The Thar Desert

The Thar located in India and Pakistanis the largest desert in the Indian subcontinent . Also known as the Great Indian Desert, the area of the entire desert spans over 200,000 km2. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in India for its rich culture, picturesque sites and historical palaces.


The Thar desert in India mostly lies in the state of Rajasthan. The rest spans across Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat. Around 15% of the desert lies in the state  of Sindh and West Punjab in Pakistan.

Rainfall is limited only during July-September, with 100-500 mm of annual rainfall; hence, vegetation is scare. Most of the irrigation is conducted through the water supplied from canals. The people living in the desert mostly involve in animal husbandry and agriculture. The lifestyle is simpler.

Lithic tools belonging to the prehistoric Aterian culture of the Maghreb have been discovered in Middle Paleolithic deposits in the Thar.

People & Lifestyle

Old man smoking hooka
Old man smoking hooka

The Thar is the most populated among the desert areas in the world. The people of various religions are found in the area, mainly; Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. There are fewer large settlements in the area. Jaipur remains the highest populated city. followed by Udaypur, Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer are others.

The inhabitants of the area have a well suited lifestyle for desert. They tend to conserve more water. Their meals tend to use less water during preparation. The clothing and texture derives from the history of the region. Their certain colorful texture, calligraphy and art is endemic to the people of Rajasthan.

The former royalties, comprising of Rajputs and their sub-clans are still found in the region. The palaces and historical sites are well preserved for the incoming tourists.

Most of the inhabitants of the desert enjoy folk music and culture. Rajasthan has a diverse collection of musician castes, including langas, sapera, bhopa, jogi and Manganiar.


There are several protected areas inside the desert established to preserve local culture and wildlife. The Desert National Park, Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, Sundha Mata Conservation Reserve, and Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary of Pakistan are the designated protected areas.

Blackbuck, Chinkara, Indian Wild Ass, Red Fox, 141 birds, 23 species of lizard and 25 species of snakes are found in the region.

Tourist Attractions

Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Mehrangarh Fort, Jantarmantar, Ranthanbore National Park, Lake Pichola, Jal Mahal, Jaisalmer Desert Festival, Pushkar Fair, Mohenjo Daro and Derawar Fort are few of the best tourist sites in the Thar.