Poets as great as Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, were very much inspired by beauty and lifestyle of Thar Desert. Thar’s beauty cannot be completely described in words or shown in pictures, it can only be experienced once you travel to this marvelous desert lying in to the East of Pakistan.
Here are the 13 reasons why you simply cannot miss out on the opportunity to visit the beauty that is Thar:
1. The scenes are more colorful than a Bollywood movie
Thar holds in its sands a breathtaking beauty. From the vast desert that stretches as far as you can look, sand dunes that are better than any Lawrence of Arabia hasn’t seen, to hills of Nagarparkar that are green with shrubs and trees. Everything about Thar and it’s dichotomy of barren lands and unique greenery will mesmerize you. On top of it, the people wear the most colorful clothes and the animals are fancy as heck.
2. The people of Thar will make you feel like royalty
The people of Thar are always ready to invite you for meals or tea. These people have a big heart despite being severely poor. Thar that has seen droughts year after year, lacks water and everything that comes with it. Yet if you are passing by a village you will likely be invited by the villagers for something to eat or drink. This tradition also comes from the nature of people who have lived in this desert for generations as they understand the struggles of travelling in the wilderness of Thar.
3. The customs and culture are like nowhere else in Pakistan
If you are fortunate enough to attend a wedding in Thar, you’ll be amazed how different their customs are. In Muslim villages you will find women sing in low pitch with no dhol or clapping and there is absolutely no dancing. It is rather a quiet event with a relatively small number of friends and family. While in Hindu communities women swing their hands in Thari dance, clad in beautiful embroidered dresses.
4. And everything is so peaceful
Thar is a desert that makes its visitors fall in love with its tranquility. All you hear is the chirping of birds and that occasional donkey’s braying. People are also accustomed to speaking in a low voice and generally being a quite bunch. Life is slow-paced and people don’t worry too much for materialistic gains of the world in Thar and you could all learn something from it.
5. Their homes are pretty gorgeous
The homes that Thar’s residents live in are the epitome of rustic, traditional gracefulness. These huts are sure to amaze you. They are beautifully constructed using palm leaves. These huts are also designed to keep the interior cool in very hot weather.
6. The fashion scene is miles ahead of the rest of the world
With women wearing white bangles up to their forearms, even going above the elbow, which, interestingly, signifies their marital status. Dresses made with velvet are worn on wedding ceremonies that have beads stitched in and are intricately hand-embroidered for weeks, even months, before the event. On regular days, however, women wear “paro or pado” which is a usually a colorful skirt and a top that is beautifully embroidered. Ethnic chic, anyone?
7. The music will have you on your feet
The legendary artist Mai Bhagi emerged from Thar Desert. The songs she sung, like ‘Khari neem ke neeche’, have left their mark on Pakistani Music industry. There are many, many more like her. If you happen to live somewhere close to Thar desert, you might have seen singers in Thari dresses that would come to your door and sing for even the smallest celebration in your home. The ‘Manganhaar’ community of Thar walk to villages quiet far from their native town to sing and earn for their living.
8. The Peacocks
You surely heard the news of Thari peacocks dying of a disease in 2013. The epidemic caused a great damage to the most beautiful feature of Thar’s wildlife. Thankfully, even today in areas like Kasbo one can see peacocks spreading their stunning feathers, which is an absolute joy to watch.
9. The Nagarparkar hills are a unique feature of the desert
You will regret if you don’t witness the landscape of Nagarparkar, especially after rain. The popular Nagarparkar hills turn green with bushes and shrubs after the rain. This area attracts a big number of tourists every year.
Source: Beautiful Places of Sindh via: Blogspot
10. The religious harmony will blow you away
One of the best features of Tharparkar is that Hindu and Muslim communities live together in peace. Historically a Hindu dominated area, Thar has many Jain and Hindu temples that are as old as 4th century. Old paintings and deities carved in walls illustrate which God was worshiped in the area.
Source: Odysseus Lahori via: Blogspot
11. The history of Thar is a treasure trove
The Umarkot fort has seen many kingdoms, it is also known to be the birthplace of the popular Mughal Emperor – Akbar. It is still standing high in the city of Umarkot, however, due lack of any conservation, the Fort has lost most of its walls. There is a museum in Umarkot Fort as well, which exhibits Thari culture. The Tharparkar region, as a whole, has other Forts and historic sites.
12. You’ve got to ride the kekra
Kekra, the trucks that are said to be once used in World War II are today used in Thar for transporting goods and people. Remote villages will still find people waiting for a kekra to take them across the rough terrain of Thar desert.
13. And you can literally touch the border on the back of a camel
Tharparkar shares a very large border with India, and the desert culture on both sides of the border is very much the same. Villagers have relatives on either side of the border. You’ll hear women telling you that their sister/cousin is married across the border in India.
What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and book a trip to Tharparkar right away!
Cover Image source: Alexander Pappas
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