|Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and National Park||On the outskirts of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan in the Sawai Madhopur District|
|Ranthambore Fort||Nestled in the heart of Ranthambore National Park|
|Raj Bagh Ruins||On the plains between Padam Talao and Raj Bagh Talao|
|Raj Bagh Talao||Just next to the Raj Bagh Ruins|
|Padam Talao||Between the Jogi Mahal and the Raj Bagh Ruins|
|Malik Talao||Located in Ranthanbore National Park|
|Surwal Lake||Situated about 25 kilometers from Ranthambore|
|Kachida Valley||Located close to the outskirts of the park|
|Bakaula||Located in Ranthambore National Park|
|Lakarda & Anantpura||located in north-western and northern region of Ranthambore National Park|
|Jogi Mahal||Located alongside the beautiful Padam Talao at the footings of the Ranthambore Fort|
|The Ranthambore School of Art||Situated about 2 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur town|
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and National Park
Originally functioning as the royal hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore was consecrated as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary by the Government of India in 1955. Later, in the year 1973 it was sanctioned as the Project Tiger Reserve and in 1980, it was coroneted to the dignity of National Park. Today, Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary along with Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary together comprises the widely renowned Ranthambore Tiger Reservoir, which is spread over the extensive area of more than 1334 square kilometers.
Ranthambore, perched at the outskirts of Thar Desert of Rajasthan is corralled by Vindhya Hills on one side and Aravali Hills on the other. Immured by Chambal River on the south and by River Banas on the north, Ranthambore is reckoned as one of the largest national parks in India. Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary, covering the total area of about 700 square km. houses approximately 30 species of mammals, 12 species of reptiles, 272 species of birds and 300 varieties of trees.
The animals that find shelter in this national park constitute Tigers, Leopards, Desert Cats, Jungle cats, Common Palm Civets, Striped Hyenas, Indian Foxes, Indian Flying Foxes, Jackals, Small Indian Mongoose, Nilgai, Sambar deer, Rufoustailed Hare, Chinkara, Chital, Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Caracals, Indian Wild Boar, Sloth bears, Black bucks, Yellow Bats, Five striped Palm Squirrels, Indian Gerbilles, Indian False Vampires, Indian Mole Rats, Porcupines, Rattles, Long eared Hedgehogs, Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Tortoise, North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Desert Monitor Lizards, Banded Kraits, Common Kraits, Rat Snakes, Cobras, Indian Pythons, Saw-scaled Vipers Russel's Vipers, Indian Chameleon, Owl, Vulture, Woodpecker, Flycatcher, Heron, Sparrow, Parakeet, Myna, Cuckoo, and so on.
The National Park is open for visiting from 1st of October to 30th of June every year. 3 hours long Safari rides are carried out twice a day, 1st at 6:30 am and the 2nd at 2:30 pm. The tourists are driven inside the territory of the king of Jungle; Bengal Tigers either in 6 seater open top gypsy or in a 20 seater open top canter. They charge about 400 to 500 INR per seat for this Safari ride. Photography is permitted in the Reserve but the tourists are instructed to abide by the rules strictly and not to disturb the peace of the jungle.
Still breathing the glory of the Rajasthani Heritage and the grandiose of the Ranthambore Royalty, the 1000 years old fort is a place one cannot miss visiting. Built in 10th century in 944 AD, this fort has witnessed many ups and downs and has successfully stood the test of time. Set up at the crux of a steep hill at the height of 700 feet, the Ranthambore Fort is nestled in the heart of Ranthambore National Park. Walls ruined and shattered into fragments, depleted pavilions, senile chhatris and devastated monuments still bask in the splendor of majestic past. To the astonishment of archeologists, the seven enormous gates of the fort are still intact. The fort houses an 8th century shrine of Lord Ganesh, a 12th century temple of Lord Shiva and a 13th century shrine of Lord Rama. These ancient and antiquated temples still bid thousands of devotees at the time of the annual fair.
This fort of Ranthambore is believed to have been built on the historical site where the first ‘Jauhar’ in the history of Rajputs was committed by the ladies from the court of Hammir Deva, resulted from a misunderstanding. The fort that is standing today is estimated to be constructed by the kings of Chauhan Dynasty and regarded as the oldest fort survived in the whole of Rajasthan. This fort was owned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 16th century. In 17th century, Mughal gifted the fort to the Kings of Jaipur. The indomitable fort spread over the total area of 4.5 sq. kilometers reveals a fantastic fusion of Mughal and Rajput style of architecture.
