Ranthambore: Then & Now

Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is the single largest expanse of dry deciduous Anogeissus pendula Forest left intact in India.  It is is home to over 40 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, over 40 species of reptiles and over 300 species of plants. Currently it is home to 45 adult tigers & 16 cubs.

Situated in the desert state of Rajasthan, Ranthambore’s flagship species is Panthera Tigris Tigris- the Indian or the Bengal tiger. The forest remains dry for more than eight months in a year & therefore the chances of spotting this elusive big cat are much higher as compared to other tiger reserves in India.

Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, was previously private & exclusive hunting reserve of Jaipur royal family until 1955 when the forest was declared ‘Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary’. The practice of issuance of game permit finally came to an end in 1973 when this sanctuary was declared a part of project tiger, resulting in relocation of 12 villages located inside the park. . In 1980, in order to give greater protection to the forests, an area of 282.03 sq. k.m. of the inner part of Sawai Madhopur sanctuary was declared as national park. Since then the state Government stopped collection of any forest produce from sanctuary and national parks. In the year 1983, 647 square k.m. of forests lying to the North of the National park were declared as the Kaila Devi Sanctuary and included in the Tiger Project. Similarly, in 1984, 130 square k.m. of forests lying to the South of the Ranthambore National Park were declared as Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary and included in Tiger Project.Today, this Project tiger reserve spans over 1334 sq. km of area, of which 282 sq. km is the Ranthambore National Park.

The project tiger reserve is where the Aravali and the Vindhyan hill ranges meet and this confluence is perhaps the reason for the rich bio-diversity of the Ranthambore. The geological formations of Vindhyan system are characterized by flat tabletops locally known as ‘Dang’ , while the Aravallis are characterized by sharp ridges and conical hilltops. An important geological fault line – the Great Boundary Fault – lies at the confluence of the Aravali and the Vindhyan systems – and runs right across Ranthambore national park.

Ranthambore National Park is dotted with structures that remind you of bygone eras.There are many water bodies located all over the park, which provide perfect relief during the extremely hot summer months for the forest inhabitants. A huge fort, after which the park is named, towers over the park atop a hill. There are many ruins of bygone eras scattered all over the jungle, which give it a unique, wonderful and mixed flavour of nature, history and wildlife.Tigers at Ranthambore National park have been known to even hunt in full view of human visitors. These tigers are famous for being seen in the daytime too, due to their lack of fear of human presence in vehicles. This lack of fear of humans

Sighting at Ranthambore

Ranthambore is a dry-deciduous forest, which means that there is little undergrowth and most of the trees shed their leave in the dry season. Out of all the tiger reserves in India, Ranthambore gets the least amount of rainfall and as a result there are very few patches with tall grasses. Besides, this Project Tiger reserve has an excellent network of forest tracks (that are motorable in the dry season).

All the above mentioned factors contribute to some great wildlife viewing, during safaris. Since there is little undergrowth and very few patches with tall and thick cover of grasses, the visibility is fantastic. The excellent network of forest tracks allows for much better tracking of animals from vehicles. Besides, most of the safari tracks in Ranthambore, are actually heavily used animal tracks that have been widened to enable safari vehicles to drive on them. As a result, a lot of mega-fauna can be seen on or very near the forest tracks.

This is particularly true for tigers. Tigers have very soft pads under their feet, which enables them to move silently – a very important adaptation for hunting. Due to this they prefer to walk on the safari tracks, which have soft sand covering, very little thorns, rocks and dried leave. Not only is it more comfortable for them when they are walking on the tracks but the soft sand and the relative absence of twigs and leaves enables them to walk silently, without alerting their prey.

Sighting tigers in the wild is totally a matter of chance but these chances can be improved considerably. Before going in for the safari it is important to have some knowledge of movement of tigers in the park in the last few days. Almost all the local guides and drivers (who are excellent in finding tigers) have this information. They mostly get this information from their own observations in the last few days and from the observation of other guides and drivers. Once you know the movement patterns of tigers in the last few days then it is possible to predict the areas where the chances of finding tigers are better. For instance, if you know that a particular tiger has got a Sambar deer kill in a particular place, then the chances are that the tiger would be in the same area for the next 2 to 3 days. To know more about movements of tigers, refer daily sightings update

Climate

Ranthambore has three very well defined seasons – summers, winters and monsoons. October and March are the time when the weather changes from monsoons to winters and from winters to summers, respectively.

