Ranthambore National Park is one of India's most famous tiger parks. It is located at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill ranges in the Sawai Madhopur District of Rajasthan. This location makes it the most accessible of the tiger parks and Ranthambore fits in well with a broader Rajasthan itinerary.
Ranthambore was originally a hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, but was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957. In 1974 it gained the protection of "Project Tiger" and in 1981 got its status of a national park.
The landscape here is dominated by Ranthambore Fort on top of a large hill. Remnants of the old fortifications are dotted throughout the park which give it a huge amount of character. The 400 square kilometre habitat is predominantly dry deciduous forest and there are a number of permanent lakes. Tigers here are extremely accustomed to vehicles which makes it possible to get very close without disturbing them. They are frequently seen although sometimes the sighting is a fleeting glance as they cross the road in front of your vehicle.
As well as the tigers you can see leopard here and a host of other species. Sloth bear are regularly seen and there are plenty of deer and antelope –in particular you see chital (spotted deer), chinkara (Indian gazelle), and nilgai (blue bull). There are some very large crocodiles in the lakes which can be seen basking on the banks. And of course there is no shortage of langur monkeys.
Entrance to the park is very heavily controlled by the authorities and the rules change on a regular basis without notice. There are a finite number of vehicles allowed in the park on a rota system. There are small jeeps and large canters which take up to 20 people. You may not get the vehicle of your choice of be permitted to enter the park every day of your stay here. So having some time and some patience here is well advised. If you can spend 2 or 3 days here it is well worth a visit and the chance to see a tiger and other Indian wildlife is a great addition to a Rajasthan itinerary.
Time: GMT +5½ hours
Flight time: Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.
Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.
Visas: Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.
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