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Rajasthan in Wildlife

Rajasthan in Wildlife

RAJASTHAN: Situated in the northwest of India. The Aravalli Gills form a line across the state and about three-fifths of the state lie northwest of this line, leaving twofifths in the east. These are the two natural divisions of Rajasthan. Much of the flora is scrub jungle and towards the west, plants characteristic of the arid zone occur. Trees are scarcer, found only sparingly in the Aravallis and in eastern part of Rajasthan.

Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary

Established in 1983 over 88 sq miles (229 sq km) of scrub and dry deciduous forest. The area has been increasingly ‘threatener by illegal grazing and collecting of fuel wood. Despite these threats, leopards are still seen in the area along with chinkara, sloth bear etc. Best time to visit: Oct. — May. Accommodation: resthouses Permission: Range Forest Officer, Rawatbhuta, Dist: Chittor. Nearest town: Rawatbhuta Rail & Air: Kota (33 miles/53 km)

Darrah Sanctuary

Established in 1955 but previously the hunting reserve of Kota State. The former Maharao kept an interesting photographic record of the tigers in the area, part of which is still on display. The sanctuary covers 102 sq miles (266 sq km) of dry deciduous forest (mostly Anogeissns pendnia). Animals include wolf, sloth bear, chinkara and leopard. Despite the disturbance from local villages it is worth visiting. Best time to visit: Feb. — May Accommodation: 1 resthouse Permission: Range Officer, Darrah Wildlife Sanctuary, via Kamalpura, Dist: Kota Nearest town & Air: Kota (31 miles/50 km) Rail: Darrah (5 miles/8 km)

Desert National Park

Established in 1980, this large park of 1220 sq miles (3162 sq km) is only 20 miles (32 km) from Jaisalmer. Although known as a park, much of the area in fact has only sanctuary status but the area as a whole has its own distinct wildlife. Very little of the area is a Sahara type of desert with rolling sand dunes, in fact, much of the area is covered with patchy scrub and even trees and flowers. The shrubs have adapted themselves to the harsh climate and although many are leafless, they provide shelter and shade for many animals. There are many Bishnoi village in the sanctuary area and environs, and blackbuck and chinkara are usually seen nearby. Other animals seen include wolf, desert fox, hare and desert cat. Many birds of prey such as the tawny eagle, short-toed eagle, spotted eagle, kestrel and laggar falcon are seen. Other birds often seen are flights of sandgrouse in the early morning, gray partridge and great Indian bustard. Best time to visit: Sept. — Mar. (Summer temp. exceeds 122°F/50°C) Accommodation: 6 resthouses; some villages have rooms to let. Permission: Dy. Director Research, Desert N.P., Jaisalmer. Nearest town, Air & Rail: Jaisalmer (20 miles/32 km)


Jaisammand Sanctuary

Established in 1957, beside the large manmade (62 sq mile/ 160 sq km) lake from which it takes its name. The lake was built by Maharana Jai Singh in the 16th century and the surrounding hills are dotted with chhatris, a marble palace and other buildings. Some of the islands are inhabited by Bhils—a tribe of southern Rajasthan. The sanctuary is small (20 sq miles/52 sq km) but ranges from the lake shore to the open dry deciduous forests on the adjoining hills. A wide variety of birds is to be seen and the forest holds chital, chinkara, wild boar and a few leopard. Many crocodiles feed on a large population of fish. A boat is available from the Irrigation Department. Best time to visit: Nov. — June Accommodation: Jaisammand Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC) on Udaipur—Banswara Rd Permission: Wildlife Warden (Jaisammand Dist.), Udaipur Nearest town, Rail & Air: Udaipur (30 miles/48 km)


