Ranthambore tiger reserve and national park

pictures of wildlife, maps, train to Sawai Madhopur, tiger safaris, accommodation

lake at Ranthambore national park Sleeping tiger Ranthambore tiger reserve's romantic setting, with a 1000 year old abandoned fortress, turquoise lakes and especially it's friendly tigers have made Ranthambore a popular destination for tourists and wildlife film makers. Tigers are often observed during daylight, lazing about or hunting, oblivious of jeep-loads of visitors and their cameras. Ranthambore tiger reserve was once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur and it's royal heritage manifests itself in the picturesque hunting lodges, chhatris and old fortifications that dot the park. I have visited Ranthambore two times, during November 1995 and October 1998, and I saw wild tigers on both visits.

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Ranthambore - mother monkey nursing baby Ranthambore - Spotted deer grazing

Situated between the Vindhya and Aravali range of hills, Ranthambore is one of Rajasthan's last remaining sizeable area of forest and savannah. The terrain changes dramatically from the flat topped Vindhya hills to the sharp and conical Aravali hills. Elevations in the park range from 200 meters to 500 meters above sea level. The landscape is rugged with hills, rocky escarpments and valleys containing lakes and rivers. Ranthambore's forests are of the tropical dry deciduous type and were once part of the jungles covering central India. The most prominent tree in Ranthambore's forests is the dhok, an extremely hardy tree, capable of withstanding prolonged droughts. Ranthambore tiger reserve has a rich diversity of plants and wildlife including tigers and crocodiles and over 200 species of birds. Ranthambore also has several permanent lakes. Commonly observed wildlife includes langurs, sambar deer, blue bull (nilgai), Indian gazelle (chinkara), black buck, wild boars, spotted deer (chital), peacocks and crocodiles.

Ranthambore - Sambar deer grazing Ranthambore tiger reserve is located in the state of Rajasthan, India. About 130 km to the southeast of Jaipur. The nearest train station is Sawai Madhopur on the Bombay-Jaipur railway line and located 12 km from Ranthambore. Ranthambore tiger reserve covers a total area of about 1300 sq km. The tiger reserve is composed of the core area of Ranthambore national park (275 sq km), the buffer area of Ranthambore national park (130 sq km), the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary, Keladevi Sanctuary, Kualji Game Reserve and other reserves and protected forests. originally named the Sawai Madhopur wildlife sanctuary. Ranthambore was created in 1955. During 1973 it became part of Project Tiger. In 1980 Ranthambore was declared a national park and in 1984 the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary were added.

Photos of Ranthambore, click on a photo to see full size. All photos © Imtiaz Dharssi
Ranthambore - Blue bull (nilgai) Female sambar deer with fawn Mother sambar deer with fawn Mother sambar deer with babies Male sambar deer

Project Tiger- tiger numbers at Ranthambore

Project Tiger was launched during 1973 and Ranthambore was one of nine reserves to be included. Ranthambore was the smallest of the reserves selected for Project Tiger but it was hoped that Ranthambore's 390 sq km tropical dry deciduous habitat would be large enough to maintain a healthy tiger population. Later additions such as the Keladevi and Sawai Man Singh Sanctuaries have increased Ranthambore's size to 1,300 sq km but the core area is only 275 sq km. However, nearby villagers persistently attempt to graze their cattle in the core area. A scientific survey conducted from 1987 to 1988, warns that because of grazing and cutting pressure only about 25% of Ranthambore's declared core area is actually effective. A 1992-1998 survey using satellite data suggests that a recovery started in 1996 of Ranthambore's tree cover and water resources and this has helped to increase tiger numbers.

The first census at Ranthambore, during 1973, counted 14 tigers residing within the reserve. By 1991, tiger numbers are estimated to have increased to 45. A huge achievement for Project Tiger. However, some commentators beleive that poachers killed over 20 tigers between 1992 and 1993. They suggest that the true number of tigers at Ranthambore is between 16 and 20. There has been much controversy on the real number of tigers residing at Ranthambore. The 1997 census suggests that there were 32 tigers at Ranthambore.

Alarmingly, at the nearby Sariska national park, it seems that poachers have killed nearly all the 26 tigers listed there. During February 2005, 300 forestry workers spent two weeks, at Sariska, looking for tiger paw prints, but without finding any firm evidence of tigers.

Click on a photo to enlarge. All photos © Imtiaz Dharssi
Ranthambore - Banyan Tree Ranthambore - Center truck

Travel information for visits to Ranthambore

Every year over 40,000 people visit Ranthambore. The park is closed for the monsoon season and only open from 1st October to 30th June. The headquarters of Ranthambore tiger reserve is at the town of Sawai Madhopur. Places to stay are spread out on the road between Sawai Madhopur and the park entrance.

Good Points about Ranthambore

  • Great chance to see a wild tiger.
  • Beautiful location with wide variety of wildlife.
  • Fairly easy to get to Ranthambore.

Bad Points about Ranthambore

  • Booking a jeep can be difficult.
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