Ranthambore national park in Rajasthan is part of Ranthambore tiger reserve. It is spread over famous Aravali ranges of north India, with Banas river as its northern border and Chambal river as southern border. It is counted among most popular tiger safari destinations in North India. Name of this national park is derived from Ranthambore fort, which lies in this forest. It is spread over an area of 1411.291 sq. kms (subject to change). With addition to new areas, this figure may get change in future. This forest was declared as national park in year 1980. Later neighboring Keladevi sanctuary and Sawai Man Singh sanctuary its area get increased. It lies in south-east region of Rajasthan state. Wildlife destinations like Keoladeo national park, Sariska tiger reserve, Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary are close from Ranthambhore. Its nearest railway station is at Sawai Madhopur and nearest airport is in Jaipur city thus accessibility is good, especially for tourists coming from Delhi. Main tourism activity in Ranthambore is jungle safaris and visit to Rambhambore fort thus good combination of wildlife and heritage tourism at same destination.
History of Ranthambore revolves around its fort. This massive fort indicates towards the grand historical background of this region. Forst of Ranthambore region was used as a private hunting preserve for rulers of Jaipur and Karauli. This region was under rule of Prithiviraja I of Shakambhari Chahamana (Chauhan) in 12th century. During this period, Muhammad Ghori attacked and took control of the region. Later Delhi Sultan Iltutmish captured Ranthambore in 1226. He ruled for 10 years and later Chauhan re-conquered the fort and re-established their rule. Throughout the 13th century, this region remained disturbed with the wars between Chauhans and Sultans of Delhi. Here 15th century was time of some political stability due to powerful rulers of Mewar to took Ranthambore in their control and bring stability in this region. With 16th century, grip of Hada rulers loosen and once gain political instability was seen with the attacks of Sultan of Gujarat and Mughals. Later in 17th century, Ranthambore came under control of Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur. They continued to rule over Ranthambore forest region till independence of India. During this period, they undertook many hunting expeditions in this forest. In order to facilitate in their hunting expeditions, they made Sawai Madhopur Lodge which is today's Vivanta Sawai Madhopur Lodge. Whole tiger hunting history is showcased on the wall of hotels, in the form of framed photos. Lodge building was constructed on year 1936 where as Sawai Madhopur city was founded in 19-Jan/1763. Till implementation of Wildlife Protection Law 1972, this lodge was used by royal family members for stay during their hunting trips to Ranthambore forest.
Ranthambore is a popular tiger reserve in North India. As we all know that tourism in Rajasthan is already counted among top tourism states of India thus being located on that state is an added advantage for this national park. It is easy to include Ranthambhore as a tiger safari destination is tour itineraries of Rajasthan. As it is located just 10 kms from Sawai Madhopur city which is having own railway station, that connects this region with Delhi, Mumbai and other popular places of India thus accessibility to Ranthambore national park is very convenient for tourists. With no too long cab traveling from nearby railway station to resort, it reduced tour cost and saves time thus contributes to its popularity. Now we comes to wildlife part. It is a dry decideous forest thus we mainly find scrub forest with presence of lakes to ensure availability of water to wild animals, reptiles & birds. Dry forest allows good visibility thus animal tracking is comparatively easy which results to high tiger sighting probability. This contributes to popularity of any national park. Here we can find corcodiles, tigers, deer species, birds and historical grand fort at one place. This combination is not possible at any national park thus safaris are more enjoyable and photogenic. One more point we need to know. It is probability to get safari permits. Other popular tiger reserves like Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Tadoba, Pench have now problem of core zone safari permits, Demand is more than supply thus without advance booking, it is difficult to get desired safari zones permits. Here in Ranthambore, stress is more on shared safaris and exclusive safari costs very high thus majority of tourists are doing shared safari. Offering of sharing safari allows to accommodate more tourists on limited safari vehicles. This increases the probability to get core zone safari permits which is very helpful for tourists in finalizing their safari holiday trips.
Safari timing in Ranthambore national park is almost similar to other national parks of India. Here also it is decided as per timings of sunrise and sunset. Here also two rounds of jungle safaris are offered to tourists i.e. Morning safari and Evening or Afternoon safari.
|Period||Morning Safari||Afternoon Safari|
|01 Oct - 31 Dec||06:00 - 10:00 Hrs||14:30 - 17:30 Hrs|
|01 Dec - 28 Jan||06:30 - 10:30 Hrs||14:30 - 17:30 Hrs|
|01 Feb - 31 Mar||06:30 - 10:30 Hrs||15:00 - 18:00 Hrs|
|01 Apr - 30 June||06:00 - 10:00 Hrs||16:00 - 19:00 Hrs|
Jungle safari in Ranthambore national park is mainly done by two ways. One is by open jeep in which maximum 06 tourists are allowed, in addition to jeep driver and safari guide. Second popular mode is Canter safari. It is a open bus vehicle, used in jungle safaris. Here jungle safaris are mostly done on sharing basis on both jeep and canters. Due to high cost of exclusive (non-sharing) safari, tourists are mostly using sharing safari option in which per person per seat is booked. Due to its popularity, it is highly recommended to do the safari permit booking in advance. If decision is delayed then it is possible that we will not get safari permits for popular safari zones.
