Sariska, a national park, once one of India’s tiger haven, is now left with just sign boards. Even today, as you enter the park you will notice somewhat sad signs hailing the area as a Tiger Reserve. No one has seen a tiger since 2003. Unfortunate for a country whose national pride, the tiger, is fast disappearing from the wild.
The good news is, you won’t be disappointed with your trip to Sariska. Even a monkey in the wild is exciting. The undulating shades of yellow, brown and green is a treat to the eye. There are thousands of peacocks, lots of deer, sambar and nilgais to spot.
Sariska is about a hour before Jaipur from Delhi. Turn left on NH8 just before Shahpura and drive for about 45km on State roads. There are only two options for stay, the Sariska Palace or RTDC’s Tiger Den. We stayed at the Tiger Den which is a 5 minute walk from the park. We reached the hotel around 12:00 pm and spent the day driving around. We did a quick trip to Silserh, Alwar and Talvriksh.
These are all attractions that are very close to Sariska National Park, and are a few hours
from Delhi or Jaipur. Silserh lake is about 25 kilometers from Sariska. A beautiful palace has been built on the banks of the lake by Maharaja Vinay Singh in AD 1845 for his queen Sheela. The palace has now been taken up by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) and provides decent accomodation in the area. Boating is allowed in the lake though there are plenty of boards advertising the existence of crocodiles. We didn’t see any in our half hour of pedaling in the lake.
Alwar, with a sign board that is as funny as the famous Hollywood sign, is about 15 kilometers from Sariska. It is a historic city founded by Rao Pratap Singh in 1775 A.D. and has many forts and palaces. However not all are open to the public. Visit the Bal Qila and the musuem. Talvriksh, is around 10 kilometers from Sariska, and is a hot water spring. Do not expect a fancy five star center with healers and beauty treatments. It is a small temple situated in a very rural Rajasthani village. The water is warm and people visit for the supposed healing capabilities of these sulphur springs.
The area around Sariska, is filled with history dating back many centuries, and can be seen in the many ruined forts around the area. The drive is through state roads, and though the roads can be bumpy, the many peacocks you will see in the area makes for a pleasant outing.
No matter how many parks we visit, we never tire. There is something so alluring about the wild. We didn’t spot any leopards but we saw a lot of animals and birds at close quarters. At one of the gates, the villagers gave us some roti(bread) to feed the birds. Treepies, babblers, magpies were quick to eat off our hands. There is also an ancient Hanuman temple called Pandu Pole hidden well inside the forest. It is worth driving up just for the drive and the langurs.
Another great park. Another great experience.