Also known as the Great Indian Desert
, this is a large arid
region located in northwest India
and eastern Pakistan
. The area is 125,000 square miles located between the Indus and Sutlej river
basins on the west
and the Aravalli mountain
range on the east
It consists of a mix of sand dunes and rocky areas with some scrub vegetation, with temperatures reaching up to 125 degrees fahrenheit. The desert receives only 10 inches of rainfall per year on average, and the sparse population is largely pastoral as a result. The economy is based largely upon the raising of sheep for their wool, and small mining operations hunting for precious stones. Due to population pressures elsewhere, some recent efforts have been made to extend agriculture into the fringes of the desert using irrigation from the Sutlej river.
The most interesting thing about the Thar desert is the fact that this is where the Indian government tests its nuclear weapons. Starting in 1974, and continuing to the present, the Indian authorities have been making craters and knocking down hilltops in the area, as a kind of "in-your-face" to the Pakistanis just across the border.
I have never been there, but I imagine it as Tatooine with starving, glow-in-the-dark sheep stumbling down the dunes, bleating plaintively.