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Old 10th March 2015, 23:30   #1
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Default Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

When it comes to Holi, I have like a split personality; one year I will be like Gabbar Singh, asking around Kab Hai Holi? and being all ready a week in advance to usher in the celebrations and next year I will ask exactly the same question in order to hide from all of it. This year was the latter one and I used my urge to keep away from colours and water and everything else that is part of holi to good effect by planning a trip to Sariska.

Sariska has been in the plans forever since I got my Nano more than 3 years ago. Also, the closest national park to the national capital is coming back to life after some success in tiger relocation. Sariska used to have nearly 30 tigers at its peak in 2001-02 but poaching eliminated all of it by 2004. The relocation project that began in 2007 has had some success by now as Sariska has 13 tigers in all, 9 brought in from outside and 4 born there in the last 2 years. (I might be wrong on this data, this is from my conversations with the guides and the hotel staff at the RTDC hotel). I must also acknowledge the impressive information here on team-BHP by late GD sir whose thread always encouraged me to go to Sariska and write ups by others like SS-Traveller, Wanderers, and by Harjeev.

My plan was fixed over a quick chat with my friends who travelled with me to Dehradun last year and to Kasauli few months before that. The urge to drive and see a new place was there and after a couple of messages to the BHPians who went to Sariska and to others, our plan was fixed. We went there on 6 and 7 March. We did the afternoon safari of 6th and the morning one of 7th. After this we went to Bhangarh, and got back to Delhi on the night of 7th March by 11.00 pm. In all I drove 485 kms and my Nano returned the average of more than 20 during the same , which is pretty good considering the status of road in the Sariska-Bhangarh-Alwar sector (hint-I did not take the jungle road, doubting my car's ability with 5 onboard).

The Journey
We started from my place at 6.45 am. From where I stay, I can hit the NH8 in 2 minutes! That day being holi, there was little traffic on road which is good till end of Gurgaon but a bit patchy from there till Bhiwadi where we turned left to take the Bhiwadi Alwar bypass. We had our tea break at 8.15 at Gailpur near Kajaria tiles factory and enjoyed the hot tea with homemade sandwiches. We also needed this break because of the number of speed-breakers until then is just too much and I think there are less than 10 from here till Sariska gate. From Gailpur we started at 8.45 and were at Alwar by 10.10 and then at Sariska by 11.10. In general it was a leisurely drive with a few breaks in between. Road between Bhiwadi and Alwar is very good except for the speed-breakers in the first stage and the railway bridge work near Alwar town entry. From Alwar to Sariska its patchy and the drive was slow but manageable.

Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve-img_1978_fotor.jpg

We stayed at the RTDC guesthouse. There is no economical option right next to Sariska other than the RTDC guesthouse. We had taken the non ac rooms there. It was in an unbelievably bad shape. There was just one CFL light in each of the rooms which made them dingy and not very welcoming. TV did not work, which of course did not matter too much. But, after I got back home, I was just happy that all of the switches were working and were actually switching something on! Overall food quality there was ok but service was terrible. The served poha in lunch which was priced at Rs. 200 and after I protested, the waiter took away the plates to bring rice. In a group of 5, they only brought one glass for water and that too after request. Of course, I understood as the reception guy said that they were understaffed that day but I did not see any new soul next day either. Buffet dinner was simple but acceptable and breakfast quality too was at acceptable level.

Tourist behaviour, oh my god! People wanting to play loud filmy music on laptops in the evening when you are so close to nature was unbelievable and I had to tell one group to reduce the noise. I was tired too. There were others who were smoking right at the gate and the entire smoke travelled inside the guesthouse lounge where we were having tea and another guy was about to light his cigarette right next to the breakfast spread as he "intended to go out later!". I again told him to not do so as I am seriously allergic to smoke. His reaction was like I was the one crossing the line! Whatever happened to common sense? and read about the best/worst one in my post below!

first, the national bird, there are so many of them and yet each one is more beautiful than the previous one!
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this too
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and this
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now the rare spottings

We spotted a Hyena pack, 4 adults and 2 cubs, in this image 2 of them can be seen and seems one of them spotted us too,
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and the wild cat. guess what one guy from another gypsy shouted on this spotting? hey ram, billi ne rasta kata i.e. "oh god, a cat crossed my path"
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near one of the water bodies,
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Nilgai female calf,
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Crocodile that promised to surface for a while
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Last edited by avingodb : 11th March 2015 at 18:54.
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Old 11th March 2015, 00:12   #2
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Default re: Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

Nice pictures, keep'em coming. I wish, we humans could understand the meaning of co-existence. Its real sad, we are destroying everything around us. Hope you did see the mighty beast in all its glory.

