian Army based on the allegations that they had been helping the Pakistan Army.
Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI) is a research institute situated in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. The institute conducts scientific research in forestry in order to provide technologies to increase the vegetative cover and to conserve biodiversity in the hot arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It operates under the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.Barmer district
Barmer District is a district in Rajasthan state of India. It is located in the western part of Rajasthan state forming a part of the Thar Desert. Barmer is the third largest district by area in Rajasthan and fifth largest district in India. Occupying an area of 28,387 km2. Being in the western part of the state, it includes a part of the Thar Desert. Jaisalmer is to the north of this district while Jalore is in its south. Pali and Jodhpur form its eastern border and it shares a border with Pakistan in the west. Partially being a desert, this district has a large variation in temperature. The temperature in summer can rise up to 51 °C and falls near to 0 °C in winter. Luni is the longest river in Barmer district. After travelling a length of almost 500 km, it passes through Jalore and merges in the marshy land of Runn of Kutch.
District headquarters is in the town of Barmer. The other major towns in the district are: Balotra, Guda Malani, Baytoo, Siwana, and Chohatan. Recently, a large onshore oil field has been discovered and made functional in Barmer district.
In earlier times, the district was known as Malani, in the name of Rawal Mallinath (मल्लिनाथ). Rawal Mallinath was the son of Rao Salkha and Rawal Mallinath is cultural, philanthropical and religious icon in Barmer, He is worshiped as God by local peoples. The whole area around the river Luni was said to have Malani (मलानी), derived from the name Mallinath. Present name of Barmer is derived from its founder ruler Bahada Rao or Bar Rao Parmar (Juna Barmer), it was named Bahadamer ("The Hill Fort of Bahada"). He built a small town which is presently known as “Juna” which is 25 km from present city of Barmer. After Parmer’s, Rawat Luka -Grand Son of Rawal Mallinath, establish their kingdom in Juna Barmer with help of his brother Rawal Mandalak. They defeated Parmers of Juna & made it their capital. Thereafter, his descendant, Rawat Bhima, who was a great warrior, established the present city of Barmer in 1552 AD and shifted his capital to Barmer from Juna.
Capparis decidua is commonly known as karira, is a useful plant in its marginal habitat. Its spicy fruits are used for preparing vegetables, curry and fine pickles and can attract helpful insectivores; the plant also is used in folk medicine and herbalism. It can be used in landscape gardening, afforestation and reforestation in semidesert and desert areas; it provides assistance against soil erosion.Chinkara
The chinkara (Gazella bennettii), also known as the Indian gazelle, is a gazelle species native to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.Churu
Churu is a city in the desert region of Rajasthan state of India. It is known as gateway to the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. It is the administrative headquarter of Churu District. It lies in the Thar Desert on the National Highway-65 connecting Pali to Ambala and is a junction station on the railway line to Bikaner. It is near the shifting sand dunes of the Thar Desert and has grand havelis with marvelous fresco paintings, namely Kanhaiya Lal Bagla Ki Haweli and Surana Haweli, with hundreds of small windows. It also has some fine Chhatris. Near the town is a religious seat of the Nath sect of Sadhus where there are life-size marble statues of their deities and a place for prayers. At the centre of the town is a fort built about 500 years ago.Desert National Park
Desert National Park, Rajasthan, India, is situated in the west Indian state of Rajasthan near the towns of Jaisalmer and Barmer. This is one of the largest national parks, covering an area of 3162 km². The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert. Sand dunes form around 20% of the Park. The major landform consists of craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes.
