The district derives its name from Thar and Parkar. The name Thar is from Thul, the general term for the region sand ridges and Parkar literary means “to cross over”. It was earlier known as Thar and Parkar district, but later became one word Tharparkar. Until 1990, the present district of Tharparkar, Umerkot, and Mirpur Khas comprised one district with Mirpur Khas its headquarters. The division into two separate districts on 31st 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 17th April 1-993.
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 east by Barmer and Jaisselmir districts of India, on west by district Badin and on the south by Rann of Kutch. The total area of the district is 19,638. square kilometers.
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 Nagar Parkar in Pakistan and from the south of Haryana down to Rajisthan 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 forty six meters. 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 the 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 kilometers in length and attains a height of 305 meters. 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 immense sart water. 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 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 rise up by few meters, it becomes an island and thus called “bet”.
Rivers and Streams
There is no river or stream in the district. However, in Nagar Parkar there are two perennial springs named Acbleshwar and Sardharo as well as temporary streams called Bhetiani river and Gordhro river after the rains.
The district has a tropical desert climate. In summer, when it is too hot during day time, the nights are remarkably cooler. April, May, and June are the hottest months during the day. December, January and February are the coldest months. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during this period are 28C and 9C respectively. There are wide fluctuations in the amount of rainfall from year to year and the yearly average for some areas is as low as 100 mm. Most of the rain falls between July and September, during the south-west monsoon, and is often concentrated in a period of two to three days.
Since the district lies in al1 arid zone, therefore, sweet water is scarce throughout Thar. Draught recurs and usually, there is no rain every third year. The soil is generally infertile and because of severe wind erosion, overblown with sand. Vegetation consist mostly stunted scrub and bush although trees such as the hardy kandi (propos ginerasia) do occasionally dot the landscape. The main natural ground cover is provided by grasses which are nutritive and palatable fodder for the livestock.
The common plants of the desert are thuhar (euphorbia caducifolia), phog (calligonum polygonoeides), ak (calotropis gigantea). In irrigated tracts babur/babul (acacica nilotica), talhi (dalkagia sisoo), neem (azatr;teha indica), jar (salvudora oleoides) kri (tamarix gallica) are found.
Wildlife has a significant correlation with greenery, verdure, and forage. In congruence to the desert nature of the area, this district is blessed with beautiful species of birds and animals. Some times back wild ass, only of its kind in Pakistan were found roaming in Rann of Kutch area. However, the massive social changes in the district have not affected only the culture of the people but also the physical environment of the area. This change, in resultant, has diminished and/or vanished many species of wildlife. Even today a number of animals found in the district includes chinkara (gazella benetti), desert fox (vulpls vulpes griffithi), jackal (canis aureus), hyaena (hyafrla striata) and mongoose (herpestcs).
Among birds the most famous is peacock (pavo cristatus). The other birds found ill the district are partridge (favncolinus pondocerianus menaesis), barn owl (tyto alba), Indian scoops owl (otus bakkamoena), Sindh night jar (caprimulgus mahrattensis), Indian night jar (caprimulgus asiaticus), dove (streptopelia senegalensis), large hawk cuckoo (hierococcyx sparverioides) particularly in nagar parkar, spotted sand grouse (pterocles senegallus) particularly in nagar parkar. Among water birds white stork (ciconia ciconia) and black ibris (pseudibis papillosia), in Chachro taluka are also found, In the district dangerous snakes viz khapar, cobra and others are generally found in the rainy season to a great extent.
This is known as gate way of the desert. The town has a fort of Talpur period which is still existing in the original shape. Talpurs had also built forts in Islamkot, Singaro and Mithi, which are not prominent as of Naukot.
Gori, some 23 Kms north -west from Virawah, contains a very fine old lain temple measuring 38 metres by 15 and built of marble. It was for several times plundered due to its popularity for abundances in wealth. It is a symbol of unique ancient construction.
Nagar Parkar in 24 21′ north latitude and 70 47′ east longitude is the chief town in the taluka of the same name. It is situated to the east of a range of low hills. This town is believed to be of some antiquity, and the existence of several ruined tanks in and about it seems to indicate a more prosperous condition in times gone by than is the case at present. About three kilometers to the south, in the Karunjhar rock, was/is a place of pilgrimage called Sardhara where there is a temple of Mahadeve. Below the temple to the north is a pool of water at which the Hindus perform ceremonies of the dead. Near the pool was a fort said to have been built by Chandan son of Gobindrai. The fort was destroyed in 1859 by order of the British Government in connection with the rebellion. At a distance of a Kilometer from Sardhara to the south is a stone statue of a cow against the rock out of which water flows into a tank. The tank is always full of water. Another place ofpilgrimage is Anchlisar, where there is a ling of Mahadev. There are three tanks here filled by springs.
