Sariska National Park - The Home of Tigers

Sariska Wild Life
Sariska Tiger Reserve
Not a very long time ago, I was pretty stubborn to view the tiger in its full glory, where it roams wild and free, where it doesn't have to rely on human to be fed, where just his one roar is enough to make every living being turn their heads. With an unsuccessful track record of not spotting a tiger in any of my previous endeavors, to Jim Corbett National Park and Ranthambore National Park, I was pretty keen to give it another try.

Sariska Tiger Reserve, situated in Alwar district of Rajasthan is well connected via road to Delhi and is just 3 hours drive away, approximately 200 kms. Stretched over an area of 881 sq km, this area was a hunting preserve of Alwar until it was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1955 and as of Oct 2018, it hosts 18 tigers including 5 cubs.



Just to get a glimpse of the tiger, we a group of 8 colleagues cum friends left for Sariska early in November morning in two cars. Road was not that bad and with just few pit stops for breakfast and snacks, we reached Sariska within few hours, checked in to our hotel and got ready for the adventure trip ahead, The Safari.



We chose the afternoon safari as I didn't want to take any chance this time and of course previous learning/ lesson of not going for morning safari. I was pretty hopeful that I will spot the tiger this time trying to convince myself that there is no such bad omen. We all hopped on to our two allocated jeeps along with our driver and a guide which we booked online by paying nominal charges on government web portal. With just few formalities and checking at the entry gate, we entered the Sariska Tiger reserve.

The jungle was serene and calm, at least by the look of it but we knew how wild it can get anytime. The guide helped us spot all flora and fauna and other wild animals like wild boar, nilgai, deer, sambar etc. but the king was no where to be seen. I literally requested the guide to help us locate one and he provided us an assurance that he will do his best. Meanwhile we spotted few forest rangers in the jungle who were trying to track the movement of tiger and then we thought that this is our chance to spot one. We ensured to stay behind them and follow wherever we could (P.S. there are tracks in the jungle restricted for public, but not for forest rangers). Reserve has put GPS device around the necks of few tigers which tracks their movement. One of the forest ranger we found was kind enough to talk to us while he was waiting for the tiger to come out, tiger was just few meters away inside the bushes.

Sariska Forest Ranger Tracking Tiger
Forest Ranger Tracking Tiger through GPS

We chose to wait at that place hoping the tiger would come out, but it was not yielding any results. Meanwhile, our guide received a call from other zone where they spotted a different tiger who came to drink the water from the stream flowing nearby. We left in hurry so that we do not miss the chance to spot this tiger and our enthusiastic driver drove the jeep at 100kmph inside the jungle to reach the tiger spotting site and there our backs screamed due to bad roads/tracks.

Well, we were unfortunate as we missed that tiger by just few minutes. Our guide suggested that we should return to the previous spot where forest rangers were keeping a watch on another tiger. While we agreed, the other jeep chose to stay and hope they would get lucky.

Jungle Safari
Waiting to get a glimpse of Tiger
The scene at the spot was still the same, no sign of tiger coming out of the bushes, only this time it was more crowd as more people got to know about the rangers being present there. There were other jeeps and canters who were waiting for the tiger to come out. We had no option but to stay and wait but we didn't know for how long, or even if we would spot the tiger at all?

With hope diminishing every moment, we tried to stay positive and were also wondering what if our other jeep would have spotted as they were still waiting near water stream. Suddenly there was sudden rush in the atmosphere and then we heard someone shouting ‘there it is’. We knew the tiger is out now but couple of bushes and a tree was blocking our view. The driver tried to move the jeep forward and back but due to so many other jeeps were already blocking the entire way, it was nearly impossible. We hoped that tiger would move from its current position but it didn't, at least for a long time. The only thing we could hold on to was The Hope.

Can you spot the Tiger in front?

One member of our team then noticed a movement in the bushes. With little hope, we looked and there it was!! The tiger finally came out of the bushes. Unfortunately there were 6 jeeps ahead of us and we could only get a glimpse of it for few seconds and it was too less of a time for us to capture it in the camera. But we were glad that at least we got a glimpse of the Tiger for which we were waiting for too long.

The occupants jeep which was in front of us were kind enough to share the pictures of the tiger that they could get. I won't say its the perfect click, but good enough to for us to save in our memories. Unfortunately, the other jeep with our colleagues who chose to wait on the other side weren't lucky enough and had to return empty hand. Little did they know that we got lucky and once we told them, they were nothing but disappointed. Well, to be fair they chose to stay there and had I been in there shoes, I would have felt the same.



With dust all over us,  we returned back to our hotel. It was November and it started to get chilly so quickly we all went to freshen up. Post that, it was drinks and dinner almost all night long.

Next morning, we woke up had breakfast and got ready to head back to our place!

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