Sariska Tiger Reserve
SARISKA TIGER RESERVE : Barely an hour's drive from
Bharatpur is the 765 sq kms Sariska Tiger Reserve, once the royal reserve of
the Alwar rulers. Sariska is a picturesque park with plenty of nilgai and other
deer species. It is the home of carnivores like tigers, leopards, hyena, jungle
cat and caracal. In the last few years the dhole or wild dog has been sighted
in the Park. But it is not easy to spot a tiger in this park.
the 6th to 13th century Neelkanth Temples, 32 kms from the park, and the
Kankwari fort, inside the reserve, are added attractions. It was at this
historic fort that Emperor Aurangzeb is said to have imprisoned his brother,
Dara Shikoh. The palace complex, built in 1902, has been converted into a
heritage hotel. October to June is a good time to visit this Tiger
GIR NATIONAL PARK : The home for 300 Asiatic lions, Gir National Park is in
the south west of the Saurashtra peninsula. The rugged terrain of the park,
spread across 1400 sq kms, has steep rocky hill sides covered with mixed
deciduous forests. Streams run through the deep ravines and teak, flame of the
forest and the banyan provide shelter for the magnificent lions in the height
of summer when temperatures soar.
The best time to see the lions is at
dawn or dusk when they are on the move. In addition to the lion, Gir has over
200 leopards, numerous cheetal, nilgai, chinkara and wild boar. Marsh
crocodiles are often seen along the river banks.
Gujarat has three
distinct wildlife features -the Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary where a large
number of water birds can be seen; the saline flats of the Rann of Kachchh, the
home of the Indian wild ass, and the spectacular Flamingo Island taken over by
these birds during the nesting season.
BANDIPUR AND NAGARHOLE NATIONAL PARKS : In
two attractive wildlife parks of Bandipur and Nagarhole, though separate
entities, are part of a larger contiguous wildlife reserve that includes the
Madumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and
the Wyanad Reserve in Kerala. Bandipur and Nagarhole are easily accessible from
Mysore and the four together form an important conservation area of the Western
Ghats called the Nilgiri Biosphere.
The 874 sq kms Bandipur park,
which is also a tiger reserve, with its open grasslands and woods, lies to the
south of the Kabini river, while Nagarhole, 643 sq kms, lies to the north of
the river and has taller trees and denser forests.
A dam on the Kabini and
its picturesque reservoir separate the two parks. In this deciduous forest
trees reach a height of 30 metres and provide valuable hardwood like teak and
Bandipur is one of the finest
habitats of the Asian elephant. Large herds, with the babies in the centre of
the group, almost walking between the legs of their mothers, can be seen quite
easily. The magnificent gaur or Indian bison can also be spotted here quite
At Nagarhole too large groups of gaur, elephant, sambar,
cheetal, and occasionally a tiger or leopard, can be spotted. Among other
mammals are the muntjac, the tiny mouse deer, wild boar, pangolin, giant
squirrel, slender loris, langurs and the macaques. Some 250 species of birds
have been listed in the park and these include the Malabar Trogan, the Malabar
pied hornbill, the Indian great black woodpecker, the Indian pitta and the
green, imperial pigeon.