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Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park, located in Rajasthan, is an iconic tiger safari destination in India. Since its establishment in 1955, the park has acted as a sanctuary for the forests and the wildlife contained within. It has open grassy meadows, dry deciduous forests and is home to some of the most exceptional wildlife.

Ranthambore National Park has numerous attractions, one of which is the Trinetra Ganesh Temple that gets its name from the Lord Ganesha statue with three eyes. Within the park lies the Lakarda and Anantpura region – the best spots to see wildlife like hyenas and sloths. The Kachida Valley, located on the outskirts of the park, has a sizable population of panthers, who seem to have migrated to the region to avoid conflicts with the Ranthambore tigers. It is also a good place to see sloths.

The‌ ‌History‌ ‌of‌ Ranthambore National Park

Before the establishment of Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary, the Ranthambore forest was the hunting ground for the Royals of Jaipur. Their occasional hunting did not have any impact on Ranthambore’s resources, but by the mid-twentieth century, many forests throughout India were severely exploited. Hence, protective measures were undertaken to conserve these valuable resources.

  • 1953: The Rajasthan Forest Act came into force, protecting the forest from exploitation to a certain extent.
  • 1955: The Ranthambore forest area was converted into the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary. The establishment of the sanctuary offered greater protection to the wildlife. It also prohibited any commercial activity in the forest although hunting continued.
  • 1960: Queen Elizabeth II, along with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited the sanctuary. The Maharaja of Jaipur invited them on a royal hunt.
  • 1970: Hunting was finally banned.
  • 1973: Despite the establishment of the wildlife sanctuary, the tiger population within the park and throughout the country was dwindling drastically. As such the government of India came up with Project Tiger – a conservation program. Under Project Tiger, 155.40 square kilometres of the Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary was declared as the area for tiger reserve. Back then, the park only had around 14 tigers.
  • 1980: Ranthambore National Park was established by adding more land to the park. By 1980, the national park covered 282 square kilometres of the region.
  • 1984: Similarly, the forest south of the park was named Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary.
  • 1991: Kala Devi Sanctuary and Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary were added to the tiger reserve.

Since then, the park has been plagued with poachers. Although the park officials have tightened the security, according to the recent survey, there are only about 53 tigers in Ranthambore today.

Wildlife in Ranthambore National Park

The growing population of royal Bengal tigers may be the primary attraction, but it isn’t the only cat species in Ranthambore. Other cat species present in the park are around 130 Indian leopards, 18-35 caracals or siyagosh, and jungle cats. It also has rusty-spotted cats – the smallest wild cat species in Asia.

Amongst the herbivores are nilgai, chinkara, sambar, and chital. Ranthambore is also teeming with medium to small-sized creatures such as rhesus macaque, sloth bear, common mongoose, small Indian mongoose, small Indian civets, common palm civets, Indian porcupines, and five striped palm squirrels.

The park has over 320 species of birds. Some commonly spotted in Ranthambore are Indian gray hornbills, woodpeckers, common kingfishers, cuckoos, nightjars, bee-eaters, eagles, flycatchers, flamingoes, owls, doves, mynas, and pigeons. Furthermore, the winter season brings a large number of migratory species to the park. Many of these birds can be easily spotted around Rajbagh Talao, Malik Talao, and Padam Talao.

There are 35 reptile species within the park. Some of the most widely known reptiles within Ranthambore are mugger crocodile, saw-scaled viper, Indian monitor lizard, cobra, common toad, and skitter frog.

Ranthambore National Park Premier Attractions

Ranthambore Fort

Builtin the 10th century, the Ranthambore Fort has seen the rise and fall of several kingdoms. It has been under the rule of Chauhans, Kings of Mewars, Rajputs, and finally Maharajas of Jaipur. The fort lies on top of a 700-foot hill in the heart of the Ranthambore National Park. Apart from its rich history, the Ranthambore Fort is also well-known for its panoramic views. Safari visitors should watch the sunset from atop this formidable historical monument as the view is simply spectacular.

Lakes of Ranthambore

  • Rajbagh Talao: An idyllic spot in the Ranthambore National Park, this lake is one of the water bodies that quenches the thirst of the park wildlife during the hot summers. Visitors are likely to spot sambar and Bengal tigers in the region. It also attracts a lot of birds such as egrets.
  • Malik Talao: The smallest of the park’s lake, it is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Birds such as cranes, herons, ibis, egrets, storks, and kingfishers are easily spotted around the lake. Furthermore, the lake also has a high number of marsh crocodiles and several other reptiles.
  • Padam Talao: One of the largest lakes in Ranthambore, Padam Talao has historical significance as the place where Princess Padmavati committed Sati. Jogi Mahal, another of the park’s attractions, is located near the lake. During summer, visitors are able to spot quite a few animals at the lake. Throughout the years, it is also considered a hunting ground for several predators as well as home to the park’s crocodiles.

When To visit Ranthambore National Park

Summer, although hot, is an ideal time to spot animals in the wild. The months before monsoon, April to June, are the best time to visit the Ranthambore National Park for spotting tigers. The jungle safaris in Ranthambore are usually planned for either early mornings or evenings. People can plan a visit to the Ranthambore fort from April to October.

The park remains closed during the monsoon months of July to September. December to January can be freezing and the weather foggy so, it is not an ideal climate for watching wildlife in Ranthambore. Avoid making any plans during the major Indian holidays. These are the times when the schools are out, and the parks are crowded with local visitors.

October to March is the best time to visit Ranthambore for bird-watching. During this time, several migratory species enjoy the park’s resources, one such migratory bird is Sarus crane.

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