Sariska wildlife sanctuary is a famous tiger reserve in India. Located at a distance of 200 km from Delhi, this sanctuary lies in the narrow area of Aravali range. The area was declared a sanctuary in 1955, came under The Project Tiger in 1979 and became a national park in 1982. Widely spread across an area of more than 765.80 sq. km, this sanctuary is widely acclaimed for its diverse flora and fauna. The area is covered by dry deciduous jungles that are interspersed with forests having trees of Dhak, Acacia, Ber, Salar, scrubland, rocks, grasses and water-bodies, which provide fruit, fodder and water for its birds, mammals and reptiles.
Famous for its fierce and majestic nocturnal tigers, Sariska also has varieties of Leopard, Panther, Indian Palm Civet, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Civet, Sambhar, Chinkara, four horned Antelope, Porcupine, Nilgai and Chital. The 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. The Kankwari Fort, ancient Shiva Temple and Palace are the prime attraction of the park.
Flora & Fauna in Sariska National Park :-
The easiest way to see animals is to drive along the road from Sariska to Pandupole. In the evening, as dusk creeps in, large herds of sambhar move down from the hills to drink. Though the Aravalli hills are not quite part of the Thar Desert, the dependence of wildlife on the few waterholes in the vast area helps bunch them up in a narrow valley through which the road runs. Besides the deer, there are a few antelope, of which the nilgai is the predominant species. Sariska is perhaps the only place in the country from where the sighting of albino nilgai has been reported. More rare, but occasionally seen are the chowsingha (four-horned antelope). This petite creature is the only antelope in the world which carries two separate sets of horns; and unlike the larger Nilgai, it is only found singly or in pairs.
Among the lesser cats found in the subcontinent, the lithe, graceful and handsome caracal is perhaps rarely ever seen. The few sightings in the wild have mostly been in Sariska, but to see one of these reddish brown cats, one has to be quite lucky. The caracal is agile beyond belief and is known to knock down several birds from a flock before they can take wing. The jungle cat on the other hand is fairly common and they often come to Kalighati to drink. They are, in fact, the most common of all wild cats and are different from the usual domestic cat only by their slightly longer legs. It lives off small animals and birds, but its numbers have been reduced by indiscriminate trapping for its grey-brown fur.
On an evening drive, one is almost certain of running into the Indian porcupine. The villain of many man-eating stories-their quills, once embedded in the flesh tend to travel into the wounded animal and many crippled tigers in the past were thought to have become man eaters after an encounter with a porcupine-this nocturnal inhabitant of the forest is actually a rodent. Along with the wild boar, they dig up large areas as they forage for food, and in turn play the role of the gardener by helping seeds germinate.
In addition, Sariska is excellent bird country. At the waterholes, peacocks are definite visitors. Flycatchers, drongos, lapwings, shrikes and treepies add colour to the beautiful landscape and, if one ever stops for a meal at Kalighati, babblers along with treepies boldly snatch food from people’s hands.
Summers (April-June) have high temperatures but the monsoon season is not marked by very heavy rainfall and due to this, the fall in temperature is not more than a few degrees. Even then, many people prefer to travel to Sariska in the summers, as, due to the heat, the wild animals are found hovering around the jungle’s watering holes. Weather, however, becomes chilly in winters (October-March). The best season to visit the park is from November to June.
June is the best month for game viewing. The park remains closed during the months of July and August and any visit to the park is limited to the daylight hours (dawn to dusk) to protect tigers from night poaching. Cotton clothing is apt for summers and woolens are required for winters.
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