The three major lakes, Rajbaugh, Milak talao and Padam talao attract a variety of migratory birds. The lakes are covered with pink lotuses on which the sambar deer often feed. The grassy edges are frequented by chitals, wild boars and other ungulates. The Marsh crocodiles bask on the shores, the Tigers are often on the prowl at the peripheries. The park is studded with small covered pavilions, ancient summer palaces and crumbling guard posts that bear mute testimony of Rajput Kingdoms and battles long forgotten. Imposingly looming above the National park is the Ranthambhore Fort, in itself a major tourist attraction. The other animals which you are sure to encounter are Leopard, sloth beer, Marsh Crocodile, sambar, Chital, Nilgai (blue bull), Wild boar, Chinkara, Jackals, Hyena, Peafowl, Tree Pies, Parakeets, Robins, Painted storks, Sandpipers, and Plovers. In all there are over 300 species of birds.
NATIONAL RESERVE TIMINGS
Please let us know, if you would like the hotel to organize a private jeep for your visit to the Park, since a 60-day notice period is required as per the forest office regulations. Please indicate the number of jungle drives you would wish to reserve and whether the preference is for morning and/or afternoon drives. The Park restricts the number of jeeps entering, and bookings are therefore subject to availability. Given the date of arrival, however the hotel will make every effort to reserve a private jeep. There is a guaranteed alternative of visiting the park, which is on a canter, which is a large open vehicle booked on a sharing basis.
DO'S AND DON'TS AT THE
» Wear colours that blend with the forest - khaki, brown and olive green are ideal colours to wear in a national park. Animals might get frightened when they see bright colours since they are not used to them.
» Do not feed any wild animals. They have plenty of natural food in the forest and do not need any junk food. By feeding them you are changing their habits.
» Do not litter the place with polythene bags, tetra packs and other such materials. They not only spoil the beauty of the park, but also may harm the animals. Take them back with you to be disposed off properly.
» Keep reasonable distance from all the animals. Approaching too closely will disturb them. Do not stand up when you are close to tigers - a large animal might see it as a threat and may be provoked to strike back.
» Do not wear perfumes or any other strong smelling substances. The animals are sensitive to smell and it may arouse their curiosity.
» Do not collect any plants or animals. They belong to the forest and not in your gardens.
» Animals are generally shy and tend to hide when they see a human being. Please do not attempt to lure them out by throwing stones or other objects. Leave them in peace.
» Take strict precautions to guard against accidental fires caused because of carelessness. Smoking and flash photography is prohibited in the park.
» All drivers and guides are given a set of instructions regarding the speed of the vehicle, the route to be followed, the distance to be kept from other vehicles and wild animals and time guidelines. Never encourage your driver to break these rules.
» You should not deviate from the allotted routes or leave the road and drive cross- country, enter without proper tickets, enter before sunrise or stay after sunset.
» You can play an important role in the conservation of the park by giving your valuable suggestions and recommendations. You should report errant drivers or if you see people violating the rules of the park. Sightings of poachers should also be reported to the Field Director of the National Park.
How To Reach
Sawai Madhopur is on the main Delhi-Mumbai rail route. It is also directly connected by rail to Kolkata and Chennai.
By road, Ranthambhore is 180 km from Jaipur (the nearest airport), 275 km from Agra, 225 km from Bharatpur and 450 km from Delhi.
Winter from October to
February is mild with temperatures between 5 and 25 degrees Celsius. During
March to June it is warm and sometimes very hot with temperatures touching
45 degrees Celsius. Nights are however cool at 25 degrees Celsius. July
to September is the monsoon season when the jungle rejuvenates itself.
Park : The Ranthambore National Park, at the junction of the Aravallis
and the Vindhyas, is a unique juxtaposition of natural and historical richness,
standing out conspicuously in a vast arid and denuded tract of eastern
Rajasthan, barely 14 km. from the town of Sawai Madhopur. It is spread
over a highly undulating topography, varying from gentle to steep slopes,
from flat-topped hills (Indala, Doodh-Bhat and Chiroli) of the Vindhyas
to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravallis, from wide and
flat valleys (Lahpur, Nalghati, Khachida, Anantpur etc.) to narrow rocky
gorges. An important geological feature, the "Great Boundary fault" where
the Vindhyas were brought against the ancient Aravallis, passes from here.
