Desert, the name straight away sketches a picture of hot winds, scorching sun and miles of barren land in mind. Why not see the other side of the coin? Far away from the hubbub of the city, deserts preserve the calm and peace attracting travelers from across the world. India is home to multiple deserts depicting different communities, culture and ecological diversity. From the hot Thar Desert to the cold desert valley of Spiti, deserts in India have a lot to offer.
Here’s a list of the top deserts in India one should visit at least once in their lifetime.
The Great Indian Desert
Let us start the journey with the most picturesque desert of the world, Thar Desert, popularly known as The Great Indian Desert. It covers a vast area of almost 77,000 square miles stretched in West and North-West of India and South-East states of Pakistan. In India, it is spread across states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. The boundaries don’t just confines to Indian borders but stretches along to Sind in Pakistan. Exploring this desert in India is in itself one wonderful opportunity unveiling its rich historical and cultural heritage.
Thar Desert is much known for the rich wildlife and ecosystem in diversity preserving species of animals and birds which are otherwise on the verge of extinction in other deserts of the world. Some of these are the Indian Gazelle or Chinkara, Indian Wild Ass and The Great Indian Bustard.
Needless to say, you will be amazed to discover the land of sand, its heritage, wildlife and the culture the locals follow. If you want to see the real side of a place ruralized yet immensely beautiful, get your backpack and be off to The Great Indian Desert!
Best time to visit: The months from October to March is the best time to enjoy a tour to The Great Indian Desert. During this period, if you miss out economy class tickets, book business class flight to have an enthralling experience in the Great Indian Desert.
Special Attractions: Desert Camel Safari, national parks and sanctuaries like the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, beautiful birds like Lagger Falcons, Eagles, Great Indian Bustard, Short-eared Owl, etc.
Ever imagined a cold desert valley? Yes, it’s in India! Also called as desert mountain valley, Spiti valley is the cold desert valley separating Tibet from India. Located exactly in the North-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, it is a place with several villages, some of the best monasteries and called “Little Tibet” for its similarity in terrain, climate and vegetation. Spiti is no less than paradise for people seeking peace topped with meditation and beauty of nature.
The valley is connected to Tibet and Ladakh on the East and Kullu and Kinnaur on the West through high passes. Explore the mesmerizing view of peaks, valleys, river, and high passes covered with glaciers However, ensure you carry enough cash (no ATMs after a certain point) and woolen clothes.
Best time to visit: One can discover the cold desert valley best from the month of May to September.
Special attractions: Key monastery, Tabo monastery, Dhankar monastery and Kungri monastery
Rann of Kutch
When on a tour to explore the most popular deserts in India, Rann of Kutch in the Thar Desert is a must visit indeed. It is among the largest salt deserts in the world located in the district of Kutch, Gujarat. The large area covered with white salt looks like bright crystals and as you keep on walking, you will actually feel serenity, a detachment from the otherwise busy world. If you want to have the best view of the salt desert, reach the highest point in Kutch, Kala Dungar. The panoramic view of the sun setting down the white sea (yes, this is how the desert looks from this point!) is something you will cherish for long. The salt marshy land houses couple of wildlife sanctuaries. You can have the opportunity of exploring a range of rich wildlife and if you are into wildlife photography, it’s your once in a lifetime opportunity to capture the beautiful wild creatures spotted in the desert. Want to see the crystal salt desert? Book your cheap last minute flights to Ahmedabad right away!
Best time to visit: The most appropriate time to visit Rann of Kutch is from October to March. This is the time when the famous Rann Utsav is held. However, monsoon is also a good time to see the salt desert covered with standing water which gives an amazing view.
Special attractions: Kala Dungar (Black Hill), Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Kutch desert wildlife sanctuary and adventure activities during Rann Utsav.
Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Nubra Valley in Ladakh is a desert at a high altitude, located 150kms from Leh is known for the beautiful sparkling blue waters of the river and spectacular sand dunes at stature height. Surprising combination, isn’t it? Well, Ladakh is considered having the landscape of extremes and it is quite evident by the hot sun and chilling winds, desert and blue waters, sand dunes and glaciers.
Also referred as ‘Orchard of Ladakh’ and earlier named ‘Ldumra’ implying the valley of flowers, Nubra Valley is an amazing place to take you closer to nature. Traveling with your group or solo, the cold desert’s tremendous snow-capped mountains, sand dunes and the blue river will remain with you forever.
Best time to visit: The most appropriate time to visit Nubra Valley is the peak months of summer – June to August. You can have great pleasure amidst the cold Himalayan Mountains and the flawless desert garden.
Special attractions: Hunder sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, Khardung La (highest motorable pass of the world), Shyok and Nubra Rivers
These were some of the most famous deserts in India worth exploring for travelers from all round the world. Head on to understand different cultures, desert wildlife and get a little closer to Mother Nature!