Located 107 km from Jaipur and 200 km from Delhi, Sariska nestles in a picturesque valley of the Aravalli hills, covering 498 sq. km During the spring, the hills are suffused with color as scarlet 'flame of the forest' and other flowering trees blossom in rich abundance. The park is parched and brown in summer but the onset of the monsoons bathe the forest in a radiance of green. Bamboos etch a filigree against the sky and along the streams and water holes, the Jamun and Arjun trees raise their defiant canopy.
This hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Alwar was totally protected for their elaborate shoots. The Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary was established here in 1955 and taken over under Project Tiger in 1979. The best way to visit the park is by jeep, which can be arranged by the Forest Reception Office in the city. Here you can spot a tiger or see the dancing peacock wooing his female.
The dry deciduous and thorn forests support an increasing population of sambhar, nilgai, chausingha and cheetal. Predators include leopard, hyena, jungle cat, and jackal apart from tiger. The area is also rich in avifauna including shrike, parakeet, gray partridge, golden backed woodpecker, peafowl, crested serpent eagle, babblers and owls.
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People & Culture
The typical Sariska beat takes one to Pandupol. As legend goes, the Pandava brothers found the dense forest of the area a good place to hide in the 13th year of their exile. Bhangarh (45 km)
On the outskirts of the sanctuary are the rarely visited breathtaking ruins of Bhangarh. In 1631, an extensive city was established here by Madho Singh, younger brother of Akbar's famous general Man Singh. Especially noteworthy are Bhangarh's two temples - ornately carved in stone and marble with floral fringes, decorated walls, ceilings and pillars.
Kankwari (20 km) & Neelkanth (35 km)
Another rewarding excursion is to Kankwari and Neelkanth. Kankwari is a picturesque fortress overlooking a lake, surrounded by forest-covered hills on all sides. It is believed that Dara Shikoh, heir to the Mughal throne was held captive here. Neelkanth is a fortified temple town which thrived seven centuries ago. The sculptured temples here have been compared to that of Khajuraho testifying to a variety of religious cults - Hindu, Buddhist and Jain.
Bhartrihari Temple (6km)There is a cenotaph of King Bhartrihari, who renounced the world 21 centuries ago and wandered these parts in penance. In the months of September/October, there is a fair held here and also an epic musical drama lasting six hours.
Accommodation & Places to Eat:
The Hotel Sariska Palace, at the entrance of the park, once the hunting lodge of the Maharajas of Alwar, offers a royal experience to its guests. A meal here costs about Rs 400 per person. RTDC runs Hotel Tiger Den with air-conditioned rooms and dormitories too. Veg thalis are available here.
How to get There:
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.