Ranthmbhore Fort : (12 kms. from the Resort) Perhaps the only one fort, which is not visible from a long distance. The Fort is a massive enclave and quite high. Mughal Emperor Shah Alam gifted it to Sawai Madho Singh I of Jaipur in 1754 AD and since then it was maintained as the private hunting preserve. Much later, Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh were part of the Royal Hunting, who stayed here too. Itís a unique Rajput Fort.
Archeological Department took it in 1964. It is 1578 ft from the sea level and 750ft from ground. Total area of the fort is about 7 miles. There is no drive way up to the fort, just the stairs. There are three big artificial lakes up in the Fort.
The Ganesh Temple: Located almost centrally in the sprawling fort, the Ganesh temple is still thronged by countless devotees, particularly during the Ganesh Chaturthi fair. An interesting aspect is the arrival of Lord Ganesha's mail from his devotees, which is a daily feature and requires the services of a postman who brings up sacks full of it to the temple.
Amareshwar Mahadev Temple: Nestled amongst the sylvan surroundings of the hills around Ranthambhor Park is the Amareshwar Mahadev Temple . A waterfall and the verdant grove also make the trip to the temple ideal for a picnic.
Balas at Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary: Approx. 10 kms from Sawai Madhopur City, lies this haven for wildlife in the scenic area of the Aravalli Hills. An ideal additional trip or alternative to the safari in RANTHAMBHORE National Park, this sanctuary offers rugged hillsides, beautiful scenery, wildlife and birds. It is one of the best habitats in the area for the Leopard, the Honey Buzzard, the Indian Coarser and many more! Click on the link for more information
Sawai Madhopur Town : Famous for folk arts.
Bhairon Temple: The Bhairon Temple is located atop the hill close to the main entry point of Sawai Madhopur.
Jain Temple: At a distance of 3 km from Sawai Madhopur railway station is the Chamatkar Temple dedicated to the Join Tirthankar, Rishabh Deo.
Devpura: 14 km from Sawai Madhopur Where black buck abound, is not far from Surwal villages. Interestingly, black buck are almost never seen inside the RANTHAMBHORE Tiger reserve due to their preference for open spaces to jungles along with this trip you can get closer meet with the villages cultural.
Rameshwarghat: Situated about 60 km from Sawai Madhopur, at the confluence of the Banas and Chambal rivers, is Rameshwaram,the site of a stately Shiva Temple . The festivities on Shivratri are colourful.
Gilai Sagar and Mansarovar: GILAI SAGAR and MANSAROVAR are two major water bodies outside the reserve that attract thousands of migratory birds during the winter. Ideal for bird watchers.
Fort of Khandar: The fort of KHANDAR is on the far side of the reserve and well worth a visit.These forts command stunning views of the area. It is also intersting to visit the resettled complexes of Kailashpuri and Gopalpura if you are interested in the story of how communties left the park to give way to the tigers thereby allowing them to flourish.
Rules & Regulations of the Ranthambhore National Park
Some brief and useful rules for Jeep Safari in Ranthambore are;
Jeep must leave the park at end of appointed time
Playing music or making loud noise is not allowed.
Carrying weapons or firearms are strictly prohibited.
Getting down from the safari vehicle, drinking, and smoking are not permitted.
Littering the park is not allowed.
1.Gypsy with less then five tourists would not be allowed to enter into the park. Similarly, Canter with less then twenty tourists would not be allowed to enter in the park. If anyone wants to enter the park in Canter with lesser number of tourist he will be required to make the payment of entry fee at least twenty tourist
2. For tour Organizer/Operators
seeking advance booking would be required to the time of reservation and
nationality etc. In prescribed Performa, random checking at the time of
actual visit may be done on the basis of information submitted at the time
of advance reservations. For Indian tourist also details of names and address
would be required for at the advance reservation.
4. Similarly, only 20 canters are allowed in the park per trip.
5. Once the jeep/canter is booked on the name of the party/group the amount of booking is neither refundable nor adjustable.
For the prior booking of jeeps/canters we need advance payment as some we have to deposit in the RTDC.
I would request you to
kindly read the above very carefully and ensure that the above rules are
Guests will visit the park in a 20 seater open canter or a Gypsy, both of which we have re-fitted and furbished for comfort and good viewing.
