Mahavir Swami Wildlife Sanctuary
At a distance of 33 kms from Lalitpur, the land adjacent to River Betwa, known as Devgarh, was earmarked for setting up a Wild Life Sanctuary, in 1977. In the Bundelkhand Region, at a height of 300 feet above Betwa ,in the Vindhyachal Range. Primarily this area of Devgarh comprised of Teak Trees and is also the “last Teak wood forest” in the south-west region of Uttar Pradesh. Also found in the region are Arjun, Tendu, Goonj trees. Scantily, Bamboo plants are also found on the hilly slopes. In the surrounding areas of the Devgarh Sanctuary, Wolves, Wild Cat, Hyenas, Wild Dogs, Mongoose, variety of Deer, hares and Blue-Bulls are found in numbers. In the Betwa River/Region, Crocodiles, Turtles and a large variety of fishes are also found.
A unique feature of this Sanctuary is a group of 41 Jain Temples covering an area of approximately 8 acres in its midst. Actually the area of the Devgarh Wild Life Sanctuary has traditionally come down from the Gupta Period of ancient history; later occupied by the Pratiharas and Chandelas; the Jain temples and the sculptures are a reflection of the art and architecture of the period. The Dashaavtar Temple is a representation and a fine example of the art and architecture of the Gupta period. In the temple premises beautiful sculptures of various Gods and Goddesses, sculpted Pillars and edifices , beautiful statutes of the 24 Tirthankars, goddess Saraswati, Lakshmi and Paarvati are also there in the temples. The 12th temple in the chain of 41 temples is outstanding due to its enormous size and the huge icon of Lord Shantinath.
The Sanctuary being situated on the banks of River Betwa with the adjoining range of Vindhyachal Hills, the area has a rich fauna and flora. Once known for its natural habitat, the Nahar Ghaati, the Siddh caves marked for their natural beauty and Rajghaati, etc.are places of major tourist attraction. A natural island in the Betwa River offers a sanctuary to a variety of reptiles, crocodiles, , turtles, pythons etc.Nests of endangered Vultures can be seen in plenty.
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