For all those, who want to experience an amazing safari & Jungle experience, I would definitely recommend "Ranthambore". It has a large number of Tiger population in comparison to many other Tiger Reserves in India and chances of meeting the beast are better. One of the best, I have ever been to.
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Old 11th March 2015, 13:47   #3
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Default re: Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

Originally Posted by Engine_Roars View Post
Hope you did see the mighty beast in all its glory
No, we did not see the big cat.

I had anyway gone to Sariska with low expectation, having read other threads here and elsewhere. Only 2 in 10 travelogues to Sariska report seeing a tiger. Tigers in all the national reserves have GPS collars and until last year, guides used to be given live information based on the GPS. However, this used to result in crowding as almost all of the gypsys used to be in the zone where the tiger was leading to agitation by the tigers. This was stopped in order to avoid angering/agitating the big cats and zones implemented more strictly.

However, while we were there, on 6th March, there was one minister from Central Government for whom the live tracking was used and his large convoy drove straight to the location where the big cat was. We later learnt that other vehicles trailed the minister's convoy and many managed to spot ST3 as she crossed from one section to another. This all happened while Hari Singh was showing us the remote sections of Z3 where there is no mobile phone network.

In fact in the evening, one of the guests at the RTDC guesthouse boasted that he had 25 odd shots of the tigress as he jumped out of the gypsy for a better shot . I asked him why he would do so and he replied that he just could not control himself after seeing the tigress. So much excitement after signing off the indemnity clause! in fact, at the guest house another group of tourists, youngsters, gave this guy a good dressing down, since they had seen it happen live, following which he stopped sharing his achievement.

Next morning we hit the road again with the information that ST3 was nearby and waited at a spot our guide anticipated ST3 would cross.
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After a while he decided to move to another location where the tigress could have been and her spotter also confirmed that ST3 was nearby but not moving at the location. This spotter below was much sought after by guides for updates on the tiger location.
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Following our first failed attempt to see the tigress we went ahead where we spotted the hyena pack as it was about to retire for the day. We spent about 20 minutes observing them and got back to the spot where we were earlier in the hopes of seeing the tigress. Our guide for the day, Ran Singh, used his intuition and skill to try and locate the tigress.

At the same location we started hearing sambar's distress call and its frequency increased eventually which meant that the tigress was on the move. At this point the spotter crossed us again and informed that she was in all likelihood just about 80-100 mtrs away but behind the thick forest. This was one of the sambars that emerged from the area and possibly one that was sharing the distress calls

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Recurring distress calls made us stop there still and and wait for ST3 to emerge but we were not lucky enough and she did not come out again. We returned from there finally by 10.20 after having waited there for close to 90 minutes.

Last edited by avingodb : 11th March 2015 at 15:37.
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Old 12th March 2015, 13:14   #4
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Default re: Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

On 7th, we set off at noon from Sarika to go to Bhangarh. As I mentioned earlier I did not take the jungle route, partly underestimating my car and having seen the road condition inside the jungle. Instead, I went by SH55 via Thanagazi and Ajabgarh. Ajabgarh is also an old fort town. it has lovely buildings, looks straight out of a period movie and roads are narrow. While the google maps showed 1 hr 10 mins for this drive it took me close to 1.45 hrs for this drive. We reached Bhangarh fort ruins by 1.45 pmor so.

After spending close to 2 hours there, we started for our return journey and took SH 29A and 25A. For this journey of 80 odd kms it took close to 2 hours 15 mins again thanks to extremely bad roads in some sections. Especially the 5 kilometres after Tehla seemed never ending as there was no road and only stones of varying in sizes. Finally the bad roads ended in Thana where we reached 90 minutes after we began from Sariska. So roughly 45 kms took 90 minutes and the next 40 odd took about 40-45 minutes and we were in Alwar by 6.15 pm

This is the route we took and I have marked the bad patches here. In some sections work was ongoing and it should be better in future, hopefully!Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve-sarikabgaralwar.png

We had dinner at the Prem Pavitra Bhojanalay, the AC one. Food here was good, restrooms clean and service really fast. We resumed for Delhi at 7.40 pm and were at home exactly at 11.00 pm. The only bad road we encountered was in Bhiwadi after leaving the Alwar Bhiwadi bypass and took some time in negotiating a U-turn on the NH8.

I had a memorable time in Sariska. While I am not disappointed not having seen the tiger, that makes for a good reason for planning the next trip already!
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Old 12th March 2015, 13:59   #5
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Default Re: Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th March 2015, 18:15   #6
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thank you mods for supporting and helping improve this thread!
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Old 13th March 2015, 10:26   #7
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Default Re: Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

Nice pictures there Avinash. Would love to have some more pictures in the thread please.
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Old 13th March 2015, 15:32   #8
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Default Re: Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve

thanks a lot, Jasmeet.
I do have some more pictures from my ipad. Let me try and upload them later in the evening!
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