Drive Into The Sariska Jungle – Story of Pandopol temple


Sariska National Park close to Alwar, Rajasthan is nestled in the Aravalli mountain range. The park is well known for its variety of wild animals like the leopard, sambhar, chital, nilgai, four-horned antelope, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur, hyena and jungle cats. There are over a dozen tigers residing in over 800 sq km area divided into grasslands, dry forests, cliffs and rocky landscapes.

Photo of Sariska National Park, Kraska, Rajasthan, India by sumit

Pandupol temple is 22 kms inside the jungle from the entry gate. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, one can purchase a ticket worth INR 250 from the gate and drive into the jungle to the temple. Pandopol temple is devoted to God “Hanuman” and the locals make a beeline every Tuesday and Saturday to seek blessings. There are families from other parts of the country which travel all the way to offer prayers. The temple has an ancient mythological connotation to it and as per the temple records, it dates back to the time of Mahabharata and was built by Pandava Bheem himself.

One can hear many stories about the emergence of this temple. There is one encrypted on marble inside the temple as follows; While the Pandavas were on exile, they had to spend one year without being noticed. During their journey through the Aravallis, the Pandavas came across an enormous mountain which stopped their journey and the way around was a huge detour. The strongest of all Pandavas, Bheem after seeking permission from the eldest brother Pandava Yudishthir, broke open the mountain with the strike of his mace and a water fountain emerged out of the center. This action filled Bheem with a great pride about his unmatchable strength.

To keep his pride under check, God Hanuman acquired the form of an old monkey and spread his tail on the way of Bheem. Bheem was extremely agitated at this act by an old monkey and ordered him to clear the route at once by moving his tail out of the way. The old monkey replied that he was very old and incapable of moving his own tail and Bheem himself could move it out of his way. Filled with his recently acquired bottomless pride, Bheem was mad beyond measure and wanted to teach the old monkey a lesson. Bheem tried very hard but he could not even move the tail with all his strength. God Hanuman crushed the mighty Pandava under his tail alongside crushing his pride. This was a huge jolt to the proud Bheem and he soon came back to his senses.

Bheem asked God Hanuman for his forgiveness and put forth his wish to see the god in his true form. God not only forgave his new disciple but also asked the Pandavas to build a temple one kilometer from the water fountain and blessed the Pandavas to complete their exile successfully.

The 22 km dirt track from the Sariska National park entry gate to the Pandopol temple gets you a nice dry mud pack but is blessed with sightings of Antelopes, peacocks, deer, wild boar etc. The walk from the temple to the site of waterfall is a sight to behold with pristine nature in all its glory and peacock dancing around you. The arc shaped hole in the mountain from where the fountain emerges is a beautiful spot worth the walk.

The journey transports you into a different era where wild and human life intermingle and the legendary stories make you believe in everything apart from science and urban reasoning. The authorities are very careful to avoid mishaps by making sure that one does not come face to face with the tigers in the wild except when you are on the jungle safari route.

Check out the video as we list this trip as a part of Escape Route Weekend Getaways. Alwarbagh by Aamod is the ideal night stay when you plan to take this journey. Look at our destinations page to make a booking.

This post was originally published on Escape Route.