Sawai Madhopur is one of
the many famous destinations of the western state of India,
Rajasthan. Generally a visit to Sawai Madhopur means a visit
to the tiger reserve here. However, the place has much more to
offer you in sightseeing and excursions. Surrounded by the
Vindhya and Aravali hill ranges and located very near to the
outer fringes of the Thar Desert, Sawai Madhopur offers you
the best of the desert land as well as plain area near the
hills. Due to its proximity to the Thar desert, the vegetation
here is that of deciduous forest.
Sawai Madhopur was the massive stronghold of the Rajput King
Hamir who was defeated by Allauddin Khilji's army in 1301 AD.
A glorious era in the history of Sawai Madhopur was, when
Emperor Akbar invested it in 1569. This event was recorded by
his artists in miniature paintings of the Akbarnama. Later the
fort was handed over to the rulers of Jaipur and remained with
them till 1949 when Jaipur state became a part of Rajasthan.
In 1955 Sawai Madhopur became a sanctuary and was one of the
very first protected areas. Now a national park, it has an
area of over 400 square kilometers with a tiger population of
a little over a hundred.
Climate: The best time to visit the beautiful
countryside of Sariska is between November and June. One can
see the most of the animals in the evening.
Places of interest
The park, which is one of the finest tiger reserves in the
country is the main attraction of Sawai Madhopur. Spread over
an area of 392 sq. km, Sawai Madhopur is characterised by dry
deciduous forests sprawling over the Aravalli and Vindhyan
ranges. If you are fortunate enough you can also see the tiger
strolling in the jungle or near any of the three lakes-Padam
Talab, Raj Bagh Talab and Milak Talab. The park also has
panthers in sizable numbers, though they have been spotted
generally at the outskirts of the park perhaps due to the
inevitable conflict with the tiger population, which command
the 'superior' position amidst the predatory cats. For
spotting panthers, Kachida Valley is regarded as the ideal
place. Other mammalian species that have made Sawai Madhopur
their home are antelopes, nilgai, sambhar, chital, sloth bear,
wild boar, chinkara, porcupines, jackals, leopards, jungle
cats, fox, caracals, hyena, gazelle, Indian hare, mongoose and
jacanas. Besides animals, about 264 species of birds are found
within the park including painted storks, white-necked storks,
black storks, peafowl, crested serpent eagles, Bonelli's
eagle, Indian horned owl, quail, partridge, spur fowl,
paradise flycatcher and jacanas. During winters migratory
birds like graylag goose, ruddy sheiduck and pintails may also
be spotted. Monitor lizards and marsh crocodiles are also
found here. The park was one of the places visited by the
former U.S. President Bill Clinton during his visit to India.
A visit to Sawai Madhopur means a visit to the noteworthy
Ranthambore fort too. The fort was built by the Chauhan rulers
in the 10th century and is regarded as one of the oldest forts
of Rajasthan. Due to its strategic location, the fort was
ideal to keep the enemy at bay. The fort is also related to
the historical legend of the royal women performing
jauhar(self immolation) when the Muslim invader Ala-ud-din
Khilji laid siege on this fort in 1303. The fort is
characterised by temples, tanks, massive gates and huge walls.
The Jogi Mahal makes a must visit place in Ranthambore. It is
the forest rest house that overlooks the pretty Padam Talab.
The Mahal lies close to the park and has all the facilities
for a comfortable stay. The most important aspect of Jogi
Mahal that attracts a large number of tourists every year is
the ancient banyan tree, which is believed to be the second
largest banyan tree in India.
Flora and Fauna
Sawai Madhopur is characterised by the typical desert land of
Rajasthan. The park here is the natural habitat of a sizeable
number of panthers. Due to the considerable population of the
tigers in the Ranthambore national park, the site has been
taken under project tiger. The flora of the place is
characterised by dry deciduous shrubs and not so high trees.
However the topography varies in some places from secure
forests to open scrublands. Dhok is the most prominent tree
that you can find here. The aquatic flora in Sawai Madhopur
includes lovely lotus flowers and water lilies. In fauna,
Sawai Madhopur makes the natural habitat of some of the
mammalian species like the antelopes, nilgai, sambhar, chital,
sloth bear, wild boar, chinkara, porcupines, jackals,
leopards, jungle cats, fox, caracals, hyena, gazelle, Indian
hare, and mongoose. You can also find about 264 species of