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Adventure into Taklamakan Desert of Xinjiang

 2014-09-12    Ada    Activities    Xinjiang    2594  

The Taklamakan Desert, also known as Taklimakan and Teklimakan, is a desert in southwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, northwest China. It is bounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the south, the Pamir Mountains and Tian Shan to the west and north, and the Gobi Desert to the east.

In Uigur language, Takla Makan means 'you can get into it but can never get out' and the desert has another name 'the Sea of Death'. Another plausible explanation suggests it is derived from Turki taqlar makan, describing "the place of ruins". So you can imagine how horrible the environment will be.

The truth is, it is horrible. The Taklamakan Desert has an area of 337,000 km2 (130,116 sq. mi.), and includes the Tarim Basin, which is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long and 400 kilometres (250 mi) wide. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road as travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland. It is the world's second largest shifting sand desert with about 85% made up of shifting sand dunes ranking 18th in size in a ranking of the world's largest non-polar deserts.

The desert is regarded as being very powerful among the people; no wonder the name connotes fear. But there was an interesting legend about its origin. It was said that there was a Supernatural Being, who saw the hardship being faced by the people in this area and thought that he could help them by using the two magic objects in his possession namely the golden axe and the golden key. He gave his golden axe to the Kazakh, so they split the mountain Altai and diverted water from the mountains to the fields.

The Supernatural Being planned to give the golden key to the Uigur so that they could open the door of the treasure-house of the Tarim Basin, but unfortunately his youngest daughter lost the key. This angered him so much that he held her a captive in the Tarim Basin and thus the Takla Makan Desert was formed.

Choosing route is kind of critical. In each route, you will be able to visit the ruins of a number of ancient towns and fortresses, abandoned for a thousand years and dating from a time when the Taklamakan was watered by great rivers which flowed into the desert from the Kun Lun Mountains to the south.

To provide a fascinating taste of genuine desert travel, you propose to undertake a south to north crossing of the desert, linking together the normally dry river valleys of Kerriya and Khotan. This is an extemely remote area and will involve the use vehicles to take the group as far as the desert villages which lies some 120 or 220 kilometres in the middle of this desert. On the way, you may encounter the famous Niya ancient ruins, where will surely bring you a lot of new discoveries what you are not expected.

Of course, you have many other options. But whichever route you will take, is a remarkable journey and an opportunity to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure travel experience.


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