GEOHERITAGE of UDAIPUR Region

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One aspect that has been missing in the historical narratives of Udaipur region of Rajasthan, Mewad kingdom of yore, is why was it so powerful and rich that its kings could construct grand forts, palaces, lakes and had standing army that successfully defended the kingdom and the culture, & in the process whole of India, from the Arab invasions from the west. Not just the kings, but the nobles and traders too were prosperous as manifested by large amount of construction works undertaken by them (Attachment for ref).

 

The base of this valor was of course the rich and varied metals, minerals, and construction materials that this safe geomorphologic area was endowed with and had a thriving production and export.

 

Profusely illustrated, with concise easy-to-understand text, the 168-page book is printed on quality art paper. It is divided into six chapters, dealing with Introduction; Geomorphologic significance of the region; the unique and varied Geo-resources - Metallic, Non-Metallic, Buildmat; text-specific Glossary; & Bibliography.

 

This book deals with the RICH & RARE mineral and rock resources of Udaipur Region in line with the objective of Government of India through Geological Survey of India that states that: “advancement of the cause of Geosciences by …including creation and management of Monuments and Parks for use of the public, students, and researchers, and future generations. The purpose is to popularize geosciences for public…”. The book could be understood better through the Foreword and Preface given below:

 

Preface:

Mewad ( ) region of the past has been known for its “Dharti-Dhan”   - Riches of the Earth since time immemorial. These unique Geo-resources, both renewable (agriculture & forest) as well as the non-renewable ones (minerals & rocks-the “Depleting Assets”) along with the geomorphic features, have played significant role in shaping the history, sciences, sociology of this region. It is because of this reason that when the state of Rajasthan was formed after India’s independence in 1947, it established the State Department of Mines & Geology in Udaipur, likewise the first post-graduate Department of the then Rajputana University, Jaipur was established in 1950 at Udaipur! Subsequently, the Head Offices of Hindustan Zinc Ltd. & Rajasthan State Mines & Minerals Ltd. were also set up here.

Chanakya (c. 350–283 BCE) in his scholarly treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy, Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र) eulogize the significance of mineral wealth for a nation as follows and it held good for the kingdom of Mewad as well:

'The treasury has its source in the mines; from the treasury the army comes into being. 
With the treasury and army, the ornate earth (territory) is obtained (retained).'

I have known Prof. Pushpendra Singh Ranawat since 1971 as a young faculty member of the University Post Graduate Department of Geology Udaipur. His researches in mineral resources and the annual field training programs he conducted for the PG students, gave him adequate exposure to the intimate knowledge of economically useful minerals and rocks of areas around Udaipur. He is therefore adequately competent in writing about the geo-heritage for this region.

 

Additionally, it is indeed heartening that Prof. Ranawat is one of the rare science populizers who delights in joy of information sharing which has been evident through his publications in journals, seminar volumes and International conferences in India and abroad, as well as on the Internet, including two websites, and FaceBook page.

 

Every year Udaipur receives a large number of earth science students and researchers, including those from abroad, to marvel at the unique aspects of the geo-heritage of this region (world’s first zinc smelting site, world’s oldest rock phosphate algal fossils, unique decorative stones, exceptional folded and deformed ancient rocks.etc.). In the present-day knowledge boom and concern for the mother earth, it is crucial that even non-technical citizens should be aware of our geo-heritage and to that extent this book admirably achieves the desired objective.

 

Prof. Ranawat rightly wishes to see Zawar area as a UNESCO GEOPARK that should be popularized globally. I too have been associated with the development of Zawar mines and other base metal deposits of Mewad area and feel that the rock inscriptions of the temples-in-ruin of Zawar area need to be located at a suitable place with their descriptions so that these heritage items that throw light on the life of past period could be preserved for posterity; at least one ancient underground mine should also be developed for visits by tourists. 

                          Er. H. V. Paliwal (Former Director Mining Operations, HZL & former Member of Expert Committee on Mining of Government of India. Independent Director: Rajasthan State Mines & Minerals Ltd.

 

Foreword:

The present-day districts of Udaipur, Chittaurgarh, Bhilwara, and Rajsamand more or less constitute the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar at the time of its merger with the Union of India on 18 April 1948. This venerated region is world-renowned for its heroic history, righteous traditions, natural scenic beauty, culture, tangible and non-tangible heritage, cuisine, etc; it is equally famous for its geological milieu. This region boasts of three of the twenty six National Geological Monuments of India that were identified by Government of India through Geological Survey of India.

 

Aravalli Hill Range is one of the oldest folded hill ranges of the world that formed due to folding of sediments deposited in marine and river (fluvial) basins some 2000 million years ago (Ma). Their base is made up of very old basement rocks that have age of ~3500 Ma. Un-deformed and unmetamorphosed Vindhyan rocks (~900 Ma) form another prominent rock types that is characterized by its distinctive landforms and resources. All these rocks have special and unique characteristic that have attracted the attention of earth scientists and inquisitive individuals. These rocks host a number of mineral and rock resources, described in this book, that directly affect the lives of every human being. This concise report, sans technical terminology, highlights the unique natural heritage of this region that has influenced history and lives of its people. 

 

To understand and protect the earth we live upon, it is crucial that its fundamentals should be known to all the people. These unique features of the nature not only provide us material that makes our lives easy but are vital for our progress and comfortable life-else we shall be forced to be “hunter-gatherer-cave-dwellers” again. Each of the deposit/site has been studied under the following headings: Location, GPS Coordinates & altitude: Google Earth map showing current status; (brief) description of geologic significance, some historic aspects, tourism potential, with images.
Geo-tourism is an emerging aspect that needs to be popularized to achieve the above mentioned objective. Udaipur Chapter of INTACH has taken initiative in this regards, as also to make some of these exceptional earth features promoted at international level, (GEOPARK at Zawar for example).
In this publication, the text has been kept concise with emphasis on images.US English has been used as we are mostly using US information technology these days. The Garmin-GPS 72H device was used for recording latitudes, longitudes and approximate altitude of locations for this publication, their “style” of writing is also US, with N & E placed BEFORE the coordinates, we also speak in that order.

 

Read in PDF format 'The Geoheritage Advantage of Udaipur'.

 

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