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the lifestyle of people in desert areas--their food,clothes,work,social customs,etc?

Asked by Jahnavi Patel(student) , on 6/7/13

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Such exercises are meant to be done by the students using their own creativity and imagination. However, you can refer to the pointers given below while framing your answer:

  • nomadic people; keep moving from one place to another in search of food, water, etc.
  • rear cattle like camels, goats and cows
  • millets are grown in desert areas because they can survive in dry, arid conditions
  • in India, most of the people from the desert region are craftsmen
  • Rajasthani handicrafts and jewellery are famous all over India
  • women in Rajasthan wear colourful clothes (lehenga or choli). 
  • men wear turbans to protect themselves from the harsh sun
  • dance and folk music is quite popular


Posted by Madhura Sarkaron 8/7/13

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More Answers


The largest group of people who inhabited the Sahara Desert are called Tauregs. Descended from Berbers in the region that is now Libya, the Tuareg are descendants of ancient Saharan peoples described by Herodotus, who mentions the ancient Libyan people, the Garamantes. Archaeological testimony is the ruins of Germa. Later, they expanded southward, into the Sahel.

For over two millennia, the Tuareg operated the trans-Saharan caravan trade connecting the great cities on the southern edge of the Sahara via five desert trade routes to the northern Mediterranean coast of Africa.

The Tuareg adopted camel nomadism along with its distinctive form of social organization from camel-herding Arabs about two thousand years ago, when the camel was introduced to the Sahara from Arabia.

Many Tuareg today are either settled agriculturalists or nomadic cattle breeders, though there are also blacksmiths and caravan leaders.

The Tuareg are matrilineal, though not matriarchal. Unlike many Muslim societies, women do not traditionally wear the veil, whereas men do. Tuareg people have very personal marriages; there 's an unspoken law about other people not interfering with marriage. The only tradition they know is a 'quarantine ' period after one 's husband 's/wife 's death.

Although Tuareg aren 't supposed to have more than one life partner a relationship is practically equal to an engagement and once you 're a couple you 're expected to get married, it is highly unusual for them to stay single. When a partner passes away, they are expected to get married again when the quarantine is finished. If there are no potential partners or the widow or widower is too old to get married, there are exceptions.

The Tuareg are a pastoral people, having an economy based on livestock breeding, trading, and agriculture. Women process milk, make butter, prepare animal skins, make clothes and bedding from skin, collect firewood and water. Men drive the animals take responsibility for selling. Men will take camels to towns to sell them, returning with millet which they use as flour for bread making. Other purchases will include sugar and tea. Most outputs, however, are consumed by the family

In recent times the Tuareg have been abandoning their nomadic way of life and take up sedentary lifestyles. Drought and government policy are threatening their traditional way of life but Tuaregs and their camel-caravans still appear unexpectedly on the horizon before melting into the desert again.


Posted by Althaf Wahab(student)on 28/10/10


the carbondioxide which trap the heat during the day and releases the warmth during night

Posted by venneladarisi.....(student)on 9/8/11


Thar Desert


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A NASA satellite image of the Thar Desert, with the India-Pakistan border superimposed.
View of Thar desert

The Thar Desert (Rajasthani: ??? ?????), Urdu (Urdu: ??? ???? , also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large, arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent and forms a natural boundary running along the border between India and Pakistan. With an area of more than 200,000 km 2 (77,000 sq mi), [1] it is the world 's 9 th largest subtropical desert. [2]

It lies mostly in the Indian State of Rajasthan, and extends into the southern portion of Haryana and Punjab states and into northern Gujarat state. In Pakistan, the desert covers eastern Sindh province and the southeastern portion of Pakistan 's Punjab province. The Cholistan Desert adjoins the Thar desert spreading into Pakistani Punjab province.



