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Formerly a hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Alwar
in the Aravallis, the park was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955 and
then a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under Project Tiger. Sariska is among the
28 Tiger reserves in the country which have come up since 1970. Covering
an area of 800 sq km in total including a core area of approximately 500
sq km, the place is located 249 km South West of Delhi and 110 km North
East of Jaipur.
The topography of the park is mainly hilly with two plateaus, and the vegetation include scrub-thorn arid forests, Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests represented by Acacia nilotica, Acacia catechu Willd (Khair), Acacia leucophloea, Prosopis cineraria, Capparis aphylla, Zizyphus spp., Anogeissus pendula (dhok), Anogeissus latifolia, rocks and grasses. Dhok is the dominant tree species in Sariska covering 90 per cent area of the forest area. Katha Acacia catechu and bamboo are common in the valleys. All these remain lush green during the monsoon period and dry in summer.
Apart from tigers, the fauna of the Sariska Wildlife Reserve comprises of Leopard, Panther, Wild boar, Hyena, Jungle cat, Civet, Four horned antelope, Sambar, Cheetah, Ratel, Caracal, Chinkara, Nilagi, Jackals and other varied and rare kind of animal species. The park is also famous for its large number of Rhesus and Langur monkeys but it is not safe to play with them.
Amongst the birds, ground birds such as Peafowl, Jungle fowl, Spur fowl and the Grey partridge; Golden - backed woodpecker, Green pigeon, Crested serpent eagle, Great Indian horned owl and Tree pies can be seen. Babblers, Bulbuls are regularly caught sight of.
Besides the fauna, Sariska park offers other interesting
places for tourists to explore. Within the sanctuary there is the Kankwari
Fort (where Emperor Aurangazeb is believed to have imprisoned his brother
Dara Shikoh). Mostly in ruins, because of lack of proper maintenance,
the fort attracts many tourists. The sanctuary also houses Neelkanth Mahadeva,
a Hindu - Jain temple complex (more than 300 temples) dedicated to Neelkanth
(Lord Shiva) dating back to 6th-13th century AD. Similar to the carvings
of the Chandelas of Khajuraho Temple, this complex is surrounded by exotic
flora. Another attraction in Sariska, is the Bhartrihari Temple. Located
to the south of Kushalgarh in the sanctuary area, the temple is visited
by quite a number of devotees. It is named after Bhartrihari Baba, former
ruler of Ujjain (the raja left his kingdom in order to become a saint).
Every year a fair in the months of September - October and a six hour
dance- drama is organized at the temple. Another attraction in Sariska
is Pandupol with a legend associated with it. It is believed that
Pandava brothers spent time here during their exile period.
Best Time to Visit