Sariska Tiger Reserve is well nestled in the Aravali Hills covering 800 sq km area divided into the grasslands, dry deciduous forests, sheer cliffs and rocky landscape. Whether you want to have camel safaris, go out for shopping in the surrounding places, visit medieval palaces or wildlife watching; Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place for you.
Nearly 90% of the area in the sanctuary is covered with dhok trees accommodating various wildlife species. A variety of other wild animals like the leopard, sambhar, chital, nilgai, four-horned antelope, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur, hyena and jungle cats are found in the Sariska Tiger Reserve apart from the tiger. The Sariska National Park is home to India's largest population of peafowl, and harbours quail, sand grouse, golden- backed woodpeckers and crested serpent eagles, among other species. Also the Siliserh Lake on the edge of the park has a large number of crocodiles.
Sharp cliffs of hills and narrow valleys of the Aravallis dominate the landscape of Sariska, whose forests are dry and deciduous. The Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary houses the ruins of medieval temples of Garh-Rajor that date back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Also a 17th century castle on a hilltop at Kankwari provides a panoramic view of flying vultures and eagles. The Sariska was declared a sanctuary in 1955 and attained the status of a National Park in 1979.
Sariska park is home to numerous carnivores including Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, and Tiger. These feed on an abundance of prey species such as Sambar, Chitel, Nilgai, Chausingha, Wild Boar and Langur.
Tiger sightings have become quite rare these days in India, reason being the Tiger killings because of its multitude of medicinal or magical properties that is why tiger trade is very profitable. Genuinely the tiger skin is not fashionable but the smuggling of Tiger fur coats and rugs are not difficult for the impoverished hunters. Even after the bans made by the government warning not to gather even wood from the former hunting grounds, poaching of tigers continue.
Still efforts are continuously made to preserve these magnificent predators from extinction. The Project tiger was launched in India in 1972 as conservation programme for saving the Indian Tiger Population. Some of the best examples of this programmes success can be seen in the national parks situated in the high Himalayan region, to the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans and the thorny scrubs of Rajasthan. But more wildlife conservation laws and awareness among people is still required to make Indian sanctuaries a safe haven for tigers.
Sariska is probably one of the most visited parks in India. Unfortunately though, the main reason for this is not wildlife enthusiasm but only it's excellent proximity to some large towns like Delhi and Jaipur. The park was, as with many other parks, the hunting reserve of the royal family in the area. In this case, it was the Royal family of Alwar. The reserve was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958 and came under the "Project Tiger" as a tiger reserve in 1979.
Attractions of Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan
The park covers quite a large area of 800 square kilometers, 480 square kilometers of which form the core area of the national park. It is located among the Aravalli hill ranges in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. Due to the presence of monuments of religious importance located within the park boundaries, the park authorities are compelled to keep the park open throughout the year. Unfortunately, the only restrictions they are able to impose during this "off-season" period are those on entry into the jungle routes. The main road is kept open all year round. The season during which the jungles can be properly explored is from November to June. The summer months are better for animal viewing but are extremely hot with temperatures going up to as high as 49 degrees centigrade. In the winter months, the temperature touches a low of 4 degrees. The Sariska Tiger Reserve is home to a number of carnivores including Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, and Tiger. The herbivore category in Sariska includes Sambhar, Chitel, Nilgai, Chausingha, Wild Boar and Langur. Sariska wildlife sanctuary is also known for its large population of Rhesus Monkeys.
An unusual feature that you will come across in and outside the park here are speed breakers for vehicles. The breakers located after very short intervals within the park are necessary due to the heavy flow of traffic to and from the temple located inside. The visitors and their drivers here may or may not be nature conscious. Therefore based on previous incidents and to be on the safer side, the park authorities had no option but to do something to slow down the speeding vehicles. They may be very irritating but if you're a wildlife lover, you will understand their importance. To avoid flying over the first few, a tip is to look out for a small pile of white stones on either side of the road as markers. On the main highway outside the park too, a few speed breakers have been made in strategic places due to the spilling out of wildlife into the area during the darker hours of the day.
