The Naldeshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a small space with a stone in the form of a lingam, which is believed to have naturally formed. Though the place is named from its presiding deity, the main attraction is the beautiful landscape covered in the dense green forest and a trek of 5 km to climb to the temple. The temple is only accessible by foot and one has to undertake the beautiful trek to reach the top.
Interestingly it is one of the very few green spots in the desert state of Rajasthan. It is a popular trekking destination for locals, especially in the monsoons. There are small ponds and a variety of trees on the trail. It is also a haven for bird lovers with many perching atop the green trees. The place also has many langurs and one has to be little cautious of the primates.
The ascend to the temple begins from a place called Madhopur. There are two ways to reach the temple – one is hiking through the forest and there are stairs also for those who don’t want to meddle in the uneven forest landscape. There is a small shop at the foothill selling snacks, but nothing else available on the way up. So tourists are always advised to carry water with them and warned to not litter the virgin forest area.
Thanagazi Fort- an attraction nearby
The Naldeshwar Temple is located on the stretch between Alwar and village Thanagazi. Thanagazi has an ancient fort located there and many travelers combine the temple trek with a visit to the fort. Thanagazi fort was a defense township of Alwar. The 400-year-old fort was the property of Maharaja of Alwar till the 1960s, after which the government of India took over the premises. The fort was auctioned to a private property developer in 2013, who is planning to refurbish the dilapidated fort.
The Naldeshwar temple and the Thangazi fort are located very near the Sariska Tiger Reserve and hence there is no major development here, which is a blessing in a way as travelers can experience the real Rajasthani hospitality here. There are many small hamlets on route to the temple trek, where one interacts with local villagers and know about their lifestyle in an authentic manner.
How and when to go to Naldeshwar Temple Trek?
Naldeshwar Temple trek has to be done on foot, so one has to be happy about ascending 5 km of distance. To reach the foothill one has to reach Madhopur, which is only about the distance of 8 to 10 km drive from main Alwar city. Alwar is well connected by road and trains. The nearest airport is Jaipur. Though the temple is open throughout the year, the best time to visit is the monsoon season, when there are small rivulets flowing down the hillock and the weather is pleasant. The temple trek is a bit of off-track drive than most popular tourist spots in the Sariska National park region, it is one of those hidden gems that should be explored.