About Ranthambore National Park
Park History & Other Information

About Ranthambore National Park

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Ranthambore National park is spread over an area of 392 sq km. along with its nearby sanctuaries like, the Mansingh Sanctuary and Kaila Devi Sanctuary.The park is majorly famous for its tigers, and is one of the best locations in India to see the majestic predators in its natural habitat. The tigers can easily be spotted even during the day time, busy in hunting and taking proper care of their young ones.

Ranthambore is also counted as the famous heritage site because of the pictorial ruins that dot the wildlife park. Certainly, a visit to Ranthambore National Park is a treat for every wildlife and nature lover. The time spent on watching tigers roaming around, verdant greenery, a gamut of other species of chirpy birds and animals is priceless and worthy enough to be explored at least once in a lifetime.

According to a report titled ‘Status of Tigers 2022’ published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority in 2022, India is home to 70 percent of the world’s tiger population, boasting around 3,167 tigers. The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is among the world’s most prominent tiger reserves, serving as a sanctuary for the majestic Bengal Tiger species.

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, situated in Sawai Madhopur in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, is one of the largest tiger habitats in the country. It was initially established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and has since evolved to become one of India’s principal tiger reserves.

The reserve is primarily known for its diurnal tigers, which unlike most, remain active during the day. Owing to the significant number of tigers freely roaming within the park, visitors are almost guaranteed to spot some during their visit. Tigers live nonchalantly within the reserve, leading to frequent sightings of them playing with their cubs or hunting for prey.

For those hoping for an up-close encounter with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, a safari is highly recommended. Ranthambore offers safaris through its jungle, allowing visitors to observe various tigers as well as other wildlife like leopards, hyenas, wild cats, reptiles, and birds residing within its boundaries.

The safari operates twice daily, every day (except on Wednesdays when it is closed), between the months of October and June, and is a highly popular tourist attraction in Rajasthan. With its ‘Project Tiger,’ launched in 1973, the park aims to conserve India’s dwindling tiger population. The project has been a resounding success since its inception, effectively preserving this magnificent species from extinction.

A Quick Overview of Key Information About Ranthambore

LocationSawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, India
EstablishedWildlife Sanctuary in 1955, Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1973, National Park in 1980.
Total Area1,334 km2 (515 sq mi)
Major Species Found in the ParkRoyal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bears, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Jackals, Indian Foxes, Crocodiles etc.
Best Time to Visit RanthamboreOctober to June
Safari TypesJeep & Canter Safari
Safari TimingsMorning & Afternoon Safari
Other Major Attractions Inside the Ranthambore ParkRanthambore Fort, Trinetra Ganesha Temple & Lakes
Nearest Railway StationSawai Madhopur Railway Station
Nearest AirportJaipur International Airport
Safari Zones in Ranthambore10 Safari Zones
Ranthambore’s ClimateSummers (April to June) are hot and dry, winters (October to March) are pleasant
Bird Species Found in RanthamboreOver 270 species of birds are found in Ranthambore

History – Where it all began

The Ranthambore National Park derives its name from the Ranthambore Fort situated inside the park. This fort is one of the hill forts of Rajasthan recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Nestled within its premises is the Trinetra Ganesha Temple, a popular Hindu place of worship.

In the era preceding India’s independence from British rule, verdant forests abounded across the Indian subcontinent. However, the surge in population and the spread of industrialization led to substantial exploitation and depletion of these forests. Previously, these forests served as hunting grounds for the royalty of the Jaipur kingdom, under the administration of their hunting department. Despite this, there wasn’t a significant observable loss of wildlife, as hunting was only an occasional activity. The advent of industrialization, however, had a massive impact on the forest and its wildlife, leading to a steep decline in the tiger population that once roamed these forests.

Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, the state government of Rajasthan introduced the Rajasthan Forest Act in 1953 to safeguard the remaining forests. Subsequently, in 1955, the forest surrounding Ranthambore was declared the Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary. To preserve and protect the endangered tigers inhabiting these forests, the government of India launched Project Tiger in 1973, designating areas of the sanctuary as Tiger Reserves.

Over time, the sanctuary and the tiger reserve expanded to include nearby forests. In subsequent years, forests adjacent to the sanctuary in the north were designated as the Kaila Devi Wildlife Sanctuary, and those in the south as the Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary. Both of these sanctuaries are now integral parts of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.

Conservation Efforts – Save the Tiger!

Major conservation efforts in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve were started in 1973 with the commencement of Project Tiger with an aim to protect the tigers of the country, many of whom had fallen prey to either hunting or poaching. Project Tiger was started by the government of India after a census in 1972 which showed the number of tigers in the country to be depleting.

Hence, Ranthambore National Park became one of the prominent wildlife sanctuaries which worked on conserving tigers. The reserves under this scheme were divided into two parts, between ‘core areas’ and ‘buffer zones’. ‘Core areas’ were those areas of the park where the tigers could roam freely and so in order to protect and support their habitat, deforestation and other commercial activities were banned in these ‘core areas’. ‘Buffer zones’ were those zones of the reserve where the land could be used collectively by the local people for farming or other purposes, and for conservation by the government.

