The Thar Desert is a realm of ancient beauty, history and legend. Spreading out along much of the border of modern day India and Pakistan, the Thar Desert has served as the frontier between the western world (Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East) and the eastern world (India, China and the Far East) since ancient times. Unlike most of the world’s great deserts, the Thar has been packed with cities, roads and other constructs of civilization from ancient times to the present. The regions on the Indian side of the border are among the most touristed places in that country.
Human migrations probably reached the Thar around fifty thousand years ago. Some of the world’s oldest remnants of civilization can be found here. The Thar has been invaded and conquered on a regular basis throughout history due to its importance as a trade route between India and Persia. Much of the Thar is located in the modern Indian state of Rajasthan. Large portions of the desert are now located in protected parks in both India and Pakistan.
The Thar Desert is for the most part a giant scrubland teaming with life. The Saravasti River runs through its heart on its way to the Indian Ocean. Many species of desert plants and trees flourish here, as do many species of animals. The desert is also rich with human activity, and great medieval fortresses and walled cities spring up in many places. Desert agriculture is prevalent in many places, and evidence is everywhere of efforts to introduce new desert treelife to the area.