Sariska Tiger Reserve

General information

Area: 866 kmē total (497 kmē core, 369 kmē buffer)
Altitude: From 300 to 722 m above sea level
Rainfall: Average 650 mm (per annum)
Forest Types: Tropical Dry Deciduous and Tropical Thorn
Best Season: Late October to April


Sariska Tiger Reserve is a National Park located in the Alwar district of the state of Rajasthan. The terrain is undulating plateau lands and wide valleys. Originally a hunting preserve of the erstwhile Alwar state, the area was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955 and upgraded to sanctuary in 1958. In 1978 it was declared a Tiger Reserve and is now a part of India's Project Tiger. The total area of the park is 866 kmē. The park is situated 107 km north east of the state capital Jaipur, which is also the nearest airport. The nearest railway station is at Alwar (36 km). The drive from New Delhi takes 5 to 6 hours.

The tiger reserve is also the location of several archeological sites such as the Neelkanth and Garh Rajor temples from the 9th and 10th centuries and the Kankwadi fort. The Kankwadi fort, located near the centre of the park is where, in the 17th century, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb briefly imprisoned his brother Dara Shikoh in the battle for succession of the Mughal throne. The area also has historical buildings associated with the Maharajas of Alwar.

Avifauna: Over 220 species of Birds have been recorded at Sariska National Park. Some of the notable species include Small Buttonquail, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Tawny-bellied Babbler, Greenish Warbler, Inornate Warbler, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Short-eared Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Collared Scops Owl, White-cheeked Bulbul, Painted Sandgrouse, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Indian Pitta, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Desert Wheatear, Sarus Crane, Jungle Prinia, Spotted Creeper, Singing Bushlark, Indian Bushlark etc.

Fauna: Some of the wildlife found in the Sariska Tiger Reserve include the Tiger, Leopard, Rusty Spotted Cat, Jungle Cat, Caracal, Hyena, Jackal, Chital, Sambar, Gaur, Langur, and Wild Boar.

Flora: Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) is the dominant tree species. covering over 90 per cent area of the forest. Boswellia serreta and Lannea coromandelica grow at rocky patches. Kattha (Acacia Catechu) and Bamboo are common in the valleys. Some valleys support Palas (Butea monosperma) and Ber (Zizyphus spp.) Besides these some noteworthy tree species are Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Gugal (Commiphora wightii), Kadaya (Sterculia urens), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bahera (Terminalia bellerica).

Problems: There are several villages in the core of the Reserve. Relocation of some of them would effectively help the wildlife as well as villagers. Cattle rearing is the main profession of the local people and they depend on forest area for grazing. The population of livestock is increasing steadily. In addition, illegal collection and felling of timber and fuel wood takes place round the year.

Poaching crisis: In late 2004 and early 2005 there were reports that poachers may have been responsible for the disappearance of the reserve's entire tiger population. After a massive search operation failed to find any tigers in the park, several senior wildlife officials were suspended and a national wildlife crime prevention office was established by the Prime Minister. In June 2005, after an intensive manhunt by Indian law enforcement, the alleged wildlife smuggler Sansar Chand was arrested in connection with some of the poachings.