Rajasthan, the land of Kings is a northern state of India located on the northwestern side of India.
It is the largest state of India by area and the 7th largest state in terms of population.
But, do you know that a majority of the people still think that Rajasthan is completely a desert?
Yes, Rajasthan has a big desert area and that’s called the “Thar Desert”. But, this state isn’t completely a desert. Only 4 districts named Jaisalmer, Barker, Bikaner, and Jodhpur out of the 33 districts come under the Thar desert.
This state is the best example of royalness that India has ever had.
It’s the scent of the old world charm, the feeling of absolute royalness, the exquisiteness of the architecture that the state showcases to all.
So, let’s read more in detail…
Is Rajasthan completely a desert?
Rajasthan is not completely a desert. It has regions of rolling sand dunes in the west to lofty rocks in the middle to fertile plains in the east.
And, only about 70% of the total land area of this state is covered with desert known as the “Thar Desert” or the “Great Indian Desert” and the rest part consists of lofty rocks to fertile plains and all.
The desert is located in the Westernmost part of Rajasthan is the Thar Desert which is the biggest desert in India.
Out of the 33 districts of Rajasthan, the Thar Desert fully covers only 4 districts of the state only viz. Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, and Jodhpur.
The Thar Desert forms a significant portion of western India and covers an area of about 200,000 km² to about 238,700 km². In Pakistan, it continues as the Cholistan Desert.
Most of the Thar Desert is situated in Rajasthan, covering 70% of the geographic area of Rajasthan.
About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan actually live in the Thar Desert. The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry.
And, about 10% of the total 70 percent of the Thar Desert region comprises mostly of sand dunes and so are mostly uninhabited.
While, the remaining 90% of the desert region consists of craggy rock forms, and compacted salt-lake bottoms.
Why is western Rajasthan only a desert?
Yes, the western part of the Rajasthan state of India is a desert that is covered by the Thar Desert of India.
This western desert part roughly constitutes about 70% of the total land area of Rajasthan.
The western Rajasthan is the only desert because the whole area covering the Thar desert is severely dry, very hot in summer, and is generally intensely poor in vegetation.
It falls under the Western Sandy plains division of Rajasthan which actually falls under the Arid and a bit of Semi-Arid Climatic Zones of India.
This desert area is characterized by very scarce natural resources and an inhospitable, extremely hot climate throughout the year.
There, rainfall varies from less than 100 mm to 400 mm and is highly erratic and unpredictable.
Moreover, the western part of Rajasthan is a desert because the temperature remains very high in the summer season, although the nights become cool.
And moreover, the Aravalli mountain is situated parallel to the wind direction which is not obstructing the southwest monsoon wind and thereby causing no orographic rainfall.
Where’s the desert located: Facts & Information
Rajasthan is located on the northwestern side of India where it shares India’s international border with Pakistan’s provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley.
If we talk about the Indian states only, it is bordered by Punjab to the north, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, and Gujarat to the southwest.
The desert region of Rajasthan in India is a greater part of the Thar Desert that is spread across the western part of India and the southeastern part of Pakistan.
About more than 60% of the Thar Desert lies in the Indian state of Rajasthan. And, the rest 40% of this desert extends into the states of Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana, and Pakistan’s province of Sindh.
So, in very simple words, 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining 15% is in Pakistan.
In India, this desert is called the ‘Thar Desert” or the “Great Indian Desert”. In Pakistan, it’s called the “Cholistan Desert”.
In India, the “Thar Desert” extends towards the southern part of Haryana, Punjab, and Northern Gujrat constituting the whole western Rajasthan.
In Rajasthan particularly, this desert is bounded by the Sutlej River in the northwest, the Aravali mountains in the east, and the salty marshland of the Rann of Kutch in the south, and the Indus River in the west.
So, How many deserts are there in Rajasthan?
About, 70% of Rajasthan is desert. Yes, it’s the vast stretch of the Thar Desert which is situated in the western part of Rajasthan.
As already said that, only 4 districts named Jaisalmer, Barker, Bikaner, and Jodhpur out of the 33 districts of Rajasthan comes under the Thar desert.
So, it’s only 1 single huge desert, the Thar Desert which has 6 famous desert sites with few sub-sites as well.
The 6 popular Desert sites of Rajasthan are:
1. Jaisalmer Desert: The best of deserts in Rajasthan can only be seen in Jaisalmer. This is one of the best cities in the whole Thar desert area of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer has Sam Sand Dunes & Khuri Sand Dunes which are the two prominent desert dunes sites of Rajasthan with 30-60 meter tall sand dunes in a 3- 5 km of a pure desert area with very little vegetation. which attract travellers from all over India.
2. Jodhpur Desert: Jodhpur is home to the Osian Desert which is one of three top prominent desert region in the Thar Desert. Here, you can enjoy both Camel and Jeep Safari and also desert camps.
3. Barmer Desert: This is the 2nd best desert city of Rajasthan, next after Jaisalmer. Mahabar Sand Dunes is located here which is famous for its sand dunes. Here, you won’t find any desert camps or safari tours but, you can ride a car or bike through the Mahabar route and enjoy its glimpses.
4. Nagaur Desert: Nagaur is in central Rajasthan and is located very close to both Jodhpur & Jaisalmer. It is known for its Khimsar Sand Dunes. Here you will find many village theme huts and resorts, and you can even opt to enjoy camel rides.
5. Bikaner Desert: Bikaner is situated in western Rajasthan amidst the Thar Desert. There are only a few sand dunes areas situated in patches that aren’t very high but are spread across a large area. It’s quite famous for its camel safari & camping activities.
6. Pushkar Desert: Pushkar also has only a few sand dunes areas situated in patches which aren’t very high. Here too you can go on a camel ride, or drive around in a camel cart to explore the various unseen regions of Thar Desert.
Is Thar Desert Hot or cold?
The Thar Desert of Rajasthan is hot at day time and get’s cold at night time.
In simple words, the daily cycle of the Thar Desert is like getting very hot in the daytime and becoming cool during the nighttime.
The summer days are really hot and the nights are cool but the winter days are warm and the nights are cold.
Monsoons are with moderate hotness at daytime and coldness at nighttime, between the Summer and Winter seasons.
Let’s get more idea in brief below…
Summer: Extremely Hot at Daytime & Cool at Night
During the summer season time between March to August, it’s extremely hot during the day time with the temperature rising above 50°C sometimes. While at night time it gets cool with temperature going down to somewhat 20°C.
In Thar Desert, the summers are extremely dry and hot and must be avoided. The heat will definitely take a toll on your body and you will not be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Monsoon: Moderately Warm to Hot at Daytime & Cool at Night
During the monsoon time between September to October, it does rain a bit but the amount of rainfall it receives is extremely low. The rainfall is usually very little or nil.
The temperature remains between 15°C-25°C. The nights are cool and the days are moderately warm to hot.
Winter: Warm at Daytime & Very Cold at Night
While during the winter season between November to February, the days are warmer with the temperature ranging from 25°C to 35°C. While at the night time the temperature directly falls towards 7°C and gets extremely cold.
During the wintertime, wearing some warm clothes is necessary after sunset due to extreme level of coldness.