“Wildlife is decreasing in the jungles, but it is increasing in the towns.”
Disclaimer: I love to begin my article with a quote, and found this brilliant one by none other than, Mahatma Gandhi, as I typed on google, “Quotes on wildlife.” Now, please don’t think that I’m going to preach you about how humans are responsible for the same! Instead, I’m going to tell you about wildlife in Rajasthan, so that you become curious to go yourself and discover the ground reality. And if you do so, I’m not responsible! (humour intended)
Rajasthan is popular not only for its sand dunes, camel safaris, colourful festivals and magnificent forts, but for its various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries as well. Because of the state’s diverse landscape, each and every national park or wildlife sanctuary offers wildlife lovers a once in a lifetime experience. Ready for a tour?
1. Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur
Best known for its tiger population, Ranthambore national park is spread over an area of 392 sq km. Located around 14 km away from Sawai Madhopur, it features the 10th century Ranthambore Fort, some ancient temples and mosques, crocodile-filled lakes and a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Here, birdwatchers will find more than 300 species of birds, botanists will discover more than 500 species of flowering plants and animal lovers will see sloth bears, hyenas, sambar deer, Indian flying foxes, nilgai, wild boars, leopards, jackals, langurs etc.
1. The park is open from 1st October to 30th June only.
2. October to April is the best time to visit.
3. Online Ranthambore Safari Booking is available.
2. Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur
Previously known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Keoladeo National Park is known to be one of the world’s most significant bird breeding and feeding grounds. Declared a national park in 1982, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1985. A paradise for birdwatchers and an important research place for ornithologists, the park covers a small area of about 29 sq km. Home to over 370 species of birds, and animals like deer, nilgai, black bucks, python etc., the park also hosts migratory birds from Europe, China, Tibet and Siberia. Commonly seen birds include cranes, ducks, wagtails, pelicans, shanks, hawks, wheatears, night herons, spoonbill, laggar falcons, marsh harriers etc.
1. Accommodation is available within the park in the ggovernment-runBharatpur Forest Lodge. Prior online booking should be done to avoid any last minute hassle.
2. The sanctuary is open throughout the year and September to February is the best time to visit.
3. Various safari options are available like cycle, tonga, rickshaw and battery operated car.
3. Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar
Located around 107 km away from Jaipur, Sariska Tiger Reserve is best known for its efforts in relocation and rehabilitation of tigers. Its diverse topography ranges from dry deciduous forests to grasslands and rocky landscapes to dramatic cliffs. Spread over an area of about 850 sq km, the park provides shelter to animals like Hanuman langurs, leopards, jungle cats, nilgais, striped hyenas, golden jackals, chitals, sambars, four-horned antelopes, Rhesus monkeys, and many more. It also has a significant number of bird species such as peafowl, grey partridge, golden backed woodpecker, the Great Indian Horned Owl, bush quail, crested serpent eagle etc. Historical sites like Kankanwadi Fort, the Pandupol Hills and Hanuman Temple are also situated within the park premises.
1. October to March is the best time to visit.
2. Jeep safari is available.
4. Desert National Park, Jaisalmer
One of the largest national parks in the country, Desert National Park is spread over an area of 3162 square kilometres. Located about 40 km away from Jaisalmer, its unique landscape comprising 20 per cent sand dunes, fixed dunes, salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and rugged rocks, attracts tourists from all over the world. Home to several resident and migratory birds, the star attraction of this park is the highly endangered Great Indian Bustard. Also, a variety of wild animals and reptiles can be commonly sighted here.
1. November to January is the best time to visit.
2. Jeep safari is available.
5. Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh
One of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh is a hilly and densely forested sanctuary, that extends over an area of about 600 sq km. Surrounded by the majestic Kumbhalgarh fort, it is best known for its natural greenery and population of leopards, wolves, sambar deers and 200 plus bird species. Some of the other animals which can be easily spotted here include sanctuary include hares, four horned antelopes, nilgai, chinkaras, jungle cats, sloth bears etc.
1. Horse safaris are arranged by local tour operators.
2. October to March is the best time to visit.
3. The sanctuary is open all year round.
Far away from the madding crowd, are you ready to venture into the wilderness of the jungles? Yes? Do read the disclaimer again!