Sariska Tiger Reserve
¤ A Hunting Reserve of
The 300 square miles of Sariska Tiger Reserve is one of the last
sizable remnants of the dry hilly country which once stretched across
the length of the Aravalli hills. This hunting preserve of the
Maharaja of Alwar was declared a sanctuary in 1955, and when Project
Tiger was born in 1979, Sariska Sanctuary was merged into it. Sariska
Tiger Reserve has been through immense pressure due to poaching,
mining activities in the area as mentioned above and also due to sheer
neglect by government authorities.
The forest vegetation has degraded, the wild life is vanishing and
the water sources are drying away. It was felt by many that the
richness of the forest was lost forever and it was declared a lost
battle. It was then that the villagers around the reserve who depended
on the same ecosystem that nurtured the wildlife took upon themselves
the task of reviving the forests.
¤ The Efforts Taken Up By Volunteer Organizations
A group called the Tarun Bharat Sangh was set up for this purpose.
The task was to be achieved through the wiser use of their local
resources. The activities by the organisation included health
education, tree plantations and the construction of traditional water
harvesting dams called johads. The efforts by the villages were well
received by the forest which started to recover. This regeneration of
a forest area with the help of local people has now become an example
of the rest of India to follow.
Tarun Bharat Sanghs address:
Rajasthan 301 022
¤ Flora & Fauna
Sariska Tiger Reserve forest is dry deciduous, represented by dhok
(Anogeissus pendula), khair (Acacia catechu), tendu (Diospyros
melanoxylon) and ber (Zizyphus maudrentiana). It remains lush green
during the monsoon period and dry in summer.
¤ Tiger Population In The Sariska Tiger Reserve
Today the tiger population in Sariska is around 25 (as per government
census of 1995). That's not much, but it's also not bad considering
the fact that tiger population is shrinking everywhere. The best time
to spot tigers is in summer, when they move to waterholes and there's
not much foliage to camouflage their stripes. In Sariska, these
waterholes have been constructed by the Forest Department quite near
the roads on which tourist vehicles ply. Animals have got so used to
prying human eyes that they sometimes completely ignore human presence
(not that their attention is desired!). Sometimes tigers can be
sighted even lounging around the roads.
¤ Other Wildlife Attractions
The other cats living in Sariska Tiger Reserve are panthers, jungle
cat, caracals (a reddish-brown wildcat with black tipped ears) and the
rusty spotted cat. Nilgai (large Indian antelope; blue bull), cheetal
(spotted deer), sambar (large Asiatic deer), wild boars, chinkara
(Indian gazelle), jackal, chowsingha (four-horned antelopes), ratel
(honey badgers) and porcupine are easily spotted. Hundreds of peafowl
congregate everyday by the waterhole called the Kalighati. The other
one is the Salupka waterhole, which is the clubhouse of nilgai.
Chowsinghas gather around the Pandu Pol Nallah. But, of course,
patience is the keyword.
Another attraction within Sariska Tiger Reserve is the crocodile
inhabited Siliserh Lake on the edge of this tiger reserve (see
Siliserh for more). Sariska is also famous for its population of
langur (any of the genus Presbytis) and rhesus monkeys. Talvriksh, a
grove of Arjun trees, is the hub of these monkeys and you can see
hundreds of them at a time. But don't irritate them, for then you'll
be inviting real trouble.
¤ Aerial Population In The Park
Sariska nationl park has a rich and colourful birdlife too. This
includes the grey partridge, quail, sandgrouse (a pigeon-like bird),
golden-backed woodpecker, Great Indian horned owl and white-breasted
kingfisher. Come evening, and they call out in unison, making a
terrible bedlam. The open dry deciduous forest of Sariska Tiger
Reserve with its rich population of wildlife is a marvel of ecological
adaptation and tolerance. The most favourable time to visit the park
is between November and March, but if you can take the heat be here in
April-May which is the best time to sight wild animals (in search of
¤ Visiting Hours
0700-1600 in winter (October to end of February); 0600-1700 during
the rest of the year.
Note : Jeeps are available on hire at the RTDC Hotel Tiger Den.
Night halt in the Sariska Tiger Reserve is allowed with prior
permission from the Field Director, Sariska Tiger Reserve.
¤ Temple Attraction At Pandu Pol
Theres a temple dedicated to Hanuman (the monkey god of Hindu
mythology) at Pandu Pol, located at about 20km from the main gate of
the reserve. In fact, its quite simple to reach here as the
metalled road ends at the temple. Archaeologically, it is an
interesting site, for theres a naturally formed gateway here
which has some kind of an association with the Pandavas (of the
Mahabharata fame). A cascading spring emerging from the hard limestone
rocks gives the place the most delightful look.