Thar Desert National Park, which is known as the ‘ocean of sands’, covers a large portion of western Rajasthan. It’s a wrong notion of people that the deserts can’t support a varied flora and fauna. The fragile ecosystem of the Thar supports a unique and varied wildlife species. In this vast ocean of sands lies the famous Desert National Park, which provides an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert and its diverse wildlife.
The Desert National Park is situated in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan close to the India- Pakistan border. Spread over an area in excess of 3150 sq km, this is probably the largest park of India.
Flora and Fauna: The topography of the park comprises of craggy rocks, compact salt lake bottoms and vast sand dunes, which form about 20% of the Park. As the desert only supports a few type of small grasses, shrubs and xerophytic trees, the leaf cover is limited and not suitable for large herbivorous, camel being an exception. The wildlife here include the spiny- tail lizard, desert monitors, sand fish, chameleons, and snakes that include the deadly viper and krait. Other important wilds found here are chinkara, blackbuck, the desert fox, and Bengal fox among many others.
But, the desert park is comparatively rich in avian population. The greatest attractions of the park are the great Indian bustards, an endangered species of bird. This large, heavy and graceful bird draws thousands of bird lovers from all corners of the world. Besides, the great Indian bustards the park supports a wide variety of exotic and rare birds. While in the park you can spot birds such as sand grouse, spotted eagles, gray partridges, shrikes, demoiselle crane, quails, peafowl bee-eaters, larks, eagles, harriers, falcons, orioles, warblers, babblers, buzzards, kestrel and vultures to name a few with.
Sudashri, a forest post located in the park, is the best place for spotting the wildlife of the Desert National Park and provides ideal conditions for snapshots.
Major Wildlife Attractions:
Animals: The animals of the park include Desert Fox, Bengal Fox, Desert Cat, Wolf, hedgehog, Black Buck and Chinkara. These animals have live in an extremely difficult terrain, still they have managed to survive.
Reptiles: There is a fair number of reptiles found in the park as well. These are Spiny Tail Lizard, Monitor Lizard, Russel’s Viper, chameleons and Sind Krait.
Birds: The bird population of the park is responsible for making it hugely attractive. The Great Indian Bustard which is a protected species in India, finds a safe shelter in this park. These birds eat practically everything, from cereals and berries to grasshoppers and Locusts. Other birds found in this park are Sand Grouse, Partridges, Bee Eaters, Larks, Shrikes, Harriers, Falcons, Buzzards, Kestrel, Vultures, Short-toed Eagles, Tawny Eagles, Spotted Eagles and Lagger. Demoiselle Cranes and Houbara flock to this park in the winter months.
Jeep Safari: This enables visitors to explore a wider area of the park in relatively short span of time. Also, it is highly interesting to see the wide range of flora and fauna from the jeep.
Camping: This is perhaps the best way to enjoy the wildlife of the park. However, visitors must take into consideration the fragile nature of the park and thus refrain from causing any sort of harm to it.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Desert National Park is through out the year.
How to Get there:
Air: The Nearest Airport is Jodhpur, 40 Kms away from the park.
Rail: The Nearest Railway station is Jodhpur, 40 Kms away from the park.
Road: Buses are available frequently from Jaisalmer.
Black Buck, Chinkara