Ranthambore National Park, one of the largest national parks in the Northern India and a major tourist attraction, is located in the Sawai Madhopur District of Rajasthan and is 160 km from the capital city of Jaipur. The national park derives its name from the grand fort of Ranthambore which is located within the park. Ranthambore National Park was initially known as Sawai Game Sanctuary and was formed by the Government of India in 1955. It was declared as one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. In 1980, it became a national park; in 1984, the neighbouring forests were established as Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary; and in 1991, the tiger reserve was expanded to include both the sanctuaries.
Ranthambore National Park is known as one of the best parks to spot tigers. The best time for tiger spotting inside the park is in the months of November and May. Tigers are claimed to be easily spotted even during the day! The tigers are the major attraction of the park. In fact, some of the tiger stories are really fascinating like how a how a 17-year tigress who was separated as a cub from her parents due to poaching is now known as Machli (Hindi for Fish) Sr. due to a fish like mark on her body and happens to be the oldest living tigress in the world, or that one of her grandson named Broken Tail because of a twisted tail which was probably a result of a jungle fight was featured in several documentaries over popular TV channels such as BBC, PBS, and CBC among others and has won two awards at the world’s most prestigious wildlife award ceremonies. However, unfortunately, Broken Tail died after being run over bu a train while he was crossing the track to go to Darra from Ranthambore. His life has been made into a documentary as well. Machli Sr.’s daughter T-19 (see the featured image) is the current queen tigress of the Ranthambore National Park.
Apart from the tigers, other wild animals that reside in this natural jungle habitat include leopards, wild boars, spotted deer, sloth bear, and hyenas. The forest is also home to many species of flora and fauna including trees, birds, and reptiles, and it is also the home ground for one of the largest banyan trees in India.
Ranthambore National Park is also famous for a few other tourist attractions. Ranthambore Fort happens to be one of them. The fort is a 10th-century fort within the walls of the Ranthambore National Park and was declared (along with five other forts in Rajasthan) a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the category – Hill Forts of Rajasthan. The fort houses three Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, and Ramlalaji, which were constructed during the 12th and 13th century. The Ganesha temple is very famous with the locals. There are two Jain temples inside the fort grounds as well – Lord Sumatinath and Lord Sambhavanath. Other than the fort, there are a few lakes as well of which Padma Talao is the largest and the most prominent one. A gigantic Banyan tree is located near the lake which is believed to be India’s second-largest Banyan Tree (largest being in Kolkata).
You can also take one of the many safari rides which are available starting early morning around 6 and again in the afternoon at around 2 with a couple of hours break in between. If you decide to take an early morning safari in an open jeep, be sure to carry or wear warm clothes as it can be exceptionally cold during the time.
The rules for booking the safari packages keep changing so make sure you check it. Check this website for more details or to send a query.
The nearest domestic airport is in Jaipur which is well connected with other major airports in the country such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata. The nearest international airport is Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The nearest railhead is in Sawai Madhopur which is approx 10 km from the national park. It is well-connected to many cities in the country such as Delhi, Agra, Kota, Udaipur, Jaipur, and Mumbai.
There are many state buses and privately operated bus services from cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Udaipur, Agra, and Bharatpur.
The Safari Booking office is located at Hammir Circle which is approximately 400 m from the train station.