Desert Beautiful World

In the desert regions the temperatures drop as night falls. Prevailing winds blow in from the west and in the desert it sometimes carry dust storms (locally known as andhis). The only plus point is that the winds usually bring down the temperatures and sometimes allow light showers. Summer temperatures are very high throughout the state except in the hills.


Very much like the Indian heartland, Rajasthan, too, knows only three seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. During the dry, hot summer, temperatures oscillate from 28°C to 46°C, but it is the desert that bears the harsh brunt of the sun. If you are foolhardy enough to venture into the Thar at this time of the year, beware of the hot dehydrating winds that sweep across it.


Winter, extending from December to March, finds the mercury swinging between 8°C and 28°C in most parts except the desert, where it’s bone-chillingly cold. Rainfall, of course, varies with the terrain, where the hills get the lion’s share while the poor desert make do with a measly amount.


The region that lies between the Banas and Chambal Rivers is a scrapland of sandstone while the areas of Jhalawar, Kota, parts of Chittaurgarh, Bhilwara and Bundi forms a tableland. This stony tableland, with stretches of black soil, is volcanic in origin and is fed water by the tributaries of the Chambal.



Rajasthan has such few rivers that you can count them on your finger. The terrain is sundered into two by the Aravallis and a different river, waters each part. The Chambal and its tributaries cater to the southeast, while the Luni borne of Lake Pushkar up north near Ajmer, flows into the Arabian Sea.



Surprise, surprise, Rajasthan also has a plateau of its own which stretches eastward to Madhya Pradesh or east and south east of the eastern plains, from where the Chambal flows. The hill folds and ridges, around Chittaurgarh, Bundi and Ranthambore identify it from the rest.



This desert tract, nicknamed Marwar or Marusthali – the Land of Death, lives up to its name with its scorching heat, thorny cactus and scrub, and scanty water and encompasses 68% of the state area and 61% of the desert area of India. The wells here are dug hundreds of feet deep, and droughts are so common that there are kids in remote villages who’ve never seen rain.



Towards the east of the Aravalli Range the eastern plains are divided into two distinct regions – the Plain of Mewar, containing the Banas River Basin to the north of Udaipur, and the Chappan Plains to the south of Udaipur. The former contains Bhilwara and Bundi, all of Tonk district, most of Ajmer, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur and Dholpur districts.



The Chhapan Plains has the two districts of Banswara and Dungarpur and is drained by the Mahi River and its tributaries. The very idea that this blistering land was once covered by thick forests seems laughable now, though palaeontologists have unravelled irrefutable evidence that it was inhabited by dinosaurs about 300 million years ago. Fourteen km from Jaisalmer is the Akal Wood Fossil Park, where fossils have been found dating from nearly 185 million years ago. Plant fossils also indicate that the desertification of Rajasthan is a recent and ongoing process.



The most striking feature on the face of Rajasthan is the mesmerising Thar that begins to unfold its beauty as you move westward to Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pokharan and Bikaner. It is here that the desert belt of the world that kicks off from the Sahara in North Africa and runs across Arabia finally comes to rest. After decades of having dwelt here, the locals are still wary of wandering through the desert, as even camels are known to have sunk completely into the sand.



Elsewhere, in Jaipur, Bharatpur, Ajmer, Bhilwara and Udaipur, the surrounding hills are browner than green thanks to the large scale felling and the eroding effect of rain. But with the first burst of thunderclouds, these too turn an eye pleasing emerald. The cities of Jaipur and Udaipur are in the well-irrigated valley of the Aravallis, with long patches of thick forests and crop-laden fields.



This part of the range is pretty steep and boasts of ravines, lush sub-tropical forests and a splendid array of wild flowering bushes. In several places,



What very few Indians, let alone foreigners, remember is that all the hills you see in Rajasthan aren’t the Aravallis. Vindhyas, the range that slices India so neatly into north and south, puts in an appearance in southernmost regions of Rajasthan.



Beginning from Delhi in the northeast, the Aravallis, literally, ‘a beam lying across’, stretch down to the southwest right into Gujarat. They peak in the southwestern corner of Rajasthan before going downhill again.



covers some 342,000 sq km in the north-western region of India. The state isn’t just about drifting sand, never-ending dunes and barren scrubland as parts of it are surprisingly green, especially after a generous monsoon.


a range of craggy hills, slash the state effectively into two. Politically it is divided into six administrative zones: Mewat (Alwar region), Marwar (Jodhpur region), Mewar (Udaipur region), Dhundhar (Jaipur region), Hadoti (Kota region and Shekhawati (Sikar region).


the Aravalli is over 750 m high above sea level and the highest point in the range is known as Guru Shikhar (1721m). The highest peak is the state’s only hill station Mount Abu (1,200m), along a wide plateau.




After decades of having dwelt here, the locals are still wary of wandering through the desert, as even camels are known to have sunk completely into the sand.



The very idea that this blistering land was once covered by thick forests seems laughable now, though palaeontologists have unravelled irrefutable evidence that it was inhabited by dinosaurs about 300 million years ago. Fourteen km from Jaisalmer is the Akal Wood Fossil Park,


The former contains Bhilwara and Bundi, all of Tonk district, most of Ajmer, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur and Dholpur districts.

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