Mukundra Hills Sanctuary – Rajasthan’s Third & Newest Tiger Reserve
One of the leisure pursuits of the super rich Maharajas and the British Officials in India was the Tiger Hunting. It meant to be the Manly sport, though driven by elephants and hordes of the villagers, the Maharajas got trophies to adorn their Palatial Mansions which we call the Palaces.
The Tiger hunting was an elaborate affair with huge retinue collected days before the tiger hunt. At times the entire household would participate and thus arrangements were made to transport the entire seraglio to the hunting grounds. These Hunting grounds are today’s Tiger Reserves, Sanctuaries and National Parks.
10th May, 2013; the Government of Rajasthan notified one such erstwhile Hunting Grounds of Tigers, Mukundra Hills. This has become the third tiger reserve in the state of Rajasthan.
Aproximatley 759 sq Km spread over four of the 31 districts would namely Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar and Chittorgarh now forms the Reserve Area. Of which 417 sq km have been is the core habitat area of The Tiger and 342.82 sq km is the buffer zone. The existing tiger reserves of Ranthambore and Sariska have a core area nearly thrice the size of Mukundra Tiger Reserve.
With the density of Tiger population increasing in Ranthambhore National Park led to territorial fights in the recent past. The creation of this reserve would thus ease off the situation as with the relocation of the Tigers from Ranthambhore National Park. It would take another year for the relocation to happen.
The core area of the Mukundra reserve currently has six villages, two of which are uninhabited. Eventually all these villages will have to be relocated funded by the NTCA. The sanctuary currently has wolves, sloth bear, chinkaras and leopards.
The Mukundra hill sanctuary already declared as the satellite core area of Ranthambore reserve by the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority). It was natural and logical step by the conservation body to link the area as Tigers often strayed into Mukundra area to breed.
The proposed Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve constitutes three wildlife sanctuaries including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal. This hilly sanctuary with thick forests is worth a visit. The animals here include Wolf, Sloth Bear, Chinkara and Leopard. This sanctuary is stretched in the area of 250 sq Km, around 50 Km from Kota.
It is to be noted that the approval was accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of five tiger reserves in India, which namely are:
- Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh)
- Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh)
- Sunabeda (Odisha)
- Mukundara Hills (Rajasthan)
- Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu)
As the frequent traveler to Rajasthan Wild Life Circuits or any National Park knows the National Parks are open to the public from the 1st of October till 30th of June every year. IN the monsoon especially the core areas are closed as it is the breeding time too for these magnificent beasts.
The best time is the winter seasons but the months of April to June increase the sighting chances with loss of foliage cover in the Parks for this King of the Jungle.