About 205km from Jaipur, Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is where you can get up and close with a huge variety of avifauna. Situated in the Churu district of Shekhawati, the sanctuary falls on road from Ratangarh to Sujangarh. Located on the fringes of the Thar Desert, the highlight of this sanctuary though is that it is home to 2,000 gorgeous blackbucks.

What was once a wind-swept wasteland is today a park with overwhelming scenic beauty. Chappar is an open grassland interspersed with mothiya grass and Acacia and Prosopis trees that give it an appearance of a typical Savanna.

The word ‘Tal’ means plain land; and is great for rain water harvesting. Water flows through shallow low lying areas and gets collected in the small seasonal water ponds here for a year-round supply. The enchanting natural beauty; the unique, fragile ecosystem and the migratory passage of exotic birds, Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is a nature lover’s delight.

The most commonly sighted bird here are the harriers, including Montagu’s harrier, marsh harrier, pale harrier and hen harrier. Other birds one can easily spot are the Imperial eagle, tawny eagle, short-toed eagle, sparrow hawk, skylark, crested lark, brown dove, green bee-eaters, black ibis and demoiselle cranes.

Though it’s a small sanctuary, it boasts of a rich biodiversity. Several animals can be spotted here as well, such as the jungle cat, desert cat, and chinkara. Tal Chappar is a great getaway from Delhi (350km) and Jaipur, and the best way to get here is by road. It makes for one of the most scenic drives in Rajasthan, with the sand dunes never leaving the frame.

The best time to visit here is between November to February, when the temperature drops to as low as 5 degree Celsius. In the summer months, the extremely hot weather pushes most of the animals to their dens; so it’s not a good time to visit then.