"Ongoing rains have transformed the harsh geography of the desert - and its occupants, who had migrated to other places to earn a livelihood due to a deficit of water, are now returning to their settlements"
Thar is the 17th largest desert in the world and the ninth largest sub-tropical desert. It is spread over thousands of square kilometres, falling in both Pakistan and India. The Thar Desert in Pakistan is in the Tharparkar, Umerkot and Mirpurkhas districts. The population of Thar is more than1.6 million people. Known for its rich culture, natural beauty and peace, Thar is a rich desert and the livelihood of Thari people depends on rainfall-driven agriculture.
The desert region of Sindh is frequently faced by droughts, forcing residents to resettle with their cattle and families, causing various health complications. Tharparkar, one of Sindh’s drought-hit districts, is a thirsty area indeed, with veritably low rainfall.
Still, the region has been blessed with erratic but bountiful rainfall, aside from some major droughts.
Every land has something unique to offer, whether in culture, architecture, natural beauty, etc. The beauty of Sindh has not yet been explored completely as compared to other provinces. It is only lately that people have come to know about some spots that they had never heard of before.
The Thar Desert is home to numerous kinds of indigenous trees and flora. The grasses here feed for more than six million beasts. Nearly all the corridor of Thar, including the hilly areas of Nagarparkar, Islamkot and Chachro, have recently recorded rain. Thari town-dwellers were overjoyed to have the important and much awaited rains, and said that although the season of the cultivation of traditional crops was nearly over, the current showers would greatly help in recharging the water table and wells. They would, we are told, contribute to reviving a withering greenery, which had been drying for lack of water for over a month. They also look to storing some of this rainwater in natural ponds for future use.
Rain is an important source of living, particularly for Tharis. Downpours become all the more critical because unlike in other regions of Sindh, there are very low levels of forestation.
Ongoing rains have transformed the harsh geography of the desert – and its occupants, who had migrated to other places to earn a livelihood due to a deficit of water, are now returning to their settlements to raise cattle and plant crops. Some are tilling land and acquiring livestock for the first time in their lives.
The metamorphosis of the desert geography has attracted visitors from all over Pakistan, drawn to scenes of highways bordered by lush vegetation – which until recently presented a far more drab and barren appearance.
In the aftermath of these rains, the Karoonjhar Hills in particular have emerged as a centre for tourism, as people are drawn to their natural beauty and cultural heritage. Karoonjhar offers tourists everything from ancient Jain temples to contemporary leisure activities.
Thar has, in general, returned to life with the recent rains. Each and every drop of rain brings joy to the faces of the Thari people. No one knows the significance of rain more than these people, whose lives literally depend on them.