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Wildlife Sanctuaries of Rajasthan

 

Wildlife Sanctuaries, RajasthanWhen we think of Rajasthan, the picture that comes to mind is of its proud warriors, the Maharajas and palaces. But thanks to its diverse topography, covering the Great Indian Desert Thar, Aravali Mountains and two rivers, several types of vegetation is found in Rajasthan that has made it home a number of wildlife species including The Tiger and birds that are indigenous and also those that migrate periodically.


The Maharajas of yore took hunting seriously. As a result, some of the wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan were previously the hunting reserves of the rulers. Several of these reserves have luxurious accommodation in the form of hunting lodges of the rulers and their palaces. Hunting is now banned; however the wildlife sanctuaries still continue to delight the wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers.


Royal Rajasthan is an excellent way of combining your passion for the wildlife with a luxury holiday. Most of these sanctuaries can be visited around the year, except in the monsoon months from July to September. Some of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan are:


Ranthambore National Park: Ranthambhor is Rajasthan's most well known tiger reserve under Project Tiger. A large sanctuary spread over 392 sq km area, sambhar, cheetal, wild boar, leopard, sloth bear, jackal and hyena can also be seen here. You can also enjoy a wildlife safari in Ranthambore.


Keoladeo Ghana National Park: Keoladeo is an ornithologists' delight. Usually referred to as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo was declared a National Park in 1983. Spread over 29 sq km, this park has a large number of herons. Its shallow, fresh water marsh attracts thousands of migratory birds like egrets, darters, cormorants, grey herons and storks. Among the animal life here, sambhar, blackbuck, chital, nilgai, fishing cat, otter and mongoose can be seen. Keoladeo also attracts the Siberian Crane.


Sariska Tiger Reserve: Sariska was brought under Project Tiger in 1979. Other animal here are leopard, sambhar, nilgai, wild dog, and chinkara. The ruins of 9th and 10th century temples offer ample sightseeing opportunity.


Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary: Established in 1983, Bhensrod covers an area of 229 sq km comprising of scrub and dry deciduous forest. Leopards, chinkara, sloth bear can be spotted here.


Darrah Sanctuary: Previously the hunting reserve of the rulers of Kota, Darrah was established way back in 1955 and covers an area of 266 sq km. This is a hilly sanctuary and has thick forests that are worthy of a visit. The animals here include wolf, sloth bear, chinkara and leopard.


Desert National Sanctuary: Established in 1980, this is a huge park spread over 3162 sq km. Vegetation includes shrubs and trees besides rolling sand dunes. The wildlife here includes fox, desert cat, hare, spiney tail uromastix and sand fish. Sparrows, imperial sand grouse, bustards, falcons and eagles also come here, making it a bird watcher’s paradise.


Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary: Situated besides the majestic Kumbhalgarh Fort, this sanctuary has an area of 578 sq km. The Aravalis hills provide shelter to sloth bear, leopard and flying squirrel. It is also the only sanctuary where the Indian wolf is breeding successfully.


Mount Abu Sanctuary: The highest point of the Aravalis, the Guru Shikhar, lies in this 289 sq km sanctuary. Established in 1960, this sanctuary is now a Unesco World Heritage Site and an eco-zone. This sanctuary provides shelter to the common langoor, wild boar, sambhar and leopard. The grey jungle fowl is also seen here.

 

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