Jhalana: One of the Best Safaris to Sight the Elusive Leopard

Jhalana was opened to public as a Leopard/ Panther Wildlife Sanctuary in Feb 2016. With an area of 33 sq km just outside Jaipur, with a population of 15-18 leopards and high chances of spotting the elusive leopard with 10-20 feet distance, Jhalana has fast become a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts. After seeing so many pictures of leopards at Jhalana, I finally visited Jhalana Safari Park in Jan 2017. It is located just on outskirts of east Jaipur, practically right next to the bustling area of Malviya Nagar.

We found it slightly complicated to locate the exact location of the park as google map was helpful to a point. Then we tried asking the locals for directions but most were not aware about the park. Even the police there asked us to go to the zoo if we wanted to see animals. Only one policeman was finally able to guide us. Thus if you are looking for exact directions, ask for the Apex Circle or Apex Hospital. The park is almost right behind the hospital.

 

Jhalana Routes or Tracks

The park has 2 routes or tracks:

  1. Route 1 or Neemgatta Track is about 4-5 km circuit. This is one the left just after the entry through the main gate.
  2. Route 2 or Lalakund Track is about 3-4 km circuit. It is about 1 km from the gate driving straight through towards Mataju Temple, thus you will encounter various people walking etc going to the temple.

The vegetation is mostly Babool but Route 1 or Neemgatta Track is greener and denser than Route 2 or Lalakund Track.

There are several artificial (cement) water holes where the leopards come for a drink. In the absence of a guide, we drove down and waited at each of the water holes we encountered but didn’t spot any leopard, perhaps because it was too cold.

 

Animals at Jhalana

Leopards are the highlight of the Park. Although I was not fortunate enough to spot any, I am sharing the picture below of the 15 leopards found here, compiled and clicked by Abhinav Mudgal and Dhiraj Kapoor.

Other animals include spotted deer, mongoose and nilgai (or bluebull). There are several birds in the park as well; most commonly sighted ones are peacocks.

jhalana

Jhalana Safari:

Currently the forest department does not organize any safaris. You have to take your private car/ taxi. There is a person arranging for private safaris to the park but he charges INR 4500-5000 per car. You can ping me if you require his contact details.

 

Safari Timings: Winters: Morning: 6.30 am to 9.30 am

Evening: 3 pm to 6 pm

It is advisable to reach the park 15 minutes before the safari timings.

 

Cost: INR 350 for the car + INR 100 per person

Extra charges are applicable on the usage of video camera. The charges for students is lesser.

 

My Request to Authorities:

Since I had gone to the park on Makar Sakranti, which is a major kite flying festival at Jaipur, the local crowd was less even though it was a weekend. But some observations which were sad:

  1. Since people were allowed to take their cars, there were people playing music and blowing horns inside the park, getting out of their cars and taking a stroll around the park and of course people who were super loud.
  2. Anyone and everyone is allowed to visit the temple inside the park. People were walking, playing cricket and feeding the animals.

I would actually request the forest department to streamline the safaris and implement more stringent do’s and don’t’s for the park. It should be mandatory for every vehicle to have a guide to ensure implementation of the required decorum. It is a great park and some steps can make it much better for the future and the animals.

My Advice to you while visiting the Park:

  1. Avoid Noise: Please maintain silence as much as possible. Do not blow horns or play music and whisper if you have to talk to each other.
  2. Avoid Bright Colors: Please take a car with a color that camouflages with the forest like green, or grey or brown. Also wear earthy colored clothes.
  3. D not feed the animals
  4. Do not get down from the car
squirrel
squirrel at jhalana
parrot at jhalana
parrot at jhalana
jhalana
bird at jhalana
jhalana
bird at jhalana

jhalana peacock at jhalana

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