Sariska tiger reserve is a national park situated in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Sariska was declared wild life reserve in 1955. It was declared tiger reserve in 1978, hence making it a part of India’s Project tiger scheme. Alwar is situated about 200 kilometers away from national capital Delhi.
When we planned for Sariska, I was very excited because I was visiting any national park for the first time, at the same time I was a bit scared to, because of the incidents of tiger attacks which I have heard in the past. As a precautionary step, I decided to watch some videos on u-tube , but it more of scared me rather than teaching me. But the traveller inside me was more excited.
We visited Sariska in early December. We drove through Delhi to Alwar. Thanks to the “here drive “ application on my phone, which not only helped us in reaching Alwar, but also helped us finding way to Sariska. Sariska is situated about 50-60 Kms away from main city Alwar. After taking a night’s halt at Alwar, we reached Sariska early morning. There are good chances of spotting tigers and other animals early morning, as they come out to drink water at that time. Though a bit scared, we didn’t want to miss any chances of spotting the most fierce animal in his natural habitat.
From main gate, a Jipsy was to take us inside the national park. The national park is spread in an area of 866 square kms. We had already booked our safari through Rajasthan tourism website. After some formalities, we got out Jipsy with a driver and a guide. When I saw the Jipsy my fear increased, as it was an open Jipsy with no grills. Although the driver was old and looked experienced, our guide was a very young boy, who looked like “just out from school”. They were not even carrying any weapon or rod with them, so I finally asked them, what if a tiger attacks. On which they replied they do not attack, but I was not satisfied and I kept asking different questions. When I asked if there are any chances of spotting tiger, our driver replied, if you are lucky enough you can spot them. He also told that in yesterday’s safari, a tigress and her cubs were walking just next to his Jipsy.
After some time we started spotting various animals. Temperature was pretty low inside the national park as compared to outside, infact it was chilling inside. We spotted animals like chital, sambar, four-horned antelope, nilgai, hyena and various varieties of birds. But we were yet to spot a tiger.
Our driver took us through various tracks. He told that when there is a sudden anxious noises from animals , there are good chances of Tiger or leopard being there. He followed such noises. He also followed the traces of tigers, he showed us some fresh traces of tiger, he had developed that experience through years. So we followed the traces.
Suddenly we heard some commotions, we drove towards the place. Our driver stopped the Jipsy there as he was sure the commotion is due to presence of some hunting animal. We looked around, but we couldn’t see anything, after stopping there for some time when we were about the move, there we spotted him, camouflaging behind the trees, towards the elevations, unsuccessful of his attempt to hunt and conscious by our presence, we was staring us from behind the tree. A leopard in his natural habitat. We were thrilled to see him. He was quick to move away as soon as he realized that he has been spotted.
After that we spotted some more animals , and moved towards the old Hanuman mandir.
While going towards the temple, our eye felt on a stream, there we spotted anther leopard, camouflaging on the rocks. He was so mingled with the environment that it was difficult to spot him, unless conscious by our presence he suddenly run away. We stopped our Jipsy at the road, wondering where has he disappeared so quickly. Then suddenly we saw him staring at us from other side of the road, we wondered how and when did he crossed the road, he gave us some good poses, but at the same time we were also scared, what if he jumps on us irked by us bothering him, but finally he disappeared behind the rocks and we moved towards the temple.
Unfortunately we couldn’t spot any tiger, except for some traces and marks. I was amazed by the forest rangers and guards, who stay in that huge forest and between wild animals. They take care of those animals, feed and treat them sometimes. Our safari was 4-5 hours. It was really great to witness wild animals in their natural beings.
Though we could not explore the city much, but we decided to visit the local market. Alwar is famous for its bangle market, and it is not famous for no reasons. There are tremendous varieties of vibrant and colorful bangles , which will definitely lure you in buying them. And also do not forget to taste the milk cake of Alwar, you will forget your calorie counts.