Ranthambore National Park is famous
for its Tigers and is a favorite with photographers. For a
relatively small area, the
park has a rich diversity of fauna and flora - species list
includes 300 trees, 50 aquatic plants, 272 birds, 12 reptiles
including the Marsh Crocodile & amphibians and 30 mammals.
The great virgin jungles of Central
India were an awesome gift of nature which have been vandalized
and largely destroyed over the years. What survives is but a
small portion of its northwestern extremity.
with its relics, is a historically important reminder of the
misty past. The fort of Ranthambore was the center of a Hindu
Kingdom which was invested by Allaudin Khilji's army in 1301
A.D. He later defeated its king, Raja Hamir, and the Rajput,
women are reputed to have committed the terrible ritual of sali
in the fort. However, the area soon slipped back into the hands
of the Rajputs and again became a powerful kingdom. The Mughal
Emperor, Akbar, invested it in 1569, the year after he took the
fort at Chittor, and conquered it in 40 days of warfare
Kachchwaha rulers of the principality of Amer (later known as
the Jaipur state) received the fort from the Mughals and it
remained with them till 1949 when Jaipur state was merged into
Rajasthan. The forests around the fort, then' known by the name
of the nearby township of Sawai Madhopur, were the private
hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Among the most
famous of their hunting parties was one organized for Queen
Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1961. It was thanks to
the desire to preserve game for sport that the forest and its
inhabitants first received protection and thus survived long
enough to be rescued by Project Tiger.
In 1972, it
was estimated that there were 1827 tigers in India, of which
Rajasthan had 74 and the number of tigers estimated in the
Ranthambore Sanctuary's 60 sq miles (155 sq km) was 14. That
year saw the launching of Project Tiger and this sanctuary,
named after the fort, became one of the eight sanctuaries and
national parks of the new project. Over the years, the sanctuary
has become a national park with a core area of 158 sq miles (410
sq km) with a tiger population of 40 according to the 1986
census. In 1984, an additional area of 40 sq miles (104 sq km)
of adjoining forest was designated the Sawai Man Singh
Sanctuary, after the late Maharaja of Jaipur.
Tigers: Ranthambore is famous for its tigers and justly so.
Over the last decade, as a result of strict preservation, tigers
have become more and more active during the day, thus giving the
lie to the earlier belief that they are nocturnal animals. More
than in any other park or sanctuary in India, tigers are now
encountered here in broad daylight. They have lost all fear of
humans and are quite unperturbed by their presence.
hunting in broad daylight as well as at night, some other unique
aspects of tiger behavior have been observed and photographed.
Once, for instance, a magnificent large male hunted openly from
the thickets on the edge of the lakes and ran down its sam bar
prey in the water. A tigress too indulged in similar behavior.
There have been instances when a tiger and a crocodile from the
lake have confronted each other. On one memorable occasion a
tiger battled with a crocodile over a sambar carcass and finally
took possession of it in broad daylight, after a long fight.
generally believed that tigers arc solilary creatur'eS and only
the mal her's tllk care of their cubs so long as these are
unable to care for themselves, and tigresses with cubs were seen
only rarely. Here too their behavior seems to have undergone a
change. In 1986, two tiger families, one with two cubs and
another with three, have been extremely trusting of human
presence in jeeps and have been observed for long stretches of
time in jungle clearings in broad daylight, even when the cubs
were but a few weeks old. The family with three cubs includes a
large male which seems to have chosen to live with the cubs
without being aggressive. In fact, this male is also seen with
another tigress in the same Bakaula nala region from time to
such tiger activities, Ranthambore is probably the best park in
which to photograph them. In recent times it has become a center
of attraction for wildlife photographers from all over the
world. Sighting a tiger can never be a sure shot, but here one
comes as close to it as is possible.
Predators: This park also has a large population of panthers
which are the second largest predators of this forest. The prey
species of tigers and panthers overlap, and because of possible
conflicts between them, the latter are found more often on the
periphery of the park. Kachida valley accounts for the highest
number of sightings of these cats. They do not appear to be as
fearlessly diurnal as tigers have become and therefore their
sightings are not as frequent.
interesting feature of the park is the visibility of marsh
crocodiles in and around the lakes. Over the years, their number
has increased and these reptiles, eight to 10 feet (2Y2-three
meters) in length, are not uncommon. They are easily seen in the
water or basking on the shores of the lakes. Often they are seen
crossing from one lake to another. Interestingly, they eat dead
sam bar on land and try to drag the carcass into the water, even
during daylight hours.
predators in Ranthambore are hyenas, jackals and jungle cats.
Caracal too have been recorded. The last sighting of wild dogs
was way back in 1954; it is not known why they have disappeared
from these forests completely.
has sloth bears which one may encounter while driving through
the park. Lakarda and Anantpura are
the areas where they are seen most often.
seen everywhere and in large herds around the lakes. They are in
hard horn and at their best during the rutting period in the
winter months, though their antlers tend to be smaller than
those of their, counterparts in Central India. Sam bar are known
to wallow in and like water, but here they can be observed in
water for hours, eating and swimming in the lakes. Actually, one
would expect such behavior from barasingha rather than sam bar.
are around the Aravalli and the Vindhya ranges, each of which
has distinctive geological features. The forest is of typically
dry deciduous type with dhok being the most prominent tree. Ronj,
ber, salai, occasional mango groves, palm trees, banyan and
pipal trees give it a character all its own.
National Park: Ranthambhore National Park is an outstanding
example of Project Tiger's efforts at conservation in the
country. The forests around the Ranthambhore 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
Ranthambhore 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.
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 Sambhar around the lakes. Therefore, Ranthambhore is
probably the ideal park for wildlife photography, and it does
attract professional wildlife photographers, from all over the
The Jogi Mahal:
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 Badal Mahal: The “palace of the clouds”, situated in
the fort has a very interesting location and seems as if hanging
out in space. The famous 84-column 'chhatri' of King Hammir
stands out magnificently where he used to hold an audience. The
Padam Talab, the Raj Bagh Talab and the Milak Talab are some of
the lakes in the area worth seeing.
Steep crags embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and atop one
of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambhore Fort. Built in
the 10th century, the fort is considered to be one of the oldest
forts in the state. 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 bush land. The forest is the typically dry
deciduous type, with Dhok, being the most prominent tree
Time to Visit Ranthambore
The best visiting season of Ranthambore national park is during
the months of October - March and April to June.
How to Get there
Air : Jaipur at 145-kms is the nearest airport from
Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary.
Rail : Ranthambore National Park is around 11-kms away from
Sawai Madhopur railway station, that lies on the Delhi to Bombay
Road : A good network of buses connect Sawai Madhopur, the
nearest town from Ranthambore to all the major cities within the
state of Rajasthan.
Park Visitation Timings
"1. Between October To March: 6.00 am - 9.00 am & 3.00 pm - 6.00
"2 Between April To June: 6.30 am - to 9.30 am & 3.30 pm - 6.00