Situated in a wooden valley, Sariska National Park is surrounded by barren mountains and is one of the major wildlife haunts that feature in every tourist’s wildlife itinerary.The Sariska Tiger Reserve is steeped in history. The Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, is said to have imprisoned his elder brother, Dara Shikoh, in the striking hilltop fort of Kankwadi. The ruins of a myriad Hindu and Jain temples built between the 8th and the 12th centuries are a testimony to the great architecture of the past. Pandupole, in the park's southeast, is associated with the Pandavas of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The popular temple of the god Hanuman is a favoured spot with monkeys.
The palace built by the late Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar between 1892 and 1902 is now largely converted into a luxury hotel. A keen shikari, the maharaja ensured the protection of his private hunting reserve with watch-towers to monitor the wildlife and waterholes to improve the habitat. A wildlife sanctuary was declared here in 1955 and a 273.80-sq kin area was upgraded to a national park in 1992. The north-west limit of the tiger's distribution, Sariska was included in Project Tiger in 1978-79. Sariska, which lies in the Aravali Range of arid north-east Rajasthan, has steep hills, low slopes and dry but dense forest covering its rugged landscape. In the dry months of summer and winter the forest looks brown and parched but is splashed with the vivid orange-red blooms of the flame of the forest tree in March-April. Troops of langurs relish their fleshy petals and birds feast on the nourishing nectar.
The forest intermingles with stretches of grassland where herbivores such as the Sambar (the largest Indian deer), the Spotted Deer or Chital, the Wild Boar and the Common Langur can be seen, usually with bands of peafowl. Nilgai (Blue Bull) and Chowsingha (Four-horned Antelope) are also common grazers, distinct from true antelopes in the structure of their horns, which are keeled in front and unringed. They are native only to India. Mistakenly classified with the cow family, the Blue Bull has largely escaped persecution. Rather like a horse in appearance, the male is much darker than the female.
The numerous waterholes get many animal visitors, especially in summer. Observation hides at Kalighati and Slopka, waterholes in the heart of the park, can be highly rewarding as there is movement all day long, the slightest sign of a predatory tiger or leopard setting off a flurry of activity. The tiger here is more crepuscular and nocturnal than in Ranthambore, 200 km to the south.
While Sariska and its wildlife have survived waves of ancient Invasions, increasing human Population and demands are now their greatest challenge.
MAMMALS Tiger, Leopard, jungle Cat, Striped Hyena, Wild Dog (Dhole),jackal, Patel, Sambar, Spotted Deer (Chital), Nilgai (Blue Bull), Chinkara (Indian Gazelle), Chowsingha (Four-horned Antelope), Common Langu
BIRDS RAPTORS Oriental Honey-buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Common Kestrel, Shikra, Dusky Eagle Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl (above
WOODLAND/SCRUB Grey Francolin, Indian Peafowl, Jungle Bush Quail (below), White-cared Bulbul, Rufous Treepie, Lesser Flameback, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Sirkeer Malkoha, Alexandrine Parakeet, Oriental Turtle Dove, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Painted Sandgrouse, Southern Grey Shrike, Rufous-fronted Prinia, Marshall's Iora, Large Grey Babbler, Purple Sunbird, Eurasian Thick-knee, Yellow-wattled Lapwing
WATERSIDE Stork-billed Kingfisher
Famous Resorts at Sariska Ghana National Park