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Boulders of Tehla


Boulders of Tehla

Tehlais atehsillocated in the Alwar district of the state of Rajasthan.Tehla is surrounded by the Aravali Mountain rangesamongst which many small villages namedMurlipura, Chawa ka baas, Ghewar, Talab, Losal, Nadoo, Nayala,Roopbas, Rajdoli, Mallana, Bhangarh, Naidoli, Dabkan are located.


The forests ofTehla

constitutes of grasslands,

dry deciduous forests,

tropical forests, and

scrub-thorny arid forests.

Utsav Camp is located near to a village named Murlipura, which is just 1 km away from the Sariska Tiger Reserve. One geological wonder present near the Utsav Camp is the presence of‘Boulders’.

Boulders are amalgamation of igneous rocks that are spread out for about 12 to 15 km covering areas around the villages ofnamed Murlipura, Chawa ka baas, Ghewar, Talab, Losal, Nadoo,and Nayala.


The boulders are an interesting geological wonder as they are estimated to be older than the Aravali Mountain ranges, which are the oldest mountain ranges of India.


Flora and Fauna of theBoulders


The Boulders consists of many narrow passages, caves, crevices, and hill ranges extending for about 200 feet.


The narrow passages andnaturally formed depressions provides an optimal water storing spots for the animals and birds which inhabit theboulders. During monsoon and post monsoon, these depressions are full of water and the passages have flowing water in form of slow flowing streams.


The undulating terrainprovides an intricate and secluded habitat for different animals and birds which take refugee amongst the boulders and also find ample food for survival.


Flora

The flora includes large deciduous trees to small shrubs which grow on and around the boulders. On the flatlands present in between includes the trees of Dhok (Anogeissus Pendula), Babool (Acacia nilotica), Dhak/ Palas (Butea monosperma), Ronj (Acacia leucophloea), Ker (Capparis decidua), Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) Khair (Acacia catechu), and Khajur (Phoenix dactylifera).

Amongst these trees are small thorny bushes and shrubs which grown amongst the boulders on the slopes, lowlands and also on the top. These includes Gunja (Abrus precatorius), Jal (Capparis sepiaria), Marod phali (Helicteres isora), Arandi (Ricinus communis), Karanj (Prosopis juliflora), Khaas (Vetiveria zizanioides), Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) and Jhahrberi (Ziziphus nummularia). An invasive plant which has well adapted to the boulders and found extensively is Adusa (Adhatoda vasica).

Birds


The varied vegetation and ample of nesting and roosting places shelter a variety of small grass birds to huge predatory birds. As the season changes, different birds are observed whereas some resident birds are observed throughout the year.

The monsoon and post monsoon months (July to December) provide ample of rainfall for the small catchments areas amongst the boulders to be filled up. The water gradually dries out at the end of winter (February) and the land becomes completely dried out when March starts.

The birds seen throughout the year are Red vented bulbul, Indian Robin, Oriental magpie Robin, Grey francolin, Purple sunbird, Rufous Treepie, Long tailed Shrike, Rose-ringed and Plum headed parakeet, Brahminy and Pied Starling, Eurasian and laughing Dove, Babbler, White throated Kingfisher, Greater Flame back Woodpecker, Black winged Kite, Shikra, Prinia, Weaver, Indian and Egyptian Vulture, Indian Eagle Owl and many more.

When water is available many water birds like Indian spot billed duck, Black winged Stilt, Pond Heron, Common teal, Little Grebe, Great Thick knee, Cattle Egret, White breasted waterhen, Bar headed Goose are observed.

The time of winter attracts many birds like Wheatear species, Bushchat species, Stonechat species, Lark species, Pipit species, Bunting species, Yellow wattled Lapwing, many Warbler species and huge raptors like Common Kestrel, Bonelli’s Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, and Pallid Harrier.

Mammals

The absence of human interference and plenty of protected terrain to roam about many mammal species are also observed amongst the boulders.

The widespread boulder terrain has many crevices and caves due to of erosion pattern. The caves are home to many mammal species which rest throughout the day and become active during the night time.

The herbivore species which basically rely on the shrubs and leaves are Nilgai, Indian Porcupine and Black naped Hare. The carnivore species which are actively spotted from dusk till dawn are Indian Leopard, Indian striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, Indian Fox, Ruddy Mongoose, Grey Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, and Jungle Cat.

Cup Art of Boulders


The boulders are made of Igneous rocks

and the major component of these rocks includegranite and quartz. These rocks are erosion resistant and radiometric dating suggest that the boulders are even older than the Aravalli hill ranges.

These boulders showcase a peculiar cup-shaped (hemispherical) marks on the boulder surface which have been pounded into the rock surface by human.These cup-shaped marks are one of the most common types of rock art and are termed as‘cupules’.



These cupules are seen on many surfaces (horizontal and vertical) and are supposedly made by percussion blows by humans. The surface around the cupulesshowsmicroscopic signs of crushed rock particlesand surface

bruising. Cupules are the earliest known prehistoric art, have been found on every

continent exceptAntarctica,

and were produced during all three eras of the Stone Age(Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic).


Cup art is abundant in various parts of Rajasthan, mainly in the Alwar,Kota and Bundi area.


In India, for example, home of the Bhimbetka Petroglyphs-the world's earliest art-cupules were also made during the era of Mesolithic (10,000-6,000 BCE) and Neolithic art (6,000-2,000 BCEonwards) as well as the preceding Upper Palaeolithic


Blog by Mr. Kushagra Gupta and Mr. Aakash Upare (Naturalists at Utsav Camp Sariska)



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