From the top terrace of the Ranthambore Fort one can perceive the spectacular vista of entire terrain. It also serves as a perfect station to sight wildlife and spot birds. A powerful pair of binoculars and superb camera lenses will help you to enjoy the beauty and the novelty of opulent wildlife from here.
Raj Bagh Ruins
The Rajput Kings who ruled this part of Rajasthan in olden days had built a fort at this place. Known as the Raj Bagh Fort back then, this fort was used as the headquarters by the Rajput royals. The remnants of this fort that can be found today on the plains between Padam Talao and Raj Bagh Talao inside the Ranthambore National Park are called Raj Bagh Ruins. The devastated stone outhouses, depleted arches, ruined domes, ravished walls, partly existing steps, shattered towers etc can be seen lying on that plateau.
Even though decimated, the Raj Bagh Ruins still sing the sagas of the effulgence and glory of Ranthambore’s majestic antiquity. Presently, these prehistoric monuments suffice as a hideout and shelter for the wild animals of Ranthambore National Park. Often tourists spot the striking spectacle of a peacock curving its shiny blue –green neck sitting on the edge of an antique and basking in the dazzling solar rays. Sometimes even the tigers are noticed finding protection under the fragmented arches of Raj Bag ruins – the site that portrays the co existence of man with nature.
Raj Bagh Talao
Raj Bagh Talao is the second largest lake amongst the three Talaos located inside the Ranthambore National Park. Though second in its size, this lake ranks first in its demeanor for the mesmerizing picturesque ness and captivating beauty it possesses. Located just next to the Raj Bagh Ruins, the banks of the Raj Bagh Lake attract bounty of animals. The relics of the grand history of Rajasthan and the graphic outlook of the lake together create a fantabulous array. Plenty of the animals flock around the lake owing to the abundant availability of water and vegetation around. That renders the lake a favorite spot to sight exuberant wildlife.
The surroundings of the lake are always occupied by the Sambhar deer of Ranthambore as it grows oodles of verdure. Deer grazing calmly around the lake and egrets rejoicing a ride on their backs make quite a picturesque spectacle. Bounty of water and prey in profusion yield Raj Bagh Talao a place frequently visited by tigers and other wild beasts. Thus, Raj Bagh Talao is a prime location for the enthusiastic tourists and wildlife photographers to spot Bengal Tigers in the Ranthambore Nation Park.
The largest of the three lakes - Padam Talao receives its name from the elegant water lilies and charming lotuses that adorn the lake during their growing season. Embellished with the famous Jogi Mahal on one side and the Raj Bagh Ruins on the other, Padam Talao is thronged with herds of animals at the time of dawn and then in the evening during the early hours of dusk. The banks of the Padam Talao are noteworthy for the sighting of the rare ‘Chinkara’ deer. The shallow waters of this lake do great favor to lake hunters, especially Genghis tigers to rummage their prey easily. At time you might witness an awe inspiring sight of a combat between crocodiles and tigers if you are fortunate.
Malik Talao, the smallest of the three lakes nestled inside the Ranthambore National Park also represents the ecosystem and provides the source of water and food to the wildlife. Remarkable for the battalion of the birds that musters here everyday, the Malik Talao is a noteworthy venue to spot a wide range of spectacular birds. Beautiful and exceptional birds like plovers, king fisher, moor hen, herons, kites, hawks, storks, etc can be sighted here. Watching a Kingfisher hunting a small fish is an experience of delight. At Malik Talao tourists can perceive Indian Marsh Crocodiles swimming lazily and monkeys and tigers drinking lake water quite clearly from a reasonably close distance.
Even though not located inside the Ranthambore National Park, Surwal Lake forms a favorite tourist destination around Ranthambore. Noteworthy for its rich flora and fauna, this lovely lake is situated about 25 kilometers from Ranthambore. During winter plenty of migratory birds alight here and add to its affluent natural beauty. The season from November to March is the perfect period to visit Surwal Lake when birds flock around in bounty and nature is at its best. Bar Headed Flamingoes, Pelicans, Graylag Geese, Demoiselle Cranes, and many other species of birds adorn the ambience with their jolly melodious chirping. The period just before the sunrise is the perfect time to visit the Surwal Lake as the delicate and colorful inhabitants assemble on the lake banks and create a stunning vista. The alluring charm of this pictorial hangout is seasonal as the lake dries up in summer during April and May. Captivating beauty of the Surwal Lake rich with the avian fauna beckons myriads of the tourists during winter.
