One of the very popular National Park in India for Royal Bengal Tiger sighting in India is the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. It forms a part of the Ranthambore Project Tiger Reserve that lies amidst the Aravali Hills located in Eastern Rajasthan in the Sawai Madhopur district. The Ranthambore National Park covers a total area of around 392 sq. km. The Mansingh and Kaila Devi Sanctuaries surround the area of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, taking the total area to around 1700 sq. km. In addition, the Vindhyas mountain ranges are also seen at the backdrop of the mountain ranges of the Ranthambore. Ranthambore National Park is the best spot in India to sight the Royal Bengal Tigers in their natural habitat. While other National Parks have Tiger population, Ranthambore National Park is where visitors get a guaranteed option of Tiger sighting to be seen even during the daytime busy with their hunting expeditions.
In addition to being home to a healthy population of the Royal Bengal Tigers, Ranthambore National Park also boasts of a sizeable population of Leopards, Fishing Cats, Jungle Cats, Jackals, Crocodiles, Striped Hyenas, Pythons, Spotted Deers, Sambars, Blue Bulls, Indian Gazelle, etc. So if you are a wildlife lover then Ranthambore National Park is a must visit wildlife destination in India.
Jungle Safari Options at Ranthambore National Park ~
In order to cover the vast area of the forest reserves of the Ranthambore National Park, the park authorities conduct regular Jungle Safaris into the interiors of the Park to sight the majestic wild cat species here. At the Ranthambore National Park, there are two Jungle Safari modes available for tourists:
(1) Open Roof Jeep Safari into Ranthambore National Park
(2) Open Roof Canter Safari into Ranthambore National Park
While both the above Safari options are very good options to be transferred into the interiors of the National Park allowing visitors to sight and explore the various varieties of animal species residing inside the Ranthambore National Park. Both these Safari modules are open roof top vehicles and have been redesigned and refitted for the comfortable viewing experience of wildlife. While the Jeep Safari can accomodate 6 visitors, the Canter Safari can accomodate 20 visitors. Each of these safari rides into the Ranthambore National Park lasts for about 3 1/2 hours across the 10 different Safari zones within the Ranthambore National Park. As per rules and regulations of the park authority of Ranthambore National Park, only 20 Jeeps (06 Seater) and 20 Canters (20 Seaters) are allowed into the park interiors at a point in time. These Jeeps and Canters are run by the local people living near the vicinity of the National Park. As the Ranthambore National Park remains closed for viewing from the months of July through September for the monsoon season the park reopens in October and the season extends till the month of June. There are two slots available for Jungle Safari inside the Ranthambore National Park, one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The morning Safari ride starts at 6 AM in the morning and extends upto 10.30 AM while the afternoon Safari ride into Ranthambore National Park starts at 2 PM and extends upto 6 PM.
The various Safari zones of Ranthambore National Park where the Jeep and Canter Safaris are permitted are as follows ~
- Zone 1: The important route points on Safari Zone 1 of Ranthambore National Park are Singhdwar, Amreshwar, Sultanpur, Gola Dub, Peela Pani and exit feom Singhdwar. T39 along with her cubs or T24 can be seen there.
- Zone 2: Jogi Mahal, Jhalra, Kamaldhar, Amrai Phoota Bandha, Pandudeh, Guda, Gandharia, Polkya, exit from Jogi Mahal. T19 and T39 with their cubs and T22, T24, T28 & T57 can be seen there.
- Zone 3: Jogi Mahal, Padam Talab, Raj Bagh, Mandook, High Point, exit from Jogi Mahal. T19 with her cubs, T25 and T28 can be spotted there.
- Zone 4: Singhdwar, Tamakhan, Malik Talab, Lakarda, Berda, Semli, Adidaant, Lambi, exit from Singhdwar. Tigers spotted in this route include T6, T19 with her cubs, T25, T28, T41, T74 and T75.
