I visited Sairska Tiger Reserve on International Tiger Day. Honestly, I had no idea it was such a special day, but was immensely happy to know it upon reaching there. At first it seemed really tiring and hectic to travel 400km to and fro, but, it was worth the experience. Did I get to see a Tiger? Hell no.. but it was amazing just to be there, inside the reserve.
Sariska Tiger Reserve is located in Alwar District of Rajasthan, about 200 km from Delhi. It is spread across 222 hectares hence is very rich in flora and fauna. Crossing the reserve you reach Pandupol which has the famous Hanuman Temple. On Tuesdays & Saturdays, private vehicles can enter the reserve, otherwise, you have to take a Safari Jeep being operated by the Government. Since it was a Saturday, we had a privilege to take our vehicle so that we could stop wherever, whenever we want. We were not supposed to divert from the main road that reaches Pandupol.
The day started in a hurry. We were planning to leave at 6 am but the departure stretched till 6:30 am. The weather was beautiful and breezy. Before reaching to Sariska, we had plans to a lake Siliserh which is also located in Alwar. We were mesmerized upon reaching the lake. It was surrounded by green mountains from 3 sides while at one side there was a small palace turned restaurant. The Palace presents beautiful scene of the lake. The lake is nothing less than those what I have been awestruck of in Udaipur. It was calm, full of beauty, white water and scenic. I could stay there watching it without blinking my eyes. But we had to hurry to the main attraction of the day.
It took us another half an hour to reach Sariska Tiger Reserve Entry Gate. There were lots of local people who were going to the Hanuman temple. Some via public transport, some via motor bikes and some on foot. It is risky, very risky to cross that 20-30km forest stretch on a bike or on foot. But faith is bigger than fear. They know Lord Hanuman is protecting them.
The main road is a dirt/unpaved road so that vehicles run slowly without hurting the innocent animals, who crosses their path. We started spotting Baboons & Peacocks. A lot of them. Only them. For many kilometers we spotted them only.
The Peacocks, full of color and were making mating sounds. They were dancing, many of them. We stopped every time we saw a peacock dancing. It was amusing. My son loved the dancing peacocks. I doubt he would ever spot one in Delhi ever.
All of a sudden I spotted some thing brownish-greyish inside bushes. It was a Cheetal (spotted Dear). Maybe two of them. Bit of amused with questioning eyes. Started the journey again. There was another Cheetal. Wandering alone in a plain space.
Finally we reached Pandupol, located on a hill and offered our prayers to Lord Hanuman and started our journey downhill. It started raining later in the afternoon. Everything was muddy and slippery. The unpaved road was getting worse. But it did not bother us much since we were there to enjoy the wildlife and we were not in a hurry to leave the reserve yet.
The evening was approaching, and we started spotting more animals. I literally jumped out of my car seat when I saw a bunch of Deer just few feet away from the dirt road. I think they too noticed, since deer are very sensitive to noises and are very alert. The most innocent animal I have ever seen. They few from the scene after few seconds. I started spotting more bunches of deer. After every feet, they were there, feasting on the fresh green grass. But they sensed every time we pulled in and reacted by staring at us.
What is the height of innocence? A bunch of baby deer? I spotted a few baby deer. All of them inside a bushy area. They were adorable. They were golden in color with poker straight ears and wide eyes staring at us. But upon seeing the camera, they too went deeper into the forest.
We were still spotting a lot of Peacocks & Baboons. There were also a lot of wild boars, fighting and shouting. Some were with babies.
And we realized we have reached the same gate from where we entered into the forest. We left the forest with heavy heart that we did not spot a tiger. But then we entered the gate knowing the possibility was low, very low. Tigers generally hunt during night. Also they like to stay away from humans. They would hardly come near the most commonly used dirt road.
So this is what I did on International Tiger Day. It was fun, refreshing and an overwhelming experience. I wish I could do it again.