National parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Rajasthan

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Spot Bengal tigers, chinkaras, sambars while walking through sand dunes, grasslands, woodlands or go on a safari - we have rounded up the best national parks in Rajasthan for you. Read along.

 

The land of the Rajputanas is not just about colourful lanes, forts and palaces. The vast state of Rajasthan is home to some of the most unique and rich wildlife. The state has arid landscapes, however, there are many lush screen regions that are home to various kinds of flora and fauna. Here are some national parks where you can witness them first hand.


1. Ranthambore National Park


Flanked by the Banas River in the north and the Chambal River in the south, the Ranthambore National Park takes up 1,334 sq. km. It was once a hunting ground for the Maharajas, but was later recognised for its ecological importance and declared a national park. Located about 130 kilometers away from Jaipur in the Sawai Madhopur district, it was officially called the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955.


Ranthambore National Park: National Parks in Rajasthan

Ranthambore National Park


In 1973, it was declared a Project Tiger Reserve and came to be known as the Ranthambore National Park in 1980. It was renamed after the Keladevi Sanctuary and other forests were merged with it. It speciality lies in grassy meadows, deciduous forests, 539 species of flowering plants, the Royal Bengal Tiger, sloth bear, caracal, jackal, leopard, hyena, mongoose, Indian wolf, chital, sambar deer, blue bell antelope, langur, crocodile, vultures, serpent eagle, and a variety of birds. The beautiful Ranthambore Fort is also situated here. Right from gypsy rides, canter safaris, birdwatching to wildlife photography, the park offers a lot.


They offer many packages and all of them can be booked online here: http://fmdss.forest.rajasthan.gov.in/

Best time to visit: October to June


2. Sariska National Park


The Sariska National Park aka Sariska Tiger Reserve was declared a national park in 1982 and is spread over 881 sq. km. Nestled at the Aravalli Range in Alwar, it was declared as a wildlife reserve in 1955. It was also part of Project Tiger when it was declared a tiger reserve in 1979. Sariska is the first reserve in the world to have successfully relocated tigers. Unique to the area, dhok trees cover almost 90 percent of the sanctuary.


Sariska National Park


In addition to the tiger, you can also spot leopard, caracal, chital, sambhar, nilgai, wild boar, rhesus macaque, four-horned antelope, jungle cats, hyena, and more. This National Park is where the largest populations of peafowl, harbour quails, golden-backed woodpeckers, crested serpent eagles, sand grouse are present.


The Siliserh Lake which is located at the edge of the park is home to crocodiles. The grasslands, rocky landscape and cliffs of Sariska National Park makes it a must-visit. If camel safaris are on your mind, you can go for one here. Another distinctive aspect about Sariska is that it is a mineral-rich area and is known for copper. The Kankwadi Fort, Sariska Palace, Neelkanth Temple, Pandupol Hanumanji Temple are all located well within the park.


You can know more about it here: https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/content/rajasthan-tourism/en/tourist-destinations/sariska-tiger-reserve.html

Best time to visit: October to March


3. Desert National Park


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Desert National Park is located in the Jaisalmer and Barmer districts of Rajasthan. It is one of the largest national parks in India sprawling over an area of 3162 sq. km. Situated amidst the Thar Desert, sand dunes comprise 20 percent of the Park. The rest is defined by dense salt lake bottoms and rocks. Home to the Indian gazelle or chinkara, this national park has a desert ecosystem which is extremely sensitive and fragile.


Desert National Park


You can spot black buck, Bengal fox, desert cat and many other animals here. Owing to its terrain and climate, you will also be able to witness a slew of reptiles. Eagles, falcons, buzzards, vultures, harriers, kestrels and other birds are a common sight too. If you go close to the lakes or ponds, you can also spot sand grouse. The endangered Great Indian Bustards (which is one of the world’s heaviest flying birds) are found here.


Throughout the year, the park’s Gadisagar Lake becomes a temporary home to thousands of migratory birds like Himalayan and Eurasian griffon vultures, saker falcon and eastern imperial eagle. It is also believed that dinosaurs’ fossils can be found here.


You can read more about it here. https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5448/

Best time to visit: October to March


4. Keoladeo National Park


Earlier known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a popular avifauna sanctuary where birdwatchers and ornithologists flock to every year. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971 and derives its name from the ancient Keoladeo temple which is situated nearby.


The park stretches over 28 sq.km and is locally referred to as Ghana. The man-made wetland has played a crucial role in preventing frequent floods in Bharatpur. It was once a waterfowl hunting ground. The park was created about 250 years ago and was a natural depression which got flooded when Ajan Bund (on the confluence of River Gambhir and Banganga) was built by the Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur. The area was so rich in avifauna, that in 1938, Lord Linlithgow (then Viceroy of India) shot and killed over 4,273 birds (mallards and teals).

Keoladeo National Park


The Maharajahs held the right to hunt till 1972. In 1982, it was declared a national park and in 1985, a world heritage site. Filled with grasslands, wetlands, and woodland swamps, it is home to 366 bird species, 379 floral species, 50 kinds of fish, 13 kinds of snakes, 7 species of amphibians, 7 types of turtles and 5 species of lizards. You can truly be one with nature here.


You can get to know more here: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/340/

Best time to visit: August to November

 

Edited by Roshni Shroff

 

Resources to help you know more about national parks in Rajasthan and beyond:

52 Best National Parks of India

Rajasthan all set to get its 4th tiger reserve