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Home to the tribals with Bhils constituting half of the total population, Banswara has its name derived from Bans or bamboo trees, which once grew here in abundance. Maharawal Jamal Singh founded the erstwhile state. With Udaipur and Chittaurgarh, forming its boundaries, the district presently comprises of the territories of former Banswara State and the Chieftainship of Kushalgarh. While the central and western portion of the district are fertile plains, the scattered ranges of the Aravali form the eastern region. The ancient town is surrounded by a stonewall, now in ruins. A palace of a former ruler of Banswara stands overlooking the town.

The teak forests are found on the slopes of the lush Aravalli hills. Mango, Khajur and Mahua trees are also a part of the vegetation of the district. Banswara has a rich wildlife including squirrels, lizards, snakes, chinkara, ronj and four horned antelope. Panthers can rarely be seen now. The avian variety includes the black drongo, grey shirke, green bee-eater, parrot, jungle crow, woodpecker and common myna. Grey jungle fowl and grey partridge are generally spotted in the remote parts of the forests.