Deep in the core of the craggy Aravalli, in the district of Alwar, hills lies Sariska National Park, which attracts many tourists every year. Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958, Sariska eventually was brought under the purview of Project Tiger in 1979. The core area of the park is home to the Royal Bengal tiger. Although the species endured intense poaching pressure in the early 2000s, today there are more than 10 tigers in the park; a result of serious conservation and relocation efforts. In fact, Sariska is the first park in the world to have successfully relocated tigers.

Gireesh GV
Spotted deer by a watering hole 
Spotted deer by a watering hole

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Sariska has a hilly terrain, dominated by the Aravallis. There are three lakes within the park: Mangalsar, Siliserh and Somasagar. To counter the scarcity of water sources at Sariska, the administration makes arrangements for providing water to animals in summer.

Park Entry Indians ₹125; Foreigners ₹570 Timings 6.30–9.30am & 2.30–6.30pm Vehicle Entry ₹125

Aravalli Drive

Just past the Tehla Road, a 15-km-long track branches off to Kankwari. Passing through dense forest on the top of the Aravalli Ridge, this track leads to a point with an impressive view of Kankwari, a medieval fort standing on an isolated hill in the middle of a plateau. The fort is well worth a visit for the views.

Pandupol

Pandupol, to the south-east of RTDC’s Tiger Den, is a lovely spot. It is believed that the Pandavas spent part of their exile here. Pandupol is also the name of a 35-ft waterfall gushing out of the Aravalli Ridge.

Gireesh GV
A white egret, an avian resident of the park
A white egret, an avian resident of the park

Near the waterfall is the old Hanuman Temple. The road leading to the temple is populated with langurs, peafowl, spurfowl and tree pies. There is a large mela at Pandupol every year. Every Tuesday, pilgrims are permitted to drive through the park to visit this shrine.

The Temple Trail

Neelkanth Mahadeva houses the ruins of over 300 Hindu and Jain temples built between the 8th and 12th centuries CE. The carvings resemble those of Khajuraho and were probably built around the same time (9–10th centuries CE).

The Naldeshwar Mahadev shrine nearby attracts pilgrims. The approach to the temple, surrounded by dense forests, can be accessed by a 2-km-long walk from the main road.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

The Sariska Palace (Tel: 0144-2841323; Tariff: ₹10,000–21,500) is a heritage property. RTDC’s Tiger’s Den (Tel: 2841342; Tariff: ₹2,400–5,000) is located near the park office. Eat at your hotel as there aren’t many restaurant options in Sariska.

THE INFORMATION

When to go November–March, although the best wildlife spotting takes place in summers

Wildlife/Tourist offices

Field Director, Project Tiger, Sariska Tiger Reserve, PO Sariska, Alwar District, Tel: 0144-2841333

Rajasthan Tourism, Tourist Reception Centre, Opp Railway Station, Alwar, Tel: 2347348

STD code 0144

GETTING THERE

Rail Nearest railhead: Alwar (35km/ 1hr) is connected to Delhi by Jaipur-Delhi Express. Taxi costs ₹1,000

Road From Delhi, take NH 8 to Shahpura via Kot Putli and Patwa; 1km short of Shahpura, before the toll gate, there is a left turn for Sariska. This is a 40-km-long drive. You will cross Bairat and Thana Gazi villages en route