Located amidst the hills of Aravalli range in the state of Rajasthan in the Alwar district is India’s famous abode of tigers – the Sariska Tiger Reserve or the Sariska National Park. Covering an area of 800 sq km Sariska is an idyllic place for those wanting to enjoy nature in its full glory.
The forests of Sariska are full of dry deciduous trees, rocky terrains, steep slopes, and high grasslands. Apart from the rich wildlife the reserve also has ancient forts, structures, and temples. In olden times, Sariska National Park was a hunting ground for the royal families. It is now an enticing region for nature lovers and avid travellers.
Sariska became a wildlife reserve in 1955 and was included in India’s Project Tiger campaign in 1978. Sariska became a National Park in 1990.
What to experience in Sariska National Park?
Tigers are of course the main attraction of Sariska National Park. India’s national animal resides the dry terrain of the national park. Though in olden days, the region had many tigers, the tradition of hunting and then illegal poaching meant number of tigers dwindled. Around 2005, there were no tigers left in the reserve. But then the wildlife department relocated some tigers in 2008 from nearby Ranthambore forest that helped infuse again the presence of the wildcat in Sariska. As of October 2018, the count of tiger in Sariska is said to be 18.
The National Park has some water bodies like the Silserh Lake and Jai samand lake, where one can see crocodiles. There are leopards, sambhar, nilgai, monkeys, hyena, boars, antelopes in the forest. Sariska is also home to large number of peacocks and number of other wild birds.
Apart from the wide diversity of nature, Sariska National Park has some medieval forts and palaces to explore. There are ruins of 11th century temples of Garh-Rajor and a fort built in 17th century on a hilltop that can be visited. The hilltop fort has a magnificent panoramic view of the forest reserve. The Bhangarh Fort, famous for being most haunted place, is also near to the Sariska National Park.
Time to visit
Sariska National Park is open for visitors throughout the year, but the best time to visit the tiger reserve is from October to March, when it is not too hot in the desert state of Rajasthan. There are jungle safaris available, which can be pre-booked.
How to Reach & Where to Stay?
Sariska can be reached by air, rail or road. The nearest airport is 107 kms drive in Jaipur. There are state and private buses to Sariska from airport as well as Jaipur. The nearest railway station to Sariska is Alwar. One can also hire a private taxi as Sariska is well connected by road with major cities like Delhi and Jaipur. There are wildlife camps, resorts, and hotels near the forest reserve. There are also hotel options in Alwar, which is about 37 kms from Sariska.