Located close to Rajasthan’s border with Madhya Pradesh, Ranthambhore is enchanting, brimming with the romance of the wild and the alluring secrets of its rich history. Once the hunting grounds of the maharajas of Jaipur, and later the British, the area, sprawled across 392.5 sq.km, was declared the Sawai Madhopur Wildlife Sanctuary in 1955 and a National Park in 1980.
Tourists often describe Ranthambhore as an experience – unforgettable and thrilling. The biggest reason for this is that the Park is famous for its almost assured tiger sightings – apparently the tigers here don’t shy away from human company and are often spotted even during the daytime. Tigers apart, Ranthambhore and its surroundings have an aura of something primeval…ancient ruins, the fiercely beautiful landscape, myths and legends about Raja Hamir and the glorious times of the ‘impregnable fort’, and bustling village life make the layers of history almost palpable here.
The highlight of the Ranthambhore experience is unarguably the jungle Jeep safari to spot tigers. Ranthambhore’s big cats, you are informed, like to stroll on the Forest Department’s soft, untarred jungle paths! Which means that there are plenty of opportunities for some amazing and promised tiger sightings. The magnificent Ranthambhore Fort is situated almost exactly at the conjunction of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill ranges. The Fort, after which the National Park is named, is believed to have been built in 944 CE and is considered one of the strongest and sturdiest forts in the country. It was occupied by Raja Hamir for many years until he was forced to surrender to Allaudin Khilji’s army in 1301. The daunting climb up to the Fort’s ramparts is well worth the effort for the spectacular views of the Park and its three lakes from the top.
Also worth a visit is the Ranthambhore School of Art on the road to the Park – the wildlife paintings here, many of which represent the tiger in its natural habitat, have been done by local artists. The School contributes towards tiger conservation.
Holxo Tours in Ranthambhore