RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK

Tiger Reserve

Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest national parks in northern India, covering an area of 392 km². It is situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan. The nearest town and railway station is at Sawai Madhopur, about 11 km away. The park is also close to the Kota railway station. Ranthambore National 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. It is named after the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the park.


Ranthambhore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Ranthambore became a national park in 1980. In 1984, the adjacent forests were declared the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary, and in 1991 the tiger reserve was enlarged to include the Sawai Man Singh and Keladevi sanctuaries.


Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is known for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these animals in their natural jungle habitat. Tigers can be easily spotted even in the daytime. The best times for tiger sightings at Ranthambore National Park are in November and May.


In 2005, there were 26 tigers living in the park. This was significantly lower than the recorded tiger population of the reserve in 1982, which stood at 44. According to non-government sources there were 34 adult tigers in the Ranthambore National Park in 2008, and more than 14 cubs. This increase was attributed largely to sustained efforts by forest officials to curb poaching. Villagers in the region were being given incentives to stay out of the park, and surveillance cameras were also fitted across the reserve.The Indian government committed US$153 million for these efforts.


Flora

Ranthambore National Park is also rich in flora. According to estimates, there are around 300 plant species in the Ranthambore National Park. Due to its proximity to the Thar, the region receives very scanty rainfalls and so the vegetation in the park mainly comprises of the dry deciduous type.

The most noticeable tree in the Ranthambore National Park is the 'Dhok' (Anogeissus pendula). Other most prominent trees in the park are the Banyan (Ficus bengalensis) and Pipal (Ficus religiosa) It is worshipped and also has medicinal uses. The largest Banyan tree of India stands just behind the Jogi Mahal, the hunting lodge in Ranthambore national Park. The Neem (Azadirachta indiaca) tree, which is universally known for its medicinal properties, grows abundantly in the Ranthambore National Park. Among the fruit trees found in the Ranthambore, the most prominent include the Mango(Magnifera indica), Jamun (Syzygium cumini) also known as the Indian blackberry, Ber (Zizyphus mauritania), and Tamarind (Tamarindicus indica- popularly called Imli) known for its pulpy fruit used in the preparation of pickles. In addition, there are many trees such as Chhila (Butea monosperma, the flame of the forest), which sets the forest alights with the bright orange red color, offering a spectacular sight to park's visitors.


Other important tree in the Ranthambore include the Babul (Accasia nilotica), Gurjan (Lannea coromandelica), Gum (Sterculia urens), Kadam (Authocephalus cadamba), Khajur (Phoenix sylvestris), Khair (Accacia catechu) This is one of the most common trees in Ranthambore and is regarded across north India as a very valuable tree, since extracts from its bark are the mixture that make the paste katha for paans. The bark is frequently chewed by porcupines who seem to have an addiction to this tree in Ranthambore, Kakera (Flacourtia indica), Karel (Capparis decidua), Khimi (Manilkara hexandra), Kikar (Acacia nilotica), Mahua (Madhuca indica), Kulu (Sterculia urens), Ronj (Acacia leucophloea), Salar (Boswellia serrata) and Tendu (Diospyrous melanoxylon). Khus grass (Vetivaria zizznioides) The roots of this grass yield an aromatic oil known as vetiveria oil , a large quantity of which is exported from India . The roots are woven into curtains , and when moistened they cool and scent the air at the same time. The edges of the lakes in Ranthambore are full of Khus grass. This is the grass that is used to make boxes and containers that are available in the old part of Sawai Madhopur town. The aquatic flora in the Ranthambore National Park includes a variety of lovely flowers such as lotus and water lilies.


Fauna

Ranthambhore is virtually an island rich in fauna. Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, Other kinds of cats found in Ranthambore are Leopard, Caracal, Leopard cat, Fishing cat and Jungle cat. The other large predators include Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Jackal, Desert fox, Palm civet, common mongoose, crocodile, python etc. There are two species of antlers the spotted deer (chital), and Sambhar deer and two kinds of antelopes namely the Indian Gazelle (chinkara ) and the Bluebull ( Nilgai ). Elegant and graceful spotted deer, huge sambhar deer, crocodiles basking around the lakes, vultures soaring in the sky, Serpent eagles scanning the ground from its perch or the kaleidoscope of waterfowl at the pools are all the interest for a visitor with sensitivity. Ranthmbhore is a great experience in totality and Jungle safari will enhance your experience in wildlife. Ranthambore is also rich in bird life with around 300 species of birds. Infact for a keen bird watcher Ranthambore and the surrounding area is a paradise. Some interesting resident species of birds are large Cormorant, Painted Spurfowl, Sarus Crane, Bronzed winged Jacana, Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Nightjar, Painted Sandgrouse, Great horned owl and many more regular winter migrants which come from their nesting ground north of Himalayas to Ranthambore and surrounding areas.


Wildlife Viewing

Safari Rides are carried out at 6:30 and 14:30. Each ride lasts for about three hours. There are two options of vehicles for the safari: 20 seater open top canter or 6 seater open top gypsy The core park area has been divided into several zones and the safari vehicles go to one of those zones. Visitors often take multiple tours, as tiger spotting is rare.


Places of Interest

Ranthambore Fort

The majestic fort, built in the 10th century, towers over the entire park area. It stands 700 feet above the surrounding plain. Inside the fort, there are three red Karauli stone temples devoted to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji. There is a Digamber Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath. The temples were constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries.


Padam Talao

This is the largest of the many lakes located in the park. A red sandstone Jogi Mahal can be found at the edge of the lake. A gigantic banyan tree, considered to be India’s second largest, is also near the lake.


Trinetra Ganesh

When we say “Pratham Ganesha” in Hindu religion, it is believed to be the Trinetra Ganesha of Ranthambhore. Located in Ranthambore fort of Rajasthan state of India, The Trinetra Ganesha Temple is the famous and oldest temple of Lord Ganesha in Rajasthan that comprises of his whole family all together at one place. The temple is about 12 kms from Sawai Madhopur and is well established in Ranthambhore fort.


Getting there

110 km from Kota, 160 Km from Jaipur.


Best time to Visit

October to June.