- Zone 5: Singhdwar, Jokha, Kachida, Dhakda, Baghda, Bakola, Anatpura, exit from Singhdwar. Tigers spotted in this zone are T6, t16, T25, T28, T41, T73, T74 & T75.
- Zone 6: (Kundal): Rajbagh Naka, Palli Darwaza, Kundal Area, Patwa Baori, Sonkach, Kala Pani, exit from Rajbagh Naka. Tigers to be spotted are like T8 with cubs, T24, T34 and T39 along with sloth beer & Leopard.
- Zone 7: (Chidikho): Rajbagh Naka, Chidikho, Jamoda, Kushalipura, exit from Rajbagh Naka. Tigers spotted are T34 & T8 with cubs.
- Zone 8: (Balas): Balas, Neemli Dang, Kali Bhat, Kherai, Mahakho, exit from Balas
- Zone 9: ( Kuwalji) Approx 45 kms. Tigers spotted are T58 & T61.
- Zone 10: Kushalipura , Bodal , Halonda ,Banskhori , Aantri , exit from Devpura. Home to T13 and her cubs, T42 (Fateh) and T43. Birds can also be spotted at this point in winters.
History and Milestones of the Ranthambore National Park ~
The Forest Reserves of Ranthambore National Park was earlier used as hunting grounds by the Maharaja of Jaipur who continued to hunt here until hunting was completely banned by the Government of India in 1970. Even Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh visited in 1960 as Royal guests on a hunting expedition with the Maharaja of Jaipur. But due to alarming decrease in the number of tigers at Ranthambore National Park, it was decided to put a complete ban on hunting here. Project Tiger was introduced here in 1973 and efficient methods of rehabilitation of villagers from within the area of the forest reserves started as a measure to reduce human-animal conflicts at Ranthambore National Park.
Some of the major Milestones of Ranthambore are ~
- Ranthambore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Wildlife Sanctuary in 1955
- Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973
- Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary was established as the Ranthambore National Park in 1981
Over several years after relentless conservation efforts by the Park authorities and staff with the help of the local villagers, they have been able to protect the tiger population of the Ranthambore National Park. At times, after being declared as a National Park, poaching of tigers for its skin and bones became rampant inside the Ranthambore National Park especially between the years from 1985 to 1990. But since then Ranthambore National Park has come a long way in protecting its tiger population and now boasts of a healthy population of its numbers.
Ranthambore Fort ~
Located in the heart of the Ranthambore National Park is the Ranthambore Fort. Locals often say that Ranthambore National Park gets its name from this Fort. The name Ranthambore is derived from the nearby hills – ‘Ran’ which is a hill nearby and ‘Thambor’ which is the hill on which the fort is situated. This fort has a unique location which made it one of the most unconquerable fort in India and even after many attempts, the Mughals couldn’t conquer this fort. It was only in 1528 that Mughals were finally able to conquer the fort. This fort gained a name of being a notorious prison fort where prisoners were executed by throwing them down onto the hard rocks below the fort after lacing their milk glass with opium so that they would become insensible during the fall. It was only in the 19th century that the Mughals transferred control of the Ranthambore fort to the Maharaja of Jaipur where the Royal Family used to stay during their hunting expeditions in the forest reserves of Ranthambore.
The Ranthambore Fort at Ranthambore National Park today is an important pilgrimage destination as there are many sacred Hindu Temple inside the fort premises. This is a huge fort with an area of around 4.55 sq. km. and the walls measuring a circumference of approximately 7 km. Located atop a hill at a height of 700 feet, there is no proper road leading to the fort top only a flight of stairs that takes 30 minutes to climb to reach the hilltop.
Location and How to reach Ranthambore National Park ~
The Ranthambore National Park is located in the State of Rajasthan in the western part of India. The district in which Ranthambore National Park lies is the Sawai Madhopur district which is located at a distance of 158 km from the State capital of Jaipur and 381 km from the National capital of New Delhi. The Ranthambore National Park is easily accessible from the major cities in India by an efficient connectivity of Air, Rail and Roadways.
