The magnificent Ranthambore National Park is ideally located in between the picturesque Aravali Hills and the plateau of Vindhya. It is easily one of India’s pride as far as Wildlife Sanctuaries are concerned. The park has attracted dignitaries and world-renowned personalities galore by its magical charm.
High on the list of present-day dignitaries visiting Ranthambore was the charismatic former President of the USA, Bill Clinton who was mesmerized by Ranthambore’s prized possessions – The Tigers.
Post Bill Clinton’s visit, things have improved by leaps and bounds at Ranthambore. If statistics were anything to go by, the Tiger count had increased. So has the conservation and anti-poaching measures, which has kind of galvanized the National Park.
The best jungle hospitality in Ranthambore is the impressive Oberoi Vanyavilas Resort, run by the renowned Oberoi Hotel chain, located in close proximity to the National Park. Opt for tented accommodation rather than the more luxurious air-conditioned cottages in order to really imbibe the haunting wilderness of Ranthambore.
They are fashioned in the same manner as the imperial caravans that were formerly utilized by the Maharajas of yore. Inside, the meticulously done up gold woven tiger pattern, carpets laid on fine teak flooring, and the king-sized bed are the ideal way to sleep after an exciting daytime excursion are the focal points of the furnishings.
A 3 Nights & 4 Days itinerary is perfect and you can rest assured of The Resort’s In-house naturalists who know Ranthambore’s terrain by the tip of their fingers.
To track Tigers at Ranthambore, you need someone who knows the topography well as also the skill to interpret the telltale signs in the form of pugmarks. Mind you, not all pugmarks are fresh. You need loads of experience to correctly make a call.
For the benefit of the tourists, Ranthambore National Park is divided into 5 separate zones. Each zone has a definite carrying capacity and at no point in time is any particular zone too crowded.
Although luck plays an important role as far as sighting Tigers are concerned, the naturalists at Oberoi Vanyavilas are unanimous in their opinion that if one is patient enough, one is sure to sight a Tiger in 8 attempts inside the sanctuary.
Ranthambore comes alive with the sight of Sambhars and Nilgais grazing in the grasslands. The monkeys here are literally just too naughty. The Peacocks of Ranthambore, are amongst the most graceful of all National Parks in India.
If you are lucky, you will come across the sight of Tigress licking its newborn cub with her tongue in such a tender manner that only a mother could. For many who have sighted Tigers at Ranthambore, the scene is straight out of a National Geographic TV episode. You literally empty your camera rolls and keep on clicking from as many angles as possible. But be aware, do not spend more than half an hour at one spot since the Tigers become impatient after a certain time.
Apart from Tiger Tracking, there are a plethora of explorations possible at Ranthambore. High on the list of must-visit places for visitors is the Ranthambore Fort and in the days of yore, Ranthambore used to be the royal hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
The magnificent Fort is believed to be centuries old and was built by the erstwhile indomitable Chahuan Rajputs way back in 944 AD. From a distance, the fort looks stunning as it is made of the finest variety of sandstone. Make it a point to visit the Jogi Mahal wherein you will come face to face with one of India’s largest Banyan trees.
Your next halt should ideally be the splendid castle of “Jhoomar Baori “, which has now been converted into a heritage hotel by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation. If you travel a few kilometers all the way through the forest, you will come face to face with an unusual forest retreat belonging to a 19th century Jaipur ruler.
Given the aura surrounding the Chambal region, you would do well to visit the Chambal River, which is within close proximity to the Ranthambore National Park.
Most Indians are familiar with the “Ravines of Chambal”. The Chambal area is famous for its clan of dacoits. In fact, so much so that, the Chambal region has become a part of modern Indian folklore. The stories of exploits of the Chambal dacoits have been artistically reproduced in many films and documentaries. One of Chambal’s pride was “Bandit Queen” – Phoolan Devi, who in her life went on to become an honorable Member of Parliament (MP).
A trip to the Chambal region would be incomplete without a visit to the Chambal Ghariyal Sanctuary (Crocodile Sanctuary). Here in this one-of-its-kind sanctuary, young crocodiles are scientifically reared. The sanctuary stretches all the way to Pachnada in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Here at this sanctuary, you can have a date with Marshy Crocodiles as well as the endangered Indian Crocodile. Bear in mind, the sanctuary is not for the faint-hearted though!
The fascinating tribal culture in this part of the world is like a breath of fresh air for the jaded international traveler. The tribal people live within close proximity to the National Park and one can see their intricately designed houses replete with indigenous design patterns.
For the avid Ornithologists, Ranthambore offers unparalleled vistas. Bird watchers come from all over India and abroad, fully equipped with custom-designed cameras to aid in their bird-watching activity.
And for company, you have more than 272 species of birds that are residents of this National Park. Commonly found birds like White Throated Kingfisher, Indian Greenpie, Green Treepie, Red Vented Bulbul, Rosewing Parakeet, Peacock, Anhinga, Black Headed Ibis, Common Snipe, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Teal, Grey Francolin, Partridge, Common Tern, Osprey, etc…. offer you with endless opportunities to marvel at their secret and colorful lives.
In terms of Wildlife Photography, Ranthambore offers some of the most awe-inspiring wilderness vistas. Although the quality of cameras matters a lot, no doubt about that. But if one is patient enough and with lady’s luck by his side Ranthambore can be a paradise for photographers.
It is always wise to plan well in advance of one’s departure to the National Park. A guide with expert knowledge about the terrain and topography can come in handy. Ranthambore still has stretches of a magnificent forest that are ideal for Wildlife Safaris. So why wait? Come to Ranthambore and shoot wildlife with your cameras!
Traveler’s Fact File
Getting There: If you traveling by train, Ranthambore National Park is located at a distance of 132 km from Jaipur, 227 Kms. from Agra, and 408 km from Delhi. The distance is much more when you travel by road from Jaipur, Agra, or Delhi. Delhi airport is well connected by a network of national and international flights.
As one of India’s premier Wildlife Sanctuaries, Ranthambore is home to one of the world’s most outstanding luxury jungle accommodations – the Oberoi Vanyavilas – ranked amongst the Top 25 Small Hotels in the World.