National Park, Rajasthan
the township of Sawai Madhopur, in the state of Rajasthan,
Ranthambore National Park is an outstanding example of Project
Tiger's efforts at conservation in the country. The forests
around the Ranthambore Fort were once, the private hunting
grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The desire to preserve
the game in these forests for sport, was responsible for their
conservation, and subsequent rescue by Project Tiger. In 1972,
it was estimated, that there were around 1927 tigers in India,
of which Rajasthan had 74, and the number of big cats in Ranthambore
Sanctuary was 14. 1972 was also the year that Project Tiger
was launched, and this sanctuary was taken into its wings,
alongwith seven other sanctuaries and national parks.
The Park sprawls over an estimated area of 400 sq kms. Steep
crags embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and atop one
of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambore Fort, built
in the 10th century. Strategically built on the border of
Rajasthan and Malwa, the fort houses some splendid monuments,
within its precincts. The terrain fluctuates between impregnable
forests and open bushland. The forest is the typically dry
deciduous type, with dhok, being the most prominent tree.
The entry point to the Park, goes straight to the foot of
the fort and the forest rest house, Jogi Mahal. The latter
boasts of the second-largest banyan tree in India. The Padam
Talab, the Raj Bagh Talab and the Milak Talab are some of
the lakes in the area, that attract the tiger population .
They have been spotted at the edges of these lakes, and Jogi
Mahal itself. 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 Ranthambore fort - tigers are said to
frequent these ruins, too.
As a result of stringent efforts in conservation, tigers,
the prime assets of the Park, have become more and more active
during the day. More than in any other park or sanctuary in
India, tigers are easily spotted here in daylight. They can
be seen lolling around lazily in the sun, or feverishly hunting
down sambar around the lakes. Therefore, Ranthambore is probably
the ideal park for wildlife photography, and it does attract
professional wildlife photographers, from all over the globe.
Apart from tigers, the park has its share of panthers, too.
They are to be found on the outskirts of the park, due to
the inevitable conflicts with the tiger population. Kachida
Valley, is believed to be the place to sight these rather
elusive cats. The other permanent residents of the park include,
marsh crocodiles, hyenas, jungle cats and sloth bears. Sambar
are found in abundance all over the area, the prime target
of all the predators. Chital, nilgai, and chinkara, are the
other inhabitants of the region. The avian population comprises
of black storks, quails, Bonelli's eagles, spur fowls, crested
serpent eagles and painted storks. During the winter months,
the Park attracts a lot of migratory birds, primarily a variety
The park is best explored through jeeps, which are available
When To Visit
The best time to visit the park is between October and June.
How To Get There
By air: Jaipur (145 km) is the
By rail: The Park is around 11
km away from Sawai Madhopur railway station, that lies on
the Delhi to Bombay trunk route.
By road: A good network of buses
connect Sawai Madhopur, the nearest town, with quite a few