Distances to Ranthambore National Park from some of the major cities in India are ~
- Delhi to Ranthambore – 381 km (Approx. 6 hours by road)
- Jaipur to Ranthambore – 180 km (Approx. 3 hours by road)
- Agra to Ranthambore – 239 km (Approx. 5 hours by road)
- Udaipur to Ranthambore – 388 km (Approx. 6 hours by road)
- Ahmedabad to Ranthambore – 640 km (Approx. 10 hours by road)
- Mumbai to Ranthambore – 1031 km (Approx. 17 hours by road)
By Air: The Sangara Airport at Jaipur is the nearest Airport to the Ranthambore National Park that has several International and Domestic flights from across various cities in India
By Railway: The nearest Railway Station to the Ranthambore National Park is the Sawai Madhopur Railway Station which is located only 11 km away from the Park. Many National trains have a short halt at this station. Even the luxury trains in India like the Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Maharaja Express and the Indian Maharaja make a stop here.
By Road: The Sawai Madhopur district is well connected with the rest of the country via a means of efficient roadways.
Climate of Ranthambore National Park ~
Ranthambore National Park is characterized with dry-subtropical and arid climate as is prevalent in the desert regions of Rajasthan and western India. There are three major season in a year at Ranthambore National Park which are summers, monsoon and winters.
The summer season in Ranthambore National Park starts in the end of March and extends upto the month of June. Summers here are characterized with a very hot and dry climate. During the summer season the maximum day temperature reaches to around 46 degree celsius and the night temperature remains around 30 degree celsius. During summers humidity remains the lowest and often dry winds blow around the area of the National Park.
The monsoon season in Ranthambore National Park starts in the month of July extending upto the month of September characterized with long spells of rain. At this time, Ranthambore National Park becomes warm and moist with aridity. The entire forest at Ranthambore National Park comes to life during monsoon and greenery can be seen around with the herbivores concentrating on the leaves of the trees and the carnivores concentrating on the herbivores of Ranthambore.
The winter season at Ranthambore National Park sets in the month of November and extends through February. While the day temperatures hover at around 20 degree celsius and during the night times it gets quite cold with temperatures below 10 degree celsius. At times the night temperature falls below 2 degrees celsius. During winters sometimes rainfall is witnessed inside the Ranthambore National Park.
Tigers of Ranthambore National Park ~
Ranthambore National Park has come a long way today from being the erstwhile hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. People from all across the World visit Ranthambore National Park to catch a glimpse of the the park’s prize – the Royal Bengal Tigers. A beast that prowls around freely in the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park and makes their sighting in the natural habitat a true possibility to all its visitors. The abundance of tigers in the Ranthambore National Park makes it a preferred tourist destination in India and every tiger here has a story to narrate so that visitors to Ranthambore National Park take home a happy story about the tiger they sight here. Each of the tigers of Ranthambore are marked with a name and identity. Some of the famous tigers of Ranthambore both past and present are Machali or T16, Romeo or T6, Laila or T-41, T-9, T-13, T-16 and many more.
Below is a list of Tigers of Ranthambore (both past and present) ~
|Tiger ID||Sex||Name by Forest Dept||Tiger ID||Sex||Name by Forest Dept|
|T13||F||Old Sultanpur female||T33||M||Hamir|
Geography of Ranthambore National Park ~
The area around the Ranthambore National Park is a vast area of Dry-deciduous forest filled with rich biodiversity that is surrounded by vast areas of farmland and grazing pastures. This area makes it home to over 300 species of plants, 40 species of animal, 35 species of reptiles and over 320 species of birds. The flagship species of the Ranthambore National Park is the Royal Bengal Tigers or the ‘Panthera Tigris’ and the only place in Rajasthan where this species if found. Ranthambore National Park has a mega biodiversity and is a protected area that acts as a crucial corridor between the protected areas of Dholpur district in the Northeast to the Kota district in South West of Rajasthan. The area of Ranthambore National Park in an important water source for the surrounding areas that have low rainfall. With many reservoirs around the area and two major rivers mainly the Chambal and Gambhir flowing across, the areas serves as a good means of recharging the groundwater reserves.