Despite a fragile ecosystem, there is an abundance of birdlife. The region is a haven for migratory and resident birds of the desert. Many eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures are spotted here. Short-toed eagles, tawny eagles, spotted eagles, laggar falcons and kestrels are the most common among these. Sand grouse are spotted near small ponds or lakes. The endangered great Indian bustard is a magnificent bird found in relatively fair numbers. It migrates locally in different seasons. The most suitable time to visit the area is between November and January. The Desert National Park has a collection of fossils of animals and plants of 180 million years old. Some fossils of dinosaurs of 6 million years old have been found in the area.Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park
The Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park at Dhursar village near Pokhran in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan is a 40 megawatt (MWAC) photovoltaic power station, commissioned in 2012. It is one of a large number of solar parks expected to be built in a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert that has been reserved for solar power projects. The solar park was named after the late Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries, and was constructed using 500,000 Cadmium telluride photovoltaics (CdTe) modules by First Solar, and covers an area of 350 acres (140 hectares).India has a target of developing 22,000 megawatts (7.507×1010 British thermal units per hour) of solar power plants, and an additional 8,000 megawatts (2.730×1010 British thermal units per hour) is expected in local generation, bringing the total to 30,000 megawatts (1.0236×1011 British thermal units per hour) by 2022. Speaking at the dedication of the park, the new and renewable energy minister hoped that Rajasthan alone would exceed 22,000 MW by then.A 100 megawatts (300,000,000 British thermal units per hour) solar thermal project at the same location has been synchronised in November, 2014.Geography of India
India lies on the Indian Plate, the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, whose continental crust forms the Indian subcontinent. The country is situated north of the equator between 8°04' to 37°06' north latitude and 68°07' to 97°25' east longitude. It is the seventh-largest country in the world, with a total area of 3,287,263 square kilometres (1,269,219 sq mi). India measures 3,214 km (1,997 mi) from north to south and 2,933 km (1,822 mi) from east to west. It has a land frontier of 15,200 km (9,445 mi) and a coastline of 7,516.6 km (4,671 mi).On the south, India projects into and is bounded by the Indian Ocean—in particular, by the Arabian Sea on the west, the Lakshadweep Sea to the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the east, and the Indian Ocean proper to the south. The Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar separate India from Sri Lanka to its immediate southeast, and the Maldives are some 125 kilometres (78 mi) to the south of India's Lakshadweep Islands across the Eight Degree Channel. India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, some 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) southeast of the mainland, share maritime borders with Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. Kanyakumari at 8°4′41″N and 77°55′230″E is the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland, while the southernmost point in India is Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island. The northernmost point which is under Indian administration is Indira Col, Siachen Glacier. India's territorial waters extend into the sea to a distance of 12 nautical miles (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) from the coast baseline.The northern frontiers of India are defined largely by the Himalayan mountain range, where the country borders China, Bhutan, and Nepal. Its western border with Pakistan lies in the Karakoram range, Punjab Plains, the Thar Desert and the Rann of Kutch salt marshes. In the far northeast, the Chin Hills and Kachin Hills, deeply forested mountainous regions, separate India from Burma. On the east, its border with Bangladesh is largely defined by the Khasi Hills and Mizo Hills, and the watershed region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.The Ganga is the longest river originating in India. The Ganga–Brahmaputra system occupies most of northern, central, and eastern India, while the Deccan Plateau occupies most of southern India. K2, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is the highest point in India at 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and the world's 2nd highest peak. Climate across India ranges from equatorial in the far south, to alpine and tundra in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. the geographic view of India is pretty expository and vivid in the terms of area, mountains and relief.Gudamalani
Gudamalani is a town and Tehsil within the Barmer district of Rajasthan state of India. The village is located in the Thar desert. Gudamalani is situated on the highway connecting Jodhpur to Ahmedabad. This area unlike the Thar desert area is somewhat green and the land is fertile . The Luni River of Rajasthan flows through Gudamalani. This town in near several historical temples, such as Aalam ji's temple, Bhuteswar temple, Guru Jambheswer Bhagwan temple with Darmshala, and Bholaghar ji temple.Indian desert jird
