The state of Rajasthan lies in the south-western part of the Northern Plains. The Aravalli Hills divided it into two parts. The western part is a big desert and the land is covered with sand. This area has hardly any vegetation and is called the India desert or the Thar Desert.
The Indian desert extends from Aravalli hills to the border of Pakistan in the west, and from Kachchh in the south-west to the border of Haryana. The Indian desert is partly sandy and partly rocky. In many places, there are small hillocks of sand. These are called dunes. Dust storms are very common in desert.
Strong can easily move the sand from one place to another, and thus the sand dunes keep shifting all the time. In the desert areas, the summer season is very hot and the winters are very cold. After the sun sets, the sand cools down quickly and thus the nights are very cold. There is hardly any rainfall.
There are no permanent rivers only some small streams which are usually dry. They start flowing only when it rains. Vegetation is limited to scattered, thorny bushes. It is difficult to build rods and railway lines in a desert. Camels are the chief mode of transportation. A camel can live for days without food and water. It is thus very useful in a desert. There is always a shortage of water. At a few places, the underground water comes up to the surface and forms big pools. Such a place is called an oasis. Some trees like date palms, kikar, babul and grass grow in the oasis. Small villages also develop around an oasis.
The soil in the desert is quite fertile, but it is difficult to grow crops because there is little or no water. The situation is now changing. The government is making serious efforts to improve the life of the people in the desert areas. Water has been brought to the desert from the Satluj River through the Indira Gandhi canal is used for irrigation.
A big farm has already been developed at Suratgarh in Rajasthan. The blooming of the desert has begun.
Deserts are generally formed because of shortage of water in a place. But man is also responsible for creating desert. If we destroy the forests and if we allow the cattle, sheep and goats to graze the grasslands faster than they can produce fresh grass, the land becomes a desert.
Cutting down of forests and overgrazing of grassland must be controlled. We can do it by planting trees and shrubs and keeping the land covered with grasses. We can grow many types of crops by using the limited water resources properly. This will help in improving the life of the people in the desert areas.