Join a jeep safari in search of the Bengal tiger, visit an ancient fort and marvel at a natural landscape of lotus-filled lakes and forest-covered valleys.
The verdant jungle bush of Ranthambore National Park presents one of the best opportunities to spot the grand Bengal tiger. Visit historic landmarks and discover black bucks, colorful birdlife, big cats and wild dogs. Ranthambore National Park spreads across an area of about 155 square miles (400 square kilometers) of deep valleys, green grassland, placid lakes and rugged cliffs. The land was used as a hunting ground by the Jodhpur maharajas. It became a wildlife sanctuary in 1957 and a national park in 1981.
Access to the park is via open-top jeep safaris and canters, buses that seat up to 20 passengers. Vehicles travel along various routes and offer boundless vistas of the park’s stunning natural beauty. For most, the highlight is the chance to get close to a mighty Bengal tiger. Drivers will take you very close, so have your camera ready to snap once-in-a-lifetime shots. Sightings of some of the more than 20 tigers are common but not guaranteed.
Besides tigers, the park has a multitude of other wildlife to enjoy. Discover over 250 bird species, including cormorants, eagles, kingfishers and parrots. Watch for jungle cats, Indian flying foxes, wild boars, elusive leopards and India’s biggest deer, the sambar. Lucky visitors might even see crocodiles rise from the tranquil waters of a lotus-covered lake.
Walk to the 8th-century Ranthambore Fort, which commands a majestic view over the park. Here find a fascinating collection of derelict palaces, stepwells and chhatris, which are dome-covered pavilions. Look for the sacred Ganesh Temple, where hordes of pilgrims gather in August to celebrate Lord Ganesh’s birthday.
The park is about a 30-minute drive from the city of Sawai Madhopur. Public buses and taxis travel frequently between the town and park. Sawai Madhopur is connected by train to Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and New Delhi.
Ranthambore National Park is open from October to June, with tours departing in the morning and afternoon. Book in advance to ensure a place on the smaller jeep safaris. Ranthambore Fort is the park’s only walkable area. Find more information on the park’s official website.