Forest of Ranthambore tiger reserve, gives shelter to more than 32 mammal species. Ranthambore forest is located at the confluence of two popular mountain ranges of Central India and North India i.e. Vindhyachal range ends here and Aravali range begins from this region thus this forest comprises some mammal species from Vindhyachal range and some from Aravali ranges. It offers good bio-diversity. Here prominently know mammal species are Spotted Deer, Jungle Cat, Caracal, Tiger, Leopard, Wild Boar, Fox, Hanuman Langur, Hyena, Nilgai, Sambar, Sloth Bear etc.
Read about how to reach Ranthambore national park by various modes of transport. Ranthambhore forest is located on south-east of Rajasthan state, south of Jaipur city, south of Delhi and south-west of Agra city. It has good connectivity by road, train and flight thus visiting this national park is very convenient for tourists.
By Air: Jaipur Airport (150kms) is the nearest flight connectivity option for tourists. As Jaipur is capital city of Rajasthan state, it is having good flight connectivity from rest of India.
By Train: Sawai Madhopur railway station (15kms) is the nearest point for visiting Ranthambore national park by train. Majority of hotels and resorts are located in Sawai Madhopur town itself thus in no time tourists reaches their hotel, after beboarding the train and it saves time and money of tourists.
By Road: If you are planning to reach Ranthambore by road option then you may do so by hiring a tourist taxi vehicle or may reach Sawai Madhopur town by bus. Tourists taxi service is available from all surrounding popular destinations like Delhi airport, Agar city, Jaipur city, Gwalior, Ajmer, Udaipur, Sariska national park etc.
Best time to visit Ranthambore national park varies as per interest of tourists. In broader sense, majority of tourists visit this national park in time period from October to March period. It is mainly due to occurance of major festivals, holidays and good climatic condition. As it is located on Rajasthan state, which receives comparatively less rainfall, thus here Summers are very challenging. From October to November we can experience Autumn climate and from December to February, we can experience winters thus tourists prefer this period. Where as if you are more interested in wildlife photography and tiger photography, then consider the period of summers i.e. from February end to May month. During this period, due to high temperature, animals sighting increases in spots nearby water holes thus tiger sighting increases. Presence of lakes, inside the national park area, plays important role in offering various spots for mammals sighting.
How to plan for a Ranthambore safari holiday ? Let us try to check out the points to keep in mind while preparing a tour plan for this national park.
Duration: How long should be our stay in Ranthambore national park will depends upon our budget, intention behind trip and number of other destinations to cover in given trip. If we are undertaking a tour to cover multiple destinations then we can't explore any destination thoroughly. In such case we try to cover all important attractions only. If our plan is to cover one or two destinations only and our budget is good then we can increase our stay duration in Ranthambore and undertake more number of safaris. SImilarly in our interest is in wildlife photography then also we need to stay more to do more safaris to increase the probability for good shots.
Travel Dates & Timings: Travel date plays importnat role in any tour plan. For Ranthambore we can decide our travel dates as per our main motive for tour. If we are visiting India to cover must see destinations with wildlife as just one part of it then season from November to February is ideal time to plan for trip. During this time climate remain good and all must see destinations of India remains open for tourism. All Rajasthan attractions remain open in this period. If our motive is wildlife photography then plan for Spring and Summer season to get good shots. These months are from February to May. Summer season safari.
Budget: Ranthambore national park is more affordable than any other national park of India. In wildlife tour, a considerable amount goes on two main ingredients i.e. transport part for reaching that destination and on jungle safaris. They alone constitues 50% - 60% of total package cost. Due to nearby railway station and sharing safari option, here package cost remain low. In addition to this, resorts are also good at very reasonable price thus it is suitable for all budget category wildlife lovers.
Number of Safaris: We recommend at least 2 rounds of jungle safaris. For photography purpose, do at least 5-6 rounds of jungle safaris. Always give preference to jeep safari over canter safaris. Due to sharing safaris, here per safari cost is less thus more number of safaris can be undertaken. Advance safari booking is the only way to explore popular safari zones.
Stay Theme: Ranthambore is more scrub forest. Like Kaziranga, Corbett, Bandhavgarh, this forest is more dry and vegetation is also different. Dense forest or dense vegetation within resort campus is not available the Ranthambore hotels. Majority of hotels are on heritage theme and very few are like Khem Vilas, Sher Bagh, Tiger Moon are in eco-friendly theme. Thus select accommodationas per hotel theme. Here in-house naturalist are rarely available in luxury hotels thus it is also important point to keep in mind while choosing any hotel or resort.
For accommodation purpose, tourists have many options in Ranthambore. As its nearby township is in Sawai Madhopur, which is very close to forest area thus majority of hotel cluster is in Sawai Madhopur town. We can find a series of hotels on road connecting Sawai Madhopur to Ranthambore national park. Taj Vivanta Sawai Madhopur Lodge is also at the edge of town. Where as some hotels on villages close to Ranthambore national park entry gate. Here we can find few resorts on eco-friendly theme with cluster of long trees etc. Majority of accommodation facilities are in city hotel theme or heritage palace theme.
After completion of Ranthambore tour, we have many options. If interest is on wildlife then we can go for Jhalna Leopard Sanctuary, close to Jaipur city. While staying at Jaipur city hotel, we can do safaris in Jhalna. In addition to this, we have option to visit Sariska tiger reserve (165kms), near Alwar city. For Birds lovers, Keoladeo national park (240kms) in Bharatpur is best nearby place to do bird-watching & photography. If interest is on heritage tourism them we may visit Jaipur city (150kms), Agra city (300kms)