As with most areas in the state of Rajasthan, Sariska too is surrounded by numerous barren hills with forts located atop them. One of these majestic forts, called the Kankwadi
The park consists of many undulating hills of all sizes. These hills get higher and the cliffs get sheerer as you progress further into the park. There aren't many prominent water bodies present within the park. There is a small lake to the left of the main road only a small distance from the entrance. This lake too dries up to a large extent in the hot summer months. The park authorities have made some waterholes to try and compensate for this lack of water. One of these is located just to the right of the main road, past a place called Kalighati. There is some excellent grassland with water channels criss-crossing all over them. The forest cover is mostly of the dry deciduous type with Dhok, Khair, Tendu, Ber, Surwal and Goria making up a majority of the vegetation. The park bears a completely different look in the summer months and in the months post-monsoon. It appears extremely dry in the summers and becomes so dense and lush green after the monsoons that it is difficult to see beyond a few feet off the track. The forest cover has greatly depleted over the past decade or so and the jungle that extended right up to the main highway outside, now can only sometimes barely be seen from there. Yet, going by the surrounding areas of the park, it still truly appears like an oasis in the dessert.
The park also has another attraction, which very few people know about or have noticed. Around 6 km from Kalighati, when heading into the park, the road gives an impression of sloping down ahead of you. If you shift your vehicle into neutral gear and let it roll, it soon comes to a halt and then starts rolling back in the direction it came from. What appears to be an uphill incline! Try it out, it's good fun but don't let it shift your focus from the surrounding wildlife for too long. The avian population in the park is also very healthy. During late summer and in the monsoon months, it is possible to see large numbers of peacocks with their tail feathers fanned out and doing their famous shimmering "dance". Some of the bird species visible in the park are Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl, Spur Fowls, White Breasted Kingfishers, Golden Backed Woodpeckers, Great Indian Horned Owls, Quails, Partridges, Sangrouse, Tree Pies, Crested Serpent Eagles, Parakeets, Drongos, Sunbirds and Vultures. Special Spots: Other than enjoying the wonders of nature visible all across the reserve, some of the spots worth mentioning are:
This is an area named after the neighbouring village. It is located a little beyond the checkpoint you will come across inside the park. This area is famous for the maximum tiger and panther sightings in the park. It is also one of the more picturesque areas. It is worth slowing down, or even stopping for a while, to enjoy the abundant wildlife in the area. The chances of sighting a tiger from the jungle track in this area are the best in the park.
For the religious minded, a visit to this temple is a must. For those that are not so religious minded, it is still an area worth visiting at least once. The sight of the huge gaping orifice cut through an entire hillside by a waterfall is an awe-inspiring sight. It is worth climbing all those steps to the top of the waterfall. The stream running alongside the road for the last bit of the journey there is also very refreshing to the eyes and soothing to the mind. Surprisingly, not many animals are seen at this stream. The Langurs and macaques in the area seem to realize that the temple belongs to the monkey God, Hanuman, and behave like they rule the area. Many bird species can also be spotted here.
Hides for Wildlife Viewing
A couple of excellent hides have been constructed in strategic places like over waterholes for wildlife viewing. One of them is at Kalighati and the other at Salopka. If patience and staying extremely quiet is one of your virtues, then spending a couple of hours at one of these hides is sometimes very rewarding. Try and be there as early or as late as possible at the time when the birds and animals are at their most active.
Grassland beyond Kalighati
While heading into the park, there is grassland on the right a short drive past the concrete hide built by the roadside. This grassland is interspersed by many tree also and due to it's cool surroundings and abundant supply of grass, large herds of deer, wild boar and other animals can be seen grazing here. It is also an ideal spot to cool off a bit if you are visiting the park in the summer months.
Birds in Sariska National Park near Alwar in Rajasthan, India
The Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India offers natural nesting grounds to different species of birds.
Apart from the permanent residents the Sariska National Park plays host to a number of migratory birds annually.
