JAISAMAND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

A shikargah of the erstwhile rulers of Mewar State time, the Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at a distance of 50 km from Udaipur amidst lush green valleys of Aravalis, one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world. An integral part of the sanctuary,  the world-famous Jaisamand lake is one of the longest man-made water bodies in the world. The lake also called Jai Samudra and Dhebar lake measuring 14 km in length and 9 km in width and with the circumference of 88 km was built by Maharana Jai Singh three centuries ago. On the occasion of the inauguration of the 330 mts long and 35 mts high dam on 2nd June 1691 AD, Maharana Jai Singh walked around it distributing gold equal to his own weight in charity. He built 6 cenotaphs with finely carved stone elephants in front of the temple of Lord Shiva in the center of the embankment.       

Covering the geographical area of 52.21 square kilometers,  the sanctuary is home to a large variety of terrestrial as well as aquatic fauna. The sanctuary supports 10 species of amphibians, 33 species of reptiles,  227 species of birds, 21 species of mammals,  and 256 species of plants. The majestic panther constitutes ecological apex among wild animals and thereby indicates good health of the forest eco-system. Among the carnivores found here are, hyena, jackal,  jungle cat, and fox. The herbivores include chital,  sambar, wild boar,  chinkara,  hare,  blue bull, langoor, civet, mongoose, etc. Among snakes cobra, python,  krait, viper, and rat snake are common.  It is an ideal habitat for territorial birds like dove,  parakeet, babblers,  partridge, quail,  nightjar, myna,   woodpecker,  flycatcher, curlew,  oriole,  vulture,  kite and eagle. Aquatic fauna includes the crocodile, otters, turtle, and a variety of fishes and birds. The freshwater fish is known for its taste.     

The unbelievable vastness of the Jaisamand Lake interspersed with a series of islands,  ringed with undulating Aravali Hills and replete with avian diversity,  transports the visitor to a pristine world full of natural beauty. In the lake waters, bird watchers can sight hundreds of local and migratory birds like pelican, heron, egret, stork, spoonbill,  geese,  duck, teal, pochard, crane, moorhen,  jacana,  stilt, plover,  tern, lapwing,  snipe and gull. The islands provide ideal roosting and breeding places for birds.       

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The facility of nature camps provides adventure and pleasure. So also an opportunity to live amidst nature and get close to and understand its treasures. This, in turn, helps in creating awareness about the conservation of wildlife. The deep calm and clean water of the lake makes it an ideal place for boating,  and water sports like rowing, yachting,  angling,  water skiing, etc. The tough and scenic topography and landscape with a wide range of fauna especially avian found here,  and facility of horse safari makes it a paradise for trekkers, nature lovers and bird birdwatchers.        The trekking routes in the sanctuary include Dhimdabagh- Paloda 17 km,  Jaisamand- Ruthi Rani Mahal 2 km,  Jaisamand- Hawa Mahal 0.5 km, and Jaisamand- Dabana Adwas  25km. With an ancient stepwell full of clean water,  a tamarind grove, and a picturesque wild date palm grove,  Jhumar Baori, eco-destination is worth visiting. Situated 500 m away from the Baori is Rakeshwar Mahadev temple a famous holy place. Also well known as Karodiya Bherun Mandir. Jeepable path to Jhoomar Baori passes through the thick forest of the sanctuary. Driving between Palodra gate,  Jhumar Baori, and Dheemdabagh provides a view of virgin forest with trees of Dhok, that ber, Khair, Kumtha, etc. in abundance.  At the day camping site with thatched jhompas,  one can enjoy with family or hold meetings.  Various adventure game facilities are also available here.

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One can enjoy photography,  bird watching, and viewing giant Churel trees. Towards the north-western part of the sanctuary is Peeladar Dam a beautiful perennial water body that is a paradise for bird watchers where they can indulge in bird counting,  bird photography, and trekking.         Among other places worth visiting is Roothi Rani ka Mahal situated on top of the magnificent lake where can be seen the vast expanse of the huge water body. It was specially built by Maharana Jai Singh for his beloved young Queen Roothi Rani, who hailed from the erstwhile Panwar family of Bijoliya. Later on, the palace came to be known as Ruthi Rani ka Mahal.       A unique example of the Rajput style of architecture of monuments Hawa Mahal or the Air Palace was built by Maharana Jai Singh. It got its name as the gentle breeze is always flowing here.  The palace that provides a magnificent view of the lake and adjoining area has now been developed as a wildlife interpretation center.  At strategic points likes the Saladia Kot observation towers called Odhis were constructed by the Maharanas.  They were shooting boxes used for hunting and work halo graphically connected for communicating information about hunting.  Situated on a small hillock amidst a lush green valley it is an ideal place for viewing the beautiful landscape and wildlife.       

Located on way to Saladiakot, the Gamdar Ohdi is a favorite spot for watching chinkara,  wild boar, panther, etc land viewing the excellent scene of the forest. A favorite hunting lodge for the royal shoot of wild boar is Dhimrabagh,  located 5 kilometers from Jaisamand on way to Salodiakot. There is a beautiful palace in the garden that spreads over an area of 2.5 hectares.  It is an ideal site for nature camping and bird watching. Close to the sanctuary are two places of historical importance. Located 25 km from jaisamand is Chavand that is associated with Maharana Pratap who made this place the capital of Mewar.  He captured most of the lost territory before his death here in 1597 A.D. His ruined palaces and cenotaph can be seen here. Twenty kilometers east is located the magnificent Amba Mata Mandir at Jagat. Its fine sculpture resembles that of Khajuraho. Known for its huge expanse, rich fauna and flora, historical places, and the famous temple the lake is a special attraction for visitors.

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