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The Great Indian Thar: Cultural unity in ecodiversity

By Akash Shukla

Stretched mostly in the Royal Rajasthan with extended portions in Haryana, Punjab and Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, Thar desert covers a total area of 208,110 km square. It covers eastern Sindh province and some area of Pakistan Punjab as well. It is believed that ‘The Great Indian Desert’ is extends towards UP and MP.

Desert National Park, Jaisalmer, unfolds a collection of fossils of animals and plants that are 180 million years old. Dinosaur fossils, which are as many as 6 million years old, have been discovered in the area. A camel, which is also known as the ‘Ship of the desert’, is the best ride to explore the Great Indian Desert in its scenic and majestic view.

Endangered, Extinct? No way!

An irony that actually allows a breather to nature lovers…many wildlife life species that are on the verge of extinction in other parts of India, are found in Thar in delightful numbers; Great Indian Bustard and the Blackbuck are two such examples from the list.

Among others, the golden fox, snakes, and lizards are the few wild animal found in Thar, India.

Ancient literature speaks of Thar

Epics in India describe this place as Lavanasagara (Salt-ocean). Ramayana reveals that when Rama attacked Lanka with the army of vanaras (monkeys), he used his agneyashtra-amogha (divine fire arrow) to dry the sea up. It was named Drumakulya and it was situated on the north of Lavanasagara. Surrounded by Marukantara, a fresh water source named Pushkar was formed.

According to Jain cosmology, Jambūdvīpa is at the centre of Madhyaloka; it is the middle part of the universe where the humans reside.

Treatise on the island of rose apple tree, namely, Jambūdvīpaprajñapti contains a description of Jambūdvīpa and biography of King Bharata. Jambūdvīpa continent is surrounded by ocean Lavanoda (Salt-ocean).

 Festivity pervasive in & above sand

Camels play a crucial role in the desert life and in the ‘Desert festival’. Rajasthan folk and rich culture can be witnessed during the festivities.

People living in Thar have a great deal of passion for music and poetry. Locals come together to play soft music and gyrate. This event continues till late nights. People from Thar travel miles get one pot of water. Women of Thar desert love beautiful jewellery. Rajasthan desert festival is organised once a year during winters.

Ecotourism

The industry called Ecotourism encompasses less-pricey backpacker treks and plush Arabian night style campsites, which are replete with banquets and cultural performances. During the treks and expedition, tourists view the fragile but beautiful ecosystem of Thar desert.

This tourism facilitates income to many camel owners in Jaisalmer and secures employment for many camel trekkers in the desert villages nearby.

Not just the oases, people from various parts of the world visit this amazing site to witness Pushkar ka Mela (Pushkar Fair).

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