Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is one of the most popular national parks in India. Located near Sawai Madhopur, which lies between Bharatpur and Kota, the Ranthambore National Park was the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The park was declared a game sanctuary in 1955 and in 1980 the park attained the status of national park. After the launch of Project Tiger in 1973, the sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve.
Though Ranthambore is spread over an area of 1000 square kilometres, however the core area is about 400 square kilometres. The park is situated on the eastern side of the Aravalli range. The park derives its name from the Ranthambore fort that overlooks the park. Two rivers rinse the park and there are three lakes inside the park.
Tigers are the star attractions at the Ranthambore National Park. There are other animals in the park as well that you can watch on your wildlife tour to Ranthambore National Park. The other animals that you come across include marsh crocodile, sambhar, sloth bear, chinkara, wild boar, leopard, chital, nilgai, mongoose, Jungle cat and monitor lizards.
The park is home to a large number of birds. According to experts, the park is home to about 264 species of birds.
Elephant safari is an excellent way of exploring the park. However, jeep safaris are also available. The chances of sighting a tiger in the park are more during early morning and before dusk. As the predator is most active during morning and evening. The former president of the United States, Bill Clinton spotted a tiger during his visit to Ranthambore National Park in 2000.
There are a number of places in and around Ranthambore National Park that you can visit. The most popular is Ranthambore Fort, which you can visit. This 10th century Ranthambore fort was built by the Chauhans. You can also visit Jogi Mahal, which has the second largest banyan tree in India.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is another tourist attraction that you can visit. If you wish to extend your Ranthambore visit, you can travel to Jaipur, which is about 180 kilometres away.
Prior booking and travel information will help you in making you tour smooth affair. Unauthorised vehicles are not allowed inside the park. You can visit the park either in the morning (7-10 am) or in the afternoon (2.30-sunset). During summer, timings change slightly.
Temperature can rise about 38°C during summer (April-June). October-March is an ideal time to visit park. However, if you can brave the summer heat, a visit to the park may prove rewarding. The park closes from July to September.
Jaipur is the nearest airport, which is about 145 kilometres from Ranthambore. Sawai Madhopur is the nearest railway station, which is 11 kilometres away. Ranthambore is well connected by road with other parts of the state.
There are number of hotels, lodges and tourist rest houses in and around Ranthambore such as etc. Rajasthan Tourism also runs a number of tourist lodges, where you can stay.