Keoladeo Ghana National Park

Previously known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, this magnificent park is one of the world’s greatest and most important heronries. Originally protected for the occasional duck shot, the area became a sanctuary in the mid-1950s and a national park in 1983. About a third of its 1 1 sq miles (29 sq km) is a shallow, freshwater marsh formed by retaining water after the monsoons. The dry areas are mostly scrub, thorn and mixed deciduous forest. Over 12,000 nests produce over 30,000 chicks. Although mainly famous for its waterbirds, many other species, including many raptors, are also to be seen. Mammals include sambar, blackbuck, chital, nilgai, fishing cat, jungle cat, otter and mongoose. Best time to visit: open throughout the year; breeding season: Aug. —Oct; migrants: Oct. — late Feb. Accommodation: In the sanctuary: Shanti Kuti forest resthouse; ITDC Forest Lodge (Tel: 2322, 2864) with restaurant, bar, airconditioned and non-airconditioned rooms. Outside the sanctuary: Saras Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC), Fatehpur Sikri Road, has both airconditioned and non-airconditioned rooms (Tel: 2169); Golbargh Palace Hotel, Agra Road (Tel: 3349). Permission: Dy. Chief Wildlife Warden. Keoladeo NAP., Bharatpur Nearest town & Rail: Bharatpur (1 mile) Air: Agra (3 miles/55 km)

Kumbalgarh Sanctuary

This large sanctuary (222 sq miles/ 578 sq km) in the rugged Aravalli Hills is perhaps the only area in India where the highly endangered wolf is successfully breeding. Other animals seen there include leopard, sloth bear, chinkara, chousingha, ratel and flying squirrel. The Kumbalgarh fort to the east is one of the most impressive in Rajasthan. The sanctuary is dry and apparently barren for much of the year but comes alive during the monsoon and in October when the deciduous trees change color before shedding their leaves. Best time to visit: Mar. — May (hot days), Sept. — Nov. Accommodation: Gokul Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC) at Nathwara; Shilpi Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC) at Ranakpur; and Ghanerao Royal Castle at Ghanerao (Tel: 35), only 3 miles (5 km) from the sanctuary. Permission: Wildlife Warden, Kumbalgarh Sanctuary, Dist: Jaipur Nearest town: Sadri (5 miles/7 km) Rail: Falna (15 miles/25 km) Air: Jaipur (75 miles/120 km)

Mount Abu Sanctuary

A small sanctuary established in 1960 consisting of 110 sq miles (289 sq km) of forested hills to the northeast of Mount Abu. Includes Guru Shikhar which at 4895 feet (1772 meters) is the highest point in the Aravalli Hills. Animals include leopard, chinkars and, in the lower areas, sloth bear, sambar and wild boar. Among the interesting birds is the gray jungle fowl. Best time to visit: Mar. — June Accommodation: Shikhar Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC) in Mount Abu; also many hotels; PWD bungalows and Circuit Houses Permission: Wildlife Warden, Mount Abu Nearest town: Mount Abu (5 miles/8 km) Rail: Abu Road (17 miles/28 km) Air: Jaipur (115 miles/185 km)

National Chambal Sanctuary

Established in 1983 along the Chambal river from Rana Pratap Sagar to the southwest of Kota to its confluence with the Jamuna. It has an area of 211 sq miles (549 sq km) and has sanctuary status to protect the gharial crocodilian. Southeast of Swai Madhopur the Chambal joins the Parbati river which forms the border with MP. The MP bank is also a sanctuary. Blackbuck, caracal, chinkara and wolf are among the many animals that enjoy protection here. Boats can be taken upstream from Kota and in the winter, gharials are often seen basking on the sand banks. Best time to visit: Oct. — Mar. Accommodation: Chambal Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC), Kota; forest resthouses at other places Permission: Warden, National Chambal Sanctuary, Kota Nearest town, Rail & Air: Kota.

