Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, September 19, 2016

In Rajasthan's leopard land

With Nikky and Ashley at their mehdi ceremony
I came back to Kolkata last night from a week-long Rajasthan trip. I went there to attend a wedding in Udaipur at The Oberoi Udai Vilas and also visited the forests of Bera and few other places.
At Bera Lodge
The highpoint of my trip was the bio diversity-rich Jawai Bandh forests in Pali district of Rajasthan which has now emerged a famous sanctuary for leopards in India. The rich forests and water bodies along the Jawai dam in Sumerpur tehsil have a large presence of leopards and crocodiles, turtles, fishes and aquatic birds.
A view of the magnificent Jawai Dam
The Jawai dam build in 1957 for providing drinking water is located in the south-western transition zone of the Aravallis on the Jawai river and the Luni river basin. It lies in proximity of Kumbalgarh sanctuary. The reserve is fifth in its category in Rajasthan.
Now declared as Jawai Bandh Community Reserve is known as Bera – a small wilderness paradise with rocky hills. This is a perfect habitat for leopards and wolves and has proved to be a successful breeding ground for leopards.
In Bera with Shatrunjay Pratap Singh
At Nathdwara Temple
Bera is emerging as a hot tourist spot as a leopard sanctuary. The leopards are elusive and solitary by nature and rarely offer themselves to sightings. However, in Bera, they are frequently seen on the rocky hills and in the wilderness. I was lucky to spot few of them myself.
I also took time to visit Nathdwara on the banks of Banas river in Rajsamand district some 50 kilometers from Udaipur. This town is famous for its temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and houses the 7th century idol of Shrinathji or infant Krishna that was brought from Vrindavan in 1672. Literally, Nathdwara means ‘Gateway to Shrinathji’.
In Siryali
Nathdwara also has a significant Vaishnavite shrine that was founded by Vallabha Acharya and revered by millions in Rajasthan and Gujarat. 
At a lunch hosted by my family friend Swati Agarwal at the Radisson BluUdaipur Palace Resort & Spa
The town is also famous for its 'pichhwai' paintings, handmade terracottas, ivory articles and milk-made sweets.
I also visited a religious place of the Jains called Siryali which is the birth place of Bhikshu Swami – the founder of the Terapanth sect of the Shwetambar Jains.
With heads of NGOs
I had also met up with the heads of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating from Rajasthan to discuss various events and activities in the state. 
I had also attended a lunch hosted by my friend Swati Agarwal at the Radisson Blu Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa.
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