Ranthambhore National Park
Situated 180km from Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, Ranthambhore National Park is one of the largest and expansive national parks in Northern India. Being home to the majestic and mighty predator Indian Bengal Tiger, Ranthambhore National Park is a popular tourist spot and welcome visitors from all over the world throughout the year. The park is encircled by Vindhyas and Aravalis hill ranges and covers an area of 400 square kilometers while the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is spread in an area of over 1410sq. kilometers.
The park was initially established as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India and later in 1973, it was announced as one of the Project Tigers reserves in India. On 1st November 1980, the Ranthambhore was declared as a National Park, while the forest cover within the park was named Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary.The hunting grounds of the former Maharajas of Rajasthan, the national park is the perfect place to witness the magnificent Indian Tiger in its dry deciduous habitat along with other species of fauna that attracts many wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. Ranthambhore park is also famous for its historic edifices and ruins of some of the historical forts that add to the charm of the place. A gigantic fort after which the park has been named sits atop a hill soaring over the park. The place is also home to some of the most exotic species of birds including the migratory birds which grace the sky during the season.
Explore the area by doing a variety of activities such as animal photography, bird watching, gypsy safari, canter safari, etc. The whole experience of watching royal Tigers roaming freely in the park, an enthralling gamut of diverse species of animals and birds, and the captivating greenery in the park will keep you in awe of its beauty.
Features of the Park
Ranthambore Fort was built in the 10th century at 210 m (700 ft) above the surrounding plain. Inside the fort are three red Karauli stone temples devoted to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji. There is a Digamber Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath and Lord Sambhavanath. The temples were constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Apart from the prominent trees which are Dhok trees, Banyan, Pipal, Neem, Mango, Tamarind, Jamun, Ber, and other medicinal plants, few other floras found in the park are Bulbul, Gum, Gurjan, Kadam, Khair, Khajur, Kakera, Karel, Khimi, Kikar, Mahua, Salar, Kulu, Ronj, Tendu, and others. Lotus and Water Lilies are the prime aquatic flowers found in the park lakes which are draped with Khus grass.Ranthambore is also famous for housing one of the largest banyan trees in India at Jogi Mahal.
- Mammals: The popular wild animals in Ranthambore includes Tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Sloth bears, Black bucks, Rufoustailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, Coomon Yellow Bats, Desert Cats, Fivestriped Palm Squirels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes, Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Porcupines, Longeared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets and Common mongoose.
- Reptiles: Marsh Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Cobras, Common Kraits, Ganges Soft-shell Turtles, Indian Pythons, Rat Snake, Russell’s viper, and Indian Chameleon.
- Birds: Baya Weaver, Grey Francolin/Partridge, purple Sunbird, Red-wattled Lapwing, Brown Rock/Indian Chat, Indian Peafowl/Peacock, Rufus Treepie, Black Drongo, Bar-Headed Goose, Indian Pond Heron, Ruddy Shelduck, Hoopoe/Common Hoopoe, Crow Pheasant, Large Grey Babbler, Indian Scops-owl, Wooly-Necked-Stork, etc.
Things to Do in Ranthambore National Park
- Bird Watching – Ranthambore is known for its diverse bird species that inhabit the park and attract a lot of bird watching fans. The most popular spots in the national park to catch a glimpse of the winged species are Malik Talao, the Ranthambore Fort, RajbaghTalao, PadamTalao, and Jhalra area. The most recommended season for this activity in Ranthambore national park is monsoons and winters.
- Jeep Safari – An activity filled with thrill and adventure, jeep safari in Ranthambore is one of the must-do activities. The jeep safari is organized by the park authorities which takes place twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoons. The park has 20 six-seater jeeps which are open from all sides and are ideal if you are a wildlife photographer or want to watch birds. Moreover, a jeep safari is one of the best ways to explore the dense jungles of Ranthambore along with its various eco-tourism zones and wildlife residing in it.
Timings are from 6:30am to 10am and 2:30pm to 6pm
- Canter Safari – A canter safari is another way you can explore the lush extravaganza of the Ranthambore forest. It is a 20-seater open bus which operates in the safari zones in Ranthambore and is great for taking large groups of tourists. These buses are open from all sides and traverse you through the 10 eco-tourism zones of the national park where you can witness the wildlife in their glory.
Timings are from 6:30am to 10am and 2:30am to 6pm
- Jeep safari price – INR1800 for Indians and INR3700 for Foreigners
- Canter safari price – INR1300 for Indians and INR2700 for Foreigners
You can book the safari online via the official website of Ranthambore National Park or you can directly go the national park safari booking office and book the tickets on first come first served basis and pay full fees in advance.
Places to See Inside Ranthambore
- Ganesh Temples – The Trinetra Ganesh temple located in the Ranthambore Fort is a spiritual place you must visit. The temple houses the entire family of Lord Ganesh with wives and sons and is known to be the oldest and largest Ganesh Temple in Rajasthan.
- Kachida Valley– Located on the outskirts, Kachida Valley is known to be an abode for panthers and bears that roam around the picturesque landscape. The area is full of lush greenery and houses varied flora and fauna which delights the photography buffs. Hiring a jeep to explore the region offers the best view of the region with stunning views and wildlife in their natural habitat.
- Lakarda and Anantpura– Make a visit to Lakarda and Anantpura located in the northern region of the national park. It is one of the few places int the wildlife reserve where you can witness the Indian striped Hyenas. You can also spot a large number of sloth bears in this area along with other reclusive species.
- PadamTalao - The largest lake in Ranthambore national park, Padam Talab is encircled by thick greenery and hillocks and offers peace to tourists. The lake also offers a sight of migratory birds which is the best spot for bird watching along with some wildlife which flock near the lake to have water.
- Ranthambore Fort – The trek to Ranthambore fort after which the park is named is as exciting as the national park itself. It is an imposing structure that overlooks the entire park and offers a great view of the surrounding valley and the hill ranges very clearly.
- Malik Talao – One of the three lakes in the national park, it is one of the great spots for bird watching where hundreds of migratory bird flock and it is also a house to Marsh crocodiles.
- Ranthambhore enjoys a dry subtropical climate with the summers starting from March to July and the temperature soaring up to 40 degrees Celsius. The monsoons start from mid-July and the area experiences moderated rainfall of 800mm. The winter falls between December and February with the temperature going as low as 2 degrees Celsius at night.
- The best time to visit the park is from November to March as the weather is pleasant and all the safari gates remain open this time of the year. For wildlife photographers and enthusiasts, summers are the best time to visit Ranthambhore National Park as animals frequently stroll outside in search of water.
How to reach
- By Air– The nearest airport from Ranthambhore National Park is in Jaipur at about 160km away. The airport is well-connected by road to the park and taxis and buses are available from the airport.
- By Train– The nearest railhead is Sawai Madhopur Station at a distance of 10km. Taxis are available from the station to take you to the park.
- By Road– Ranthambhore National Park is well-connected to the major cities and places in Rajasthan. You can either take your private vehicle directly to the park entrance or ride a public bus to reach the park.