Among the commonly sighted birds at the Sariska National Park are birds like the Oriental White-eye, Small Buttonquail, Black Ibis, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Spoonbill, Barn Owl, Common Hoopoe, Jungle Babbler, Tawny-bellied Babbler, Inornate Warbler, Common Tailorbird, Greenish Warbler, Asian Pied Starling, Common Myna, Brahminy Starling, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Mottled Wood Owl, Temminck's Stint, Spotted Owlet, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Collared Scops Owl, Common Coot, Painted Spurfowl, Jungle Bush Quail, Blue-breasted Quail, Great White Pelican, Baya Weaver, Red Avadavat, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Red-throated Flycatcher, Oriental Magpie, Coppersmith Barbet, Brown-headed Gull, Long-tailed Shrike, Dusky Crag Martin, White-throated Kingfisher, Wire-tailed Swallow, Grey-necked Bunting, Asian Koel, Sirkeer Malkoha, Common Rosefinch, Small Minivet, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Pied Cuckoo, Red Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Rufous Treepie, Jungle Prinia, Ashy Prinia, Asian Openbill, Kentish Plover, Pied Avocet, Northern Lapwing, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Spotted Creeper, Small Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, Tufted Duck, White-rumped Vulture, Pariah Kite, Griffon Vulture, Shikra, Eurasian Sparrow hawk, Singing Bushlark, Darter, House Swift and other birds.
Most of the above mentioned birds are residents at the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan and the rest of them are winter migrants and introduced residents.
Hire a bicycle or walk on foot along the nature trails at the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan and experience an indescribable thrill as you spot and identify birds that are the life of the Sariska forests.
Vegetation in Sariska National Park of Rajasthan in India
Set on rolling hills covered with dry deciduous forests the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India offers the right habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, birds and reptiles.
Ninety percent of the dry deciduous vegetation at the Sariska National Park consists of Dhok trees and the rest of the area is generously covered with trees like Goria, Tendu, Ber, Surwal and Khair.
Besides these the vegetation at the Sariska National Park consists of scrub forests and thorn thickets.
The vegetation at the Sariska National Park, Rajasthan, India offers the right habitat for the animals that make this place their home. Though the vegetation is not very dense here you are unlikely to spot tigers in the daytime as the tigers at Sariska are nocturnal creatures.
Jeep Safari in Sariska National Park near Alwar in Rajasthan, India
The best way to explore the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is by jeep which can be arranged at the Forest Reception Office on Jaipur Road. You can even book a `hide' overlooking one of the water holes, and also provides an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing and wildlife photography within the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary.
Other Attractions in Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
The wildlife sanctuary, a heritage of the Maharaja of Alwar, is located in the Alwar district. Apart from animals and birds, the other attractions of the sanctuary include a number of pavilions and temples. Also famous, is the Kankwadi Fort near the sanctuary.
The Kankwari Fort near Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan
Among the historic landmarks located within the Sariska national park, includes the Kankwari Fort. The Kankwari Fort, is located within the park's boundaries. This fort was used by the famous Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, to confine his brother, Dara Shikoh, whom he later had executed to gain control of Hindustan. A trip to this fort is a must at least once. The villages in the amazingly vast surrounding grasslands appear to be lost in the past eras. From the fort they look much like drawings from an Asterix comic book. The overall view from the fort is so vast that it would probably take ten frames with a wide-angle lens to cover it entirely. Although it is quite far from the core area of the park, it is possible to come across wildlife like Blue Bull and Sambar at the fort. The extremely lucky soul might even get to see a tiger. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from the gate if you go easy and enjoy the surroundings enroute. It is advisable not to try the trip unless you're in a 4 Wheel Drive, especially in the monsoon months, even though it can be done in an ordinary car. The route to the fort is to turn right at the checkpoint located inside the park. After a fifteen minutes drive, you will come to a hill road branching off to the right. This road leads straight to the fort. You'll know you've taken the correct route if you pass through a magnificent fort gate just some 500 yards from the main road.
Ancient Shiva Temples near Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan
These ancient ruins are located 32km from the main entrance. These archeological wonders date back to between the 6th and the 13th century. One of these ruins is still a functional temple devoted to the worship of the Lord Shiva. These ruins are a protected area and photography here is prohibited. Some of the trees surrounding these ruins are quite a spectacle worth noting in themselves. What remains of a couple of them are just the parasites that had lived on them, still maintaining the tree's original shape and structure.
