From the unending expanse of burning hot sand to fascinating barren landscapes of Cholistan, deserts of Pakistan hold immense importance when it comes to the topography of the country. With golden sand dunes, distant ponds of water and a few lifeless trees, deserts have their own beauty. Adventurous tourists from all over the world visit these deserts, pertaining to the mysterious and perplexing history that has been around for thousand of years.
The Thar Desert covers around 175,000 square kilometers, making it the largest desert of Pakistan. Several myths revolve around the Thar desert, regarding its history. Many believe that the desert before its conversion used to be a sea and an earthquake with stormy winds created the sand dunes. Another myth pertaining to its history includes the ‘Worshipper’s Curse’ that changed the sea into a tropical desert. For nomads, living in this desert poses an extremely hard life. Shortage of water, lack of physical resources and dry arid weather makes it difficult for nomads to survive.
Small ponds known as ‘Tobas’ through rainfall are the only source of water for drinking, washing and other purposes. Tourists visit the Thar Desert to experience the culture and traditions of the area. People living in the desert are famous for weaving, field ploughing, embroidering, knitting and thread-making. Also famous are the egg-shaped hills of Karon-Jhar.
Another one of the most popular deserts of Pakistan is Cholistan Desert located at a distance of approximately 30 kilometers from Bahawalpur. Adjoining the Thar Desert, Cholistan Desert extends to Sindh and into India. The bright coloured turbans on men and clothes with beautiful embroidery on women represent the tradition of Cholistan Desert. Both local and foreign tourists visit Cholistan for its famous event that is the Cholistan Jeep Rally.
One of the least popular deserts of Pakistan is the Indus Valley Desert. The infamous desert has negligible number of inhabitants due to harsh climate and insufficient rainfall. Located in the Punjab province of Pakistan, between Indus and Chenab rivers, Indus Valley Desert experiences only 600-800 mm of rainfall annually. The temperature in summers exceed 45° Celsius causing inhabitants to migrate to colder areas. However, five large mammals including Caracal, Indian wolf, Indian leopard, wild sheep and striped hyena are found in this desert. This desert is famous for hunting purposes.
Between the Sindh and Jhelum rivers lies this desert which is geographically similar to Cholistan and Thar Desert. With a covered area of 190 miles from north to south, Thal Desert is popular for cattle rearing. Poverty is inherent in this desert with the only source of income pertaining to live stock and agriculture. In 2001 General Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the ‘Great Thal Canal’ to improve irrigation, due to the dry and arid climate of the desert. However, the desert also faces water logging due to the ‘Great Thal Canal’ and needs maintenance and quality checks.
Whether you are a hunting enthusiast, and artsy cultural observer or just a traveler who loves wanderlust, book a tour to visit our deserts!