Weather :

Time Required : October - April

Entry Fee : INR 500- INR 1500

Timings : 6.00 AM - 7.00 PM

Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore Overview

Spread in an area of 392 sq. Km, the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is one of the largest and famed tiger reserves in the country, famous for the magnificent Bengal Tiger found there. The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve derives its name from the Ranthambore Fort located in the region. Situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, it forms a part of Project Tiger reserves, by the Government of India, set up in 1955. Ancient religious ruins found within the forest, surrounded by the rich biodiversity and aesthetically crumbling cenotaphs make Ranthambore Tiger Reserve a favourite spot for photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and travellers.

Among other things, the tiger reserve is known for the medieval hunting trips carried out by the royals of Jaipur when hunting a tiger was the symbol of valour. One can take a safari ride through the jungle and experience watching a tiger in its natural habitat from a few metres away. Dry deciduous forests and marshy grassland forms a distinctive feature of this place with the Aravalli Range and Vindhya Plateau surrounding it to set it apart from the strikingly different desert in the very same state. The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Kaldevi Sanctuary that surrounds this tiger reserve became part of the tiger reserve project in the 1990s.

Photos of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

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History of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve was owned by the Maharaja of Jaipur and was the exclusive hunting ground for the royals of the kingdom. But there was no significant damage to such a large forest and its rich wildlife species due to the occasional hunting practice because of the less number of royals. The residents of the villages around the forest were allowed to take the forest produces after paying a nominal yearly tax to the kingdom's treasury. However, as the population density around the forest was very low, there was hardly any impact on the forest due to human interference.

Tiger at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Source


After independence, due to the severe exploitation of the forest in the country, the government realized the need for forest conservation policies. Thus, in 1953, the Rajasthan forest act came into the force to provide some legal protection to the forests in Rajasthan. In 1955, the entire forest cover around Ranthambore was declared as the Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary and commercial activity in the forest was completely prohibited. However, this was still not enough and the fiercest predator of the cat family was on the verge of extinction in the country. Thus, the government instigated the Project Tiger in 1973. An area of 60 sq miles of Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary was taken under the project Tiger Scheme and the area was declared as the Tiger Reserve area.

Flora and Fauna at the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

Flora in the Reserve
The flora of the park consists of 539 species of flowering plants. Due to the terrain, the region receives inadequate rainfall, and thus, the vegetation is marked by being dry deciduous. The vegetation found in the majority is called ‘Dhok’ while other trees such as Am, Imli, Babul, Banyan, Ber, Chila, Jamun, Kaam, Khajur and Khair are also available in plenty. Dhok trees are capable of surviving long periods without water and hence, found in abundance as the region is prone to drought. It is also believed that the country’s oldest Banyan trees are found in this tiger reserve. However, worth-watching is the ‘Flame of the Forest’ which is an unseasonal bloom amid the arid conditions.

Migratory Birds
Due to the variation in topography and availability of water bodies, Ranthambore is known for its migratory as well as resident birds. 272 species of birds have been identified in total which include Graylag Goose, Woodpeckers, Indian Gray Hornbills, Owl, Nightjars, Pigeon, Dove, Crakes, Snipes, Sandpipers, Gulls, Eagles, Darters, Storks, Pittas, Shrikes, Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Bitterns, Flamingos, Ibis, Pelicans, Treepies, Crows, Orioles, Cuckoo-Shrikes, Minivets, Drongos, Flycatchers, Ioras, Wood Shrikes, Pipits, Bayas, Sparrows, Finches, Wagtails, Munias, Bulbul, Mynas, Falcons etc.

Animals
The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve primarily consists of  tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Indian Mole Rats Rufoustailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, , Indian Porcupines, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Common Yellow Bats, Desert Cats, Fivestriped Palm Squirrels, Indian False Vampires, Longeared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets and Common mongoose. Common India Toad and the Common Frog are among the amphibian species found. The park also has a large number of marsh crocs reptiles: Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Common Kraits, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Russel's Vipers, Saw-scaled Vipers Indian Pythons, North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Rat Snakes, Desert Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, and the Indian Chamaeleon. <However, the park is most famous for its diurnal tigers.

Zones in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

There are ten zones in total in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. The various essential points in each zone, along with the kinds of tigers spotted are listed below:

1.   Zone 1: T 39, T57, T-72, and T-24 in Sigh Dwar, Tuti ka Nala, Khabli, Kala Peela Pani and Kharia

2.   Zone 2: T 19, T-22, T-24, T-39, T72 and T-20 spotted in Jogi Mahal, Nal Ghati, Phuta Bandha, Phuta Ko, Guda.

3.   Zone 3: T19 and T28 can be spotted in Padam Talab, Rajbagh Lake and Platform and Kadam Khandi.

4.   T25, T28, T64, T19, T75, T41 which can be spotted in Gular Kui, Tmba Khan, Malik Talab, Baba ki Gufa and Bhoot Khurra

5.   T28, T25, T41, T64, T73, T74 and T 75 in Kokha, Takiya Kui, Pili Ghati, Kachida and Dhakda

6.   T 39, T 57, T34, T8 along with Good Sloth Beer and Leopard Species are spotted in Soles wear, Saran Ka Pattha, Patwa Ki Baori, Kala Pani and Khabli.

