Rajasthan is known as the “land of kings". It comprises most of the area of the large, inhospitable Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, which parallels the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with Pakistan to the west. Rajasthan is also bordered by Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north. Rajasthan covers 10.4% of India, an area of 342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi). Alwar District is a district in Rajasthan, The district covers 8,380 sq. km. It is bound on the north by Rewari district of Haryana, on the east by Bharatpur and Mewat district of Haryana, on the south by Dausa, and on the west by Jaipur districts. So today let us have a look at the Sariska National Park based in Rajasthan.
The Sariska National Park is a national park located in the Alwar district of the state of Rajasthan. The topography of Sariska supports scrub-thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses. This area was a hunting preserve of the erstwhile Alwar state and it was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. In 1978, it was given the status of a tiger reserve making it a part of India s Project Tiger scheme. The present area of the park is 866 km².
The dominant tree in the forests is dhok (Anogeissus pendula). Other trees include the salar (Boswellia serrata), kadaya (Sterculia urens), dhak (Butea monosperma), gol (Lannea coromandelica), ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) and khair (Acacia catechu). Bargad (Ficus benghalensis), arjun (Terminalia Arjuna), gugal (Commiphora wightii) or bamboo can also be met at some places. Shrubs are numerous, such as kair (Capparis decidua), adusta (Adhatoda vesica) and jhar ber (Ziziphus nummularia).
The best and the most attractive feature of the Sariska Tiger Reserve has always been its Bengal Tigers. This is the first ever Tiger Reserve in the world where the relocation of tigers has been done successfully, making it one of a kind. The best part of the relocation is that these tigers adapted the place very quickly which is resulting in the growth of their population. Apart from the Bengali Tiger, Sariska Tiger Reserve includes many wild-lives like leopard, jungle cat, caracal, striped hyena, golden jackal, chital, sambhar, nilgai, chinkara, four-horned antelope chousingha (extinct), wild boar, hare, hanuman langur, Rhesus monkeys, and plenty of bird species and reptiles. Birds include peafowl, grey partridge, bush quail, sand grouse, tree pie, golden-backed woodpecker, crested serpent eagle and the Great Indian Horned Owl.
In 2004, there were strong and persistent reports that no tigers were being sighted in Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. It was not only that tigers were not being seen but also and more alarmingly, there were no indirect evidence of the tigers presence (such as pugmarks, scratch marks on trees, etc.) that are being found. The Rajasthan Forest Department took the stand that "the tigers had temporarily migrated outside the reserve and would be back after the rains". The Project Tiger, now National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), backed this assumption. There were some 15 tigers earlier. In January 2005, journalist Jay Mazoomdaar broke the news that there were no tigers left in Sariska. Soon the Rajasthan Forest Department and the Project Tiger Directorate declared an "emergency tiger census" in Sariska and the Central Bureau of Investigation, India s premier intelligence agency, conducted a probe. After a two-month exercise, they finally declared that Sariska indeed did not have any tigers left. Three Tigers were re-introduced to Sariska Tiger Reserve. Slowly and steadily, the population of tigers grew. Recently, two tiger cubs with their tigress mother were spotted in the reserve bringing the total number of tigers to seven with five adults.
Pandupole is a tourist spot in the Sariska Tiger Reserve (Alwar district, Rajasthan), and it has an ancient mythical connotation attached to it. Pandupole was the ancient site where the strongest among the Pandavas, Bhima, vanquished the giant demon Hidimbb and in return for this victory earned the hand of his sister, Hidimba. It also has a cascading spring emerging from hard and compact rocks. Legend has it that the Pandava brother took refuge here during their exile. The main path takes to Pandupole, which is not only a beautiful spot picturesque 35-ft waterfall, is another attraction here and next to the fall is a charming little Hanuman temple. This area is abundant in langurs, peafowl, spurfowl, and ubiquitous tree pies. On the way to Pandupole, Karnakabas Lake, Brahmnath, Kalighati Chauki and Bhaironghati are also there.
Kankwadi or Kankwari is the site of Kankwadi fort and village, located in the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district. The fort was founded by Jai Singh II as a famine work. In the 17th century, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb briefly imprisoned his brother Dara Shikoh in the struggle for the succession of the Mughal throne.
Nilkanth temples were built by Bargujars. Neelkanth or Rajor Garh was the capital of Bargujars. Tal Briksh to the north is special by its warm water spring. Bhartrihari, not far from the Sariska village, is crowded by pilgrims. The ruler of Ujjain, Raja Bhartrihari meditated at this place. The area also has buildings associated with the kings of Alwar such as the Sariska Palace, which was used as a royal hunting lodge of Maharaja Jay Singh.
By Air: The nearest airport from Sariska National Park is at Jaipur at 110 kms distance
By Rail: The nearest railway station is at Alwar at a distance of 37-kms.
By Road: Sariska national park is well connected with Delhi and Jaipur by road and situated on Jaipur Alwar road.
Travellers can visit Sariska wildlife sanctuary throughout the year, still the best visiting time is during the months of October to June.
Therefore, this is in short about the Sariska National Park. DO visit it the next time you are in Picturesque Rajasthan.