[edit] Location and description

In India the Thar Desert (also known as the Great Indian Desert) extends from the Sutlej River, surrounded by the Aravalli Range on the east, on the south by the salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch (parts of which are sometimes included in the Thar), and on the west by the Indus River. Its boundary to the large thorny steppe to the north is ill-defined, about 3/5 th of the total geographical area of the State.
In Pakistan, the desert covers the eastern Sindh province and the southeastern portion of Pakistan 's Punjab province. The Tharparkar District is one of the major parts of the desert area. Tharparkar consists of two words: Thar means ‘desert’ while Parkar stands for ‘the other side’. Years back, it was known as Thar and Parkar but subsequently became just one word ‘Tharparkar’ for the two distinct parts of Sindh province. On the western side, Parkar is the irrigated area whereas Thar, the eastern part, is known as the largest desert of Pakistan.
Rainfall in the area is very low, from 0-250mm per year, all falling between July and September, and the climate is harsh with temperatures ranging from near freezing up to 50°C.

[edit] Physiography and geology

The region surrounding Aravalli hills near Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India.

There are three principal landforms in the desert region — the predominantly sand covered Thar, the plains with hills including the central dune free country and the semi-arid area surrounding the Aravalli range.

On the whole the Thar Desert slopes imperceptibly towards the Indus Plain and surface unevenness is mainly due to sand dunes. The dunes in the south are higher, rising sometimes to 152 m whereas in the north they are lower and rise to 16 m above the ground level.

The Aravalli forms the main landmark to the south-east of Thar Desert.
Desert soil - The soils of the Arid Zone are generally sandy to sandy-loam in texture. The consistency and depth vary according to the topographical features. The low-lying loams are heavier and may have a hard pan. Some of these soils contain a high percentage of soluble salts in the lower horizons, turning water in the wells poisonous.

[edit] Origin

The origin of the Thar Desert is a controversial subject. Some consider it to be 4000 to 10,000 years old, whereas others state that aridity started in this region much earlier.
Another theory states that area turned to desert relatively recently: perhaps around 2000 - 1500 BC. Around this time the Ghaggar ceased to be a major river. It now terminates in the desert but at one time was a watersource for the Indus Valley Civilization centre of Mohenjo-daro.
It has been observed through remote sensing techniques that Late Quaternary climatic changes and neotectonics have played a significant role in modifying the drainage courses in this part and a large number of palaeochannels exist.

Most of the studies did not share the opinion that the palaeochannels of the Sarasvati coincide with the bed of present day Ghaggar and believe that the Sutlej along with the Yamuna once flowed into the present Ghaggar riverbed. It has been postulated that the Sutlej was the main tributary of the Ghaggar and that subsequently the tectonic movements might have forced the Sutlej westwards, the Yamuna eastwards and thus dried up the Ghaggar.

The studies about Kalibanga in the desert region by Robert Raikes [3] indicate that Kalibangan was abandoned because the river dried up. Prof. B. B. Lal (retd. Director General of Archaeological Survey of India) supports this view by asserting: "Radiocarbon dating indicates that the Mature Harappan settlement at Kalibangan had to be abandoned around 2000-1900 BCE. And, as the hydrological evidence indicates, this abandonment took place on account of the drying up of the Sarasvati (Ghaggar). This latter part is duly established by the work of Raikes, an Italian hydrologist, and of his Indian collaborators". [4]

[edit] Thar in ancient literature

The position of Thar desert (orange colour) in Iron Age Vedic India.

The Indian epics describe this region as Lavanasagara (Salt-ocean).
Ramayana mentions about Lavanasagara (Salt-ocean) when Rama goes to attack Lanka with the army of vanaras. Rama uses his agneyashtra-amogha to dry up the sea named drumakulya situated on north of Lavanasagara. A fresh water source named Pushkar surrounded by Marukantara was created. [5]

According to Jain cosmology, Jambudvipa is at the centre of Madhyaloka, or the middle part of the universe, where the humans reside. Jambudvipaprajñapti or the treatise on the island of Roseapple tree contains a description of Jambudvipa and life biographies of ??abha and King Bharata. Jambudvipa continent is surrounded by ocean Lavanoda (Salt-ocean).

Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert

The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda (10.75) mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata mention that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert.

Most scholars agree that at least some of the references to the Sarasvati in the Rigveda refer to the Ghaggar-Hakra River, while the Helmand River is often quoted as the locus of the early Rigvedic river. Whether such a transfer of the name has taken place, either from the Helmand to the Ghaggar-Hakra, or conversely from the Ghaggar-Hakra to the Helmand, is a matter of dispute.

