A sandstorm obscures the border zone between Pakistan and India's desert state of Rajasthan in this MERIS image. Much of the north-western portion of Rajasthan is covered by the inhospitable and thinly-populated Thar or Great Indian Desert, which also extends into Pakistan. Wind-driven sandstorms rising in the Thar are a common feature of the harsh January to June dry season.
South of Rajasthan is the booming coastal state of Gujarat, one of the most industrialised and fastest growing states in the country.
Further west along the coast is seen the salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch, once a shallow section of the Arabian Sea until it was cut off by geological uplift. Each wet season its salty clay and mudflats are filled with water, serving as breeding grounds for birds.
This 10 June 2005 image was acquired by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), operating in Reduced Resolution mode to provide a spatial resolution of 1200 metres. The image covers an area of 1943 by 1943 kilometres.