Rajasthan Sanctuaries & National Parks
For all one's inclination to believe that Rajasthan is a
desert. It is difficult to ignore the fact that the region, in fact, has a
varied topography, and includes from semi-arid, desert-like conditions to among
the oldest mountains in the world, and lush, water-filled valleys. No wonder
too that its wildlife is so rich in variety, including from the tiger and
leopard to endless varieties of deer, rhesus monkeys, reptiles including the
python, and a profusion of bird-life that includes water-birds.
The Thar Desert, also referred to as the Great
Indian Desert, fall for part within the state, though parts of it do stretch
into other states such as Gujarat,
Punjab and Haryana, and this is what gives
Rajasthan its unique topographical character. Unlike the typical desert it does
not have oasis, palms or cacti, and is densely populated. Sand dunes
characterize it, just as much as saline depressions and lakes.
Another distinguishing natural feature is Rajasthan is the Aravalli mountain chain,
often referred to as hills because the height is rarely beyond a thousand
metres. The folds of the Aravallis were used successfully by the Rajput princes
to establish their citadels, but the mountains are among the oldest in the
world. Since the Aravallis tended to be heavily forested, they became a natural
refuge for birds and animals. Even though human degradation of the environment
has led to deforestation, in areas where the forests are still thick, the
reserves continue to offer sanctuary to their original, resident and migrant
Major National Parks & Sanctuaries of Rajasthan -
Keoladeo Ghana National
Other Sanctuaries - Rajasthan has a large number of
sanctuaries that are smaller, more inaccessible or less well known than its
more popular counterparts. Some of these are listed below.
Bhensrodgarh - Close to Kota (53 km), it consists of
scrub and dry deciduous forest and is home to leopard, sloth bear and
Darrah - Once the hunting
preserve for the royal family of Kota, this sanctuary, 50km from Kota, is home
to sloth bears, chinkaras, the leopard and the wolf.
Jaisamand: Located on the fringes of a vast man-made
lake of the same name, the small sanctuary is picturesque and houses leopard,
wild boar and a variety of deer, while its waters are home to population of
crocodiles, 50km from Udaipur.
Kumbalgarh - A large sanctuary in the Aravallis, 120
km from Udaipur, it has a formidable collection of wildlife that includes
leopards and sloth bear, a variety of deer including the chousinga of
four-horned antelope, and the ratel as well as the flying squirrel.
Mount Abu Sanctuary - Located on fringes of the town
of the same name, this small sanctuary is thickly forested. Wildlife includes
leopard, chinkara, sloth bear, sambhar and wild boar. The slopes of the hills
provide some of the state's most interesting topography, especially since the
height of this hill station keeps it cool even in the summer
Chambal - Just beyond Kota, along
the banks of the river Chambal all the way to its confluence with the Jamuna,
this is where the waters are rich with gharial, crocodiles for which it is
breeding centre. Other wildlife includes caracal, wolf, blackbuck and
Sitamata - In forests of bamboo
and dry deciduous vegetation, 108 km from Udaipur, this forested sanctuary
provides rich foraging pastures for a variety of deer that include the
chousinga, and for caracal, wild boar, pangolin and leopard.
Talchappar - A very small sanctuary, 210 km from
Jaipur and in the Shekhawati region, this is home to a large population of
graceful blackbuck. Desert fox and desert cat can also be spotted along with
typical avifauna such as partridge and sand grouse.