Ranthambore is teeming with wildlife, and one of the most popular wildlife parks in India. This dry deciduous forest in Rajasthan was once the hunting ground for the Jaipur royals.
It is home to several species and is one of the best parks to spot a tiger.
In the midst of the thorny, scrubby vegetation, interspersed by tracts of grassland, you will find some of India’s oldest Banyan trees — and a wide variety of wildlife.
From felines to crocodiles, waterfowl to primates, and several herbivores and reptiles, one can explore this park over and over again and still not see it all.
Its charm is elevated by ruins of its past, such as an ancient temple complex overrun by monkeys, and beautiful chattris (pagodas), and a former fortress that lie along the banks of the river. Watching a tiger prowl amid through the arches and crumbling ramparts is a sight to behold.
Ranthambore plays a pivotal role in tiger conservation and is a key reserve for Project Tiger’s conservation and research efforts.
This park has some of India’s oldest tigers and some of its youngest. Thanks to tireless conservation efforts, the tiger population in Ranthambore has grown at a very healthy rate, and new cubs are born each season.
We recommend reading Return of the Tiger by Kailash Sankhala, who was the pioneer of the Project Tiger conservation effort in India. This park is also home to other predators. A sizeable population of leopards, and marsh crocodiles (mugger), compete with the tiger for prey. Smaller carnivores like jungle cats, jackals, hyenas, and foxes are also frequently sighted.
The prey-base is abundant, and herbivores like sambhar, spotted deer, Nilgai antelope, and the chinkara gazelle, often fall victim to the predators.
A large number of ponds, waterholes, and streams make Ranthambore a favourite with birds. The River Chambal snakes through the park, and one often finds animals pausing for a drink along its banks. You will often find several species of waterfowl like pelicans, ibises, storks, and cormorants, as well as chattering parakeets, bulbuls, hornbills, and darting kingfishers.
Ranthambore is also a popular hunting ground for raptors and it’s not unusual to spot falcons, eagles, or owls swooping down on an unsuspecting rodent, as it scuttles across the forest floor.
The best way to explore Ranthambore is with one of our experienced naturalists on a jeep safari into the forest. Do keep in mind that in Ranthambore, all jeep safaris are organised by the park authorities, and no private vehicles are permitted to enter the park.
Ranthambore is situated in east Rajasthan, and the nearest airport is in Jaipur, from where Encounters Asia can arrange for you to be picked up and brought to Sawai Madhopur, where you will stay, and which borders the park. There is a wide range of accommodation available in Ranthambore. From high-end glamping to rustic stays, each lodge has a charm of its own.
At Encounters Asia we prefer to use experiential properties that are full of character, and offer excellent levels of comfort and service.
The best time to visit is between November and March/April, when the weather is cool enough and the park is just starting to dry out after the monsoon.
March to May are excellent times to spot and photograph or film wild animals, but keep in mind that the heat can get pretty intense during these months. Encounters Asia is happy to assist you with photography and film permissions, logistics and arrangements in Ranthambore. The park is closed to visitors during the monsoon season ie July, August and September, and reopens again in October.
Ranthambore is easy to reach from most places in Rajasthan, and the Golden Triangle.
It is strategically located between Jaipur and Udaipur, and within driving distance of Bharatpur’s Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. Ranthambore is ideal for a first-time safari in India, and offers an excellent introduction to wildlife in the region. So if you’re thinking of a vacation in the wild, simply reach out to us and we’ll have you waking up on the wild side in Ranthambore!