Many of us would have studied about the physical features or the geographical structures of our country in our secondary schooling. The geographical dispositions of a country, climatic conditions of the region, its economic trends, occupational structure of people, and culture and lifestyle of people are all indirectly related to one another and are inter-dependent. India is regarded as a sub-continent by global experts for its varied yet moulded characteristics, famously known as ‘Unity in Diversity’. Here is one such salient possession of India that happens to be the point of distinction between the two lands on its either sides, the Aravalli Range.
The term ‘Aravalli’ means ‘a line of peaks’. The Aravalli is a stretch of magnificent mountains running across the western states of India – Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. The range reaches out for about 800km across the 3 states running in the north-eastern direction, starting from Palanpur near Ahmedabad in Gujarat and extending up to The Raisina Hill in central New Delhi. The Aravalli Range also holds the record of being the oldest plateau range in India.
The mountains are believed to have incorporated conditions above snow-line and to have sported humongous and highly nutritious glaciers of high magnitude in the pre-historic age. This reputation is now backed by the number of rivers it has given rise to. The water sources of Aravalli include the Banas, Luni, Sahibi, Sakhi and Sabarmati Rivers. Since it has the possession of these ever-energetic rivers, the mountain range has evolved as one of the most prosperous stretches of hillocks in the course of time.
The Aravalli Range prevents the hot and hostile Thar Desert from extending into the Southern parts of India like the Deccan Plateau. In other words, it is said to have risen in the pre-cambrian era connecting the two varied landscapes of the ancient Indian Sub-continent – the Marwar segment of the northwest and the Bundelkhand of the southeast.
The hills are largely characterised by dry and semi-dry deciduous forests that habitat trees like Modad, Salai, Khair, Khakhara, Dhavada and Timru. Out of these, The Khakhara, also known as Palash, Tesu, Kesudo and Dhak in various places, is the most famous tree which is called as ‘Flame of The Forest’ for its prominent red flowers that bloom like flames in the winter. It also has some rocky ridges that stand secluded from the main stretch. Guru Shikhar in Mount Abu, falling under the belt of Rajasthan is the highest peak in the Aravalli Mountains scaling a height of 5650 feet (1722 metres) above sea level.
The diverse floral species strewn around is an important feature among the major attractions of the uplands. It comprises of plants like the Khadaya (medicinal herb), Gugal, Amla and Moosli among others. It also plays habitat for a wide variety of animals ranging from blue bull, porcupine, sloth bear, striped hyena, fox, leopard, Indian pangolin, star tortoise and Indian civet to venomous and non-venomous reptiles. The aerial occupants of the mountains include adjutant stork, osprey, white backed vultures, black vultures, spoonbills and others.
These mountains are also known as the Old Fold Mountains as they have ceased from growing taller due to the upward thrust caused by the inertia of tectonic plates in the earth’s crust under them. Even though they are called as the Old Fold Mountains, The Aravalli Mountains stay afresh in enriching their atmosphere with a prosperous ambience.