Mode of Transport
Park Timings : The Park timings depend on the time of the sunrise and sunset. Generally speaking, the Park opens to the tourists half an hour after sunrise and closes half an hour before sunset. For most part of the year it would be safe to say that the timings are as follows:
Between October to March:
6.00 am - 9.00 am & 3.00 pm - 6.00 pm
Right of Admission is
reserved with The Government of Rajasthan.
Rules for Photo Equipments:
Special Note for the Park
How far is the Sawai Madhopur station from your place and can you arrange
to have us picked up from the station
A. Yes, we can arrange a transfer. We are 5 kilometers away from the Station. Call us up at (91 7462) 221728 or send a mail to us - with your train details and we will send a car to pick you up from the station. The driver will meet you at the platform and would be carrying a placard with your name on it. Our check-in & check out time is 12 noon. In case we have availability, we will be happy to provide an early morning check-in or late check-out, complimentary.
Q. How do I get from Agra to Ranthambhore by train
A. There are limited options from Agra to Sawai Madhopur by train. The regular train from Agra to Sawai Madhopur leaves Agra at 0500 hours. We recommend hiring a car for sightseeing in the morning in Agra and transfer to Bharatpur railway station to catch train no. 2904 - Golden temple mail. The distance is 55 kms from Agra and takes about 1 hr 15 minutes. The Golden Temple Mail departs from Bharatpur at 10.45 am and arrives at Sawai Madhopur railway station at 1.05 pm. You would need prior reservation to get on this train.? Another option is - Jan Shatabdhi, Train no. 2060. This leaves Bharatpur at approx 3.30 pm and arrives at Sawai Madhopur at 6.00pm. If you take this train you can visit Fatehpur Sikri, which is enroute to Bharatpur from Agra, have lunch at Bharatpur and board the train. This train is not very crowded and on most days it is possible to just buy a ticket and get on this train. We can arrange a vehicle for your transfer and your train tickets and lunch at Bharatpur, if you desire.
Q. Which is the best way to reach Sawai Madhopur from Jaipur by road
A. The best way to get from Jaipur to Ranthambhore by road is to go from Jaipur to Tonk and from Tonk to Sawai Madhopur.
Jaipur to Tonk: From the outskirts of Jaipur one has to take the bypass that joins up with the Tonk Road and drive to Tonk (about 90 kilometers from Jaipur) via Chaksu and Newai. On the outskirts of Tonk there is a bypass that leads to Kota and at the end of this bypass there is a left turn that leads to Sawai Madhopur. This left turn on the Tonk bypass is not very prominent and it is advisable to check up with someone on the Tonk bypass. The road from Jaipur to Tonk is a two-lane State highway and is pretty good, though not as good as the road between Delhi and Jaipur. It takes slightly less than one and a half hours to get to Tonk from Jaipur.
Tonk to Sawai Madhopur: From Tonk to Sawai Madhopur is about 90 kilometers via Uniara and Aligarh. This is a single lane road that is not very well paved but there is hardly any traffic on this road. It takes over one and a half hours to get from Tonk to Sawai Madhopur.
When you enter Sawai Madhopur, you will cross a railway crossing, about a km ahead of the crossing you will come across a flyover. Climb up on this flyover till you reach a T-junction (on top of the flyover) Turn right over here and carry on straight till you reach a traffic roundabout, turn left here.?About 500 mts ahead the road curves to the right, and a further 500 mts from here you have to turn left (on the main road)...You will then be on Ranthambhore road. The Ranthambhore Bagh is 2 kms down, on the right side.
Q. How do I drive from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur
A. There are two ways to get from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur - one is via Jaipur and the other via Mathura. Either ways the distance between Delhi and Sawai Madhopur is around 450 kilometers but the drive via Mathura takes about an hour more than the drive via Jaipur. Delhi to Jaipur:
The distance between Delhi and Jaipur is about 260 kilometers and one has to take the national Highway 8, which is a fantastic four-lane toll highway. It takes less than 4 hours to get to Jaipur. A good place to halt for a break on this highway is the Rajasthan Tourism run RTDC Midway at Behror (about half way between Delhi and Jaipur). From Jaipur you have to head to Tonk and from Tonk to Sawai Madhopur (see the answer to the above question).
From Delhi / Mathura /
Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur by road: The alternate route from Delhi to
Sawai Madhopur is via Mathura
Q. Which is a better mode of wildlife safari - Gypsys or Canters
A. Gypsys are more personal, more expensive and less noisy, but both Canters and Gypsys travel on the same tracks. Both offer the same opportunity for wildlife viewing. Generally speaking, Gypsys are better for smaller groups (4-6 persons) and for special interest visitors, such as photographers, birders etc. For larger groups (10 to 20 persons) Canters are actually better than taking 2-3 Gypsys because everyone in the group goes through similar experiences.
Q. Are morning safaris better than evening safaris
A. Very broadly speaking, mornings are better during summers and evenings are better in the winters. The best wildlife viewing occurs when the sun is not strong - early mornings or late evenings.
Q. Which is the best zone
A. All the 5 zones take you to the heart of the park and as such there is no bad zone. Different zones are better on different days and this can be ascertained only a day or two before.
Q. What are the chances of seeing tigers
A. Ranthambhore is one of the best places in the world for seeing tigers. However, tigers are shy and elusive animals and tiger sightings are a matter of chance. In Ranthambore, if you do not get to see a tiger in 3-4 safaris, you should consider yourself as fairly unlucky. It is not advisable to be totally focused on tigers because you would end up missing a lot of other interesting sights.
Q. You have advised us that entry fees to the National Park are excluded in the package price. Can you obtain these for us
A. At the time of booking we will get your entrance tickets to the park, and charge you for the same. You can pay for them at the time of check-out.
Q. Do I need a permit for small hand-held (tourist) video camera? If so, please advise if you can obtain this on my behalf
A. There is no charge for still cameras but you have to pay Rs 200 per safari for carrying a Video camera inside the Ranthambore national park. The tickets for Rs 200 (for the video) can be bought at the gate and the driver of your safari vehicle will help you buy them.
Q. What are the timings for safaris, into the Ranthambore national park
A. Timings - Morning wildlife safari - 6.00 to 10.00 am & Evening wildlife safari - 2.30 to 6.30 pm, the timings may vary by 1/2 hr, as they are based on the sunrise & sunset time.
Q. What details do you require to book the safaris for
A. We require your Full name/sex/passport no./nationality to book the safari. For Indian residents we need your full name and address.
Q. How much advance do I need to send to book safaris
A. We require full advance payment as all safaris are booked on the basis of full advance, non-refundable against cancellation/change.
Q. We are looking for some hiking options in Ranthambhore area
A. Ranthambhore is a pretty tricky place to hike around. Three hikes that I can recommend are as follows: -
1. The Ranthambhore fort - This is in an area of over 4 square kms and a large part of it is largely unexplored. One can easily spend a whole day and still only see about half the fort. The fort is also a great place for learning about the entire vegetation of Ranthambhore.
2. Chandmari and Jhoomar Baori area - This is actually just behind the Vanya Vilas and is the buffer zone of the park. There are some pretty steep climbs (though for short distances).
3. The Balas and Kala pathar area of Man Singh Sanctuary - about half an hour's drive from the hotel.
I would like to remind you that it is not easy to see wildlife when on foot. One can however see a lot of birds and of course being on foot is the best way to see the local vegetation.
The park is open to tourists from the 1st of October to the 30th of June. Most of the tourists visit the park between November and March, mainly because the summers heat is unbearable.
The period between November and February is excellent for wildlife viewing, particularly for bird watching. A lot of migratory birds visit the park during the winter months.
During the summer months (April to June), when the temperature soars over 40 degrees Centigrade during the day, sighting tigers is relatively easier than it is in winters.
March is a great month for wildlife viewing and the temperature are not very high.
During the cold season - from November to February - visitors are advised to carry enough warm clothing, jackets, gloves, mufflers etc. Due to the wind chill factor, it often gets very cold during the safaris and a jacket can be a welcome relief.
During the summer months - from March to June - it is very hot and loose cotton clothing is recommended. A wide brimmed hat is nice to have during summers. Sunscreens are a must in summers, when the sun is very strong. Mosquito repellents are required, particularly during October and March, even though Ranthambhore is not a malaria prone area.
Binoculars can add a lot of value to ones wildlife viewing. Photographers are advised to carry all the equipment that they would require, including batteries and film rolls (though both of these are also locally available, most of the time)..
Some tips for wildlife
photography in Ranthambore
2. Film: If you are shooting on digital carry all the cards, hard drives etc that you think you would need because you can not get any of those here. In our place you can download you images on our computer and back them up on CDs / DVDs. If you are still shooting film or slides (Javier are you reading this) carry 100 and 400 ISO films.
3. Support: Tripods are great but they do not work on jeeps and canters unless you modify the vehicle (if you are planning to stay here for a long time you could do that). Beanbags and monopods, on the other hand, are great in the vehicles. They are easy to carry and can be set up almost anywhere inside a jeep or a canter. You can buy beanbags here cheap. I have a tripod and a monopod but have shot most of my stuff inside the park on beanbags.
4. Light: The terrain in Ranthambore national park is hilly and so the lighting is totally different at different times of the day. The best lighting (the soft winter light) is between November and February, though this is not the best time to find tigers. April, May and June are the best time to find tigers but the summer light of these months can be pretty harsh. During all the months the light is nice and soft in the early mornings and in the late evenings. If you go through the terrain map of Ranthambhore it is easy to understand how the light will be at different times of the day in different parts of he park.
5. Time duration: If you want to get some serious wildlife pictures, I would recommend coming here for at least 4-5 days (more if you are planning to come here in the winters). If you are spending less time than that, plan on getting lucky :)
Ranthambhore is one of the few places in the world to photograph tigers in their wild, natural habitat and some of the best wild tiger photos in the world have been taken in Ranthambore. There are a number of reasons for this and the most important ones are:
1. It is relatively easy to find tigers in a wildlife safari in Ranthambhore national park - thanks to the dry nature of the reserve. On an average a photographers should be able to get at least a few good tiger photography opportunities in a 3-4 days. When I say good opportunities, I mean great sightings in good light for at least 15 minutes - any wildlife photographer can get a lot done in that time.
2. All the wildlife pictures in Ranthambhore are taken from jeeps (or Canter "safari bus"). In most of the other Project Tiger reserves, the only tiger photo opportunities that one would get are from the top of an elephant, which is not only a poor angle but also a very unstable platform to shoot wildlife from. While in Ranthambore one is taking wildlife pictures from a much lower angle and the end results are eye level photos, that are much more impressive.
3. Ranthambhore has some very interesting backgrounds to offer. The forest here changes it colors in every season. It varies from lush green in October, to yellows and reds in winters (from the end of November to February), to rust and browns in the summers (March to June). The ancient ruins that are found all over the park add to this environment.
4. Ranthambore also has a lot to offer wildlife photographers, besides tigers. It is the best place in the world to take pictures of Sambar deer. One can get excellent photos of ungulates, birds (particularly the ones that prefer drier habitats), landscapes, old monuments in the jungle etc. So when you can not find an obliging tiger to take pictures of, you will still get a lot of other very interesting subjects to shoot.
There are some downside of wildlife photography in Ranthambore too and the main ones are:
1. It is difficult to book jeeps in Ranthambhore. Only a limited number of jeeps are permitted to go inside the park and since there is a huge demand for them, they get booked well in advance. The Canter "safari bus" is not as good for photography. It offers a much higher angle than jeeps and there are other people in the Canter, who may all be moving at the same time. An exclusive canter is great for a large group of photographers who all want to stay together.
2. When you book a jeep in for safari, you are allotted a zone and you have to stay within the allotted zone during your jeep safari. This can be painful for photographers because it is important for them to get the right zones. The way to get over this is to do a lot of safaris so that you get to cover almost every zone.
3. You could get stuck with the wrong team of drivers and guides. There are a few (only a handful - I would say) good guides and drivers in Ranthambhore, who understand the light, angles etc. and can predict action with some degree of reliability. You could end up having a pretty lousy trip if you are not with one of them.
You can easily come over these drawbacks by keeping a few things in mind. Remember to book your trip well in advance and book at least 6-8 safaris. I would recommend booking at least 80-90 days in advance. If you do that you will end with confirmed jeeps and a good team of guide and driver.
The good areas for photography are the areas around the lakes, Lakkarda, Berda and Lahpur. However, it is highly advisable to get a local feedback from the park a few days before one start his trip. For a feed back on tiger sightings, lighting condition and any other information that may help your photography,