Day Trip to Sariska -Tigers and More (Part I)
This Sunday 21st April 2013 myself accompanied by 4 more guys we visited the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. Having visited only 2 other Tiger Sanctuary before this, it was my first visit to Sariska.I’ve visited Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Surprisingly Sariska is the one which is closest to Delhi was never on my radar. So when I came across this travelogue from my friend Gurudutt, I in some corner of my mind started dreaming that I would be visit Sariska someday in future. Since the day I saw the travelogue I am a big fan of Gurudutt’s photography skills and the dedication with which he keeps visiting Sariska throughout the year and keeps his travelogue up-to-date. Adding fuel to the fire was travelogues by Dhiraj Kapoor and his fantastic photographic skills as well.
Though Gurudutt visits Sariska quite often somehow I never was able to accompany him on one of his travels. Sometimes the date’s didn’t suit well but most of the time I was too damm lazy, however the inclining to visit didn’t die out.
It was last week that I saw on Gurdutt’s thread that he was planning to visit Sariska on Sunday 21st April 2013 I saw an opportunity and got in touch with him. We’ve known each other for quite a long while having interacted on Social Networks and various forums but had never ever met each other in person nor spoken over the phone. So much so that we didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers. Funny thing that happened was when he called me on Friday 19th April 2013, I picked up the phone and greeted him like I knew who was calling. Gurudutt was surprised that I had his number but I told him that his number appeared on my phone through software by the name of TRUECALLER.
So we finalized that we would leave early morning on Sunday as only three of would be going we would leave in one vehicle. The third person to accompany myself and Gurudutt was Shahid Ahmed another common friend who I knew from my off-roading circle of friends.
I came home and when I told my plans to my brother, Harbeer, he too was interested. So now we were four people Gurudutt, Shahid, Harbeer and I.
The plan finalized was that me and Harbeer would pickup Gurudutt from Gurgaon at 3AM, then proceed towards Shahid’s place on Sohna Road and latest by 3.30AM start for Sariska.
21st April 2013
The night before I got my gear in order. Camera charged, Memory Cards emptied and formatted, extra memory cards packed, Tripod, GPS charged and emptied of previous tracks, binoculars, etc.
For this trip I’m using a Canon 550D along with Canon EF-S 55-250 f4-5.6 lens. It was the only lens I could afford at the time I bought it a couple of years back.
Called up Gurudutt informed him that my brother too would be accompanying us, understood the location to his house so that I don’t waste time trying to find it in the morning.
In the morning of 21st Apr’13 or I should say the night of 20th Apr’13 me and Harbeer were in our car at 235AM and started for Gurudutt’s house. We were there at 3am and found Gurudutt waiting at the gates of his building complex. Immediately we started for Shahid’s house on Sohna Road and were there in no time. Shahid Bhai was too waiting for us and it was decided there that we would take his Bolero for the journey to Sariska and back.
God only knows why none of us objected to this but we left behind four perfect and comfortable vehicles behind 3 Scorpios (2 belonging to Gurudutt and 1 to Shahid) & my Landcruiser. I think for me it was the excitement of visiting Sariska for the first time that I didn’t even think about this decision. More on that later.
We were now accompanied by Shahid’s driver as well, Rajesh, and were a party of 5.
Left Sohna Road at 3.30 AM and decided to take the Sohna- Nuh- Firozpur Zikra- Alwar By Pass and then Sariska route, a distance of 165Kms.
There were ‘n number of speed breakers on this route and the last stretch of 30 odd kms is in a bad condition, resulting which we reached the Forest Office only 10 minutes to 7AM having originally planned to be there by 6AM. The reason for the delay was Rajesh was driving at a comfortable speed of 60-70 KMPH and the last stretch of 30 odd Kms, being double lane boken roads delayed us by quite a bit.
Good news was that Gurudutt’s guide Hari Singh was waiting for us at the Forest Office with all the permits and paperwork in order as well as the vehicle. Wasting no time we all got our gear out of the vehicle and hopped into the waiting gypsy and made an entry in the forest at 7AM.