Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ranthambore National Park

Go there for: Tigers, Leopards

At a glance
Spread across a staggering 392-sq-kms in the historical city of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, India is the Ranthambore National Park. It’s abandoned fortress, lakes and above all it's majestic tigers have made it one of the most filmed wildlife reserves in the world. The once the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur, the wilds of Ranthambore gained the status of a National Park in 1980. Sandwiched between the Aravali Hill ranges and Vindhyan plateau, the Park is strewn with six main lakes and many perennial streams that add to the ecstasy of the Ranthambore wilds.
Wildlife Attractions of Ranthambore National Park
Apart from the tigers - the prized attraction of the park, other inmates include a rich multitude of flora and fauna. Naturalists have recorded the presence of 300 trees, 50 aquatic plants, 272 birds, 12 reptiles including the Marsh Crocodile & amphibians and 30 mammals. Among the animals, the Antelopes, Nilgai, Sambhar and Chital are easy to spot. The lucky ones might spot the Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Chinkara, Porcupines and Jackals, Leopard, Jungle Cat and Marsh Crocodile. Ranthambore, due to its varied terrain and abundance of water bodies, has an excellent population of birds, resident and migrant. Some of the best locations for bird watchers are Malik Talao, the Ranthambore Fort, Rajbagh Talao, Padam Talao and in the Jhalra area. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.
Safari Adventure
You can venturing into the innermost recesses of the jungle in a jeep or a lorry and accompanied by a know-it-all guide from the Forest Department. The reservation of these can be done at the Project Tiger Office at Sawai Madhopur. Safari Timings however change according to the time of year. The approved vehicles follow a fixed route and they vacate the park by 16:30 P.M. in the evening.
What more to look out for in Ranthambore
Ranthambore Fort: An 1,000-year-old architectural wonder stands tall right in the middle of the Park. The Ranthambore Fort is perhaps the oldest existing fort in Rajasthan and a vital citadel for control of anciant India.
Jogi Mahal: The forest rest house, the lovely Jogi Mahal is located at the foot of the fort and it offers a magnificent view of the Padam Talao, painted white with water lilies.
The Raj Bagh Ruins: The Raj Bagh Ruins between the Raj Bagh Talao and the Padam Talao serve a resting place for the majestic tigers of Ranthambore.
Nearby Attractions: If you have had your fill of Ranthambore National Park and still your hunger for wildlife adventure is not satiated, you can go visit the Sariska National Park (famous for the Royal Bengal Tiger) at the Delhi-Jaipur highway and from there to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
Ideal time to visit: A good time to visit is between November and May when the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common.
Accommodation options
The huge influx of tourists are accommodated in heritage hotels, resorts and rest houses built around the Park. The Sawai-Madhopur Lodge of the Taj Group is 20 minute drive from the Park, while the Ranthambore Regency Hotel is a 10 Km drive. The forest rest house, Jogi Mahal inside the park can be an excellent option to stay close to nature.
How to reach there
Fly to Jaipur (the closest airport) and drive to Ranthambore (165 km). Or if you are traveling by train, the nearest railway station is at Sawai madhopur (11 km. From Ranthambore), that lies on the Delhi-Mumbai trunk route. An excellent network of roads connect Sawai madhopur to all major cities of Rajasthan.



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