The largest state of India, Rajasthan’s size and latitudinal range lend themselves to diverse flora and fauna. From desert-scapes and sand dunes, to semi-evergreen forests, the varying ecosystems of the state make Rajasthan one of the most sought-after safari destinations in India.
In Rajasthan, you see the glorious predators of the jungle up close. Close enough to see their whiskers quiver and close enough to see the slapping of their tongue against the water. From chasing huge pug-marks and hearing the loud and impressive calls of a tiger to finally spotting one, taking a jungle safari in Rajasthan is an experience of a lifetime.
Being home to two of the best-loved tiger reserves in India, the state invites scores of visitors from home and abroad year in and year out. The wild expanses offer brilliant nature trails, birding experiences, and rare sightings of wily predators. Top of the chart is, of course, the Ranthambhore National Park overflowing with tiger sightings. Ever since the national park reopened after the lockdown, visitors have experienced incredible sightings, with Tigress T84 Arrowhead and her cubs being the new superstars of the jungle.
Next comes the Sariska Tiger Reserve, where three new-born tiger cubs were spotted recently with their mother ST-12. This has taken the tiger count of Sariska to twenty. Established as a Tiger Reserve in 1978, Sariska promises to be one of the most special memories of your Alwar trip. Boasting a hilly terrain dominated by the Aravallis, the tiger reserve is also blessed with three serene lakes.
Unfurled across four districts, the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve in Kota is the third tiger reserve in Rajasthan. The reserve gets its name from the mountain range running parallel. Mukundara witnessed the birth of two tiger cubs in June, taking its tiger count to six. You can also spot panthers, deer, jungle cats, wild boar, bears, hyenas, wolves and antelopes here.
For those who’ve had wild dreams about spotting the elusive leopard, Jhalana Leopard Safari Park in Jaipur and Bera Leopard Sanctuary near Jawai Bandh in Pali are some of the best destinations in the country. You never leave Jhalana without spotting myriad leopards in their natural habitat. Home to as many as 34 leopards, Jhalana is open year-round. Bera, with a healthy population of more than 50 leopards, of late, is gaining popularity as the ultimate place to spot the nocturnal creatures.
And then there’s the sylvan Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary, which will come as a surprise to those who see Rajasthan only as a desert state. The diverse topography of the sanctuary adds to its charms. Be ready to spot chowsinghas, leopards, panthers, and sloth bears while you traverse its lush landscape.
In lieu of COVID-19, the wildlife department of Rajasthan has issued new guidelines to ensure the safety of visitors:
>) Staff and visitors are required to undergo compulsory thermal screening, and wearing masks and gloves are a must. Staff is also mandated to wear head coverings.
>) To maintain social distancing, only 50 per cent of the usual capacity of tourists are allowed to sit in safari vehicles.
>) Children below the age of 10 and adults above 65 are not allowed.
>) No one is allowed to use the washrooms at the entry and exit points.
>) Preference will be given to online bookings and digital payments.
>) Crowding of guides, forest guards and visitors at various points, such as reception centres or permit issuing offices are to be avoided.
>) Queues have to be maintained with prescribed distancing limits maintained.
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