India is a very diverse country rich in culture, heritage as well as its flora and fauna. It is home for wilderness and the animals located amidst it. They seek shelter in the rich biodiversity our country encompasses. In a world where some species of animals are nearing extinction, it is important to make sure their safety, especially in their natural habitat. There are many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that cater to the needs of such endangered and other species. There are certain areas that have been preserved by the government for the purpose of animal habitat in many parts of India.
One such initiative is Ranthambore National park, the fourth largest national park in the north of India. It is quite well known for its Tiger reserve. It was set up in 1955 by the government of India. It was initially known as the Sawai Madhopur Game sanctuary. It was then declared as a national park by 1980. It is located in the Sawai Madhopur district and is 140kms away from Jaipur, situated in Rajasthan.
About the National Park
Ranthambore national park stretches over a distance of about 400 square kilometres. It is situated in the valley in between Aravalli and Vindhya hill range. It was once the private hunting grounds of royalty among the residents of Jaipur and other surrounding cities. It is now acres and acres of lush green flora, four to five water bodies, amazing landscape and home to a variety of animals. The dry deciduous forest makes it a very favourable environment for the animals. This park also attracts many tourists throughout the year. There is also a fort, after which the park was named, situated on a hilltop making it a famous heritage site. It is a mixture of culture, wildlife, and history blended among nature.
What is the main feature of Ranthambore National Park?
The most wonderful experience to gain out of this national park is that it is home for many of Bengal tigers, an endangered species. One can easily spot the Tigers even in daylight and there have been many sightings of tigers hunting in full view of the tourists. On the brink of extinction, tigers received protection under Project tiger which was launched in 1973. Ranthambore was among the 9 reserves that were taken under this project. It is known as the tiger’s paradise and is a treat to the eye for any tiger lover. It is known for its high tiger densities among many national parks in the country. There are about 61 tigers residing in the park according to the latest census. The national park has 10 zones which have territories marked to spot several tigers. If you really want to see a tiger, it is recommended that zones 1 to 5 is the best zones where one can easily spot a Tiger. On the other hand, the other zones are said to havelower chances of spotting tigers. The best time to visit if one wishes to spot a tiger would be during the months of summer- March to May- as there would be lesser covering on trees and bushes through which a tiger can be easily spotted. Tigers also come out of their shelter often to quench their thirst and relieve them of the heat making it a good time to visit the park for its reserve.
Other Animals that you can spot in the park
Not only does one experience the majestic beast but there are other exotic animals to be spotted in the national park. The list includes Sloth Bears, Leopards, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Flying Fox, Indian Gerbilles, Black Bucks, Desert Cats, Indian Porcupines, Small Indian Mongoose, Long eared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Civets and Common Mongoose, among many others. The park is also home for several reptiles such as Tortoise, Crocodiles, Cobras, Desert Monitor Lizards, Banded Kraits, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Common Kraits, Indian Pythons, etc. There are also a variety of birds that can be spotted through activities of bird watching. More than 272 species have been spotted in the national park. Some of them are Flycatchers, Gray Hornbills, Nightjars and flamingos among others.
Ranthambore Fort- a must visit
The national park attained its name through the Ranthambore Fort, the ruins of which are situated within the park. It is about 700 feet high and can be located around 5 kilometres from the park. It is a heritage site and has been recognized by UNESCO under the title “Hill Forts of Rajasthan”. There are also various temples and a national history museum located around the park that one can go and visit.
The park due to its essential feature of inhibiting tigers and for the splendour that it has to offer through nature is a very famous spot and attracts many tourists. It is open throughout the year and is a safe haven for wildlife photographers. One can capture the movements of tigers and other animals, the rich greenery the park offers along with the scenic beauty. There are many places one can even visit in Ranthambore national park. That includes the Fort, Kachida valley, temples, Raj Bagh ruins, Bakaula, Lakarda and Ananthapura. Tourists are often advised to wear comfortable clothes which are earthy in colour to avoid being the cause of distraction for the animal. There are safari and Ranthambore tour packages available which let you enter many of the core zones of animal sightings. There are resorts available in the park and around it to make sure a comfortable stay.
How to reach to the park?
The easiest mode of transportation is to commute through a train with the destination being Sawai Madhopur railway station. This train connects all important cities such as Delhi, Bombay and Jaipur. If travelling by air, then the nearest airport is located in Jaipur. There are regular flights available to Jaipur. Tourists can commute via bus or taxi once they land in Jaipur.
Ranthambore offers an experience that can never be forgotten. It is a very good option to travel and explore the wild and connect with nature. The awestruck moment after spotting a tiger is an opportunity that should not be grabbed and made full use of.