Rajasthan desert district Churu’s harsh summers: Feel the burn

first_imgThis is the gateway to the Thar desert. Churu in Rajasthan sits in the middle of unending sand dunes that roll away on all sides. Temperatures here dip below freezing point in winter and zoom to over 50 degrees Celsius in summer.This has been one such summer. The people of Churu know they must not venture out during the daytime, but needs must. Fetching and storing water is the chore that takes precedence over all others. It is not an easy task when the sun blazes down like molten gold.The only flora that braves the heat and the terrain are the Phog and Kair bushes, and the Khejri, Royara and Babul trees.Drinking water is scarce in almost all the villages and towns of this region and the groundwater is salty. Some homes have made provision for rainwater harvesting and, those who can afford it, have water purifiers.In summers, most families drink raabdi, a traditional drink made from bajra(pearl millet) and chaach (buttermilk). Heatstroke is an ever present danger and nobody ventures out bare-headed.Churu’s summers are too severe for any agriculture to be possible. Instead, the fields are all tilled and lie in wait for the monsoon.The main occupation in the countryside is livestock and dairy farming. And for the villagers, ensuring that their cattle and goats are fed and watered is a primary concern. This summer, grazing lands too are drying up.Churu is home to the Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, famed for its blackbuck population. But May and June are not the months to spot wildlife; not one animal ventures out in the heat.This year, on June 1 and 2, Churu recorded its highest ever temperature at 50.8 degrees Celsius. According to skymetweather.com, this is the second all-time highest maximum temperature recorded in the history of India.Of the 15 hottest places recorded in the world in the past few days, eight were in India and the rest were in neighbouring Pakistan.(IMAGES AND TEXT BY SANDEEP SAXENA)last_img