Since its implementation, there has been a need for a statutory body for an efficient working of the project. A task force was set up and upon its recommendation, project tiger was provided with statutory authority which had administrative and legal powers. This body is called the National Tiger Conservation Authority or the NTCA. It has certain powers under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, amended 2006. The Authority monitors the efficiency and compliance of the guidelines of the tiger reserves related to conservation and tourism. It also ensures support for the effective implementation of the conservation plan. According to a recent census of Ranthambore, the Bengal tiger population of the park has gone up from 66 in 2019 to 81 in 2021.

The tiger population of the country has increased at an average rate of 6 percent annually, as mentioned by SP Yadav, the member secretary of NTCA. He believes in order for people to be more motivated about tiger conservation, locals need to be made aware about its importance for ecological balance and by employing them in sectors of eco-tourism and conservation.

Flora at Ranthambore

Being close to the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, the Ranthambore National Park is a dry and deciduous forest and receives minimal rainfall. There are about 539 species of flowering plants in the park, with the Dhok tree being the most common type of tree found. The tree, with its shrubs and fruits, acts as fodder for the various herbivorous animals of the park such as Deer and Antelopes.

Other trees found in the park include Mango, Tamarind, Peepal, Neem and Banyan. The Banyan tree of the park is one of the oldest in the country. You can also find flowers such as Lotus and Water Lily in the lakes of Ranthambore which are surrounded by the Khus grass. Babul, Ber, Imli, Jamun, Kadam, Khajur, and Tendu are some of the other flora that is found in Ranthambore.

Fauna at Ranthambore – Tigers and more

Being a tiger reserve, Ranthambore has a large number of Tigers in its habitat. It also has other big cats such as the Leopard, Caracal, Jungle Cat and the Fishing Cat along with animals such as the Desert Fox, Indian Fox, Indian Wild Boar, Palm Civet, and Hanuman Langurs. The park also has deer and antelope species of Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Indian Gazelle, Black Buck and the Blue Bull or Nilgai.

Ranthambore has abundant reptile species as well such as the Desert Monitor Lizards, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Tortoise, Indian Pythons, Indian Flap Shelled Turtle, Russell’s Viper, and the Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles.

The bird enthusiasts can indulge in a wholesome bird watching experience due to the variety of birds that are found here. Woodpeckers, Greylag Goose, Asian Palm Swift, Dove, Crakes, Sandpipers, Flamingos, Pelicans, Storks, Bulbul, Mynas, Falcons, Parakeets, Cuckoos, Owl, and Nightjars are some of the birds that are visible in Ranthambore.

Jungle Safari Experience – View the Predator up close

The Ranthambore National Park offers options for Tiger Safari for visitors. The Safari allows visitors to have a closer look at the tigers and other wildlife in the park. For convenience, the park has been divided into 10 zones where visitors can sight tigers. Among these, zones 1-6 are the more popular ones and preferred by a lot of people. During the summers, zone 3, 4, and 5 are where the tigers can be sighted more since these zones have lakes and other water bodies where they come to quench their thirst during the hot season.

The safari is only permitted during the months of October-June. Booking for the Ranthambore jungle safari is handled by the Forest Department, and is offered in two mediums, Jeep Safari and Canter Safari. The Jeep Safari can accommodate up to 6 people whereas the Canter Safari can hold up to 20 people at a time.

Although the Jeep Safari is a bit more expensive than the Canter one, it is recommended by the visitors who have experienced the wildlife of the park, since it allows for more movement and can travel to areas where the Canter cannot.

The Safari lasts for around 3 and a half hours and happens twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening. Since these safaris are quite popular, it is advisable to book for them way in advance. The park also reserves a certain number of seats every morning for slots for the evening of that day and the next morning. You can book the seats for your safari online.

Jungle Safari Timings at Ranthambhore

The safari timings vary according to the season so it is better to confirm it before your visit.

MonthMorning SafariEvening Safari
1st Oct to 31st Oct06.30 am – 10.00 am02.30 pm – 06.00 pm
1st Nov to 31st Jan07.00 am – 10.30 am02.00 pm to 05.30 pm
1st Feb to 31st march06.30 am – 10.00 am02.30 pm to 06.00 pm
1st April to 15th May06.00 am – 09.30 am03.00 pm to 06.30 pm
16th May to 30th June06.00 am – 09.30 am03.30 pm to 07.00 pm

Important Things to Remember for Ranthambore Jungle Safari

  • It is important to book in advance for the safari, since it is a popular activity; you may not get your desired zone or vehicle or may even have difficulty getting seats if you do not book in advance.
  • It is advised to take multiple safaris to increase your chances of sighting a tiger, since the sightings depend significantly on the seasons and the movement of the tiger.
  • Carry plenty of water to hydrate yourself since the safari takes around 3 and a half hours to finish.
  • Since the animals may be at a distance from your vehicle, you might want to carry a pair of binoculars to see them more clearly.

Recent Developments in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

  • Ranthambore has discontinued its half-day and full-day jungle safaris previously available, aiming to reduce overexposure of animals to tourists and alleviate staff stress.
  • The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is now closed every Wednesday to lessen the workload on the staff and provide a day of rest for the tigers, free from human interference.
  • Visitors looking to book safari tickets in advance can now only make six reservations per month using a Single Sign-On (SSO) ID.
  • Ranthambore has installed a high-tech, 24-hour anti-poaching system equipped with thermal cameras and drones to prevent the poaching of its tigers.
  • Additionally, the ‘Tiger Watch’ organization is educating the youth of the Mogiya community to actively participate in conservation efforts, rather than resort to poaching as a survival means like their families.