- How was the Bansdara hill changed into a wildlife sanctuary?
- Which are the trekking routes?
- What are the views like at sunrise and sunset?
- What is the floral variety here?
- Which animals are found here?
- Which birds can be seen here?
Once covered with dense forest and hunting ground for rulers of Mewar, the 936-meter-high hill Bansdara is just 5 km. from Udaipur The Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary that surrounds the Sajjangarh Palace spreads over approx. 5 sq. km. To facilitate hunting and to have an excellent view of the forest area, 5 shooting boxes were built around the hillock. The aim was to show how the area was rich in wildlife. Due to excessive biotic pressure the forest cover was degraded and the hillock was almost devoid of any vegetation by 1986. Looking to its strategic location and importance from ecological and environmental point of view, this area was declared as sanctuary in the year 1987. To start with, a ‘pukka’ wall was constructed in an area of 60 hectare on the Eastern slope facing Udaipur city. This area is the catchment area of Fatehsagar and Picchola Lake systems that provide drinking water to Udaipur city. It is known for its scenic beauty. After closure the area responded extremely well and developed into an ideal habitat for wildlife. A deer safari was created and a huge variety of animals were re-introduced. The wall was extended and now the entire hillock has been fenced and that has improved the vegetal cover of the sanctuary area.
In the safari park herbivores like chital, sambar, blue-bull, wild boar etc. have been reintroduced to provide a view of the animals from close quarters. A network of forest roads has been built to reach different parts of the safari park. Situated on the western aspect of Bansdara hill is a perennial source of water JHAR waterhole, that is surrounded by a number of ancient Mahua trees. In close vicinity of this sacred Grove is a temple of Lord Shiva. One can experience the effect of microclimate created by the surrounding forest area at this place. During rainy season the springs flowing through the area add to the beauty many more times.
Trekking facilities are also available from GORELLA view point. One can track to Badi Lake through this nature trail and can study the beautiful geographical features of Aravali Hills along with flora and fauna present in the area. Moreover, during winters, a large variety of aquatic birds can also be seen at Badi Lake. There are other trekking routes like Sanctuary Gate-Safari Park- Sajjangarh (3 km), Gorella-Sajjangarh-Badi Lake (5 km), Sajjangarh Safari-Gorella (4 km), Sanctuary Gate-Safari-JHAR Mahadev (5 km) and Sanctuary Gate Gorella view Badi Lake (6 km).
To promote eco-tourism elephant and horse safari were started in the year 2002. Being the highest point around Udaipur Sajjangarh attracts a big number of visitors for viewing sunrise and sunset. The sunrise provides unique views of the lakes, hills and historical places that makes it a memorable event. The cool fresh and fragrant-breeze of this hour makes one feel energetic. At sunset the crimson rays of the sun seem to bid farewell to the hills and lustrous lakes. After sunset the mesmerizing view of the illuminated Udaipur is an exhilarating experience.
A true representative of dry deciduous forest, the sanctuary has a rich floral diversity. Found in abundance here is the rare and endangered species Gugal. Apart from several species of grasses, ferns, etc. 79 species of flowering and 4 species of non-flowering plants are found here. Yellow colour Ginia and red colour wild Gainda flowers add to the attraction of the place. Mahua grooves also abound here.
The panther can be easily sighted here. Hyena jackals, jungle cat, and common fox are some other carnivores that are found here. Among the herbivores are chital, sambar, wild boar, blue-bull, common hare, common langur, civets, mongoose etc. The most remarkable animal to be found here is rusty spotted cat, the smallest of its species. It looks like a small panther and weighs about 1.6 kg. and gives birth to just one kitten at a time. It can also climb trees. Among reptiles, cobra, python, rat snake, crate and viper are common. Rare animals found here include fast running slender racer snake and blind snake that comes out only at night and barn owl with the heart shaped face. The cliffs and rocks at high elevation serve as ideal nesting and roosting places for Egyptian vulture, long billed and white backed vulture, kites and martins. The sanctuary is a center of breeding of indigenous rare and endangered fauna of Aravallis and also as a translocation centre cum orphanage for wild animals of this region. It has also become centre for education about wildlife for children, youth and tourist.