Summers start during the end of March and last through the months of April, May and June. During this season the days are very hot and dry. During May and June the maximum day temperature crosses 40 degrees Centigrade and the minimum night temperature still hovers around 30 degrees Centigrade. During the day, hot and dry winds. Most of the ungulates and the large predators spend the summer months in the valleys. The maximum day temperature often crosses 45 degrees C in May and June, when the relative humidity is at its lowest.The monsoons or the rainy season lasts from July to September.

The winter season lasts from November to February. The night temperature stays below 10 degrees Centigrade, while the day temperature hovers around the 20 degree Centigrade mark. There is often some rain and fog during the mid winters. During December and January the lowest night time temperature goes down to 2 degrees C.

Safari:

Safaris are conducted twice a day across 10 designated tourism zones in park by forest department.One can prebook a 6 seater jeep or 20 seater open bus (cantor) for safari both use the same safari tracks on designated route. Zone 1-6 are considered premium zones and are much in demand, maximum 50 vehicles are allowed in these zones. At any point in time maximum 8 vehicles i.e 3 gypsy and 5 cantors are allotted same route.

Under the new facility provided by forest department, once can pre book safari route at the time of booking else get the same changed at the time of releasing vehicle by paying an additional fee of 1000/- per safari. Vehicles and guides are allocated on roaster system unlike central Indian parks in case you wish to do safaris in same vehicle and using same guide you need to pay an additional fee of 4000/- and 600/-per safari.

A normal safari shift lasts 3.30 hours and the time varies with change in season. Normally a safari begins half an hour post sunset & ends half an hour before sunset.

Safari timings

Ranthambore Safari Timings
S.No. Month Morning Trip Evening Trip
1 1st October to 31st October 6.30 A.M. to 10.00 A.M. 2.30 P.M. to 6.00 P.M.
2 1st November to 31st January 7.00 A.M. to 10.30 A.M. 2.00 P.M. to 5.30 P.M.
3 1st February to 31st March 6.30 A.M. to 10.00 A.M. 2.30 P.M. to 6.00 P.M.
4 1st April to 15th May 6.00 A.M. to 9.30 A.M. 3.00 P.M. to 6.30 P.M.
5 15th May to 30th June 6.00 A.M. to 9.30 A.M. 3.30 P.M. to 7.00 P.M.

 

There is always heavy rush on weekends and public holidays therefore it is advisable to book 100-120 days in advance.

Ranthambore Fort-is one of the six forts included in the World Heritage Site from Rajasthan.Situated within Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, the fort is known for the glory and valor of Hammir Dev of the Chauhan dynasty. Its earlier name was Ranastambh or Ranastambhapur.

The fortress of Ranthambore founded in 944 is considered second largest fort in Rajasthan after Chittorgarh. Raja Sajraj Veer Singh Nagil (880 to 935 AD) was the first ruler of Ranthambore  who developed and raised infrastructure to make this area suitable for defence. After the defeat of the Chauhan king Prithviraj Chauhan by Muhammad of Ghori in 1192, Ranthambore, led by Govinda Raja, son of Prithviraj, became the center of Chauhan resistance to the expanding Sultanate of Delhi. The fortress passed to the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur in the 17th century, and it remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence.

Inside Ranthambore fort there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlala ji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone. There is also a Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavnath

The famous Trinetra( three eyed) Ganesh temple is believed to be the protector of Ranthambore forest & supposedly protects humans from wild animals. Every year more than 5 million people visit this temple out of which approximately 1 million visit the temple during Ganesh Mela celebrated around August-September every year.

Visitors are allowed to visit the fort between sunrise & sunset everyday. If carrying own vehicle till fort entry gate, one needs to have a valid PUC certificate. From entry gate at Jogi Mahal, an easy walk of approximately 1.5 km would take you to the top of Ranthambore fort.

Quick Facts:

Area: 1334 square kilometers
Latitudes: 25 46′N to 21 12′N
Longitudes: 76 17′E to 77 13′E
Nearest town and railway station: Sawai Madhopur, 12 kilometers from the camp
Nearest Airport: Jaipur approx 170 km
AV. elevation: 350 meters M.S.L.
Annual rainfall: 800 mm
Geography: There are two hill systems that meet in the forest: the Aravali and the Vindhyan ranges.

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Comments (2)

  1. kaustubh / Reply December 12, 2016 at 10:49 am

    awesome!!!!!!!!!

  2. Tarun Mundhra / Reply March 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    dear Sir

    We have plan to visit ranthambor on 24th march till 26th march.

    We are 5 couple along with 2 kids each.
    We want your guidance and expertise to make this trip memorable.

    Kindly give us an offer for the assistance you can provide.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Best Regards
    Tarun Mundhra

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