Ranthambhore National Park

Established as a sanctuary in 1955 and one of the original areas under Project Tiger. Although the smallest of the Project Tiger reserves, Ranthambhore has an impressive range of animal species including sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, jackal. leopard and tiger within its 150 sq miles (392 sq km). Since coming under Project Tiger management, these arid hills at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges have been restored to their full dynamism. Artificial lakes now blend with the forested hills and form the integral part of the park. Excellent birdlife with the crested serpent eagle among the many birds of prey to be seen. Many waterbirds are seen on the lakes. A thousand- year old fort rises 700 ft (214 m) above the park. Best time to visit: Oct. — Apr. Accommodation: Jogi Mahal in the park, bookings can be made through the Field Director’s office; Castle Jhoomer Baori Forest Lodge (RSTDC), Ranthambhore Road, Sawai Madhopur (Tel: 620)—will arrange vehicles; Maharaja Lodge, Sawai Madhopur, bookings can be made through Ranthambhore Palace Hotel in Jaipur. Permission: The Field Director, Ranthambhore N.P., Sawai Madhopur Nearest town & Rail: Sawai Madhopur (9 miles/14 km) Air: Jaipur (82 miles/132 km)

Sariska National Park

Tiger Reserve and Sanctuary. Originally the shooting area of the Alwar ruling family, Sariska became a sanctuary in 1958. The sanctuary came under Project Tiger in 1979 and the core area of 191 sq miles (498 sq km) became a national park in 1982. The park also has 9th- and 10th-century ruins of Shiva temples and the Kanokwari fort. Most of Sariska is hilly with a wide valley from the gate to Thana Gazi. It has a good network of roads. Animals seen include leopard, wild dog (first sighted in 1986), nilgai, chital, chousingha, chinkara, ratel and tiger. Best time to visit: Nov. — June. Very dry summers make June good for game viewing, although hot. Accommodation: forest resthouse; Tiger Den Tourist Bungalow (RSTDC) has airconditioned and non-airconditioned rooms (Tel: 42); Hotel Sariska Palace, opposite the park entrance is a converted Royal Palace— has jeep for hire. Permission: The Field Director, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Dist: Alwar. Nearest town & Rail: Alwar (22 miles) Air: Jaipur (68 miles/110 km)

Sitamata Sanctuary

Established in 1979 in the southern forest of Rajasthan over 163 sq miles (423 sq km) of dry deciduous forest and bamboo. The flying squirrel is more often seen here than in most other sanctuaries. Other species seen include leopard, caracal, chousingha, pangolin, sambar, wild boar and chinkara. Best time to visit: Apr. — July Accommodation: forest resthouse Permission: Wildlife Warden, Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Dhariawad, Dist: Udaipur. Nearest town: Dhariawad Rail: Bansi (19 miles/31 km) Air: Udaipur (65 miles/108 km)

Tal Chapper Sanctuary

This small sanctuary covering 27 sq miles (71 sq km) has a large blackbuck population. Chinkara, partridge and sandgrouse are the other animals and bird species usually seen, including the occasional desert fox and cat. Mostly thorn scrub with high summer temperatures and low rainfall. Best time to visit: Apr. and Oct. Accommodation: 1 resthouse Permission: Dy. Conservator of Forest, Churu. Nearest town: Chapper Rail: Abu Road (17 miles/28 km) Air: Jaipur (130 miles/210 km) Other sanctuaries in Rajasthan include Jamia Ramgarh (Jaipur Dist.), Jawahar Sagar (Kota, Bundi Dist.), Kaila Devi (Sawai Madhopur Dist.), Nahargarh (Jaipur Dist.), Phulwari (Udaipur Dist.), Ramgarh (Bundi Dist.), Shergarh (Kota Dist.), Todgarh- Rad, (Ajmer. Udaipur and Pali Dists.) and Vanvihar (Dholpur Dist.). Information on all these areas can be obtained from The Chief Wildlife Warden’s office, Van Bhawan, Jaipur. Rajasthan has a reasonable tourist infrastructure with a range of accommodation and public transport The Rajasthan State Tourism Development Corporation (RSTDC) provides accommodation throughout the state

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