7.   T34, T58 and T8 are found in Luhari, Kala Khel ki talai, Rahina, Sitamata Hill, Jamoda and Kedi Kund.

8.   Balas, Kali Bhaat, High Point, Ratan Ka Nala are the spots where T58 and T61 are spotted in.

9.   Faludi Range, Qual Ji game reserve, Chakal river are where T42 and T59 can be spotted.

10.   T13, T43, T42 are spotted in Aantri.

However, zone 3 is the most favoured zones for tourists as there three lakes in these zones, and the habitat is the most suitable for tigers. The nearby Ranthambore Forest increases the surrounding scenic beauty of the place.

Types of Safari

1.   Regular Safari: This is a four-hour safari which can be booked online and is restricted to specific zones. The zones can be selected by the visitors and one needs to do their research but since the tiger movements cannot be predicted, it is not easy to choose the zones.
2.   Half-Day Safari: Even this too is four-hour safari but there is no restriction on any zone and tourists can go across any zone. The chances of sighting a tiger are better here. This, although cannot be booked online and is costlier than general safari.
3.   Full-Day Safari: Although this cannot be booked online and is comparatively more expensive, it starts earlier and ends later than the other safaris. Chances of sighting tigers and their activities are more in this safari.
The safari is either carried out in either a Gypsy SUV of 6 seats or a Canter, that is, an open bus of 20 seats. The Gypsy is a better option as there are fewer people, can be navigated better and faster and one has more control in asking the driver and guide for any specific site they want to visit. There are a total of 20 vehicles each, and these are divided equally into all zones. Each vehicle is provided with a driver and a guide.

Timing and Cost of Safari

Zone 01 to 10 remains open from 01st October till 30th June and 01st  July till 30 September and remains closed in the monsoon season.  However, the safari times at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve may change slightly depending on the weather at different times of the year.

Sl. No Month Morning Trip
Evening Trip
1. October 1- October 31
6.30 A.M. to 10.00 A.M.
2.30 P.M. to 6.00 P.M.
2. November 1- January 31
7.00 A.M to 10.30 A.M.
2.00 P.M. to 5.30 P.M.
3. February 1-March 31 6.30 A.M. to 10.00 A.M. 2.30 P.M. to 6.00 P.M.
4. April 1- May 15 6.00 A.M. to 9.30 A.M. 3.00 P.M. to 6.30 P.M.
5. May 15- June 30 6.00 A.M. to 9.30 A.M. 3.30 P.M. to 7.00 P.M.

The safari costs are different, according to nationalities. The following are the latest rates:

Gypsy:

·         INR 974 per person for Indians.
·         INR 1,714 per person for foreigners.
·         Children under five years old are free.
·         There are discounts for Indian students.

Canter:

·         INR 617 per person for Indians.
·         INR 1,357 per person for foreigners.

Charges for the Special Safari:

Half-Day Safari: Indian Nationals- INR 46000 per Jeep and Foreign Nationals- INR 56000 per Jeep
Full-Day Safari: Indian Nationals- INR 57000 per Jeep and Foreign Nationals- INR 72000 per Jeep

Best Time to Visit

October to April are the best months to visit Ranthambore because tigers can be spotted easily. The rest of the year is extremely hot and not a wise decision to visit the place.

Tips for Visiting

If you book online
1. One is easily assured of a seat.
2. One doesn’t have to wait for a full house booking.
Although, booking a Gypsy is successful only if one already has a group of 6 or there are 5 other people willing to go with. You can also choose to book the vacant seats. However, you will have no control over the zone you will get since it is allotted by a computerized system and it is non-refundable and non-transferable.
Needless to say, be sure not to forget your camera. Get an Identity Card and wear comfortable footwear because the roads can be rough and keep sunglasses, mosquito repellents, sunscreen with you at all times.

How To Reach Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

The nearest airport to the Ranthambore is the Jaipur International Airport, located 180 km from the forest. Taxi, cabs and buses are frequently available from the airport to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Sawai Madhopur Railway station is the nearest rail station to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, which is 14 km from the forest. The station is a major station having many direct trains from the major cities in North India. Rajasthan Tourism Department and many private operators provide road transport services to Ranthambore. It is connected to all the major cities in and around Rajasthan. Local buses, cabs and private car services are readily available in the region.

Ranthambore Fort is quite near to the Tiger Reserve and can be visited on foot.

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