Cholistan Desert is located 30 kilometers from Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan. Locally this desert is known as Rohi. It is spread on the area of 26,300 km2. Cholistan is the word that is derived from a Turkish word Chol that means desert. The whole word Cholistan gives the meaning of land of desert. People living here have to move from one place to another in search of food and water. An annual jeep rally is held here that is the biggest motor sports event in Pakistan and known as Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally. Language of people living in Cholositan is Saraike. Saraiki is an Indo-Aryan language and is also spoken in some parts of central Pakistan.
Cholistan is a barren land where rainfall is very sparse and the people living here rely on their livestock of camel, sheep and goats. In winter nights, people are indulged in many arts and crafts such as textile, weaving, pottery etc. Cattle breeding are the backbone of Cholistan’s economy. The needs for cottage industry, milk, meat and fat are satisfied from this livestock.
As compared to other parts of Pakistan, Cholistan produces a very fine kind of carpet wool. They knit beautiful carpets and other woolen items from this wool. They manufacture blankets, khes and pattu that are the necessity of this desert because it is not the area of dust and heat but in winters, nights are very cold. To earn profit people living here sell the wool.
Camels and desert are very close in relation. Camels in Cholistan are not only used for the transportation but the skin and wool of camel is also valuable. Camel wool is used to make beautiful blankets known as falsies. Because of large number of livestock here, the leatherwork has become another important industry of Cholistan. Khusa, a kind of shoe is a specialty of Cholistan. Khusas are always handmade and Cholistani Khusa is very popular due to its fine workmanship, designs, and variety and especially for the bright and golden colored threads that are used for stitching and embroidery.
People of Cholistan are very fond of gold and silver jewelry. Nath (nose gay), katmaial (necklace), pazeb (anklets) and kangan (bracelets) are jewelry elements that are most worn by the people living there. The local soil of Cholitsan is very fine that is suitable to make pottery. The houses plastered with the mud here are evidence of the fitness of this earth that they look like white cemented houses.
Initially pottery was the art that was developed here but onwards from the seventh century a large number of forts, temples, gateways, palaces etc were built here and now this area is mostly known for its constructions and buildings.