TODGARH RAOLI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Located amidst the oldest mountain ranges of Aravali,  Todgarh Raoli,  Wildlife Sanctuary is representative of typical Aravalian flora and fauna of the richest ecosystem of the state of Rajasthan. Covering an area of 497 square kilometers it is a fascinating mix of splendor of history, religion, and natural beauty.

Geographically the sanctuary is a land of contrast with rivers, valleys dense forests, and sandy plains overlooked by the ancient Hills of Aravali. The hilly tracks of Rajsamand, Pali, and Ajmer district confined within the limits of the sanctuary were famous hunting grounds of the Britishers. The renowned historian Colonel James Tod famous writer of Annals and Antiquities of Rajputana stayed at the place that was later on named after him ‘Todgarh’ by the British. In 1983 this area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary.

Image source: Wikipedia

The sanctuary is connected by road from Ajmer -110 km, Udaipur- 150 km, and Pali-75Kms.

The sanctuary has a unique importance as it fully represents the complete range of Aravalian Ecosystem. Its topography is diverse.  In its Eastern part are mountain ranges with an altitude of over 3500 feet while the Western parts are adjoining the Marwar Plains. Generally, the hill slopes are moderately steep but near Bagmal and Todgarh they become precipitous. Another feature that adds to its significance is that it forms a dividing line between the two major watersheds of the country. The rainwater on the western slope flows in the form of small rivers like Modua, Siryari, jogmandi and Rania forming the tributaries of river Luni that ultimately merges into the Arabian Sea,  whereas the rainwater falling on the eastern slopes is drained out into river Banas which falls in the Bay of Bengal.

The sanctuary represents the Northern Tropical dry deciduous forest type. Due to the big difference in altitude, there is a large variety of vegetation in different parts of the sanctuary. Vegetation in the North with lower altitude is dominated by Dhok, other flora includes ber, Khair, kumtha,  arjun, ardu and Khejari. At the higher altitude are found bamboo, salar , kirby,  a montane species of siris, holoptelia, godal, etc. On the onset of summer butea blossoms profusely, while during rains the sanctuary becomes a bed of several species of flowering plants. 

The varied vegetation cover of the sanctuary provides natural habitat to antelope and deer, a number of carnivores and birds.

The top carnivore in the sanctuary is the leopard. There were tigers until 1960. Other carnivores present here include striped hyena,  jungle cat, jackal, wolf, and civets. In a good number are found herbivores like sambar, bluebull and chinkara. The main areas inhabited by blue bull and chinkara are the lake and water points. Sloth bear, another important species of the sanctuary is confined to the hilly area with slopes and relatively heavy forest cover.  The Hanunan langur represents the primates in the sanctuary. 

Image Source: Memorable India

The congenial terrestrial and aquatic habitat provide safe shelter to a number of reptiles like starred tortoise, turtle,  common garden lizard,  Indian monitor lizard, and a variety of snakes like common Indian krait, Russell viper, Indian cobra, water snakes, python, etc.

As there are diverse ecosystems namely lakes, forest and grassland, over 200 species of avifauna can be seen here including babblers, barbett, bee-eater, cuckoo,  bulbul, rock chat, bunting, peafowl,  dove, drongos, flycatcher, grey junglefowl, red spurfowl, myna, nightjar, partridges, quail robin, roller, sandgrouse Indian pitta, sandpiper, shrike, sunbird, swallow,  tailorbird, tit, treepie, weaverbird, woodpecker, etc. Among birds of prey crested serpent eagle, crested hawk-eagle, shikra, kestrel, falcon, owl, etc can be seen here. In winter,  dubchik, cormorant, Indian shag, darter, egret,  grey heron, white-necked stork, spoonbill, Ibis, goose, teal,  pintail, sarus crane, coot, moorhen, watermen,  jakkanna, snipe,  stilt, etc can be sighted easily.

The natural environment of the sanctuary provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to observe the wild animals and the sylvan environment from close quarters. 

Dudhaleshwa,  a holy place famous for the ancient Shiva temple is located on the boundary of the sanctuary.  The temple is visited by a lot of pilgrims round the year. Motorable road to Dudhaleshwar passes through dense woodlands providing a view of virgin forest. One comes across a number of several Nala streams and waterfalls. The forests have typical Aravalian flora comprising mainly Dhok, Khair, and ber trees. One can watch leopard, sloth bear, sambar, four-horned antelope,  spotted deer, and a large variety of colorful migratory and resident birds. 

Located at a distance of 20 km from Baijaji Ka Guda, an area ideal for watching Indian wolf. Todgarh Lake, situated in front of the historical Todgarh rest house is a paradise for bird watchers.  Other viewpoint places include Dabgabda,  Dudhaleshwahwar,  Jamyda,  Kabradata, Pehlani,  Bhaban, Bhilberi, Fulad dam, and Renia dam. 

There are quite a few temples in an area like Dudhaleshwar Mahadev, Amliyajhar  Mahadev, Gauri Dham, Goram temple, Mayli Mata, and Vayad . Pragya Shikhar and the United Church of Northern India are also worth visiting. 

There are a  good number of eco trails, places for nature camping and Forest Rest Houses.

The Sanctuary has many special attractions like excellent landscapes, a huge variety of flora and fauna, hill slopes,  deep gorges, streams, and water bodies.

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