The Sariska Palace near Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan
A marvellous palace was built here by Maharaja Jai Singh in the honour of the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to the sancturary. Presently it has been converted into a hotel- Sariska Palace. Hotel Sariska Palace was constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar, located in Rajasthan, India, with an aim to serve as an ideal getaway to the wilderness of the forest lying nearby and also as a retreat for the nobles and the travelers to rest with the sonorous ditties of the folk singers and dancers in the evening. This imposing palace served as a hunting lodge for the maharajas for the years to come. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel with all the modern amenities like swimming pool, lawn tennis, table tennis, huge lawns to play cricket, football etc. Sariska Palace boasts of 85 rooms and suites, all airconditioned and divided into various blocks like Queens Corner, Lord's Corner etc. Based in a total of 100 acres its facade and lush green lawns even in the middle of Rajasthan are a treat to watch. Sariska Palace retains all it's regal charm and ambience to remind one of the times of Maharajas and the Raj. The Sariska Palace is right next to the Sariska Wild Life Sanctuary. Apart from these delights, Sariska Palace hotel also summons the tourists to nature walks and Sariska Wildlife tours in the nearby Sariska Wildlife sanctuary via jeep safaris or horse safaris for the more daring ones. Sariska can be easily reached within 4 hours form Delhi and 3 hours form Gurgaon.
Location and Transport of Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan
The Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is situated along the Delhi-Alwar-Jaipur Highway about 37 Km from Alwar in Rajasthan. Sariska is well connected with Alwar by road, which is also the nearest railhead. The nearest airport is that of Jaipur. Situated approximately 200 km from Delhi and 107 km from Jaipur, the Sariska National Park of Rajasthan has a landscape similar to that of Ranthambore. Housing the National Animal of India, Tiger, the Sariska Tiger Reserve of India spreads over an area of 800 km, the core area being 500 km. After being declared a sanctuary in 1955, it was later converted into a National Park, in 1979. Although Sariska remains open almost throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from October to April
Sariska is well connected with the surrounding towns and it is not difficult to access. Yet, it is advisable to take your own vehicle or hire a vehicle for the entire trip.
Sariska By Air :
Jaipur is the nearest airport from Sariska at a distance 107-kms.
Sariska By Rail :
The nearest railway station is at Alwar (37-kms).
Sariska By Road :
Sariska wildlife sanctuary is situated off the Delhi-Alwar-Jaipur Road. Jaipur is located at a distance of 107-kms and Delhi at 200-kms from Sariska. Sariska is well connected with Alwar, which is further directly connected with bus services from Delhi and Jaipur.
Climate of the Sariska National Park near Alwar in Rajasthan
The climate of Rajasthan Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is quite inconsistent and unpredictable. Northern Aravalli hills, with their sharp cliffs and long narrow valleys, dominate the topography of Sariska. Scrub-thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses are some of the other features of the geography of the park. There are a number of water holes throughout the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, serving the needs of its inhabitants.
As such, the Sariska Tiger Reserve can be visited throughout the year; still the best time to have Sariska tour is from October - June and January - February. Certain jungle tracks are closed during the monsoon and the breeding season just to safeguard the animals and the reserve. If you can tolerate heat, April to June is ideal to catch-hold of the animals at the waterholes.
Facts of the Sariska National Park near Alwar in Rajasthan
There are a few things that you must keep in mind as you go on wildlife tours to the Sariska wildlife sanctuary such as remember to carry a rucksack with mosquito repellent creams, mats and coils. A first-aid kit replete with antiseptics, cotton swabs, band aids etc. sunscreen lotions and sunglasses and snack foods should also be a part of your wildlife trekking paraphernalia. A special permission is required from the Forest Department to enter the National Reserve which can be obtained right at the Park on payment of minimal fees mentioned below.
Entry fee : Per head Rs.25/- Rs.5/-
Still camera: Rs.10/- Rs.2/- 8 mm
Movie camera: Rs.50/- Rs.50/- 16 mm
Movie Camera: Rs.100/- Rs.100/-
Vehicle Entry Fee: Bus Rs.100/-; Mini Bus Rs.50/-;Diesel Jeep Rs.100/-; Petrol Jeep or Car Rs.75/-. Jeeps are available on hire at the RTDC Hotel Tiger Den.
Charges: Rs.400/- Per Jeep (upto 5 persons), extra person-Rs.50/- per head.
Night halt in the sanctuary is allowed only after obtaining prior permissison from the Field Director,Sariska Tiger Reserve(In special cases only).
A recent wildlife census at the Sariska National Park revealed that there are about 25 tigers at this national park in Rajasthan, India.
The perfect way to go on wildlife tours in the Sariska Wildlife National Park is by arranging for a Jeep safari.
Wildlife gazing at the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is comparatively easy as most of the animals gather near the water holes due to lack of water during the summer months.