Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest and most famous national parks in northern India. It is situated in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, about 180 km from Jaipur, which is also the nearest airport. The nearest town and railway station is at Sawai Madhopur, about 11 km away.

Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. Tigers can be easily spotted even during the day time. A good time to visit Ranthambore National Park is in November and May when the nature of the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.

The park lies at the edge of a plateau, and is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. There are several lakes in the park. It is named for the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the national park. The park covers an area of 392 km², and is famous for its tiger population, and is one of India's Project Tiger reserves. Other major wild animals include the tiger, leopard, nilgai, dhole, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital. It is also home to wide variety of trees, plants, birds and reptiles. Ranthambore is also the site for one of the largest banyan trees in India.

General information

* National Park area: 275 km² core area. 392 km² including buffer zone.
* Tiger Reserve area: 1334 km²
* Altitude: 215 to 505 meters above sea level
* Closest airport is Jaipur at 160 Kms
* Terrain: Dense tropical dry forest, open bushland and rocky terrain interspread with lakes and streams
* Ecoregion: Kathiarbar-Gir dry deciduous forests
* Best Season: between November to March
* Closed: Monsoonseason (July - August)

Ranthambore History

Ranthambore, situated in the state of Rajasthan, is one of the smallest tiger reserve project. As the name suggest it comes from the vast fort that stands in the middle of the forest. The name Ranthambore is derived from two hills of the area, Ran and Thanbhor.

In fact there is endless speculation about the founding of the fort, much of it compiled in the Hamirraso, the account of the reign of the 13th century, Rana Hamir. While Ranthambore generally believed to have built by King Jayant of Chauhan dynasty in A.D. 1110, others say it was founded by King Sapaldaksha in A.D. 944, also a chauhan. Some other people say that ruler Rati Dev, who was related to king Hasti, who built Hastinapura, was the original founder.

The fort has an area of 4.5 sq.kms, while the circumference of its walls is 7 kms. The area around it is dotted with ruins : Lake Palaces, ancient step wells, cupolas, temples, and memorial stones, all are related to Ranthambore's varied and fascinating history. [Ranthambore History]

In 1754, the Ranthambor fort was ruled by mughal emperor, Ahmad Shah. The king of Jaipur, Sawai Madho Singh requested to Emperor Ahmad Shah for check the incursions of the Marathas, the warrior clan of western India. But Ahmad Shah, refused the request of Sawai Madho Singh. Consequently, Sawai Madho Singh fortified the nearby settlement of Sherpur and named it Sawai Madhopur in 1763. Today, Sawai Madhopur is a thriving town, 14 kms from Ranthambhore Fort.

An 18th century traveler described the fort as being famous throughout India, well-protected completely inaccessible, concealed in mountainous regions where the ridges were high and surrounded the entire fort, leaving only the thick forest gorges below as entrances and exits which could easily be defended. Only cannons could blast through the walls and force entry, and the notorious inaccuracy of cannon fire meant that the fort justified its reputation as unconquerable.

Today this tract of land where endless battles were fought between warring princes has another ruler : the tiger haunts the narrow gorges of the fort and has even been known to venture atop it!

The indigenous residents of Ranthambhore forest were a people called the Minas. It was their custom to mark the forehead of a new ruler with blood taken from the thumb or toe of a member of a particular family of the tribe. This seems to have been an expression of their right to accept or reject their ruler - as if his subjects were endowing him with power over them as a sign of their allegiance and respect.

Before the arrival of the British, the Minas seem to have lived fairly freely and easily in the forest, but their control over inaccessible trade routes through their land was so strong that they were considered thieves, marauders and murderes by their new masters, who saw them as a thorn in the side of quick prosperity. By 1820 the Rajput and British armies had combined to 'subdue' the jungles and teach these people a lesson. They did this by forming an army corps to recruit as many of the minas as they could as soldiers; for the rest, persistent force was used in an effort to make them change their ways.

By the turn of century, the Ranthambhore forests had become the private hunting reserves of the Maharajas of Jaipur. In one sense this slowed down the destruction of the forest and the tiger, since only special guests were invited to shoot at an annual one-month camp held in the winter as the edge of Sawai Madhopur, the town just outside what is now Ranthambhore National Park.

Facts and Figures

Populatation ( of Sawai Madhopur ) : 77,690 ( 1991 census)
Language : Hindi, English and Dhundhari
Best Season : October - March
Rainy Season : July to September ( the park remains closed )
Clothing : Summer - Light tropical Winter - Woolens
Types of Forest : Ddry deciduous and dry thorn forest. Most of the area comes under Anogeissus pendula forest
Geography : There are 2 hill systems that meet in the forest : the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges
Roads : 300 kms of road networks
Park Entry / Exit Timing : Very from season to season, but roughly they are listed bellows
Winter (Oct to Feb) : Trip time 7 AM To 10 AM 2.30 P. M to5.30 pm
Summer (March to June) Trip time 6.30 A.M to 9.30 A.M. 3.30 PM to 6.30 PM

Ranthambhore National Park - Game Drive Through The Year

December ~ January ~ February
These are the cold months of winter & tiger sightings and game drives in ranthambore are good. Tigers enjoy walking long distance, and there is very little rain, skies are clear & the light in the early mornings and evening is superb. This is the time when crocodiles sunbathe on the banks of the lake to fight the cold. It is also a time that the sambar deer are in full rut and courtship amongst most of the ungulates is at its peak. Warm clothes are a must as it is icy in the mornings in the jeep.

March ~ April ~ May ~ June
As summertime approaches the water holes dry up. There are large concentrations of animals to be seen in the summer. This is also the time when the jungle's flame of the forest flowers in magnificent hues of red and the lotus is in bloom in the lakes. Many migratory birds like the paradise flycatcher and the golden oriole arrive in the park. Crocodiles are exceedingly active because of the hot temperatures. It is also the fruiting season for mangos, tendu etc. The tiger is sluggish and can be found near water. The weather is very hot and dry.

July ~August ~ September
The park remains closed due to the monsoon rains.

October ~ November
This is a beautiful time in the forest as it is still green after the soaking of the monsoon. Sightings of animals and tigers are not so good since they disperse, as there is a lot of water everywhere. It can be hot in the day, but pleasure in the evening. There may be a few showers. It is also a great time to watch birds of prey and the insect life in the Park. If you are lucky you can see snakes roaming around. Remember in October the roads are being repaired ( after the onslaught of the monsoon ) so you may not be able to reach all your destinations.

How To Reach Ranthambhore National Park

BY AIR : The nearest airports is at Jaipur ( 160 kms.).

By Rail : Sawai Madhopur ( 10 kms from the National Park ) is on the main line between Delhi and Mumbai(Bombay). There is a direct rail link between

Sawai Madhopur and Jaipur

By Road : Sawai Madhopur is well connected by road to the major cities of Rajasthan. There is a good road between Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur via Tonk