Deserts are always awesome, fearsome and desolate. With no one in sight for miles apart, the whistling winds and huge sand dunes look like giants, watching your every move. While deserts in Africa and Middle East are true desert in the sense that these are sparsely inhabited, deserts in Pakistan are not that hostile. But these too, except for small dwellings, can become life threatening if one is lost.
The Thar Desert is spread out over 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 square miles) in Pakistan’s southerly Sind province but continues eastwards and becomes part of the Rajisthan Desert or the Great Indian Desert. Combined together, the both parts cover an area of some 446,000 square kilometers.
Thar or Thul (meaning sand ridges) is not as inhospitable as its Indian part. Rather it is often called the “Friendly Desert” as it is fairly accessible and not too hot. Rather, the increasing spell of monsoon over the past few years is making the desert greener. And if such trends continue, the shape of the Thar will be far differ4eent from what it is at present. More than half a million people, 70 percent of whom are Hindu, abound the Thar. Mithi, Islamkot and Chachro are major town of Thar. One comes across many Hindu temples when roaming in the desert.
The wildlife and birds in the desert have their peculiarities and one can see many different species of desert birds siting on telephone poles or around marshes, besides Indian and red foxes, jackals, gerbils, mongoose and squirrels.
I am sharing some beautiful photos of Thar, which have been taken by Sarfaraz Hayat, presently living in England, who shared these on Flickr and graciously allowed me to share these to project Pakistan to the outside world.Jain Temple of Bhodesar in Tharparkar. Once a prosperous town, Bhodesar was established in 515 AD. An ancient Jain temple of Bhodesar is located 5 kms from Nagarparkar, Thar.
Lake in Thar Desert
Pari Nagar Temple in Tharparkar
Marvi was a Sindhi heroine famous for her chastity, patriotism, and simplicity. She lived in a village called Malir in Tharparkar desert. One day while she was filling water in her pots from a well (now called "Marvi's Well" to provide water for her goats, was seen by Prince Umar Soomro who was immediately dazzled by her beauty and proposed to marry her, but Marvi refused, as she was deeply devoted to her cousin. Angered by her refusals, Umar abducted her and imprisoned her his palace in Umerkot for a whole year, but she remained faithful and longed for her native terrain. Finally, Umar was deeply touched by her dedication and piety and set Marvi free.
Mithi is the best place to stay for any ventures into the Thar desert. There are some hotels here but all basic. One can carry on to the town of Tharparkar bu there are no hotels there at the time of writing. Mithi is 4 hours away from Hyderabad and 6 from Karachi. It is a relatively easy journey from either city.
Marsh SandpiperThe Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis, is a small wader. It is a rather small shank, and breeds in open grassy steppe and taiga wetlands from easternmost Europe to central Asia.
Short-toed Snake Eagle
The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a small Old World vulture, found widely distributed from south-western Europe and northern Africa to southern Asia. It is the only living member of the genus Neophron. It has sometimes also been known as the White Scavenger Vulture or Pharaoh's Chicken.
Related: Deserts of Pakistan (Pakistanpaedia)