The Great Indian Desert or the Thar Desert of India

That Desert of India

The Thar or the Great Indian desert is the world’s seventeenth largest desert. It lies to the west of the Northern plain and creates a natural boundary between the two countries India and Pakistan. The desert covers about 3,20,000 sq. km, contributing approximately 10% of the total geographical area of India. About 85% of Thar desert lies in India and the rest 15% is in Pakistan.

the great Indian desert

The Great Indian Desert

Geographical features

  • The Great Indian Desert is surrounded by the Aravalli Range to the South-East, Rann of Kachchh to the South, alluvial plains of the Indus river in the West and North-West, and Punjab plain to the North and North-East.
  • Most of the desert is covered by shifting sand dunes. The sand is highly mobile due to very strong winds occurring before the beginning of monsoon.
  • In Thar, there is very limited rainfall (100 – 500mm per year).
  • Luni is the only river in Thar.
  • The Great Indian desert includes some saltwater lakes like Sambhar, Kuchaman, Didwana in Rajasthan and Kharaghada in Gujarat. At Monsoon, these lakes become full of rainwater and evaporate during the dry season.
  • The desert soil remains dry for most of the time in a year.
  • Indira Gandhi Canal (649 km long) brings fresh water to the Thar desert.


The density of population in Thar is the highest with a density of 83 people per sq km in the world. About 40% population of Rajasthan live in the desert.

The main occupation of the desert people is agriculture and animal husbandry. Main agricultural production is Kharip crops (rice, jowar, turmeric, etc.) which are grown in the summer and seeded in June & July.

Folk music and folk poetry are very popular in Rajasthan


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