The tour group then proceeds 13-km to a
lake called Silserh. The place is in the back of beyond. Medieval stone
water ducts make quiet a nice company on this route. Occasionally one or two
regal peacock tails can be seen colouring the earth. Mud houses in a
village, under the shadow of a cliff, children playing happily by the
haystacks. A sharp turn later and the contours of a lake emerged.
Barren mountains bound the lake on all sides. To one corner stands a
beautiful palace, its Chhatries (canopies) raising their proud heads to the
sky. The expanse of water surrounds the three sides of the royal preserve. A
circular structure of interest in the midst of the lake is the Raja's
bank playing stage.
A village at one end is a grim reminder of the Rani's humble origin.
Legend speaks that Vinaya Singh, the Raja of Alwar, once on a hunt fell
madly in love with a girl of this village and expressed his desire to marry
her. Not wanting to leave her old father, the bride wished to be close to
her village. A palace for Rani Sheela was erected at one end of this lake
from where she could see her father's village every moment. So the Raja
and Rani lived happily ever after.
The Sun disappears behind Silserh mountains, when the tour continues
towards Sariska, the Tiger den. Dusk does not fall in this region at once.
It takes its own pleasant time to slowly express itself. Mountains start
assuming queer and weird shapes; birds can be spotted flying homewards. It
is time for evening fires. An unusually sharp pair of mountains en route,
which are about 200 metres away from each other, is known as Natni Ka Bara
(Natni, being the Nautch girl). It is believed that one Natni tied a rope
between the cliffs and crossed the distance without experiencing fear of any
kind. When the ecstatic crowd showed her the distance and told her the
consequence of a fall from such a height, she collapsed of a heart attack.
A cultural extravaganza initially welcomes the guest. Local artistes dance
to the welcome hoot of a Bankiya, and the beat of Dholak. The steps and the
rhythm are swift and upbeat. The flowing mirrored skirts reflected the
flames of the evening campfire. Then comes the man spitting fire to the
night. Beside him, dance the girls with a pot of blazing flames placed on
head. It's indeed a fiery dance.
Jeep Safari In Sariska
The morning after is the 'Operation day of sighting the Tiger'.
The entrance to Sariska, the home of Indian Tiger is 7.00 am. A time when
the Sun starts spreading its forceful presence on men and animals below.
Peacocks, to the plenty, inhabited the forest. The prettiest are the young
ones. Blue bull families, can be seen swishing their tails or munching on a
high bush. Spotted Deer can be seen lazing around, not at all in a mood to
jump and hop away. While the Wild Boars seem quiet content with the company
of the Sambhars in the morning hours.
While scouring the jungle pathways, ducking under low branches, from an
open jeep to the right and left, if one hears a frightened call of a Spotted
Deer that confirms the majestic presence of the Tiger and it'll be
sheer luck of the tourist to witness the ferocious beast chasing his
breakfast. The thrills and pleasures of the wild are indeed more powerful in
nature, than those of the civilised world.
City Palace Museum
A mere 37-kilometre drive back from Sariska take one to the City Palace
Museum erected in 17th century by Maharaja Vinaya Singh. Though built high
and grandiose, age has brought signs of decay. The durbar hall is still kept
with its gold work intact, for use during ceremonial occasions. The most
outstanding of exhibits is a group of 18th century Mughal Miniature
Paintings, based on classical music Ragas. Each depicts the transformation
of nature brought about when the raga is sung - the effect on clouds, wind,
sky, human moods of that particular raga - so aptly that they singularly
classify as a work beyond parallel.
The others are ancient, priceless manuscripts and the arms of the bygone
era - a surprising presence are the swords of Emperor Akbar and Jehangir
with their pictures engraved upon them. The Egyptians had presented a sword
to Hazrat Ali 1400 years after the event, and the sword can be seen at
Alwar, bird-shaped wooden barber kits are amusing. The most awesome is,
however, the Zirahbakhtar (armour) of Muhammad Ghauri, the legendary
invader. Each small iron piece of the woven armour has verses of the Quran
inscribed upon it, perhaps for granting him protection.