Sariska Tiger Reserve is a national park which lies in the Alwar district of Rajasthan state of India. In the pre-independence period the forests within the Reserve were maintained as a hunting reserve area for the royalty of the former Alwar State. After independence, it got the status of wildlife reserve in the year 1955 when it became unlawful to hunt, shoot, net, trap, snare, capture or kill any kind of wild animals. It was promoted to a Sanctuary in 1958 and finally became a Tiger reserve in the year 1978 making it a part of India’s Project Tiger scheme.
It is now a prime tiger country. The present area of the Reserve is 866kms which is divided into dry deciduous forests, steep cliffs, grasslands and rocky landscape. The two main types of forest present are tropical dry deciduous forest and tropical thorn forest.
The main species of flora here are the Dhok (Anogeissues pendula) trees which cover nearly 90 percent area of the forest. The other types of trees are Kattha (Acacia Catechu) and Bamboo which are common in the valleys. Dhak (Butea monosperma) and Ber (Zizyphus spp) are also found in the valleys. Salar (Boswellia serreta) and Gol ( Lannea coromandelica) grow at rocky patches. Besides there, some other notable trees are Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Gugal (Commiphora wightii), Kadaya (Sterculia urens) and Bargad (Ficus benghalensis). Shrubs such as Kair (Capparis deciduas), Adusta (Adhatoda vesica) and Jhar ber (Ziziphus nummularis) are plentiful.
A variety of other wild animals like leopard, jungle cat, caracal, striped hyena, golden jackal, chital, sambhar, blue bull, chinkara, wild boar, hare and langur are found here apart from the tiger. The Sariska National Park is home to India’s largest population of peafowl, harbours quail, sand grouse, golden-backed woodpeckers and crested serpent eagles along with many other species of birds. Moreover, the Siliserh lake on the edge of the park has a large number of replies including crocodiles.
The reserve also houses several places of historical importance. The ancient Kankwari Fort is situated in the middle of the Reserve. It was originally built by Jai Singh II. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb briefly imprisoned his brother, Dara Shikoh, here in the struggle for succession of the throne. There’s also a famous temple of Lord Hanuman which is situated at Pandupol which was believed to be one of the retreats of the Pandavas. Archaelogical treasures, Nilkanth and Garh Rajor of 9th and 10th century are ruins of Shiva and Jain temples, contemporary of the world famous Khajuraho. Nilkanth temples were built by the Bargujars.
Whether you love wildlife watching, visiting medieval palaces, enjoying the exciting jeep safaris or just go shopping in the surrounding areas, Sariska Tiger Reserve will offer you all this and much more.