Covering almost 5% of the Indian topography, the Thar desert aka The Great Indian Desert is no less than a geographical wonder situated on India’s map. However, not all of it belongs to India, yes, it is important to note that about 15% of this vast ocean of sand lies in the territory of Pakistan and the remaining 85% lies in Rajasthan within the Indian subcontinent.
Thar desert is ranked as the 7th largest desert and 9th largest subtropical desert globally. Speaking of the desert’s geography, it majorly comprises the Marusthali (arid) regions in its western parts and semidesert regions in its eastern parts. Due to this, it naturally becomes a conversational topic among global tourists.
Talking a bit about its history, interestingly, the human settlements here date back thousands of years. Many experts claim that historically, the civilization could have thrived here anywhere between forty-five to fifty thousand years ago.
So, reading all this, if you are all revved up to witness this infinite ocean of dry sand; where you don’t get to see a single drop of water for miles on end, and where every step invites adventure, then, the best time to reach here would be between the months of October and March.
As India experiences the end of summer and the beginning of winter season during this time, the overall weather conditions are comparatively way cooler and pleasant for sightseeing activities. Thar desert is very famous among locals and tourists. It is considered one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan.
Best Places To Visit In Thar Desert
1. Jaisalmer Fort
It won’t be wrong to refer to this fort as a mini-universe in itself. The grandeur and historical glories that this fort exudes take you back to the days of Rajas, their royalty, and valiant battles. The fort takes its name from a Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal and was built in 1156. Standing at an incredible height of 250 ft and surrounded by walls measuring up to 30 ft, this fort is all you need to reminisce in the anecdotes of Indian history. What’s best is that you get to see the most enchanting sweeping views of the city in the backdrop of the rising and setting sun which only adds that elegant touch of royalty to the city. Truly, it is one of the best places to visit near the Thar Desert.
2. Desert Safari
Many tourists, especially foreign nationals visit Jaisalmer and Thar desert to enjoy these large stretches of sands which cover miles and miles on end. The desert safari tours are conducted either early in the morning or during the evening time to basically avoid the scorching sun in the daytime. There are two major kinds of safari i.e. Camel safari or Jeep Safari. You can check their exact pricing online. After you are done enjoying the safari, the best way to conclude your day would be by enjoying a delicious meal while you watch some musical dance program showcasing the local culture of Rajasthan. Many tourists prefer to indulge their senses in these kinds of activities during the nighttime, as this is when the moon is in full bloom, and the sands turn more alluring to the eyes.
Located about 20 kilometers from Jaisalmer, this haunted village is quite an interesting place to explore due to the various anecdotes, legends, and myths that surround this region. According to one such story, this place was abandoned overnight by its residents fearing persecution by the then State Minister of Jaisalmer, Salim Singh. Since then, due to the absence of a single human soul, it is filled with nothing but unearthly silence and its abandoned aura only enhances its ghostly vibes. If you like to go to mysterious places, then Kuldhara village won’t disappoint you at all.
4. Gadisar Lake
This lake feels like on the outskirts of Jaisalmer and it almost feels like an oasis. Historically, it is said that the lake was built by Raja Rawal Jaisal keeping in mind the priorities and needs of his people. During the times of dry summer winds, this lake comes as a savior to the people. And also if you want to experience some quiet time with yourself then this is a great spot to be at.
How to Reach Thar Desert
Thar desert is one of a kind travel destination in India. Visiting here will definitely leave you impressed with the experience of a lifetime. To travel here, you will need to cover an approximate distance of 768, 1,157, 2,194, 2,117 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Check out the following details on how you can reach the Thar Desert.
By Air. If you are planning to travel via air, then it would be advisable to deboard either at Jaisalmer Airport (JSA) Jodhpur Airport (JDH) or Bikaner Airport (BKB) according to your convenience and comfort. These airports are allocated at a distance of 105, 368, and 320 km from the Thar desert respectively.
Owing to its close proximity, it would be best to deboard at Jaisalmer Airport. IndiGo, Spicejet, and Trujet are some of the airlines which operate with good connectivity to and fro this aerodrome connecting various Indian cities and towns. However, from some cities you may not find a direct flight to Jaisalmer, then, in that case, you can consider booking a flight to either Jodhpur or Bikaner Airport. After deboarding at the airport, you will need to book a taxi or avail of some other local means of public transportation to reach your destination.
By Rail. To reach here via train, you can take a train to Jaisalmer and deboard at Jaisalmer Railway Station which is situated at a distance of 90-95 km from the Great Indian Desert. This station falls under the management of North Western Railway and has a total of three platforms. Overall, it has good train connectivity with other Indian cities and towns. Once you deboard at the station consider taking a taxi or some other means of transportation to reach your destination.
By Road. Jaisalmer is fairly well connected with other Indian cities and towns via well-maintained and easily accessible networks of highways and roads. Depending upon factors like your comfort, geographical location, and budget you can consider either booking interstate/private buses, taxis, or self-driving.