Halfway between Udaipur and Jodhpur, two of Rajasthan’s troika of major tourist draws, lies an evocative land composed of granite hills flecked with flaming dhaak and spiny euphorbia. Close by, stretching languidly around the catchment of Luni, Rabari farmlands wound around cooled-lava hills make up the prehistoric outcrops of Jawai.
Jawai, more precisely Bera, shelters one of the highest non-forest concentrations of leopards in the world, and these spotted beings—known elsewhere as solitary and highly elusive—enjoy an unprecedentedly harmonious coexistence with the human residents of the nearby villages. Rabaris consider these graceful cave-dwellers sacred keepers of the 300 hill shrines lodged across this leopard country.
Read the full feature in the print edition of National Geographic Traveller India January-February 2022.
Prannay Pathak dreams about living out of a suitcase and retiring to the island of Hamneskär to watch films in solitary confinement. He is Assistant Editor (Digital) at National Geographic Traveller India.