Rajasthan: Thar Desert

Spanning across four Indian and two Pakistani states, the Thar Desert forms a natural border between these two countries. Also known as the Great Indian Desert, the Thar covers more than half of its 77,000 square miles (199,429 sq. km) within the Rajasthan state. Located in the heart of the desert is the Jaisalmer Fort, nicknamed the “Golden City” from the yellow sandstone used in its architecture, where visiting the desert safaris on camels is highly popular. Many camel owners around Jaisalmer provide camel trekking to tourists as their economic mainstay besides animal husbandry. The camel trekking goes as far as the Sam Sand Dunes landscape, 26 miles (42 km) from Jaisalmer, as well as the Desert National Park. Besides the desert ecosystem, it is interesting to note the children of Rajasthan have their eyes rimmed with kohl, an ancient eye cosmetic, like the eyeliner and mascara, traditionally believed to keep evil away from the young.