When we talk about embracing exotic, exciting and jaw-dropping destinations, the vibrant state of Rajasthan makes it to the top of the list. And when it comes to the state’s wildlife destinations, Ranthambore, Sariska and Bharatpur’s Keoladeo National Park take all the limelight. But the fact is that there are many other remarkable areas in this rich state which are waiting to be discovered by discerning eyes.
Let’s take you through five such unexplored wildlife havens of Rajasthan where you’ll find yourself deep in untrammeled wilderness, and surrounded by raw nature at its best.
Todgarh Raoli Wildlife Sanctuary, Ajmer
Situated in the midst of the Aravalli range, the sanctuary is a blend of magnificent backdrops and amazing animal sightings. Sprawling over Ajmer, Pali and Rajsamand districts, the geography of this lesser known land is rich and diverse. You’ll find everything here: rivers, valleys, dense forests and sandy plains.
This area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1983. Todgarh used to be a tiger territory like its counterparts in the state. There are no more tigers here but leopards, sloth bears and a variety of other wildlife rule the jungle. Common langur, nilgai, sambar and owls are among the other residents of the wildlife sanctuary.
Band Baretha, Bharatpur
Bharatpur is known as a bird haven the world over but not many know about its hidden birding paradise Band Bhareta. A yesteryear wildlife reserve of the erstwhile rulers of Bharatpur, this scenic spot invites as many as 200 bird species, including the elusive Black Bittern. Administered by the Forest Department now, the Band Bhareta Dam was commissioned in 1866 AD by Maharaja Jaswant Singh, and its construction was completed in 1897 AD under the regime of Maharaja Ram Singh. The reserve is also home to an old palace, which continues to be a private property of the royal family of Bharatpur.
Sorsan Grasslands, Baran
Home to scrubby vegetation, several water bodies, and rich fauna, the Sorsan Wildlife Sanctuary, commonly known as Sorsan Grasslands, is located at a distance of 50km from Kota. Sorsan is one of the best places in the country for spotting blackbucks. Also known as the Indian antelope, blackbucks graze on low grasses during day time.
This place is a bird watcher’s delight. Some of the commonly spotted species include orioles, quails, partridges, robins, weavers, greylag geese, common pochards, teals and pintails. Sorsan also plays host to migratory birds like flycatchers and starlings during the winter months. It is advisable to request village folk to help you with the way to the grasslands once you’ve entered Sorsan.
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, Bikaner
Wildlife lovers must keep this lush green forest in their to-do list when visiting Bikaner. Located at a distance of 32km from the city on the road to Jaisalmer, Gajner is home to nilgais, chinkaras, blackbucks, wild boars, and imperial sand grouse, among other animals. Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, the sanctuary also hosts migratory birds when the chill sets in. Come winters and the sprawling forest will welcome a large number of species from other shores, such as water fouls and demoiselle cranes.
Machiya Safari Park, Jodhpur
The Machiya Safari Park is one of the best places around Jodhpur to witness fantastic sunsets. Situated enroute Jaisalmer, a kilometre away from the pristine Kailana Lake, the park has a great vantage point for bird watching. Home to a rich variety of wildlife, Machiya offers sightings of desert foxes, blue bulls, wild cats, mongoose, and the more commonly seen monkeys and deer.