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Location - Rajasthan, India
Area - 1334 square kilometers
Nearest Airport - Jaipur International Airport
How to reach - Approx. 3.5-hour drive from Jaipur airport or 11km from Sawai Madhopur Railway Junction.
Famous for - Project Tiger, Home of famous Tiger Machhli and her offspring.
Months Open - 1st October to 30th June
Best Time to visit - May and November
The Ranthambore National Park is the largest and one of the most popular national parks located in northern India. Initially covering only 282 square kilometers, it was expanded to include the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary and the adjoining forests to cover 1334 square kilometers as of today. Situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeast Rajasthan, the Ranthambore National Park is where you find the Royal Bengal Tigers in their natural abode. Deriving its name from the Ranthambhore fortress which is within the park’s premises, the forest is surrounded by the Aravallis and Vindhyas sandwiched between River Banas in the north and River Chambal in the south. Considering its location, it is only fair to expect a rich diversity of flora and fauna with the sighting of the majestic beasts as one of its main attractions.
Tiger Safari to see the Royal Bengal tigers, over 270 species of birds, Ranthambore fort, adventure park, local handcraft, and art school and shops
Used as hunting grounds by the Maharajas of Jaipur, it was only in 1955 that Ranthambhore was turned into the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary by the Government of India. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1973 and became a national park in 1980. The surrounding forests of the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary were included in the tiger reserve in 1990, thus enlarging the reserve area considerably. The count of the tigers according to the 2014 census was 62 thus making way for some of them to be transferred to the Sariska National Park. The Ranthambore National Park has some famous tiger stories up its sleeve. The tigers in the reserve are identified as T -17 named Sundari, the camera-friendly T -16 named Machali and other tigers who have featured in many films and documentaries across the world. The idea is to give out information regarding these tigers; their territories and finding an emotional connection by giving them a name too.
What to see
The Royal Bengal Tigers are the main attractions and crowd pullers of the Park. The tigers have names and zones marked out as their territories, and sightings of tigers are very common during the day on a safari. It is awe-inspiring and almost surreal to watch these elegant royalties in their natural environment, being quite comfortable with being the center of attraction. It is important to do your Ranthambore safari booking in advance to avoid last-minute disappointments. The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is open from October to May, though the best months to visit are in May and November.
Other Wildlife and Birds
The forest has a thriving ecosystem and the other animals to watch out for are the leopard, wild boar, sambar, chital, gray langur, nilgai, and rhesus macaque. The Park is also home to about 270 odd species of birds, which include, the woodpeckers, greylag goose, Asian Palm Swift, cuckoos, egrets, herons, bitterns, flamingos, ibis, pelicans, and many more.
The forest is of dry deciduous type and the vegetation cover comprises of the babul, banyan, ber, dhok, jamun, kadam, khajur and khair trees.
Things to do
Besides, the tiger trails and safari rides, there is also much more to Ranthambore. The icon from which the park derives its name, this 10th century fortress, perched on a hilltop, is worth a visit. Built by the Chauhan dynasty, the fort is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Trinetra Ganesh Temple is situated inside the fort.
The National Park is fraught with numerous lakes and water bodies. These merit closer look by naturists because of the birds and vegetation that they attract and sustain. Some of the lakes that are worth a visit are, the Malik Talao, Padam Lake and Surwal Lake.
Situated on the edge of the Padam Talao, the Jogi Mahal is one of the most visited areas inside the Park. The largest banyan tree of India is found near this Mahal.
Raj Bagh Ruins
Situated between the Padam Talao and Raj Bagh Talao, these ruins are a reminder of the erstwhile architecture and stature of the Maharajas of Rajasthan.
Bakaula or Akaula Region
This is a thick forested area inside the Park, making it a cool abode on hot days. It is perfect for the sighting of many animals.
Located on the edge of the Park, this is a beautiful area around the Park, for sighting panthers and bears. Deer, wild boars, and sloth bears are also found here. There are also quite a few interesting places to visit at close proximity to the Park.
Ranthambhore School of Arts
This art school is located a short distance from Sawai Madhopur and specializes in paintings. The students paint mainly tigers, with the intention to conserve the species.
Wild Dragon is an adventure park for the serious adventure lovers that includes activities like Zorbing, ATV’s and horror house.
Village Women Craft
This center is situated in Sawai Madhopur and is a one-stop shop for any handicrafts or forest souvenirs.
Dastkar Craft Centre
A hub for Rajasthani handicrafts and forest souvenirs, the center also helps in the upliftment of the local women who showcase their craft skills here.
HOW TO REACH
Jaipur and Kota are the nearest airports. Both are linked to Sawai Madhopur by rail. Road – You can drive from Kota, Jaipur or even Delhi (480km).
Located in southeastern Rajasthan the national park is just about 11km away from the Sawai Madhopur town. Kota is about 110km southwest of the Park, whereas Jaipur is 160km northwest.
The Sawai Madhopur railway station is the junction to arrive at while making your way to the national park.
Day 1 – Reach Sawai Madhopur by lunch and check in to your hotel/resort. Meet with the group and skipper for the afternoon safari. Have a meeting with the group in the evening to plan the schedule for the following two days. Have a relaxed dinner and retire for the day.
Day 2 – We start early in the morning to capture the forest in its early breaking hours. Armed with cameras, enthusiasm, and anticipation we venture out for the safari and return for breakfast loaded with memories and photographs. The same schedule follows for the afternoon safari only to return to a group meeting in the evening to share the experiences and thoughts.
Day 3- We stick to starting early today as well for the last ride on the safari and to bid the forest adieu in the hope of returning. The afternoon is spent visiting the attractions around Ranthambore and by evening you can continue your onward journey from Sawai Madhopur.
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