Sariska – Home to the Royal Bengal Tiger

Conserving the Tiger

Conserving-the-TigerThe royals of erstwhile India believed in honing their hunting skills by indulging in regular expeditions. The Maharaja of Alwar, in Rajasthan, maintained a naturally rich preserve in the Aravalli mountainous region. Apart from tigers the forests here were home to a number of animals and birds. By 1955, with the dissolution of the princely states and the formation of state and national governments, Sariska was declared a wildlife reserve. The governments worked hard at the protection of the animals and vegetation here.

Spread over 860 sq kilometres, Sariska started to became known for its majestic inmate – the Royal Bengal Tiger. Poaching was putting the tiger population at risk. In 1979, Sariska was declared a tiger reserve, and in 1982 it became a national park.

Each year thousands of tourists and wildlife enthusiasts arrive at Sariska, each with the intention to spot the tiger and many beautiful birds here. Some want to spend a rejuvenating time in the lap of nature. The Pandupol Hanuman Temple in the midst of the forest is also a pilgrimage site. The pilgrims are, however, a risk to themselves and to the wildlife of this region.

How to Get There

The Sariska National Park can be easily reached from both Delhi and Jaipur. The national capital is just about 200 kilometres away – an easy 4 hour drive on a good day. The roads are rather good and driving down is a smart option. If you prefer buses, most buses that ply between Delhi and Jaipur go through Alwar and will drop you near Sariska.

The nearest airport is in the capital of Rajasthan – Jaipur. The Sanganer Airport is just about 110 kilometres away. Alwar, the nearest town, is about 36 kilometres away and also is the nearest railway station. Many tourists prefer to take one of the many trains from Jaipur to Alwar and then travel to Sariska in hired tempos.

Sariska Tiger Reserve

Over half of the world’s remaining tiger population is found in India. The dwindling population of the Indian tiger and its loss of habitat caused an alarming concern about a couple of decades ago. The Indian government and animal welfare activists have taken every possible measure to protect this endangered but majestic creature. The establishment of the Sariska Tiger Reserve itself is one of the major efforts to rescue the species and to prohibit hunting/poaching. In 2003, there were 16 tigers in Sariska. The following year, however, it seemed that the last of the remaining tigers of the Sariska Tiger Reserve had been poached. No pugmarks or any of the telltale signs of a tiger’s existence were found. This was confirmed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In 2005, the Government of Rajasthan along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) conducted the first successful relocation and reintroduction of tigers to Sariska from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. A number of tigers and tigresses were subsequently moved to populate the reserve. By August 2014, it was estimated that there are about 2 tigers, 7 tigresses, and 4 cubs in Sariska.

Wildlife in Sariska

Apart from the presence of the tigers, Sariska National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna. There are a number of Nilgais (large Asian antelope), Sambar and Chital deer, and Chausingha (four-horned antelope) in the national park. There are a number of carnivores in the Sariska park. These include the leopard, hyena, and jackal. They hunt and feed on the wild boars, deer, antelopes, and langurs. Occasionally a tiger or another animal may hunt one of the hundreds of Rhesus monkeys that live in the park.

Sariska is also an ornithological paradise. It is also a bird sanctuary. Apart from the large number of resident avian population, hundreds of migratory birds make Sariska their home every winter. Some of the exotic birds you are likely to spot here include the crested serpent eagle, the great Indian horned owl, the oriental white-eye, the great white pelican, the oriental magpie, white-throated Kingfisher, and the blue breasted quail.

Visitor Information

Best Time to Visit

Like most other desert regions of the world, Rajasthan tends to experience extremely high temperatures in summer (going up to about 40°C and beyond and also become extremely cold during winters. Neither of these are suitable times to visit the Sariska National Park. Spring (February through March) is an excellent time to visit the national park. If you miss the spring tour, though, it is still possible to visit this national park and tiger reserve. Unlike all other tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries of the country, Sariska alone remains open during monsoons for two days in a week. Not only does it allow pilgrims to get to the Pandupol Hanuman temple located in the middle of the reserve, but also lets wildlife enthusiasts catch a glimpse of all the animals that gather around watering holes at this time.

Open –

1 October to 30 June – All days of the week

1 July to 30 September – Tuesdays and Saturdays (8.00 am to 3.00 pm)

The best chances of spotting a tiger or any other animal of the wild are early in the morning or late in the afternoons. Hiring a local guide to track down tigers may be a good idea. It is also important that visitors to the Sariska National Park bring a valid ID proof such as a passport or a driving licence.

Places to Stay

There are a number of hotels and B&B inns quite close to the Sariska National Park. The hotels at Alwar are better connected but the ones near Sariska are charming and comfortable.

  • Sariska Tiger Haven

It is a modern resort offering luxury tents, separate cottages and tents to make your outdoor experience complete.

Address: Amra ka baas, Thanaghazi, Alwar, Rajasthan 301001

Phone: 070231 01119

  • Sariska Palace Prime Heritage Hotel Resort

It is a huge palatial hotel that was built by the Maharaja of Alwar many decades ago. It has been restored with all modern amenities.

Address: Dist. Alwar, Near Sirska Wildlife Sanctuary, Sirska, Rajasthan 301001

Phone:011 4102 5770

  • Neemrana Fort Palace

The ultimate in luxury and royal living, the Neemrana Fort Palace is a wholesome experience. Live the life of the royals of Alwar and enjoy the legendary Rajasthani hospitality.

Address: 122nd Milestone, Delhi-Jaipur Highway, Alwar, Rajasthan 301705

Phone: 01494-246007/8