Established in 1966, Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is located in Churu district of North-western Rajasthan in Shekhawati area. It derives its name from Chhapar village. The word ‘tal’ means plain land. Located in the fringe of the Thar desert, it is the refuge for unique antelope found in India, ‘the blackbuck.’ As its name suggests, the sanctuary is a flat tract interspersed with shallow low-lying areas. It is covered with grassland dotted by Acacia and Prosopis trees.
The region is subjected to wind erosion. Some exposed hillocks and exposed rocks of slate and quartzite are found at the western side of the sanctuary.
The vegetation falls under the category of tropical forest. Tal Chhapar sanctuary is notable for a unique grass known as Mothiya locally. The word “Mothiya” is derived from the word “Moti” meaning pearl. Mothiya has a very sweet taste. It serves as a food for blackbucks and birds.
Though small in area, it has a rich biodiversity. Mammals found here include blackbuck, jungle cat, chinkara and desert cat. The sanctuary is located on the passageway of migratory birds. Birds found here include harriers, eastern imperial eagle, tawny eagle, short-toed eagle, sparrow, and little green bee-eaters, black ibis, demoiselle cranes, Skylarks, crested larks, ring doves, and brown doves. The place is a breeding ground for blue- checked bee eaters and green bee-eaters.
When to go
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to February.
The sanctuary was a hunting ground and horse pasture of erstwhile Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner.