Sariska National Park (near Alwar) is situated in the state of Rajasthan in the backdrop of the Aravali Hills. This park, which is quite near to Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur, was declared a sanctuary in 1955. It came under the Project Tiger in 1979 and became a national park in 1982. The park boasts of a quite a few tigers and other interesting flora and fauna. There are also historical ruins and monuments within Sariska’s confines that are symbolic of its past.
Rajasthan is a pristine platform for viewing wildlife in the country because of its two national parks and over a dozen sanctuaries. Sariska National Park is known for its tigers. According to the latest available data, there are about 35 tigers at Sariska. Other predators of the forest include the panther, jungle cat, jackal, hyena, and fox. Also found are sambhar, chital, wild boar, hare, nilgai, civet, four-horned antelope, gaur (Indian bison) and porcupine. Birds found here include peafowl, gray partridges, quails, sand grouses, tree pies, white-breasted kingfishers, golden-backed woodpeckers, crested serpent eagles, vultures and horned owls. Since the last decade, caracals have also been spotted here. The landscape of Sariska comprises of hills and narrow valleys of the Aravali hill range. The topography of Sariska supports scrub-thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses. The broad range of wildlife here is a wonderful example of ecological adoption and tolerance, for the climate here is variable as well as erratic, especially in terms of rainfall, which is desperately needed to replenish the region.
Apart from wildlife, there is touch of historicity as well. Located inside the park are ruins of medieval temples of the Hindu God Shiva. The ruins of the temple Garh-Rajor, built in the 10th century, are scattered all over the jungle. A 17th-century castle on a sharp hilltop at Kanakwari provides an excellent view of Sariska’s avian inhabitants in full flight. It is in this fort that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb once imprisoned his very own brother, Dara Shikoh. There is also a palace built by the erstwhile Maharajas of Alwar that has now been converted into a hotel. The park’s wild inhabitants may be spotted at the many water holes of the park. However, if the region has kindled the wild spirit in you or if you are determined not to leave without some good wildlife photographs, then booking a `hide’ is an excellent option. These spots overlook the various water holes of Sariska, which the animals frequent.
Summers (April-June) have high temperatures around 38-40Â°C. The monsoon season is not marked by very heavy rainfall because of which the fall in temperature is not more than a few degrees. Even then, many people prefer to travel to Sariska, for, due to the heat, the wild animals are found hovering around the jungle’s water spots. Weather, however, becomes chilly in winters (October-March). A mere 107 km away from Sariska National Park is situated the pink city of Jaipur, founded by Maharaja Jai Singh. The town with its forts, palaces, and museums should not be missed. Other historical cities like Jodhpur (331 km) and Udaipur (405 km) are well approachable by rail and road from Jaipur. Sariska National Park is 200 km from Delhi and 107 km from Jaipur. Tourists conveniently drive down from both these urban centers. Buses that ply between Delhi and Jaipur also go via Alwar and Sariska. The nearest rail junction is Alwar at a distance of 35 km, from where you can hire a taxi or travel by bus to the park. The nearest national airport is Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.