Geography of Rajasthan


Rajasthan, situated at the northwestern part of India is the biggest state in the country of India and lies between 23°30' and 30° 11' North latitude and 69° 29' and 78° 17' East longitude. The state shares its north-western and western boundary with the Indo-Pakistan international border that extends about 1,070 km and touches the major districts Barmer, Bikaner, Ganganaga and Jaisalmer. Rajasthan is bordered by Pakistan in the west and northwest, the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the north and northeast. The state of Madhya Pradesh lies in the southeast and Gujrat in the southwest.

The huge portion of the state of Rajasthan is desiccated and houses the biggest Indian desert- the Thar Desert known as the 'Maru-kantar'. The oldest chain of fold mountains- the Aravali Range splits the state into two geographical zones- desert at one side and forest belt on the other. Only 9.36% of the total geographical region lies under forest vegetation. The Mount Abu is the only hill station of the state and houses the Guru Shikhar Peak that is the highest peak of the Aravali range with an elevation of 1,722 m. The capital city of Rajasthan is Jaipur.

Area

The north-western state of Rajasthan is the largest Indian state with an area of 3, 42,239sq.km comprising of the 11% of the total geographical area of the country. This state has a type of rhomboid shape and stretches lengthwise 869 km. from west to east and 826 km. from north to south.

Topography

Rajasthan has varying topographic features though a major part of the state is dominated by parched and dry region. The extensive topography includes rocky terrain, rolling sand dunes, wetlands, barren tracts or land filled with thorny scrubs, river-drained plains, plateaus, ravines and wooded regions. In a more broad way the topography of Rajasthan can be divided in the following regions- the Aravalli or the Hilly regions, the Thar and the other arid regions, the Plateaus including Vindhaya and the Malwa, the Fertile plains including the Mewar, the Forest Regions and the Waterbodies including Rivers and Salt Lakes.

Soil & Vegetation

The soil and vegetation of Rajasthan alters with its wide-ranging topography of the state and the availability of water. The varied kind of soils available in Rajasthan are mostly sandy, saline, alkaline and chalky (calcareous). Clay, loamy, black lava soil and nitrogenous soils are also found.

Owing t the limited rainfall seasonal vegetation such as a few grass species, shrubs and dwarf trees can be found. However food crops are grown in the plains that are drained by the rivers and streamlets owing to the alluvial and clay soil deposits. The hilly tracts of the Aravali are characterized by the black, lava soils that sustain the growth of cotton and sugarcane.

Rajasthan Desert

The Thar Desert or the Great Indian Desert encompasses about 70% of total landmass of Rajasthan and hence it is identified as the "Desert State of India". The Rajasthan desert which forms a major portion of the Thar Desert is the biggest desert in India and encompasses the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur. In fact the Rajasthan Desert comprises the desert triangle of three cities - Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur. The desert becomes very hot during the summer and it experiences extreme climate with an average annual rainfall less than 25 cm. Days are hot and the nights are cold. Vegetation consists of thorny bushes, shrubs and xerophilious grass. Various species of lizards and snakes are found here.

Flora & Fauna

Rajasthan is the abode of certain flora and fauna that are particularly endemic to arid regions and are specially adapted biologically to survive in the dry, waterless regions of the state. Owing to the varied topography one can find an assortment of flora and fauna and avifauna in Rajasthan. The forest vegetation that accounts for 9% in Rajasthan is deciduous and has thorny trees, grasses and shrubs. The tree species found are teak, bamboo, varied species of acacia and khejri. Some National Parks house numerous species of herbs and plants that have medicinal values.The fauna of Rajasthan consists of 23 species of lizards and 25 species of serpents including the Spiny Tail Lizards and the Russel's Vipers.Other wildlife species include Antelopes, Indian Gazelles or Chinkaras, endangered Great Indian Bustard, Black Bucks, the Nilgai or the bluebull, wild cats, silver foxes ans so on. There are about 450 species of avifauna including various migratory birds.

Weather

Like its varying topography, Rajasthan has varying climate. The weather or climate of the Rajasthan can be broadly classified into four distinct seasons. They are - Pre-monsoon, which is the hot season preceding the monsoon and extends from April to June, the Monsoon that occurs in the month of June in the eastern region and mid- July in the western arid regions, the Post-monsoon that commences from mid-September and continues till November and the Winter that extends from December to March, January being the coldest month of the year. The average temperature in winter ranges from 8° to 28° C (46° to 82° F) and in summer the average temperature range from 25° to 46° C (77° to 115° F).

Last Updated on : 01 December 2011