Ranthambore Reserve is situated in India's northwestern state of Rajasthan, near the town of Sawai Madhopur, midway between Bharatpur and Kota townships. It is surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravali hill ranges and is very near to the outer fringes of the Thar Desert. The entire area has sprawling tracts of the desert and semi-desert vegetation. Originally a hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore was declared a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1980, it became a national park and listed among the reserves protected under Project Tiger (1973). Presently the Kaila Devi Sanctuary, also famous for its tigers, and Mansingh Sanctuary also form part of Ranthambore Reserve.
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve lies on the junction of Aravali and Vindhyas just 14 kms from Sawai Madhopur. in Eastern Rajasthan. It sprawls over a varying and undulating landscape. The scenery changes dramatically from gentle and steep slopes of the Vindhyas and sharp and conical hills of the Aravalis.
The park is famous for tigers and due to conservation efforts, the tiger population has stabilized if not increased here. The tigers can be spotted quite often even during the day, at their normal pursuits-- hunting and taking care of their young ones. Ranthambhor is one of the best places to see these majestic predators. Old crumbling walls, ruined pavilions, wells, and other ancient structures stand witness to the region's glorious past. The entire forest is peppered with the battlements and spillovers of the Ranthambhore fort - tigers are said to frequent these ruins, too.
A thousand year old fort also blends amicably with the background. Pure sands of Dhok interspersed with grasslands at the plateaus, meadows in valleys and luxuriant foliage around the canals make-up the jungle. Three big lakes – Padam Talab (meaning Lake), Malik Talab and Raj Bagh – are similar turquoises studded in the vast forest.
Major Attractions of Ranthambore
Ranthambore National Park : Ranthambore National Park is famous for its Tigers and is a favorite with photographers. For a relatively small area, the park has a rich diversity of fauna and flora - species list includes 300 trees, 50 aquatic plants, 272 birds, 12 reptiles including the Marsh Crocodile & amphibians and 30 mammals. For the wildlife savvy, Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary today offers an intense diversity of flora and fauna. Tigers, the park's pride makes it one of the best places in the country to observe them. Apart from that a large numbers of Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Gazzelle, Boars, Mongoose, Indian Hare, Monitor Lizards and a large number of birds.
Padam Talao : The Padam Talao is a large lake in Ranthambhore National Park which got its name from the lotus flowers that blossoms in the lake. The Padam Talao is a favorite watering hole of the animals of Ranthambhore. Tigers, leopards, deer, monkeys and peacocks can be seen drinking at the lakes edge. Machans or huts are an excellent platform from where you can see the animals drinking in the lake.
Ranthambore Fort : Built by the Chauhan rulers in the 10th century and is regarded as one of the important forts of strategic location, it was constructed to keep the enemy at bay. It is related to the historical legend of the royal women performing jauhar or self immolation when the Muslim invader Ala-ud-din Khilji sieged the fort in 1303. The fort is characterised by temples, tanks, massive gates and huge walls.
Jogi Mahal : The Jogi Mahal, which overlooks the pretty Padam Talab, is a legendary house. Though tourists are not allowed to stay here, even a glimpse of it from the fort is enough to provide a sense of royalty.
Places to Stay in Ranthambore
Tourists can choose from a range of luxury and budget hotels for a comfortable stay in Ranthambore besides the star categorised ones like the Vanyavilla Resort and the Sawai Madhopur Lodge. Other good places to stay are the 3 star Ranthambhore Bag Hotel and the Tiger Moon Hotel situated amidst the Aravalli hills.
Best Season to visit Ranthambore
The best visiting season of Ranthambore national park is during the months of October - March and April to June.
How to Get there
Air : Jaipur at 145-kms is the nearest airport from Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary.
Rail : Ranthambore National Park is around 11-kms away from Sawai Madhopur railway station, that lies on the Delhi to Bombay trunk route.
Road : A good network of buses connect Sawai Madhopur, the nearest town from Ranthambore to all the major cities within the state of Rajasthan.