Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is the single largest expanse of dry deciduous Anogeissus pendula Forest left intact in India. It 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 60 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 National Parks in India.
Ranthambore National Park, was previously a private & exclusive hunting reserve of the Jaipur royal family until 1955 when the forest was declared ‘Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary’. The practice of issuing game permits finally came to an end in 1973 when this sanctuary was declared a part of Project Tiger, resulting in the relocation of 12 villages located inside the park. In 1980, to give greater protection to the forests, an area of 282.03 sq. km. of the inner part of Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary was declared a national park. Since then, the state Government stopped the collection of any forest produce from sanctuaries and national parks. In the year 1983, 647 square km. 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 km. of forests lying to the South of the Ranthambore National Park were declared as Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary and included in the Tiger Project. Today, this Project National Park spans over 1334 sq. km of area, of which 282 sq. km is the Ranthambore National Park.
The project National Park 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 National Park. The geological formations of the 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 National Park 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 National Park gets the least amount of rainfall and as a result, there are very few patches with tall grasses. Besides, this Project National Park 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 a 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 National Park, are 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 leaves. 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 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 the movement of tigers in the park in the last few days. Almost all the local guides and drivers (who are excellent at finding tigers) have this information. They mostly get this information from their observations in the last few days and from the observations 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 the movements of tigers, refer daily sightings update
Ranthambore National Park has three very well-defined seasons – summers, winters and monsoons. October and March are the times when the weather changes from monsoons to winters and from winters to summers, respectively.
Summers start at the end of March and last through 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 nighttime temperature goes down to 2 degrees C.
Safaris are conducted twice a day across 10 designated tourism zones in the park by the forest department. One can pre-book either a 6-seater Jeep or a 20-seater open bus (Canter) for the safari. Both vehicles use the same safari tracks on the designated route. Zone 1-6 is considered premium zones and in demand, a maximum of 50 vehicles are allowed in these zones. At any point in time, a maximum of 8 vehicles i.e. 3 jeeps and 5 canters are allotted for the same route.
Under the new facility provided by the forest department, you could pre-book a safari route at the time of booking or you could get the same change at the time of releasing the vehicle by paying some additional fee subject to availability. A roster system is adopted to allocate Vehicles and guides. In case you wish to do safaris in the same vehicle with the same guide you need to pay some per safari.
Usually, safari tours begin half an hour post-sunrise and end half an hour before sunset. The duration of a normal safari shift is 3:30 hours approximately. The beginning time of the safari tours varies with the variation in seasons.
Ranthambore Jungle Safari Timings
|From 1st Oct to 31st Oct
|06:30 am - 10:00 am
|02:30 pm - 06:00 pm
|From 1st Nov to 31st Jan
|07:00 am - 10:30 am
|02:00 pm - 05:30 pm
|From 1st Feb to 31st Mar
|06:30 am - 10:00 am
|02:30 pm - 06:00 pm
|From 1st April to 15th May
|06:00 am - 09:30 am
|03:00 pm - 06:30 pm
|From 16th May to 30th June
|06:00 am - 09:30 am
|03:30 pm - 07:00 pm
Zones 1-5 of Ranthambore National Park are closed on Wednesday (full day) whereas zones 6-10 are closed on Tuesday (full day)
Seasonal Closure - 1st July to 30th September each year, zones 6-10 remain open during this period
Ranthambore Fort is one of the six forts included in the World Heritage Site from Rajasthan. Situated within Ranthambore National Park, the fort is known for the glory and valour of Hammir Dev of the Chauhan dynasty. Its earlier name was Ranastambh or Ranastambhapur.
The fortress of Ranthambore National Park 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 centre of Chauhan's 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 the 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 every day. If carrying own vehicle to the fort entry gate, one needs to have a valid PUC certificate. From the entry gate at Jogi Mahal, an easy walk of approximately 1.5 km would take you to the top of Ranthambore Fort.
Area: 1334 square kilometers
Latitudes: 25 46′N to 21 12′N
Longitudes: 76 17′E to 77 13′E
The nearest town and railway station: is Sawai Madhopur, 12 kilometres from the camp
Nearest Airport: Jaipur approx. 170 km
AV. elevation: 350 meters M.S.L.
Annual rainfall: 800 mm
Geography: Two hill systems meet in the forest: the Aravali and the Vindhyan ranges.
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