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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 402.


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402


ARAVALLI HILLS


this ridge-formation being the characteristic of the Aravallis. The
culminating point of the main range rises above the village of Jargo
(24 58' N. and 73 31' E.) to the height of 4,315 feet; but farther to
the south the hills decrease in height and spread out, until the chain
loses its distinctive formation among wild tracts of hilly wastes, extend-
ing over the south-western half of Mewar to the valley of the Som river
on the Dfngarpur border and that of the Mahi river on the Banswara
border. The main range terminates in the south-east corner of the
Sirohi State in the difficult and rugged district known as the Bhakar
(about 24 20' N. and 720 53' E.), formerly notorious as a refuge for
marauders and outlaws, while 7 miles to the north-west, separated only
by a narrow valley, stands Mount Abu, which belongs by position to
the Aravalli range, and consists of a cluster of hills rising suddenly
from the flat plain like a rocky island lying off the sea-coast of a conti-
nent, its highest peak (Guru Sikhar) being 5,650 feet above the sea.
From Ajmer southward the hills are for the most part fairly well
clothed with forest trees and jungle, affording shelter to tigers, leopards,
and bears. There are several passes, the more important being those
at Barr (west of Beawar and metalled throughout), Pakheriawas and
Sheopura (respectively, east and south-east of Beawar), Dewair (in
the south of Merwara), and a little farther to the south-west Desuri
or Paglia Nal connecting Marwar and Mewar. These five passes are
practicable for carts, with the exception of the last two, portions of
which are at present out of repair.
On the south-eastern slope of the Aravallis the ascent through Mewar
is so gradual as to be hardly noticed, until the head of a pass is reached,
when the abrupt fall into the Marwar plains below shows the elevation
which is being crossed. The western slope is abrupt and in parts very
steep; it is also better wooded than the eastern side, because it has
some advantage in the rainfall and because the forests are less accessible
to the woodcutters. Bale buthi tale tuthi, meaning 'the rainfall of the
Aravallis benefits the plains below,' is a not uncommon saying in
Marwar; and indeed these hills form one of the watersheds of India,
and supply soie of the most distant sources of the Gangetic drainage.
The range, as it exists at present, is but the wreck of what must have
been in former times a lofty chain of mountains reduced to its present
dimensions by sub-aerial denudation; and its upheaval dates back to
very early geological times, when the sandstones of the Vindhyan
system, the age of which is not clearly established, but is probably not
later than lower palaeozoic, were being deposited. The rocks com-
prising it are of very ancient types, consisting of gneisses, schists, and
quartzites like those belonging to the transition period, and as yet no
trace of organic remains has been discovered in any of them.
Aravanghat.-A hamlet of Ubbutalai village in the Coonoor hiluk



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