This enormous expanse of sand dunes and rough terrain, located in the heart of Rajasthan, India, is a unique location that provides an amazing experience for environment lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and animal enthusiasts alike. This blog will be your guide to explore the beauties of the Desert National Park and uncovering the hidden gems it has to offer.
The Desert National Park is one of India’s largest national parks, an area of about 3,162 square kilometres. It is located in the Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, which stretches over the northern region of the Indian subcontinent.
The park was established in 1992 with the aim of conserving the unique desert ecosystem and the rich biodiversity that thrives in this harsh and arid environment.
Flora and Fauna in Desert National Park
Contrary to common assumption, the desert is a healthy ecosystem that supports a varied range of plant and animal species. The Desert National Park is home to a diverse range of plants and wildlife that have evolved to thrive in the desert’s harsh circumstances.
Flora: The park has a thin plant cover comprised of hardy shrubs, prickly bushes, and ephemeral grasses. Khejri (Prosopis cineraria), rohira (Tecomella undulata), ker (Capparis decidua), sewan grass (Lasiurus sindicus), and phog (Calligonum polygonoides) are some of the prevalent plant species found in the park.
The desert National Park is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, since it is home to various rare and endangered species that are well suited to the arid climate. The Great Indian Bustard, one of the world’s biggest flying birds and a critically endangered species, is one of the park’s most noteworthy animal species.
The Demoiselle Crane, Short-toed Snake Eagle, and Indian Vulture are among the other bird species. Mammals found in the park include the Indian Gazelle, Desert Fox, Bengal Fox, and Desert Cat.
It is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, Appendix I of CITES, the IUCN Red List, and the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016).
Its population is now primarily restricted to Rajasthan (where it is the state bird) and Gujarat. Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh have a small population.
The Great Indian Bustard’s primary habitat is the Desert National Park (Rajasthan) in Rajasthan.
The bustard’s native habitat is the sewan grassland environment. The bustard, known locally as godawan, thrived in these grasslands for many years, but most of it has already been gone to cultivation and other human activity.
In 2013, the Rajasthan government launched Project Great Indian Bustard to build breeding enclosures and lessen human impact on the critically endangered species’ habitat.
Safaris and Activities
Exploring the Desert National Park is an adventure in itself, and there are several ways to experience the beauty and wilderness of this unique ecosystem.
Camel Safari: One of the most popular ways to explore the park is through a camel safari. Riding on the back of a camel, the ship of the desert, allows you to traverse the sandy dunes and get up close with the flora and fauna of the park. It’s an exhilarating experience to ride through the vast expanse of sand, witnessing the ever-changing landscapes and the wildlife that thrives in this harsh environment.
Jeep Safari: For those who prefer a faster mode of transportation, a jeep safari is a great option. Jeep safaris take you deeper into the park, allowing you to cover more ground and explore the remote corners of the desert. With an experienced guide, you can spot wildlife, learn about the local flora, and understand the unique ecosystem of the desert.
Bird Watching: The Desert National Park is a paradise for bird watchers, with over 180 species of birds recorded in the park. From majestic birds of prey to colorful migratory birds, the park offers ample opportunities for bird watching. The best time to spot birds is during the winter months of November to February when several migratory birds make their way to the park.
Fees and Timing
Entry fees for
|Monday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
|Tuesday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
|Wednesday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
|Thursday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
|Friday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
|Saturday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
|Sunday||10:00 am – 5:00 pm|
Stargazing: The Desert National Park is known for its clear skies and lack of light pollution, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. On a clear night, the sky comes alive with millions of stars, and you can witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos like never before. Gazing at the stars while camping in the desert is a surreal experience that allows you to connect with the vastness of the universe and appreciate the wonders of the night sky.
Cultural Experience: The Desert National Park is not just about its natural beauty, but also offers a rich cultural experience. The park is home to several indigenous communities such as the Bishnoi and Bhil tribes, who have lived in harmony with the desert for generations. Interacting with the locals, learning about their customs, and experiencing their way of life can be a truly enriching experience that adds depth to your visit to the park.
Conservation Efforts: The Desert National Park plays a crucial role in conserving the unique desert ecosystem and the species that call it home. The park is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of India and several conservation initiatives are in place to ensure its preservation. As a responsible visitor, it is important to follow park rules, respect the local culture, and practice sustainable tourism to help conserve this fragile ecosystem for future generations.
Places to Visit Near by Area
Jaisalmer Fort – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this massive sandstone fortress is one of the largest and most impressive in the world.
Patwon Ki Haveli – a group of five beautifully crafted mansions, each with unique architecture and intricate carvings.
Gadisar Lake – an artificial lake surrounded by temples and ghats, ideal for boating and picnicking.
Jain Temples – a group of exquisitely carved temples dating back to the 12th century, known for their intricate artwork and architectural splendor.
Bada Bagh – a beautiful garden complex with a series of chhatris (cenotaphs) of the royal family.
Sam Sand Dunes – a popular tourist spot located 40 km from Jaisalmer, known for its stunning sand dunes, camel rides, and cultural performances.
Kuldhara Village – an abandoned 13th-century village known for its mysterious history and folklore.
Folklore Museum – a museum dedicated to the folk art and culture of Rajasthan, showcasing costumes, musical instruments, and handicrafts.
Tazia Tower – a beautiful tower with intricate carvings, built by Muslim craftsmen to showcase their artistry.
Tips for Visiting Desert National Park
Plan your visit during the cooler months of November to February, as the desert can get extremely hot during the summer months.
Carry ample water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the harsh sun.
Wear comfortable and light-colored clothing that covers your body to protect yourself from the sun and dust.
Follow park rules and guidelines, and do not disturb or harm the flora and fauna.
Engage in responsible tourism by avoiding littering and respecting the local culture and customs.
Hire a local guide for a better understanding of the park’s ecosystem and cultural significance.
Carry a good camera and binoculars for capturing the stunning landscapes and spotting wildlife.
Stay in designated camping areas and respect the park’s rules regarding bonfires and camping.
How to reach?
The Desert National Park is located in the state of Rajasthan, India, near the town of Jaisalmer. Here are some ways to reach the park:
By Air: The nearest airport to the Desert National Park is Jodhpur Airport, which is well connected to major cities in India such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Jaipur. From Jodhpur, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the park, which is approximately 300 kilometers away.
By Train: The nearest railway station to the Desert National Park is Jaisalmer Railway Station, which is well connected to major cities in India. From Jaisalmer, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the park, which is approximately 40 kilometers away.
By Road: The Desert National Park is well connected by road and can be reached by hiring a taxi or taking a bus from nearby cities such as Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Bikaner. The park is approximately 40 kilometers away from Jaisalmer, 320 kilometers from Jodhpur, and 340 kilometers from Bikaner.
Local Transportation: Once you reach the Desert National Park, you can explore the park on a camel safari, which is a popular mode of transportation in the desert. The park also has designated routes for vehicles, but it is recommended to hire a local guide who is familiar with the park’s rules and regulations.
It’s important to note that the park is located in a remote area, and the roads may not be well-maintained. It’s advisable to plan your trip carefully, carry sufficient food and water, and be prepared for the extreme desert conditions.