Extending between Aravali Hills in the north east and the Great Rann of Kutch along the coast, the Thar Desert forms the unique identity of Rajasthan. Stretching across miles and miles, most of the desert is dotted by shifting sand dunes. Stetches of sand are interspersed by hillocks and sandy and gravel plains. The River Luni forms the lifeline of the desert. Mentioned as ‘lavanasagara’ in ancient texts, the desert houses many salt lakes such as Sambhar, Kuchaman and Didwana surrounded by thorn scrubs. The full moon night turns dunes into silver presenting a rare spectacle.Due to diverse habitat and ecosystem, the land boasts of rich biodiversity. The best way to explore the desert is on camel which is regarded as the ‘ship of the desert’. Also, some wildlife species, which are extinct in other parts of India, are found here. The barren lands are a home to Great Indian bustard, blackbuck, golden fox and Indian wild ass. The region is a haven for migratory birds. One can see eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, vultures and kestrels.
A desert safari is an experience not to be missed! One can relish backpack treks and plush Arabian styled camps replete with cultural performances. One also get a sneak peak into the life of desert people. Dressed in elegant costumes and colorful jewellery, they entertain you to the fullest.The otherwise barren land becomes picturesque with the Desert Festival organized every year during winters. Dressed in exotic costumes of varied hues, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. Snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers entertain the motley crowd to the fullest. The festival displays rich and colorful folk culture of Rajasthan. The lifeline of desert, the camel, is decorated with great effort. Other interesting activities include moustache and turban tying competitions, which not only demonstrate a glorious tradition but also inspire its preservation. The evenings turn lively with music and dance being organized to mark the occasion.
When to go
The best time to visit Thar desert is from November to February when the weather is comparatively milder.