A Complex mix of HISTORY, WILDLIFE, MYTHOLOGY... that's what SARISKA is.
The Sariska is located in Alwar district of Rajasthan. and can be considered a central point for visiting various attractions within its vicinity. Located close to Sariska are three old settlements Bhangarh Fort, Ajaibgarh and Pratapgarh. The Sariska terrain has taken roots in this semi arid deserts of Rajasthan and supports scrub-thorn arid and dry deciduous forests that are full of rocks and grass patches intertwined with some thick foliage. The wildlife present in the area is diverse and is a perfect example of adaptability and symbiosis between nature and animals. The climate, as in any desert, is dry and varies towards the extremes.
The place is also famous for old temples and palaces around the sariska. The temples and chhattris and even the rare waterfall offer an exquisite view. However, the ruins of many of these monuments only serve as a reminder of how glorious the history of this land has been.
Sariska provides an opportunity to view tiger, langur, nilgai and various many bird species. However, apart from the wildlife and forest Sariska is surrounded by numerous places of historical interest, interspersed with temples and monuments.
Enjoy the famous Sariska Tiger reserve in these forests, once a part of the ancient 'Matsya' kingdom, are also supposed to have sheltered the exiled Pandavas. It is believed that Bhima, smote the rock face of a cliff with his cudgel at Pandu Pol and made a passage through a gorge in the sanctuary. The sight of the huge gaping orifice with a picturesque spring emerging from the rocks, is an awe-inspiring sight.
While in Sanctuary, trek on the numerous rugged hills and explore the ruined palaces located atop them. The mornings and evenings are the busiest periods in a day and the same holds true even in the forests. The Jungle Safari organized for groups from the guest house or from the entrance is a thrilling ride full of amusement and trepidation throughout. It's the dawn and dusk period when the wildlife ventures out of compulsion towards one of the many water holes scattered around the Park. The Game is not the correct word to describe these extremely beautiful creatures that roam fearlessly in their own domain thus providing the tourists the best chances of an awe inspiring spectacle.
Sariska National Park:
Sariska Tiger Reserve is an area of 800 sq. kms.
Sariska was declared a sanctuary in 1955 and it became a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1979.
Sariska, with its awe inspiring craggy canyons and the tropical dry deciduous scrub jungles and limited water supply, was the western limits of the distribution of the tiger in India. Tigers could be seen in the area even during the day time till 2002 or so. But unfortunately, due to poaching and many other reasons Tigers have disappeared from Sariska. The State Government started an all out effort to re-introduce Tiger in Sariska under the technical supervision of the Wildlife Institute of India and has sent the detailed proposals, to Government Of India, for Re-introduction of Tigers in Sariska.
Finally Sariska got a Tiger Couple in July 2008.
Sariska is a special Tiger Reserve also because the natural history of the ecosystem combines with the rich history of the country. The ruins of Shiv temples and a few Jain temples that exist in the archaeological complex of Garh Rajore, belong to a period between 8th and 10th century. The abandoned fort of Kankwari tells of the grim story of the Moghul Empire , where Prince Darah Shikoh was kept in prison for years by his younger brother Aurangzeb. Pandupole, with a legend of Pandava period, Narainimata temple and Bharthari temple are the centres of attraction for thousands of pilgrims.
The terrain of Sariska is hilly with numerous valleys, both wide and narrow, and expansive undulating plateaus. The characteristic features of the Aravalli range - sharp hog -black ridges - are conspicuous in the Reserve. Most of the high ridges are composed of quartzite conglomerates and grits.
The forests are of a typical dry deciduous type with Dhok as the dominant tree species of gentle to moderate slopes constituting over 90% of the tree canopy. The ridges support Salar on steep dry slopes. Khair and Cheela occur in vally beds. Bamboo grows to a limited extent along moist and cooler parts. Aam, Jamun, Arjun and Bahera, which grow in moist depression and on nallah banks attain large sizes. The ground cover is mainly Ber, and Adusa. Zizyphus and Grewia are good fodder species. The dried and fallen leaves of Dhok help the herbivores to tide over the fodder scarcity during summer months. The forests become lush green in the monsoon months and completely dry in the summer months.
Sariska is very rich in wild animals. Panther, Hyena, Jackal and Jungle cat are the carnivores of the forest. Caracal and Wild dog are seen very rarely. Among the prey population are the Sambhar, Chital, Nilgai, Wild boar, Hare and Porcupine etc.
Sariska is unique in animal distribution. The wild animals here seem to have decided their area -limits. Slopka is best for observing the Sambhar, Kundli for Chitals and Tarunda & Kalighati for Nilgai. Four -horned antelopes or chausingha can be seen in the Pondupole Nallah. Chausingha is exclusively Indian and is the only buck on earth with four horns.
Sariska is also famous for its population of common Langurs and the Rhesus monkeys. Talviksh is where the main population of Rhesus exists and one can see hundreds of them at a time. Langurs can be seen in large numbers at Pandupole, slopka and Kalighati as well.
In sariska, observing Wildlife at the water holes is quite fascinating during the hot days of April, May and June. Water requirements increase and Wildlife activities get restricted to the water holes,specially around Kalighati and Slopaka. Sambars, Chitals, Nilgais, Chausinghas, Jackals, Wild boars, Langurs etc. visit water holes throughout the day. The predators appear around dusk or during the silence of the night.
For the ornithologists and birding enthusiasts, the natural surroundings of Sariska draw the migratory birds from Siberia and China. It is quite a mingling of horned owl, tree pie, grey partridge, woodpecker, peafowl, crested serpent eagle, bush quail, sand grouse. Probably, Sariska is the richest Tiger Reserve as far as avifauna is concerned. More than 225 species of birds can be seen here. The populations of Peafowl, Grey partridges and Bush quail are conspicuous. Other commonly seen birds are Parakeets, Red spurfowl, Doves Green pigeon, Flycatchers, Bee-eaters, Shrikes, Woodpeckers Vultures and Nightjars etc.
Trees Checklist of Sariska:
Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) is the dominanat tree species covering over 90 per cent area of the forest. Boswellia serreta and Lannea cormandalica grow at rocky patches. Kattha (Acacia catechu) and Bamboo are common in the valleys. Some valleys support Palas (Butea monosperma) and Ber (Zizyphus spp.). Besides these, some noteworthy tree species are Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), gugul (Commiphora wightii), Kadaya (Sterculia urens), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bahera (Terminalia belerica).