There is also a small present-day Sarasvati River (Sarsuti) that joins the Ghaggar river.

Mahabharata mentions about Kamyaka Forest situated on the western boundary of the Kuru Kingdom (Kuru Proper + Kurujangala), on the banks of the Saraswati River. It lay to the west of the Kurukshetra plain. It contained within it a lake called the Kamyaka lake (2,51). Kamyaka forest is mentioned as being situated at the head of the Thar desert, [6] near the lake Trinavindu (3,256). The Pandavas on their way to exile in the woods, left Pramanakoti on the banks of the Ganga and went towards Kurukshetra, travelling in a western direction, crossing the rivers Yamuna and Drishadvati. They finally reached the banks of the Saraswati River. There they saw the forest of Kamyaka, the favourite haunt of ascetics, situated on a level and wild plain on the banks of the Saraswati (3-5,36) abounding in birds and deer (3,5). There the Pandavas lived in an ascetic asylum (3,10). It took 3 days for Pandavas to reach the Kamyaka forest, setting out from Hastinapura, on their chariots (3,11).

In Rigveda we also find mention of a River named Asvanvati along with river Drishadvati. [7] Some scholars consider both Saraswati and Asvanvati the same river. [6]

The human habitations on the banks of rivers Saraswati and Drishadvati had shifted to the east and south directions prior to Mahabharata period. During those days The present day Bikaner and Jodhpur areas were known as Kurujangala and Madrajangala provinces. [8]

The Desert National Park, Jaisalmer has a collection of fossils of animals and plants of 180 million years old. Some fossils of Dinosaurs of 6 million years old have also been found in the area. [5]

[edit] Biodiversity

Indian Gazelle or Chinkara

Stretches of sand in the desert are interspersed by hillocks and sandy and gravel plains. Due to the diversified habitat and ecosystem, the vegetation, human culture and animal life in this arid region is very rich in contrast to the other deserts of the world. About 23 species of lizard and 25 species of snakes are found here and several of them are endemic to the region.

Peacock bird on Khejri tree

Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are found in the desert in large numbers such as the Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), the Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), the Indian Gazelle (Gazella bennettii) and the Indian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus khur) in the Rann of Kutch. They have evolved excellent survival strategies, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different conditions, and they are mainly nocturnal. There are certain other factors responsible for the survival of these animals in the desert. Due to the lack of water in this region, transformation of the grasslands into cropland has been very slow. The protection provided to them by a local community, the Bishnois, is also a factor. Other mammals of the Thar area include a subspecies of Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) and a wild cat, the caracal.

The region is a haven for 141 species of migratory and resident birds of the desert. One can see eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures. Short-toed Eagles (Circaetus gallicus), Tawny Eagles (Aquila rapax), Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga), Laggar Falcons (Falco jugger) and kestrels. There are also a number of reptiles.

The Indian Peafowl is a resident breeder in the Indian subcontinent particularly Thar region. The peacock is designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of the Punjab (Pakistan). It can be seen sitting on Khejri or Pipal trees in villages or Deblina.

[edit] Natural vegetation

The natural vegetation of this dry area is classed as Northern Desert Thorn Forest [9] occurring in small clumps scattered more or less openly. Density and size of patches increase from west to east following the increase in rainfall. Natural vegetation of Thar Desert is composed of following tree, shrub and herb species. [10]

[edit] Tree species

Acacia jacquemontii , Acacia leucophloea , Acacia senegal , Albizia lebbeck , Azadirachta indica , Anogeissus rotundifolia , Prosopis cineraria , Salvadora oleoides , Tecomella undulata , Tamarix articulata

[edit] Small trees and shrubs

Calligonum polygonoides , Acacia jacquemontii , Balanites roxburghii , Ziziphus zizyphus , Ziziphus nummularia , Calotropis procera , Suaeda fruticosa , Crotalaria burhia , Aerva tomentosa , Clerodendrum multiflorum , Leptadenia pyrotechnica , Lycium barbarum ,