Miles and miles of incessant desert, a land of shifting sand dunes and infinite stories! That’s Thar – The Great Indian Desert.
The Thar Desert is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 kms. The world’s 18th largest desert forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. About 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining 15% is in Pakistan. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast.
That’s a Camel cart, Camels are the most used form of transport in rural areas of Rajasthan
But wait; isn’t it unimaginable to picture large Desert without its Ship i.e. The Mighty Camel. Indeed it is! The Camel is indispensable part of the Desert. Camels are the most important part of fairs and festivals too in Rajasthan.
Camels with their Keepers at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
The big snout, dusky eyes and really long legs could be intimidating at first look but don’t make any opinions and judgements so soon, Camels might carry a tough look but they are adorable and very dear, especially to the camel breeders.
Camels are unique mammals, identified with humped back and found in desert areas of Asia and Africa. There are two types of camels – Dromedary, which have one hump, and Bactrian, which have two humps. The humps consist of stored fat, which they can metabolize when food and water is scarce. The one with one hump is quite common here in Thar Desert, India.
The Quintessential Camel Ride
If you have been to Rajasthan (particularly Jaisalmer), I’m sure you have been on the Desert Safari, it’s almost impossible not to try a Camel Ride once in Jaisalmer. It’s the biggest attraction of the Safari and an unforgettable experience. There’s something about the Camel Ride.
Look the Camel is posing and smiling too!! A still from our Desert Safari in Jaisalmer.
- Firstly the funny feeling when the Camel gets up and sits back again.
- The situation where Camel doesn’t want to get up at all!
- The fun when he starts running!
- The feeling while you keep swinging lightly as the Camel moves giving a tour and taste of the Desert.
- The peculiar smell that Camel carries, one has to get over it 🙂
However, there is a lurking fear…..
The Camel Crisis
The Indian camel (the single humped or Dromedary), is the State Animal of Rajasthan however it has been surviving a constant decline. Since 1997, the Camel population is reducing at an alarming rate. If statistics are to be observed, the 2012 census has registered a decline of around 23%. The reasons cited are more than one – there is smuggling, trading of Camel meat, decrease in grazing and pasture land & the diseases found in Camels.
The Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 2015, which came into effect in 2016, has been of not much help. It has also been declared an endangered specie by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The good part is that there are organizations at local level working for the cause and they are able to garner support from all over the world to save Camels. One such organization is Lokhit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS) formed in 1996 based in Sadri, Rajasthan.
I hope in the next Livestock Census, we get to see some improvement.