The Indian desert jird or Indian desert gerbil (Meriones hurrianae) is a species of jird found mainly in the Thar Desert in India. Jirds are closely related to gerbils.List of deserts of Pakistan
Pakistan hosts five major deserts which were historic forests.List of rivers of Pakistan
This is a list of rivers wholly or partly in Pakistan, organised geographically by river basin, from west to east. Tributaries are listed from the mouth to the source. The longest and the largest river in Pakistan is the Indus River. Around two-thirds of water supplied for irrigation and in homes come from the Indus and its associated rivers.Luni River
Luni (also known as Lonari, Lavanavari, Lavanavati, Salt river) is a river in Rajasthan. It originates in the Pushkar valley of the Aravalli Range, near Ajmer, passes through the southeastern portion of the Thar Desert, and ends in the marshy lands of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, after travelling a distance of 495 km. It is first known as Sagarmati, then after passing Govindgarh, it meets its tributary Saraswati, which originates from Pushkar Lake, and from then on it gets its name Luni.In 1892, Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur constructed Jaswant Sagar in Pichiyak village between Bilara and Bhavi of Jodhpur district. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in India, and irrigates more than 12,000 acres (49 km2).Northwestern thorn scrub forest
The Northwestern thorn scrub forests are a xeric shrubland ecoregion of Pakistan and Northern India, stretching along the border lowlands and hills between the two countries. Once covered in deciduous forest, this ecoregion has been degraded through agriculture and the extraction of timber so that it currently has a scanty covering of thorny scrub dominated by such trees as Acacia senegal, Acacia leucophloea and Prosopis cineraria. Where the soils are particularly saline, there are patches of semi-desert. A number of mammals are found in this habitat and about four hundred species of bird. Some small areas are protected but the collection of firewood and the conversion of the land to subsistence farming continues.Parkari Koli language
The Parkari Koli language (sometimes called just Parkari) is a language mainly spoken in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. It is spoken in the southeast tip bordering India, Tharparkar District, Nagar Parkar. Most of the lower Thar Desert, west as far as Indus River, bordered north and west by Hyderabad, to south and west of Badin.Sikar
Sikar is a city located midway between Agra and Bikaner on the National Highway 52 in the state of Rajasthan in India. It is the administrative headquarters of the Sikar District. Sikar is a historical city and contains many old havelis (large houses with Mughal-era architecture). It is located 114 km from Jaipur, 320 km from Jodhpur 215 km from Bikaner, and 280 km from Delhi.Tharparkar
Tharparkar (Dhatki ضِلع تھرپارکر , Hindi: थारपारकर, Gujarati: થારપારકર, Urdu: تھرپارکر ,Sindhi: ٿرپارڪر ) is a desert in Pakistan. The region derives its names from Thar and Parkar. The name Thar is from Thul, the general term for sand region or sand ridges and Parkar literary means “to cross over”.Tharparkar cattle
Tharparkar (Hindi:थारपारकर) (also known as White Sindhi, Cutchi and Thari) is a breed of cattle originating in Tharparkar District in Sindh province in present day Pakistan. It is a dual purpose breed known for both its milking and draught potential. The name is derived from Thar Desert of Rajasthan adjoining Tharparkar area which was its usual habitat and place of origin. The cattle is of medium to large build and have white to gray skin.Western India
Western India is a loosely defined region of India consisting of its western part. The Ministry of Home Affairs in its Western Zonal Council Administrative division includes the states of Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra along with the Union territory of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli while the Ministry of Culture and some historians also include the state of Rajasthan. The Geological Survey of India includes Maharashtra but excludes Rajasthan whereas Ministry of Minority Affairs includes Karnataka but excludes Rajasthan.Madhya Pradesh is also often included and Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and southern Punjab are sometimes included. Western India may also refer to the western half of India, i.e. all the states west of Delhi and Chennai, thus also including Punjab, Kerala and surrounding states. The region is highly industrialized, with a large urban population. Roughly, western India is bounded by the Thar Desert in the north, the Vindhya Range in the east and north and the Arabian Sea in the west. A major portion of Western India shares the Thar Desert with North India and Pakistan and the Deccan Plateau with South and Central India.
In ancient history, Western India was divided into three great states according to Hwen Thsang, namely Sindh (which comprised the whole valley of the Indus from the Punjab to the sea, including the Delta and the island of Kutch), Gurjara (which comprised Western Rajputana and the Indian Desert), and Balabhi (which comprised the peninsula of Gujarat, with a small portion of the adjacent coast). Before the partition of India, the now-Pakistani territories of Sindh and Balochistan were also included in this region.
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Geography of South Asia
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