Ans. Vegetation in the Sahara desert includes cactus, date palms and acacia. In some places there are oasis – green islands with date palms surrounding them. Camels, hyenas, jackals, foxes, scorpions, many varieties of snakes and lizards are the prominent animal species living there.
Ans. Tourism is a major activity with several tourists streaming in from within India and abroad. Visits to the gompas, treks to see the meadows and glaciers, witnessing ceremonies and festivities are important activities. Some famous monasteries such as Hemis, Thiksey, Shey and Lamayuru also attract the tourists.
Ans. In the summer season the people are busy cultivating barley, potatoes, peas, beans and turnip. The climate in winter months is so harsh that people keep themselves engaged in festivities and ceremonies. The women are very hard working. They work not only in the house and fields, but also manage small business and shops.
Ans. Flora and Fauna of Ladakh desert
i. Due to high aridity, the vegetation is sparse. There are scanty patches of grasses and shrubs for animals to graze. Groves of willows and poplars are seen in the valleys.
ii. During the summers, fruit trees such as apples, apricots and walnuts bloom. Several species of birds are sighted in Ladakh. Robins, redstarts, Tibetan snowcock, raven and hoopoe are common.
iii. The animals of Ladakh are wild goats, wild sheep, yak and special kinds of dogs.
Ans. Climatic conditions of the Ladakh desert
i. The altitude in Ladakh varies from about 3000m in Kargil to more than 8,000m in the Karakoram. Due to its high altitude, the climate is extremely cold and dry. The air at this altitude is so thin that the heat of the sun can be felt intensely.
ii. The day temperatures in summer are just above zero degree and the night temperatures well below –30°C. It is freezing cold in the winters when the temperatures may remain below –40°C for most of the time.
iii. As it lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, there is little rainfall, as low as 10 cm every year. The area experiences freezing winds and burning hot sunlight.
Ans. People of Sahara desert
i. The Sahara desert despite its harsh climate has been inhabited by various groups of people, who pursue different activities.
ii. Among them are the Bedouins and Tuaregs. These groups are nomadic tribes rearing livestock such as goats, sheep, camels and horses. They wear heavy robes as protection against dust storms and hot winds.
iii. The oasis in the Sahara and the Nile Valley in Egypt supports settled population. Since water is available, the people grow date palms. Crops such as rice, wheat, barley and beans are also grown. Egyptian cotton, famous worldwide is grown in Egypt.
iv. The cultural landscape of the Sahara is undergoing change. Tuaregs are seen acting as guides to foreign tourists. More and more nomadic herdsmen are taking to city life finding jobs in oil and gas operations.
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