The geographical terrain of Ranthambore National Park is mostly hilly and rugged. The hills on one side have steep cliffs while valleys on the other side of the Aravalli ranges. These valleys are important sources of wildlife in the region. Most of Ranthambore National Park’s tigers are found in these valleys. The highest peak is that of Gazella which is located 507 m above MSL. Many streams are a part of this valley that flows directly in River Chambal. The south west area of the park is bounded by the Vindhya ranges which has a vast area of sandstone beds. The sandstone beds often form flat table topped lands that ride abruptly and lead to narrow gorges that retain moisture during summer seasons too.
Flora, Fauna and Avifauna of Ranthambore National Park
Though the Ranthambore National Park is famous for the healthy habitat of the Royal Bengal Tigers in the wild there are various other fauna species as well inhabit the forest reserves of the Ranthambore National Park that attracts visitors from across the World to this place. Some of the other animals that inhabit the forests of Ranthambore National Park are leopards, fishing cats, jungle cats, leopard cat, sloth beer, jackals, mongoose, pythons, spotted deers, sambar deers, Indian Gazelle, desert fox, blue bull, etc. So when you are at Ranthambore National Park then along with the positive chance of spotting the Royal Bengal Tigers of this place you can also get to sight several of these other animals as well and some of these are on the endangered list as well. One unique thing about the tigers of Ranthambore National Park is that although the tigers are generally known to be nocturnal animals, the tigers of Ranthambore National Park are known to be diurnal in nature and so they can be spotted in the day time as well. So you can sight the alertness of the tigers, the galloping of the deers, the relaxing crocodiles by the river banks or even the blue bull roaming across the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park on your visit.
The forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park are filled with varied flora and a simple tour of this place among these vibrant forests is a relaxing and rejuvenating experience away from the bustling city life. The area of Ranthambore National Park is in the lines of the Thar Desert and because of this the rainfall in the area is not very high that allows the growth of dry deciduous plants in the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park. This is coupled with the occasional dense green region and around 300 species of vegetation are to be found inside the Ranthambore National Park. One of the popular trees that you will find across the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park is the Anogeissus Pendula that is locally called as the Dhok and this particular tree comprises of almost around 3/4th of the flora of Ranthambore National Park. This ‘Dhok’ tree species grows up to a height of almost 15 metres and the fruits of this tree is a source of food for the various herbivores of Ranthambore National Park like antelopes, nilgai, deer, etc. What facilitates the growth of the Dhok tree in the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park is that this tree can grow in a shallow soil and it doesn’t need too much rainfall to survive making it an ideal flora here at Ranthambore National Park.
In addition to the ‘Dhok’ tree species that is almost around 3/4th the vegetation of the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park once can also find the Neem, Peepal and Banyan trees inside the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park and these trees have been known to have medicinal values from the times of Ayurveda in India. The trees that bear fruit and are of prime importance to the herbivores of Ranthambore National Park are tamarind, mango, blackberry, etc. In addition to these above flora species you will also find Khajur, Malwa, Babul, Kadam, Karel, Kuri, etc. flora inside the forest reserves of Ranthambore National Park. As the Ranthambore National Park is located on the edge of the plains of the Chambal and Banas rivers the forest area of Ranthambore National Park has many swamps, valleys, steep hills and small streams as well that gives rise to tropical dry forest along with grassy meadows. These water bodies inside of the Ranthambore National Park allow the growth of lotus and various water lilies that happen to be the prime aquatic floral life of Ranthambore National Park and the water bodies have their banks covered with the Khus grass as well inside Ranthambore National Park.