Sariska, Alwar, Rajasthan
Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Sariska Tiger Reserve
An Introduction to Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary
Tigers, the fascinating example of the largest of the cat species is constantly on the decline since the last century due to human encroachment and incessant and mindless poaching. This vulnerable yet alluring species is a favourite for tourists. The urge to watch the mighty tigers prowling in the wilderness makes for attractive bait for adventurous tourist minds. Sariska is very well known as a tiger reserve and is very popular tourist destination visited by travellers from all across the globe. It is situated in the Alwar District of Rajasthan and enjoys a strategic location and easy approachability on account of its proximity to the metropolitans and national capital.
Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is a very popular tourist destination in Rajasthan, is mainly famous for its tiger reserve. It is a very exciting weekend getaway from Delhi for all adventure seekers and safari lovers. A good number of resorts and hotels of all categories are available in and around Sariska. It is located around 110 km from the bustling and colourful city of Jaipur, another major tourist destination for both foreigners and nationals.
Jungle feel, adventure, fun and excitement in Sariska
Sariska has varied topography that includes dry grasslands, deciduous forests, steep cliffs and rocky barren landscapes. The Aravalli Mountain ranges surround the park and are covered with thick forests providing safe haven to a large number of wild life species.
The most commonly spotted animals in the Sanctuary are leopards, abundance of spotted dear, foxes, jackals, hyenas, nilgais, langurs, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boar and a great variety of birds.
Sariska is not only about wildlife viewing. It also has other prominent places of interest and is also surrounded by places of historical interest, temples and monuments.
Some places of interest located nearby that draw curious visitors from across the globe are the haunted Bhangarh Fort, historically rich Ajaibgarh cosily tucked between Bhangarh and Pratapgarh and the activity and fun packed Pratapgarh and are also worth a visit.
Best time to visit the Sariska Tiger Reserve
The best time for tiger sighting in Sariska Tiger Reserve is the dry months in summers from May to June when tigers approach the water holes spread all over the sanctuary. Hiding places can be booked near the water holes for better sighting for the extra enthusiastic travellers, wildlife photographers, ornithologists and for naturalists who love to study animal behaviour in their natural surroundings.
Entering Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary
Jeep safaris are conducted every day morning and evening carrying tourist into the heart of the forests to feel the jungle in all its glory. Entry tickets are available at the counter. If you arrive a little early, say an hour earlier, in front of the ticket counter helps you cut the queue. The jeeps are accompanied by knowledgeable and trained guides. Getting a selected route or a particular guide is difficult because routes and guides are randomly allocated. Online pre-bookings can be done privately or through tour and travel operators from all across the globe.
Places to visit in and around Sariska
The Sariska National Park: Sariska is one of the premium Project Tiger Parks of India spread over an extensive area of around 850 sq. kilometre. Sariska was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958 after a continuous effort by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur. In 1979, it attained the status of a national park. Currently, this Tiger Reserve has around eighteen or more tigers.
Vinay Vilas Mahal: Vinay Vilas Mahal is situated at a walking distance from the Sariska Tiger Reserve. This City Place of Alwar, as it is alternately known, was built by Bhaktawar Singh as far back as in the 18th century. This palace exhibits a perfect blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Andheri gate, Jai Pol, Kishan Pol, Suraj Pol, Chand Pol and Laxman Pol, Jal Mahal, Salim Sagar, Suraj Kund and Nikumh Mahal are all architectural features that lie silent witnesses to the glorious past of this palace.
Bala Quila: An old fort, now in ruins, is built on the top of Aravalli Hills around 50 kilometres from Sariska Tiger Reserve via Alwar-Jaipur Road. This Fort has an astonishing 15 large towers and as many as 51 small towers all around it. The approach to the fort is a seven-kilometre long steep path trodden by only the adventurous at heart and physically fit. Alternatively, vehicles can be hired till the entrance of the historical Bala Quila.
Neelkantheshwar Temple, built in the 8th century offers splendid views from the top of the small plateau where it is perched scenically. It lies just 35 kilometres away from Sariska Tiger Reserve. The main shrine is dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Shiva. A little distance away from the main shrine is a Jain Temple built of orange-red sandstone.
Bhangarh Fort: Located around 55 kms form Sariska, situated out in the open countryside, this fort was founded by Madho Singh in 1631. The huge population of round 10,000 dwellings suddenly turned deserted around 300 years ago mysteriously. This infamous fort shrouded in mystery and steeped in gloom draws many an adventurous soul and curious visitor, but all in the day time. The riotous paranormal activities and gravely unfortunate occurrences consistently reported in and around this haunted fort have made entry to this fort ruins after sunset strictly forbidden by Indian.
Hanuman Temple: This is a Hindu Temple located inside the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The orange colour, painted Hanuman idol with silver parasols attracts offerings of incense. A one-kilometre walk from the small Hanuman temple deeper into the park leads to the Pandu pol, which is a wide natural arch. The rough trail leading to an ephemeral stream gushing across beneath the dark ravine walls combined with the steep and slippery climb to a deep green pool below the arch lend an unworldly charm to this place.
Kankwari Fort: This small jungle fort is situated deep into the Sariska Wildlife Reserve at a distance of about 22 kilometres from Sariska. This forest offers a splendid view of the forests all around and the quaint mud-brick huts of the villages near and far. This fort was the prison of Dara Shikoh, Aurangazeb’s brother whom their father Shah Jahan had chosen as his heir to the Mughal throne against the wishes of the mighty Aurangzeb. The inaccessibility of the place makes it a perfect hideout for imprisonment.
Where to Stay in Sariska Tiger Reserve
There are two resorts in Sariska that are close to the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary.
Gulmohar Sariska Resort is a nice stay in close proximity to the Tiger reserve and provides rooms of various categories to suit all budgets and offers a host of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the guests fully entertained. The lush green surrounding beauty, the naturally beautiful landscape, the titillating feel of the haunted Bhangarh and Ajaibgarh Forts create a perfect blend for adventure seeking hearts as well as the lovers of nature.
Hotel Tiger Den, an RTDC Resort scoring solely on account of its premium location. This resort is best suited for budget travellers with affordable and comfortable rooms and has very little to boast about.
Facilities provided by most hotels in and around Sariska are a mix of adventure and leisure activities. The most popular activities are jeep safari, jungle treks, bird watching, nature walks, puppet shows and cultural programs such as traditional Rajasthani dance and folk music, elephant rides, bonfire in the cold nights, camel and horse safaris and sightseeing tours to nearby villages.
What to Eat in Sariska
Sariska has a number of hotels and restaurants that serve traditional Indian cuisine, continental, Chinese, authentic Rajasthani dishes or a multi-cuisine spread to satiate all taste buds. The bars cater to national and international guests with a wide assortment of drinks spread. Experience the delectable Rajasthani dishes cooked in aromatic ghee. Try out the mouth-watering dal baati churma, the oily and spicy pyazz kachori and the typical Rajasthani gatte ki sabzi or papad ki sabzi. Those who are keen in enjoying non-vegetarian delights, dishes like laal maas, safed maas and banjari gosht are worth trying.