Mithi 24″ 44′ north latitude and 69″ 51′ east longitude. the head quarters of the district and taluka of that name, It possessed a Municipality, but it was abolished in 1905, It now contains a D.C” office. Mukhtiarkar office, Police station dispensary, Vernacular school. a Girls’s school, a Post office and Musafirkhana, Embroidery work is done at Mithi, The nearest railway station is Chhor 53 kilometers distant, There are the ruins of two forts belonging to the periods at the beginning of last century when the Talpurs were bringing Thar and Parkar under their dominion, The principal one to the south of the village is the site of a sarai. It used to contain nine guns, The other is to the west of the village on a slight elevation.
Virawah situated in north latitude 24″ 31′ and east Longitude 70″ is a village about 24 kilometers from the town of Nagar Parkar. and is interesting only on account of the number of Jain ruins contained in the remaining of the old town of Pari Nagar adjacent. There are different traditions about Pari Nagar which is said to have been founded in the fifth or sixth century and to have been destroyed in the twelfth. It was a very populous and flourishing town. It is now a brick heap and only one small Jain temple remains standing. It was here that Mr. Giles. when Deputy Commissioner of the district. obtained the magnificently carved block of marble which is no”‘ in the Karachi Museum.
This is the native village of Marvi, the most cherished and respected daughter of this land, a symbol of patriotism and chastity, who did not succumb to any pressure or lure. On the contrary she preferred to accept a pure thari life full of poverty and problems, instead of becoming Queen. This area is historically known as Malir, whereas present named Bhalwa become popular when Bhee/ settled at this village and renamed it as Bhalwa.
Bhodisar is situated 3 kilometers away in the north. west of Nagarparkar, beneath the Karoonjhar Hills. This town happened to be the prosperous and affluent city of the time, which is eminent from the ancient constructions still found there. This place Bhodesar was formerly known as Bhodesar Nagry. There lived one Queen Bhodi. She had constructed a beautiful pond having metalled base. According to historians. on his way back to CJhazna. Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi. after the consequent of Somnath in 1026 decided to pass through this desert. During his journey he lost the track and in search of water he arrived at this pond. Subsequently he constructed a memorial at this place which was later converted into Mosque by Sultan Mehmood Begra. Bhodisar was inhabited by Sodhas and Khosas who were the famous bandits and the people were scared of them. The repeated complaints were reaching in the court of Tughlaque in Delhi. resultantly Sultan Mehmood Begra lead his expedition to Parkar in 1504. and went back. Later his mother was looted at the same place along with other travellers. This instigated Sultan Mehmood Bogra to route out Sodhas and Khosas. He came in 1505 with full preparation and fought a bloody war at Bhodesar and constructed a beautiful mosque at this place. At this place about six kilometer north, north-west from Nagar Parkar there are the remains of three ancient Jain Structures supposed to have been built in A.D., 1375 and 1449. Two of them were previously used as stalls for cattle. and the third, the interior of which was very beautifull and interesting, had large holes in the back wall and was in a very neglected state. Close by is a tank 400 feet by 200, said to have been built 600 years ago by Bhoda Parmar, son of Prince Jeso Parmar, who finding that it would not retain water remedied the defect, under the advice of the Brahmans, by sacrificing his son to the goddess of the town.
Warvai is the small village comprising of nine hundred souls situated some 12 kilometers away from lslamkot on the main track leading towards Nagarparkar. On drilling of the site, coal has been recovered at this place. This is one of the 13 places in this district from where the coal deposits have been found.
This is a small village situated 14 kilometers in the south of Nagarparkar, area was occupied by Thakurs (Sodhas) who migrated to India during 1971 War, The prominence of this area is only because it provide suitable soil and climate for agriculture This soil is extremely suitable for vegetables specially for onion, Besides sweet water is easily available at the depth of 25 to 40 feets, According to experiments each well can irrigate atleast four acres of land.
Culture, Customs, and Traditions
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 relationship 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 the social fabric.
The indigenous myth and measures to cope with calamities like draught and dearth were losing their potential in the wake of the strong influence of the 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 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.
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 relationship 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 draught and dearth were loosing their potential in the wake ofstrong 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 producion 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 ofother castes become more restricted with higher status. Rajput women observe strickpurdah (seclusion) while poorer Bajeer, Bheel, Menghwar and Kohli are freer to undertake their field tasks.