National Park is part of the much large 1333sq km Ranthambhore Tiger reserve, in
the Sawai Madhopur district of Eastern Rajasthan. It derives its name from the hilltop
fortress which stands 700 feet above the park, and is probably India’s best
known Tiger reserve, having been the destination of many well known Tiger TV documentaries
over the years.
The stunning park and fort, till 1949 was the private hunting reserve of the Maharaja
of Jaipur and was where the Queen of England and her husband went on a Tiger shoot
in the late 1940’s. The Fort overlooking the lakes, area dates back over 700
years and was conquered by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar in 1569, and with its mixture
of ancient temples and summer palaces, alongside abundant Indian wildlife the park
provide magical photographic opportunities.
ancient mountain ranges of the Aravali and Vindhya meet here producing a mixture
of flat tablelands and steep cliffs criss-crossing the park. The varied topography
of the 400 sq km park provides habitats for animals like the jackal, mongoose, sloth
bear, leopard, lesser cats and caracal, and of course the tiger.
Water is provided by the parks three man-made lakes, Jogi Mahal, the lodge used
by the late Rajiv Gandhi to view wildlife, is set in an idyllic spot on the edge
of the main lake. The lakes attract much of the wildlife, especially in the evenings
and both Tigers and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles predate on the deer and antelope as
they feed in the lake.
inspired park director in the 1980’s, Fateh Singh Rathore relocation nine
villages from the core area to new land outside the park boundaries proving a resounding
success, especially for the wildlife in the core area, and in particular the tiger.
With far less human encroachment in the park, the tigers shed their nocturnal cloaks
and tiger encounters rose dramatically during the eighties and nineties, leading
to its present Wildlife tourism status.
With over 300 types of trees, 272 species of birds and approximately 30 different
types of mammals, Ranthambhore is packed full for a wildlife adventure.
Winter: Morning: 7 am to 10.30 am | Evening: 2.15 pm to 5.30 pm
Summer: Morning: 6 am to 9.30 am | Evening: 3 pm to 6.45 pm
Present prices for safaris:
Gypsy: INR 3,650 (US$ 60.5) for Indian Nationals | INR 7,200 (US$ 119) for Foreign Nationals.
Canter: INR 200 (US$ 3.5) for Indian Nationals | INR 550 (US$ 9) for Foreign Nationals
How to book jeep safaris:
Official portal- http://rajasthanwildlife.in/
Any restrictions and rules:
Video camera for non-commercial use - INR 400 (US$ 6.5)
Latest information on tourism zones:
Total 10 zones
Zone 1 to 5 (Core Zone): 20 Gypsies and 20 Canters
Zone 6 to 10 (Buffer Zone): No restriction
IN THE FIELD UPDATE
Ranthambhore is rocking – and stuffed (overstuffed) with tigers, many of whom are now spilling out to forests including Kota and Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh, often hundreds of kilometres away. Tiger sightings are always good here with estimated to have risen from 11 in 2005 to about 45 plus cubs today. In addition, leopards, caracal, sloth bears, spotted and sambar deer, nilgai and Indian gazelle, golden jackal, striped hyena, small Indian fox, pangolin and honey badger are also seen in the forest.
Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary, 30 minutes drive south of the main entrance is a revelation. Five years ago it was written off, but is now rejuvenated with many tigers living here and fabulous scenic views, but a bit of a journey to get here. It’s now zones 9 and 10 and well worth a visit for clients. This sanctuary remains open all year round, unlike the main reserve, but soon might see access restricted. For now, timing, access and prices remain largely unchanged. Canters have been stopped in zone 3, except on Saturdays and Sundays, and restricted to some areas in zone 1, 2, 4 and 5.
Visitors complain of being taken on tiger chases with little opportunity to see other wildlife, but remind drivers of your interests and do visit the fort. The many steps to the top are worth it.
The Oberoi Vanyavilas (Outstanding PUG Eco Rating)
The Oberoi Vanyavilas donating water campers, torches, watches, jackets and life insurance policies to the forest guards who patrol the park. The hotel also instituted ‘Taare Zameen Par’, an activity that involves disabled children visiting the property to enjoy food and games with the staff. The Oberoi Vanyavilas contributes to the national clean up the ‘Swachh Bharat’ programme by visiting NGO hostels for disabled children and cleaning the surrounding area and planting trees and vegetables for them. This year too, the hotel monitored levels in the watering holes in the park and provided water tankers to raise the level as needed.
New in 2016: The Oberoi Vanyavilas has expanded its team of naturalists from one to three. The naturalists will be available to accompany guests and explain about local flora and fauna, changes in the ecosystem and the significance of ‘Save the Tiger’. The Oberoi Vanyavilas also plans to buy new jungle drive vehicles (Gypsy) for the next season.
Among the activities that will be offered to guests in 2016-17 are star gazing, young naturalist walks for kids, elephant interaction/bathing, sapling plantation, amateur photography sessions and Picasso (soot painting) for kids and adults. The team of The Oberoi Vanyavilas has put together a book on the birds of Vanyavilas for its guests.
Contact Ms. Ratna Malhotra at email@example.com