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mistybleu Ranthambore National Park - A travel report by Amanda
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Ranthambore National Park,  India - flag India -  Råjasthån
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mistybleu's travel reports

Tracking Tigers

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After completing an African safari, I realised how much I loved the outdoors, watching wildlife and what I call being at one with nature; so I decided to tag on a nature drive to my Golden Diamond vacation in India.


Into to the jungle - Ranthambore National Park
Into to the jungle - Ranthambore National Park
The small village of Ranthambhore is near the township of Sawai Madhopur, in the north eastern region of Rajasthan. It is said that it got its name from two hills that are located nearby - Ran and Thambor.

The actual park is set between the Aravalli and Vindhya mountain ranges and the park cover over 400sq metres. It is truly picturesque with the outer buffer zone the home of many ruins – like the majestic 1,000 year old fort, that overlooks the park and sits 700 feet above sea level. There are also many lakes complete with palaces, chhatris (umbrella or canopy and are ususally elevated, dome-shaped pavilions examples of mughal architure) and old fortifications. Inside Ranthambore Fort there are three Hindu temples that were constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone and also a few villages.

It takes around 20 minutes to climb to the top of the fort, but once up there, there are many places of interest:

HAMIR PALACE is one of the oldest structures within the compound

BADAL MAHAL is the palace of the clouds

BARAHDARI is a group of 12 chhatris (a memorial to past heroes)

NAVLAKHA GATE is beyond the Ganesh temple

Ranthambore National Park is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in the country to see these majestic predators in the wild. It is only open from October and June; however the best time to spot tigers is between November and May when the dry deciduous forests makes sightings easier.

By the 17th century the fortress became the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur however its origins dates back well before then. It is said that it was founded in 944 by the Chauhan Rajputs and has seen many different inhabitants over the centuries.

Most people who visit the park just complete a jeep safari, but the fort is well worth exploration and really completes the journey.

Favourite spots:
The Tiger
The Tiger
The park has been a tiger reserve since 1973; in 1990 they had 44 tigers by 97 this reduced to 32 and ten years later it is up to 38 (with a new litter this year). But this mean the chances of seeing tigers are quite low which is disappointing, especially to know that back in the days of the maharajas up to 100 tigers were shot a day.

Bearing in mind that the total world population of wild tigers is only 1300, meaning we could see their extinction in our generation I was lucky to see four.

As you enter the main gate that is straddled by a huge Banyan tree it’s like being transported in time heading deep into the forests. The first sign that a tiger is near, is the calls from the monkeys, like an intermediate cough, and then you see the movement of the grass that reveals the striped cat.

Tigers like being near to water and tall grass; they are excellent swimmers. The best time to spot them in early morning when they go down to the lake’s edge for water.

What's really great:
Ranthamboure Fort
Ranthamboure Fort
The days of the maharajas are truly gone and with most of the palaces, castles and forts being turned into tourist attractions or hotels, Ranthambore Fort has just been abandoned.

It is in disrepair with parts of the buildings and out walls crumbling, but this makes it an incredible location to explore. The fort is perched high on the hill and offers some wonderful panoramic views; the climb up is a little strenuous, but once up there you can easily spend an hour or 2 wandering around empty buildings, lakes and temples.

There is a little village in the outer recesses as well as a working temple. The people are friendly as are the monkeys, although the numerous peacocks that you see will scurry away.

Sights:
At Play
At Play
In 1955 Ranthambore was declared a wildlife reserve and whilst tigers are the main attraction of the national park, you can also see a myriad of other animals including:

Leopards, striped hyenas, spotted deer, sloth bears, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, black bucks, hares, wild boar, desert cats, palm squirrels, foxes, gerbils, mole rats, porcupines, hedgehogs, mongoose and much, much more.

It also has a large number of marsh crocodiles, lizards, tortoise, cobras, turtles, pythons, chameleon to name just a few; as well as over 270 species of birds.

