Ranthambore - The Land of Royal Bengal Tigers
Ranthambore National Park; a gem in the desert state of Rajasthan; is probably the best place to find the mighty Royal Bengal Tiger. It is surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravali hill ranges and lies on the outer fringes of the Thar Desert. Famous for its tiger population, the entire area is covered with sprawling tracts of desert and semi-desert vegetation. Originally a hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore was declared a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1980s, it became a national park and was listed among the reserves protected under Project Tiger (1973). Presently the Kaila Devi Sanctuary, also famous for its tigers, and the Man Singh Sanctuary form a part of Ranthambore Reserve.
Jeep Safari is an exciting option here to get close to Ranthambore Wildlife. With high chances of spotting the big cat as well as photographing it. Excursions around the park give valuable insights into the culture and tradition of the local people especially the Meena tribes. One can also look for medieval splendour in the form of forts, havelis (mansion), and palaces that are scattered throughout it.
Meet the Inmates of Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary
The Majestic Tigers
Ranthambore receives thousands of visitors each year because of its Royal Bengal Tigers. They can be spotted in their natural habitat even during daytime, frequently at the edges of its three lakes. Here you will find the toothless yet majestic Machali (T-16), Romeo (T-6) and her younger companion Laila (T-41). T-9 (Durrah Female) can also be seen with her cubs. Just like the landscape, stories of these Royal Bengal Tigers and their cubs too are equally impressive.
Other Wild Animals
Alongwith tigers, the park also have sizable numbers of panthers. The Kachida Valley is regarded as the ideal place for spotting panthers. Other mammalian species here are antelopes, nilgai, sambhar, chital, sloth bear, wild boar, chinkara, porcupines, jackals, leopards, jungle cats, fox, caracals, hyena, gazelle, Indian hare, mongoose and jacanas. Sambhars are in abundance at the park and form the prime target of all the predatory mammals. Monitor lizards and marsh crocodiles are also found in plenty.
The park is home to about 264 species of birds including painted storks, white-necked storks, black storks, peafowl, crested serpent eagles, Bonelli's eagle, paradise flycatcher, and jacanas. During winters, migratory birds like graylag goose, ruddy shelduck and pintails can also be spotted.
For those who are inclined towards the flora of a region, the park offers varied topography from secure forests to open scrublands. Vegetation is of the dry deciduous type, with dhok being the most prominent tree. The water bodies in Ranthambore are known to have lovely lotus flowers and water lilies. Among the park's other attractions is the forest rest house, Jogi Mahal, the premises of which houses the second largest banyan tree in India.
Ruins within and around Ranthambore bear testimony to its royal past. There are lake palaces, old fortifications and the majestic Ranthambore fort at a height overlooking the park. The forest rest house is situated at the foot of the fort within Jogi Mahal.
Major hotels here organise local dance and music programmes in the evening and one can enjoy the vibrant Rajasthani culture through these programmes. The most famous Ganesh temples in the state of Rajasthan are located here and abuzz with celebration during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in the months of September/October. The Kaila Devi Fair is a stupendous sight with devotees participating in this festival every year.
Excursions in Ranthambore
The historic Ranthambore fort with many temples, tanks, massive gates and curtain walls was built by the Chauhan rulers in the 10th century. It has been declared a protected site by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The small, rustic town Bundi was the capital of one of the erstwhile princely states of Rajasthan and has several historical monuments including palaces and forts, which reflect the splendour of the local Rajput chiefs. The walls of the palaces are decorated with life-size frescoes depicting the glory of its rulers.
Jaipur lies 145 km northwest and is the capital of Rajasthan, one of the most famous tourist destinations in India. The main attractions include the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Central Museum, Nahargarh, Jaigarh, and Amber Forts.
The old towns of Kota and Tonk also lie within 100 km of Ranthambore and are worth a visit for their palaces and monuments.
How to Reach
The airport nearest to Ranthambore is the Jaipur Airport, which about 145 km away. Regular flights are available from Jaipur to other destinations in Indian including Delhi, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Jodhpur, and Udaipur.
The nearest rail junction, on the other hand, is the Sawai Madhopur Railway Station, which is at a distance of 11 km from the park. It is on the main Delhi-Mumbai railway line and some of the major trains stop here.
Important Travel Information
By virtue of its proximity to the Thar Desert, the Ranthambore region suffers extremities of climate. Summers, from April to June are particularly harsh with temperatures going well over 40?C. The area receives rainfall in July and August. The onset of winter in October till the month of March brings down the temperature and is an encouragement to tourists to visit Ranthambore. The park is open between the months of October and May but best months to visit are from October to February.
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