The outer region of the Ranthambore National Park festooned with affluent flora and fauna is adorned with rocky outcrops and low hills. Kachida Valley, located close to the outskirts of the park is a must visit place for the nature enthusiasts. The chief inhabitants of this area are panthers and leopards who find refuge to these valleys so as to avoid conflicts with tigers that rule and control the main jungle of Ranthambore National Park. Other than the leopards, a huge population of deer and beers also acquire shelter in Kachida Valley. A wide range of different species of bears like sloth bears and variety of deer can be spotted in this region. The forest jeep, built in accordance with the need of riding the difficult roads of jungle proves to be the most convenient and ideal mode of transport inside the Kachida Valley.
The thick dense woods of Ranthambore National Park are divided into various sections. Bakaula, one of those sections, is carpeted with absolutely impenetrable timber and lush green vegetation and is studded with small water pools and tiny water holes. The dense woods of this part of jungle provide an excellent covering in summer and create an air-conditioning effect.
Pleasant atmosphere, ample food and abundant water render the Bakaula terrain an ideal abode of wildlife. Even in summer, this place is reckoned amongst nature lovers for its extravagant wildlife. This is the most noteworthy dwelling place of the tigresses that have little cubs to protect and feed. Wide variety of birds and small animals like squirrels and monkeys are also found in plenty in this coolest proximity of Ranthambore.
Lakarda & Anantpura
Northern and North-Western regions of Ranthambore are widely known by the title Lakarda and Anantpura. The most remarkable characteristic of this area is its bounteous population of Sloth Bears. As ant hills, a favorite food of bears, are found in plenty in this region, as well as the terrain is also abundant in fresh fruits and honeycombs, the bears have plenty of food that they can delightfully savor. Moreover, porcupines, Indian striped Hyenas, monkeys and many other animals are also sighted in this area. Indian striped Hyenas are rarely sighted as they are very less in number. But their existence is suggested by the pugmarks very often discovered in the forest.
Adorning the foothills of Ranthambore Fort and located alongside the beautiful Padam Talao, Jogi Mahal was initially set up by the King of Jaipur to be used as a hunter’s rest house. Several generations of Jaipur Royalty have used Jogi Mahal as lodging place when on a hunting vacation. After the decline and fall of Jaipur Empire and Independence of India, Jogi Mahal today furnishes as a luxurious guest house for the tourists of Ranthambore. Jogi Mahal that basks in the glory of lofty past of Jaipur sovereignty provides a comfortable stay marked with all the modern amenities.
From Jogi Mahal, all the chief attractions inside the National Park namely; Ranthambore Fort, Padam Talao, Raj Bagh Ruins, Raj Bagh Talao are quite close. So tourists staying at Jogi Mahal can anytime visit these places. Raj Bagh Talao and Padam Talao are particularly acknowledged for abundant wild animals sighted here. Adventure seekers can also satisfy their urge by taking up the excursions to Bakaula, Lakarda and Anantpura, Nal Ghati, etc. from Jogi Mahal. This place is exclusively renowned far and wide for the great banyan tree grown nearby which is considered to be the second largest banyan tree in India.
The Jogi Mahal guest house is today administered by the forest department of Rajasthan government. It presents the unique combination of wild and luxury, where one can experience rare wildlife spotting and witness the most picturesque locales.
The Ranthambore School of Art
Situated about 2 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur town, The Ranthambore School of Art is a must visit place for those who have even little appreciation for creativity and love for wild life. This institution was started with a goal of advocating the importance of the survival of tiger and promoting its conservation. The students chiefly from the nearby towns and villages are admitted to this school. The teachers often visit the nearby villages to meet people and spread awareness about the Project Tiger by talking to them.
The artists that study at this school of art are taught to make paintings with the major theme at its base - the majestic Bengal Tigers of Ranthambore. The realistic paintings created by these painters display the glorious Ranthambore tigers and their various aspects and moods in exquisite details. Paintings like a tiger stalking the prey, resting at the Raj Bagh Ruins, playing with the cubs, etc. are very famous. The Ranthambore School of Art organizes various competitions and also arranges the exhibitions of these tiger paintings. The paintings can also be bought from such exhibitions. The endeavors of The Ranthambore School of Art are acknowledged and appreciated by animal protection societies and various local and national NGOs. Citizens of India are appealed to contribute in spreading the awareness about The Project Tiger.