Ranthambhore National Park

A Desired Hub for Great Indian Tiger, The 392 sq km of Ranthambhore National Park is perhaps India's finest example of Project Tiger, a conservation effort started by the government in an attempt to save the dwindling number of tigers in India. Situated near the small town of Sawai Madhopur, the Park has seen its ups and downs, and there were times not so long ago when poachers were having a field day in the Park. But recently thanks to the
devoted work of some good field staff the forest has been restored to its old glory and is now seen as a much needed stronghold for the tiger which is battling for survival. What is so special about this Park is the way history and forest have come together to create an amazing landscape not seen in very many places. The rich forest around the fort is littered with ruins that date back to the 10th century. Parts of the fort that lie inside the Park have been reclaimed by nature. Can you imagine the sight of a wild tiger seeking shelter under architectural brilliance on a hot summer day, or a leopard standing majestically on the walls of the old fort? Ranthambhore has a wide variety of dazzling landscape to offer. The most frequented areas in the Park are around the beautiful lakes where a large number of the wild conjugates. One also gets a chance to drive through rolling grasslands, rushing streams, open scrubs, heavily wooded valleys and through deep ravines walled on either side with steep cliffs.

A Royal Hunting Reserve of Jaipur Maharajas

The Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and as a National Park in 1980, seven years after the launch of Project Tiger. In 1984, the southern and northeast forests were declared as Sawai Man Singh and Keladevi sanctuaries. Before Independence, the forests of Ranthambhore were the preserve of
the maharajas of Jaipur who frequently hunted here, and royal hunts go back to the 12th century AD. These forests were the favorite hunting grounds of Prithviraj Chauhana, a Rajput ruler whose hunting zeal took him into other ruler's lands and consequently into battle! In recent times, Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were Maharaja Man Singh's special guests in 1960.

The Erstwhile People of Ranthambhore

Valmik Thapar in his book The Tiger's Destiny talks of the inhabitants of Ranthambhore fort as people who lived freely and easily in the forest. They revered the sun and the moon and were great worshippers of Vaghdeo, the tiger god who propitiated throughout the forest as lord of the area. They believed in a world of ghosts and spirits and wore a variety of charms and amulets to ward off evil ones. Even today, some of the villagers around Ranthambhore still have a bhopa (medicine man). of
The older generations remember their worship of the tiger and some cattle herders still ask for the blessings of the tiger god before taking their cattle to graze in the forests.
The indigenous residents of the Ranthambhore forests were a people called the Minas. It was their custom to mark the forehead of a new ruler with the blood taken from the thumb or toe of a member of a particular family in the tribe. This seems to have been an expression of their right to accept or reject their ruler.

Ecological System

For the wildlife lovers, Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary Rajasthan offers an enthusiastic diversity of flora and fauna. The landscape of the Ranthambore National Park is formed of massive rock formations, steep scarps, perennial lakes and streams and forest suddenly opening up into large areas of Savannah. The terrain of Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary fluctuates between impregnable forests and open bush land. Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is famous for its Tigers and is a delight treat for the 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.

Flora

The Ranthambore National Park Rajasthan is dotted with ancient Banyan Trees, Dhok & Pipal trees, clusters of mango trees and crisscrossed with evergreen patches. The forest is the typically dry deciduous type, with Dhok, being the most obvious tree found through out the region.Apart from Dhok, other species found here are - Am (Magnifera Indica), Imli (Tamarindicus indica), Babul
(Accasia nilotica), Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Ber (Zizyphus mauritania), Dhak or Chila (flame of the forest), Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Kadam (Authocephalus cadamba), Khajur (Phoenix sylvestris), Khair (Accacia catechu), Karel (Capparis decidua), Khejda (Prosopis specigera), Kakera (Flacourtia indica), Mohua (Madhuca indica), Neem (Azadirachta indica), etc.

Fauna

Tigers, the park's pride makes it one of the best places in the country to observe them. Apart from that a large numbers of Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Sloth bears, Black Buck, Rufoustailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, Common Yellow
Bats, Desert Cats, Fivestriped Palm Squirels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes, Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Porcupines, Longeared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets and Common mongoose are seen in the park.

Avifauna

Ranthambore national park is also one of the richest reserves in bird species. Ranthambore, due to its varied terrain and abundance of water bodies, has an excellent population of birds, resident and migrant. There are about 272 different species of birds found in the Ranthambore National Park Rajasthan. The birds in the Park includes a large number of migratory birds. Some of the

Reptiles

Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Desert Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Common Kraits, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Indian Pythons, North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Rat Snakes, Russel's Vipers, Saw-scaled Vipers and the Indian Chamaeleon.
(Accasia nilotica), Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Ber (Zizyphus mauritania), Dhak or Chila (flame of the forest), Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Kadam (Authocephalus cadamba), Khajur (Phoenix sylvestris), Khair (Accacia catechu), Karel (Capparis decidua), Khejda (Prosopis specigera), Kakera (Flacourtia indica), Mohua (Madhuca indica), Neem (Azadirachta indica), etc.

Fishes

Ranthambore due its numerous water bodies has a relatively large variety of fish to boast of. These species consist of : Bita (Labio Rohita), Catla (Catla catla), Greyei (Chhana matulion), Lanchi (Walago auto), Mahseer (Tor tor), Mirgal (Cirrchinus mrigala), Rohu (Labio rohita), Savank (Chhana punctatus), Seenghari (Mystus seenghala).

How to Reach

By Air

Jaipur at 145 km is the nearest airport from Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary.

Buy Train

Ranthambore National Park is around 11 km away from Sawai Madhopur railway station, that lies on the Delhi to Bombay trunk route.

By Road

A good network of buses connect Sawai Madhopur, the nearest town from Ranthambore to all the major cities within the state of Rajasthan.