Tharparkar district is located in Sindh, Pakistan. According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, it had a population of 955,812 of which only 4.54%. The district lies between 24° 10′ to 25°45′ north latitudes and 69′ 04′ to 71°06′ east longitude. It is bounded on the north by Mirpurkhas and Umerkot districts, on the east by Barmer and Jaisalmer districts of India, on the west by Badin district and on the south by the disputed Rann of Kachchh. The total area of the district is 19,638 km².
Until 1990, the present district of Tharparkar, Umarkot and Mirpur Khas composed one district, with Mirpur Khas its headquarters. The division into two separate districts on 31 October, 1990: i.e., Mirpurkhas and Thar established the town of Mithi as the new headquarters of the Tharparkar district, while Umerkot was bifurcated on 17 April 1993.
Beyond Mirpurkhas land has been badly hit by the salinity and rise of water table hence the desert starts right after Mirpurkhas after 45 minute you start seeing the straw / Cone hoses of the desert dwellers. Until you reach Umerkot which is the largest town in Thar desert. The Bazaar of the town is most interesting as people come here from different villages & towns of the desert to do the purchasing. You can see many colorful dresses of different Hindu & Muslim tribes of the Thar desert. The sandy desert actually starts after Umerkot. There are several villages and town in east of Umerkot But there are no hotels etc. The only accommodation is to live in the villages with locals or get the tents. Camp site should also be close to the villages near temples or Mosques.
Mean of transport is Big trucks with open Decks or Camels. One can do mix of both these and can get most of their travel.
Society and culture
Shah Latif portrayed whatever he searched out in the passionate lyricism with seven characters, all women symbolizing the determination for upholding ‘truth’ in an antagonistic status-quo largely directed by ever changing tide of time.
Tharparkar is the central theme of this classical text consummated by the fascinating lyric and rhythm, Marvi a local Thari girl symbolizes the human attachment and relation ship with the institutions and traditions. The history of Tharparkar, in letter and spirit, is the account of this sentimental humanoid attachment and its reaction towards the changing nature of social fabric.
The indigenous myth and measures to cope with calamities like drought and dearth were losing their potential in the wake of strong influence of cash economy. The fascinating colour of grazing lands and the romantic instinct of tending the flocks of cattle are diffusing in the mushrooming needs of daily life.
The tribes and castes in Tharparkar adopt a kaleidoscopic settlement pattern rather than territorial segregation. Successive waves of invasion have therefore created a mosaic of cultures and ethnic groups in Thar. But all have, in time, bowed to similar means of production and to a common material culture.
The Tharis are honest, hard-working people and are very generous in hospitality. The gatherings between castes is largely restricted to men. The locale for such interactions being the “autak”. Each hamlet will have at least one “autak” situated a discrete distance beyond the thorn hedge of the family quarters. Failing an “autak” the nearest shady tree is designated for meetings with outsiders.
Women largely communicate within their own caste, within which they marry exclusively. Opportunities for meeting women of other castes become more restricted with higher status. Rajput women observe strict purdah (seclusion) while poorer Bajeer, Bheel, Menghwar and Kohli are freer to undertake their field tasks.
* Diplo or Deeplo
The Thar region forms part of the bigger desert of the same name that sprawls over a vast area of Pakistan and India from Cholistan to Nagarparkar in Pakistan and from the south of Haryana down to Rajasthan in India.
The district is mostly desert and consist of barren tracts of sand dunes covered with thorny bushes. The ridges are irregular and roughly parallel, that they often enclosed sheltered valleys, above which they rise to a height of some 46 m. These valleys are moist enough to admit cultivation and when not cultivated they yield luxuriant crops of rank grass. But the extraordinary salinity of the subsoil and consequent shortage of potable water renders many tracts quite uninhabitable. In many of the valleys the subsoil water collects and forms large and picturesque salt lakes, which rarely dry up.
The only hills in the district are at Nagarparkar on the northern edge of the Rann of Kutch, which belongs to quite a different geological series. It consists of granite rocks, probably an outlying mass of the crystalline rocks of the Aravalli range. The Aravalli series belongs to Archaen system which constitutes the oldest rocks of the earth’s crust. This is a small area quite different from the desert. The tract is flat and level except close to Nargarparkar itself. The principal range, Karunjhir, is 19 km in length and attains a height of 305 m. Smaller hills rise in the east, which are covered with sparse jungle and pasturage and give rise to two perennial springs named Achleshwar and Sardharo as well as temporary streams called Bhetiani and Gordhro, after the rains.
On the south of the district is the great Rann, an immense salt lake. It is a flat land, almost at sea level, covered with thick layer of salt which has been left by evaporation of sea water over the centuries. During a monsoon it becomes almost part of the sea owing to influx of sea water at Lakhpat Bander on Kori mouth of the Indus and other places. During winter it mostly dries up and surface is covered with salt. At places where the land rises up by a few metres, it becomes an island and is thus called “bet”. The most important cities are Mithi, Islamkot, Chachro, Nangarparkar, Dano Dandal. While Mithi is noted as one of the most advanced cities of Tharparkar, compared to other cities of world it is tantamount to an African village. Bharat Kumar Soothar has taken some measures to enhance the conditions of Tharparkar.
There is no river or stream in the district. However, in Nagarparkar there are two perennial springs named Acbleshwar and Sardharo as well as temporary streams called Bhetiani river and Gordhro river after the rains.
Godiji Parshwanath Temple
is the name given to several images of the Jain Tirthankar Parshwananth in India, and to the temple where it is the main deity (mulanayaka). Parshwanath was the 23rd Tirthankara who attained nirvana in 777 BCE.
The original image, about 1.5 feet high, was at Gori in Tharparkar district of Pakistan. The original temple still stands, but is empty. It is in village of Gori between Islamkot and Nagarparkar.
The Gori temple was constructed in the classical medieval style. The main structure (mula prasad) with a shikhara is surrounded by 52 subsidiary shrines (devakulikas), just like the Vimala Vasahi at Mt. Abu. It is termed Dvi-Saptati or Bavan Jinalaya by Nandalal Chunilal Somapura in the Sanskrit text Jina Prasad-Martanda. Like Vimala Vasahi, each of the 52 shrines are topped with a low dome. There is an underground chamber like some of the old temples in North India.
The shrines are now empty. However the paintings in the 12-column ranga-mandap at the front gate are well preserved. An upper band shows people worshiping the Tirthankaras. Two of the bands below show processions with horses, elephants, planquins, chariots, indoor and outdoor scenes etc. and one of the bands has paintings of the Tirthankaras. Such paintings are now quite rare, since paintings of this period in India have generarally been painted over.
You can reach Umerkot by a private car or Coach or can also take a steam train from Mirpurkhas leaving for Chor Daily at 1500 Hrs. From Chor one can continue the tour in desert or can drive to Umerkot (35 Kms.)