THE INDIAN DESERT The Thar or Great Indian Desert is an arid region (800 km) long and (400 km) wide, in North West of India and East of Pakistan, between the Indus and Sutlej river valleys on the west and the Aravali Range on the east. Largely a desolate region of shifting sand dunes, broken rocks, and scrub vegetation, it receives an annual average rainfall of less than 25 cm. The sparsely populated region has a pastoral economy. Through the extension of canals fed with Sutlej and Beas waters, irrigation has reclaimed some land for agriculture along the northern and western edges.
CULTURE 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 & 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.
FLORA & 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.
ANIMALS Animals in the desert must survive in a hostile environment. Intense heat, searing sun, and lack of water are just a few of the challenges facing desert animals. Animals that live in the hot desert have many adaptations. Some animals never drink, but get their water from seeds (some can contain up to 50% water) and plants. Many animals are nocturnal, sleeping during the hot day and only coming out at night to eat and hunt. Some animals rarely spend any time above ground. Spadefoot toads spend nine months of every year underground!