Accommodations:
Anurag Resort
Anurag Resort
There quite a few hotels in this area, ranging from 5* to camping grounds, there is a new hotel that has only been opened for two years, that is definitely worth a visit. I stayed in a more modest accommodation. Government approved three * (well that is what they said). But it was pleasant, with a nice swimming and splash pool. The accommodation was chalets; it was clean and well kept and all rooms were air-conditioned.

I also found some information on hotels on the following website: www.indiaprofile.com/hotels-india/hotels----sawai-madhopur/index.html.

Restaurants:
Roadside 'tea house'
Roadside 'tea house'
Indian food is truly wonderful, full of flavour – really hot and spicy. Eating in restaurants throughout India is really cheap with most main dishes costing around £1-2; the vegetarian options could be even cheaper.

I didn’t see any restaurants in Ranthambhore or Sawai Madhopur; it appeared as though most visitors ate in their hotels. What I did see I can only describe it as ‘Indian tea shops’; what these actually were, just some tables, chairs and maybe a day bed that you would see men sitting and chatting at the edge of the road – no women just men.

Other recommendations:
The Amber Fort
The Amber Fort
Ranthambore is best explored as an extension to the Golden Triangle (or as I’ve dubbed it Golden Diamond), therefore you will be either heading to or from Agra or Jaipur and as these are well trodden routes that everyone knows the highlights: in Agra – Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, ad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb; in Jaipur – Hawa Mahal, Pink City, Amber Fort.

But along the way there are some less known places of interest including: Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary which can be explore by cycle rickshaw or the small town of Tonk, Ajmer or the abandoned city of Fatephur Sikri.

The park is 132 km from Jaipur and 227km from Agra, and 408km from Delhi by train but a lot further via the main road. Whilst the main road from Jaipur is in good repair it still take quite a long time to drive and the road to Agra is being widened so this will tend to add more time onto the journey.

It costs around 500INR entrance fee and many safari tours are available.

Published on Friday December 7th, 2007


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Tue, May 05 2009 - 05:27 PM rating by eirekay

How did I miss this? What a terrific report (as usual!)!

Tue, Apr 28 2009 - 02:16 PM rating by adisidh

Nice report, complete information.

Thu, Jan 17 2008 - 01:56 PM rating by bineba

As always, a great report with great photos! Well done!

Thu, Dec 13 2007 - 11:08 PM rating by whereisliz

Awesome report, as usual! Thanks for adding practical details like location and cost (and even what the roads are like!). Very interesting and helpful, too.

Thu, Dec 13 2007 - 08:26 AM rating by britman

Lovely to read - what an experience!

Mon, Dec 10 2007 - 05:55 AM rating by downundergal

Great report I found all the tiger facts that you gave fascinating. I shudder to think how many have been slaughtered over the years given the numbers that you mention were sighted in the past.
The first photo reminds me of Cambodia and I love the one of the tiger (of course).
Anyway well done once again.
Kerrie

Sun, Dec 09 2007 - 11:43 PM rating by magsalex

Looks like an amazing place to visit. Great report

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 11:35 AM rating by shalini_md

Hi Amanda. Nice report. And you were really lucky to have seen not one, but four tigers! Many of my friends who have been there did not spot any.I think Mother Nature rewards true travellers :-)

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 09:35 AM rating by marianne

Amanda, Beautiful description and I love ll the travel details you give.

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 08:54 AM rating by davidx

As always, a splendid report - but I wish you had called it something else! - like 'sptting tigers.' Even so I have to give it 5*.

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 08:03 AM rating by frenchfrog

Great report Amanda, it is good to know about the effort put in for the conservation of the Tigers, you were lucky to see one. Lots of great info are provided.

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 01:21 AM rating by rangutan

A very complete report of an interesting adventure and it's surrounding highlights. I will be hesitant to award a 5* rating to other reports that are very brief and incomplete. This must have taken hours to prepare, well done = very well appreciated!

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