I am from the state of Rajasthan and my father is an officer in a Rural Development Agency, so he keeps visiting villages. Some of his subordinates suggested him a place called Dhudhaleshwar. It is located in Ajmer district of Rajasthan and is very popular among the local people. Papa, despite of his tight and hectic schedule promised to take us. As the name was kind of old fashioned, I was reluctant to go. It was a weekend and Papa hired a Jeep. Again, I wondered if “an AC Innova would be a better option”? The place is around 120 km away from Ajmer city. We were accompanied by our family friends.
Finally, all dressed in picnic style boarded the Mahindra. It took around two and a half hours to reach there. But the outstanding beauty of the location denied all my presumptions. It was a mountainous area with perennial streams at the foothills of the mountains and a vast forest cover with an embedded wildlife, acting as the cherry on the cake. The place has a wide panoramic view with ponds all around. Our driver had been there earlier and he told us that those streams finally contributed to the Luni River which is a seasonal river. The special feature of the place that makes it a must-visit is that it was a mix of every natural beauty. On the hills was a temple, streams and covered forest and of course wildlife. It was so different from the misnomer belief of people about Rajasthan being dry at every sphere, rather the local people call that place “Kashmir in Rajasthan”. The place is also called Todgarh named after an English official General Todd stationed there during the colonial period.
While climbing the mountains we crossed 20 streams called ‘rapats’ in local dialect i.e. Marwari. As our jeep crossed those ‘rapats’ there was formation of a spring at the back which poured water at the back seaters. Then we went to the temple and worshipped the deity. It was a huge structure having many ponds. There was a well in which it is believed that if you put a coin and make a wish it gets fulfilled, alike many other superstitions in India. Then we explored the forests and we realized that we have really gone in deep. We saw a pond and besides it was a board stating that leopards visit here to quench their thirst. We quickly realized that if we stayed there for long Leopards could have us for food as well quench his thirst with ample water. Then we returned back to the temple.
As the place was a picnic spot it hasn’t had any food to offer though my mother had. We enjoyed the Puri-Sabji typically suitable for picnics. Then we made a move and as it was evening forest officers advised us to leave by dark. On our way back, we could spot a leopard, some bears and lots of Langurs and some really beautiful birds which we never saw in cities. Then it was fun time as we jumped from the jeep into the ‘rapats’. The algae green water and buffaloes bathing in the same water and small fish did not succeed in moving us away. It was around one hour and then fearing the darkness we made a move.
We talked to the woodcutter there and we asked him about where we can find a leopard. He told us that it’s hard to find them in daylight. He added that he is quite worried as the leopards many a times attack his goats. He was typically dressed in Rajasthani traditional attire.
In order to reach Dhudhaleshwar, one must come to Ajmer and hire a taxi for Todgarh. Still I get excited when I go through the photographs we clicked. Huge mountains, those ‘rapats’, peace in the temple, lush green forests still attract me to go there and gather some energy. Later I got to know that those forests were registered as Todgarh- Rawali Wildlife sanctuary spread over Ajmer, Pali and Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. The Sanctuary was established in 1983 and main animals found there are leopard, wild boar, chinkara, common langur, sloth bears and Indian wolf. The best time to visit is September to May. Rawali Forest Rest House offers fine accommodation. One can also come to Beawar Junction of Ajmer district but availability of taxis is relatively low than in Ajmer. If you are getting bored these holidays I would suggest you to visit Dhudhaleshwar a.k.a Dhudhaleshwar Mahadev a.k.a Todgarh.
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