Sariska India Travel
¤ Scenic Location
Sariska is Alwar's own garden of paradise. Set in a wooded valley
surrounded by barren hills, it is one of the most picturesque Tiger
Reserves of Rajasthan. Sariska was declared a sanctuary in 1955,
though it became the more distinguished Tiger Reserve in 1979. Three
years later it became a National Park.
A Royal Hunting Reserve of Erstwhile Maharajas
As everywhere else, Sariska served as the hunting ground of the
maharajas before it was ordained to become a sanctuary. After all, it
was a part of Rajput gallantry to go on elaborate hunting sprees. But
Sariska Tiger Reserve is a cut above the rest; not only is it a resort
for thousands of birds and animals, there's also something for
architecture and archeology lovers as well. The ancient Kankwari Fort
and several temples make a visit to Sariska even more exciting. A
botanist, too, would be delighted to see the seasonal change in these
deciduous forests. The spring sees a profusion of blooms all over the
otherwise jagged hills, while summer makes it dry. Come monsoon, and
the greens flare up once again. Cold airs make it lifeless once again,
though there's warmth enough for migratory birds fleeing from sub-zero
35km from Alwar, 107km from Jaipur, 200km
Max 47 ºC, Min 24 ºC (summer), Max
31 ºC, Min 3 ºC (winter)
The Sariska Palace Hotel provides the perfect lodging in such
surroundings. Planted on the fringes of the reserve are tiny
settlements whose inhabitants live a life closest to nature. The
villagers still live with the daily threat of their cattle being
carried away by leopards. The other interesting spots within the
sanctuary are Pandu Pol, and the Temple of Bharathari. The area is of
much importance to archaeologists as well, as many rare pieces of
sculpture have been found from here.
¤ The Policies of Government
First the maharajas of Alwar killed them for sport. Then the Indian
Government gave it the designation of a Sanctuary, where killing
animals was a crime. So what would be the best way to show your might
over these speechless animals? Take away their resources. Simple.
exactly what has been happening in the Sariska National Park. In his
book, In Search of Wild India (1993), Charlie Pye-Smith has a lot to
reveal. The mineral-rich Sariska is one of the clearest examples of
the way in which industry and government have conspired to wreck a
Charlie says, "
as long ago as the 1960s the state
government was happy to give private companies licenses to mine the
stone. Mining within National Parks violates Rajasthan's Forest
Conservation Act, but this has been no concern to the state's mining
department, which now earns an estimated £1.1 million a year from
licensed workings. During the past six years more than 300 licenses
have been issued for mines within the park. Despite protests from the
Central Government, Rajasthan's Chief Ministers have always backed the
mining contractors, and indeed many of the mines are owned by
politicians. So far about one-fifth of the park, some 60 square miles,
has been destroyed or severely damaged by mining activity, which has
also had a drastic effect on the water table."
In 1991 the Supreme Court, responding to an appeal made by the local
NGO (Non Government Organisation) called Tarun Bharat Sangh, ordered
all mining activities in the Park to cease by the end of the year.
This order has not been abided by.