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Recommended not only as a tiger reserve, but also a paradise for bird watchers, the Sariska National Park is one of its kinds. Situated in Rajasthan and surrounded by the aged Aravallis this national park was established in 1958 and was brought under the ‘Save the Tiger’ project in 1979. Its envied location, gives the Park the advantage of boasting both a plateau and flat terrain and the mineral deposits in the area have long been a point of worry for conservationist who fear mining may rob the area of its biodiversity.
Used as hunting grounds by the Maharajas of Alwar the Park is not devoid of symbols and structures that bear their presence and mark. The Kankwari Fort and Sariska Palace are witness to the affinity that the Maharajas shared with this scenic landscape. Sariska is the only reserve that has successfully been able to relocate and reintroduce the tigers. It is also known for the dubious event, around 2004, when it was investigated that there were no tigers found in the Park. Due to poaching all the tigers of the national park had disappeared, leaving Sariska bereft of its main attraction. It was in 2005 that the Government of India and Rajasthan along with the help of the Wildlife Institute of India reintroduced tigers from the Ranthambhore National Park and also relocated some villages to ensure the end of poaching. The count of tigers in 2017 was 14, with 7 females, 2 males and the rest cubs.
How to reach
Located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, the Park is quite easily accessible. Rail – The nearest railway station is Alwar (35km), and almost all trains from Delhi and Jaipur make a stop here. Air – Jaipur is the closest airport at a distance of 108km. Road – The Park is well connected to Delhi, Alwar and Jaipur and lies on the old Delhi – Jaipur road.
What we see
It is best to visit the Park from October to May and though the heat can get to you during summer, the flip side is to be able to catch sight of animals around water bodies. Tigers are of course what people throng to ogle at; however, the jackal, leopard, chital, sambar, langur, nilgai, chausingha, caracal, stripped hyena, chinkara, wild boar and rhesus monkeys too make their presence felt. Sariska is also a mecca for bird lovers. The area is fluttered by both migratory and home birds and many believe that due to no other forest cover in the vicinity most birds throng for cover at Sariska. The grey patridge, peafowl, bush quail, golden backed woodpecker, treepie, serpent eagle, sandgrouse and many other birds are seen here. The wetlands inside the forest are home to crocodiles and attract a whole lot of birds too. The forest type is a dry deciduous and the dhok, bamboo, ber, khair, kattha and bargad trees are common in this area.
Things to do
Besides the safari rides within the forest, there are a few other interesting historical and natural attractions to take a closer look at. Kankwadi Fort – Built by Jay Singh II, this 16 th century structure is a worth visiting. Sariska Palace - The Palace was the resting home for the Maharajas who enjoyed hunting in the area. Pandupol Temple – One of the most popular religious site and visited by throngs of people, this temple is believed to be one of the places where the Pandavas retreated to. Neelkanth Temple – Located on a hill near the Park, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ruins of Bhangarh – Built for Madho Singh, the son of Bhagwant Das, the ruins of the city of Bhangarh are found on the edge of the reserve. Bhangarh holds the unique title of being one of the most haunted places in India. Siliserh Lake – Situated on the Alwar – Sariska road the Siliserh Lake is famous for the different kinds of birds that take shelter as well as for the crocodiles that laze around here. The lake area offers magnificent views and also motor and boat rides over the lake. The city of Alwar too has a lot of historical significance since it acted as the capital of the princely state of Alwar . It is definitely not a bad idea to check out some of the tourist attractions of Alwar once you are satisfied with the wildlife quest at Sariska.
1. Alwar Fort
2. Alwar City Palace
3. Bala Qila
4. The Palace Museum
5. Fateh Jung Gumbad
Day 1 – Arrive at Alwar and make your way to the Park by noon. Check into the hotel and enjoy your lunch. Meet with the group in the evening to discuss the schedule for the following days and retire to your room after dinner.
Day 2- We start out early in the safari to catch the animals on camera during their morning strolls. With packed breakfast we venture further into the forest zone to observe the beauty, animals and birds. After a fruitful venture into the Park we head out for lunch and continue our quest into the forest in the afternoon safari. Rest well after dinner to sleep over the day’s encounters and experiences.
Day 3 – We begin early today as well for our final lap into the forest. After lunch you can proceed to Alwar and spend some time in the town site seeing and interacting with the locals to shop and learnabout Rajasthani art and crafts. You may then proceed to your onward destination.
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