Rajasthan forest minister Gajendra Singh Khimsar inaugurated the reopening of the place for tourists recently.
Jaipur: The name of the historic Shikar Audi in Jhalana Forest area will soon be changed. In the bygone era, Jhalana was a popular tiger hunting area that hosted eminent guests who enjoyed the sport of hunting with the Shikar Audi as a base. The name, however, will now be changed to Panther Audi as it symbolizes poaching of panthers that is a serious wildlife crime.
During the full-day inauguration ceremony recently, ACS NC Goel expressed surprise that the place was still being associated with the word shikar (hunting). After this, several other officials of the forest department also expressed their disagreement with the use of this word.
Rajasthan forest minister Gajendra Singh Khimsar opened the place for tourists during the inauguration ceremony and stated that the leopard safari has been gaining popularity with domestic and overseas wildlife lovers for the past 2 years. He mentioned about the work that has been done in the forest to make it a global attraction. According to him CM Vasundhara Raje’s announcement of ‘Project Leopard’ has helped in leopard conservation and habitat improvement in Jhalana. The minister also said that tourists will now be able to enjoy full and half days safari in Jhalana with a break at the Audi.
Shikar Audi was was a hunting lodge of the Maharajas during the early 1900s. A full day safari for a gypsy or five people would be priced at Rs 10,000 while a half day safari will cost Rs 5000. Wildlife enthusiasts will now also be able to spend time over refreshments at the famous Audi. Jhalana is said to have about 20-25 leopards and has gained popularity in recent times.
According to the forest minister, the iconic Audi was thus far lying neglected hence has been cleaned up and umbrellas, benches and reclining chairs, toilets have been installed. With the third track, that has been opened now, possibilities of leopard sighting for tourists are high along the 10 km stretch of the reserve. Jhalna only had two tracks prior to this. One of the concerns though is the safety of the animals for which the construction of a wall is being carried out. Illegal entry into the forest is also being monitored by the officials.