Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful abode for the birds of different regions. It is supposed to believe that Goddess 'Sita' had spent her few years of exile in this area, hence this sanctuary named as Sitamata WLS with three perennial rivers in its account. This sanctuary has its immense importance in Southern Rajasthan mainly because it forms the northwestern limit of Teak-bamboo forests and the fauna occurring there in. It is exceptional for diversity and interspersion of habitats, which includes area of teak stands, wetlands, perennial streams, gentle undulating mountains, natural deep gorges and fine grooves of mixed woodlands. The location of this sanctuary being at the inter junction of the Aravalli, Vindyan hill ranges, and Malwa Plateau makes it zoo-geographically important and more unique as floral and faunal elements of both ranges could occur.
When talk about Rajasthan, only scene comes in mind is vast sand dunes, desert, dry areas but seeing this sanctuary would surely surprise everyone by seeing network of three rivers Jakham, the Karmoi and the Sitamata and accompanied lush green riparian vegetation is main characteristic of this sanctuary.All this have resulted in diverse micro and macro habitats that are home to quite a few conservation significant floral species like Sterculia urens,Dendrocalamus strictus, Chlorophytum tuberosum, Buchanania lanzan, Desmostachya bipinnata, Gloriosa superba and Orchid like Vanda and Peristylis.
This majestic Wildlife Sanctuary (SWLS) lies in the districts of Chittaurgarh, Udaipur and newly formed Pratapgarh district in the southwest region of Rajasthan State extending upto 422.95 km2. Three perennial river i.e. Jakham, karmoi and Sitamata wet the sanctuary through out the year. General topography presents a picture of tangled wilderness of ridges, plateaus, valleys with network of streams and at places fairly wide plains.The climate is characterized by distinct winter, summer and monsoon season.The winter commences from November and becomes cold in December –January with the minimum temperature of 6oC. Summer starts from mid March and the heat become intense in April with the maximum temperature of 45oC. Rain showers from mid June and continues up to mid September. Sometimes winter showers also occur in January-February.
With so many characteristics, this sanctuary is interspersed with about 26 villages and their agriculture field that creates a typical mosaic; while along the periphery there are nearly 20 villages. The agricultural activities coupled with the heavy biotic pressure of domestic livestock, illicit cutting of wood, timber and bamboo and other MFP collection, encroachments, both inside and the periphery exerts enormous pressure on the PA.
This entire geographic feature makes this sanctuary perfect abode for more then 300 species of birds including Indian Pitta, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Verditer Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, three type of Kingfisher and major attraction is Stroke-billed Kingfisher in the riverine, Tit species like Black-lored Tit, Great Tit, small birds like munias and winter visitors like warblers, and even can see dancing Indian Peafowls everywhere in the monsoon season.
Butterflies like Lime butterflies, Mormon, Blue Tigers, Grey, blue, peacock and chocolate pansy can be seen feeding on many flowering species.
Tiny spiders are of course can bring joy of being in the forest.
Mammals like Palm and Small Indian Civet are an attraction in the night feeding on some fruiting trees. Jungle Cat and smallest Rusty-spotted Cat is also a feature of attraction in the sanctuary along with endangered Four-horned Antelope.
|Indian Rock Python|
Reptiles like Fan-throated Lizard, to poisonous Kobra, Krait to Python, even crocodiles can be seen at the bank of Jakham Dam.
Overall this sanctuary is a must visit place in southern Aravallis. Even Sitamata temple is located at the heart of the sanctuary midst of lush green forest with riverine all along.
|Waterfall near Sitamata Temple|
One could ever imagine a walk in the forest listening chirping birds all over, fishes and even small crabs in the river, water is so clear that one can even see river-bed full of small pebbles, deep gorges and valley and after that a small water fall. It’s so comforting to be in this protected area. I would advise to all my friends to take some time off from their busy life and visit this place at least once in their life.