Rajasthan through eyes of Lara
LARA | September 5th , 2017
Sariska Tiger Reserve
Looking through the camera lens with the finger on the click, capturing shots of the unscathed nature is a feeling that’s worth an experience. I always had this fascination to witness nature at its wildest best. And what can be bigger and grander than clicking tigers in their natural habitat? I was really excited for this trip to Sariska Tiger Reserve, and why not?! It promised to be an experience of a lifetime! With butterflies in my stomach and my life’s dream of clicking a tiger in my mind, me and my friends drove from Gurgaon to Sariska.
Here’s the route we took: Gurgaon - NH8 - Bhiwadi - Alwar - Sariska. The journey was a smooth drive as roads are wide and even except for a few short patches. It took us around 4 hours from Gurgaon to Sariska (including a short food break en route). Before, I share my travel experience to Sariska I would want to give my readers a peek-a- boo into the history of the place.
History Of Sariska
Sariska Tiger Reserve forms a part of the Alwar District of Rajasthan and is nestled amidst the picturesque Aravali hills. The Reserve is immensely rich in flora and fauna, and is famous for Royal Bengal Tiger. Sariska was declared wildlife sanctuary in year 1955 and became the Tiger reserve later in the year 1978, making it a part of India's Project Tiger. The Reserve has popular numerous valuable sites of geological and historical interest located inside its area. The Sanctuary houses ruined temples, forts, pavilions and a palace. Kankarwadi fort is located in the center of the Reserve and it is said that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had imprisoned his brother Dara Shikoh at this fort in struggle for succession to the throne. Although entry to this fort is not allowed but one can enjoy the view of this magnificent fort by relating to the glorious history it has. The Reserve also houses a famous temple of lord Hanuman at Pandupole related to Pandavas which you can only visit on Tuesdays and Saturdays with an entry fee of 250. The legend associates this temple to the time of great Pandavas . It is said that during exile the Pandavas roamed around in these forests. Here, is also the delightful Pandupol where a cascading spring emerges from hard and compact rocks.
While there are several options of accommodation in and around The Sariska National Park, we opted for Sariska Palace - A peaceful stay situated away from the hustle of the city but at times you might get to hear birds and animals too. Located just at the entrance of the Reserve, our hotel was a three star with spacious and clean rooms, and good food options.
Safari at Sariska
Safari takes places in two slots, morning and evening. And the timings of safari depend upon the season- winter or summer. We visited around January and booked a 6:30 AM 7.00 AM time slot as local people say that animal sightings are more frequent in the morning time. Our guide Niranjan Singh briefed us well about Sariska , its flora and fauna, also about the animals spotted here. The forests inside the Sariska are the dry deciduous type with Dhok being the dominant tree species covering about 90% of the area. The Tiger Reserve area sprawls an impressive 881 sq. km. and entails a vast tract of hills and valleys, with lovely springs cascading through them. On the fauna front, the Reserve has rich diversity of animals and birds consisting of the tiger, leopard, hyena, jungle cat, sambar, chital, nilgai, chausingha, jackal, wild boar, wild dog, langurs, peacocks, and rhesus monkeys. As we started our safari, we were lucky enough to find a big black panther perched on a tree. Our safari guide slowed down the vehicle at a little distance from the tree for us to click pictures. Besides the panther sighting, we came across Hyenas, wild cats, and sambar and chital deer. We also sighted water birds near lakes and water bodies inside the reserve. But, we were still hoping to see a tiger. And the jungles of Sariska didn’t disappoint us! We came across a bunch of tiger cubs enjoying a sunny day out! There’s immense natural beauty to explore and enjoy in and around Sariska. And if you are lucky enough then you’ll certainly catch a glimpse of a tiger!