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The park derived its name from the magnificent Ranthambhore fort which lies within the national park. The park was once the hunting area of the Jaipur Maharajas, and later the British. Spread over an expanse of 392.5 sq km, the park was established as the Sawai Madhopur Wildlife Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India. It became a part of the centre's Project Tiger in 1974.
The park was among the first nine Tiger Reserve at the launch of Project Tiger in India. In 1981, Ranthambhore was given its current status as a National Park. Later, the surrounding areas of Keladevi Sanctuary, the Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary, and the Kualji Close, lies further South-West of the park were merged to the National Park in 1992.
Lies at the edge of a plateau, it is enclosed to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. Ranthambhore National Park has six man made lakes and many perennial streams.
As per a census conducted by the state government in 2007, the number of tigers in the park has increased to 32 from the earlier count of 26 in 2005, without taking 14 cubs into account.
Besides tiger, the other major wild attractions include a large population of cats such as Leopards, Caracal, Leopard cat, Desert Cats, Fishing cat and Jungle cat, predators like Sloth Bear, Striped Hyenas, Jackal, Indian Wild Boar, Desert fox, Common Palm Civets, common mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose etc. There are also a few Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Sloth bears, Black bucks, Rufoustailed Hare, Chinkara, Yellow Bats, Five striped Palm Squirels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes, Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Porcupines, Longeared Hedgehogs, Ratels etc.
And over 400 resident and migratory species of birds have been identified in Ranthambhore National Park. The most famous among them are large Cormorant, Parakeets, Pipits, Painted Spurfowl, Cuckoos, Egrets, Herons, Sarus Crane, Asian Palm Swift, Finches, Flycatchers, Ioras, Bronzed winged Jacana, Sandpiper, Great Crested Grebe, Woodpeckers, Kingfisher, Nightjar, Graylag Goose, Shrikes, Painted Sandgrouse, Indian Gray Hornbills, Great horned owl. Besides these, some migratory water birds which come from north of Himalayas to Ranthambhore.
The best areas to watch birds in Ranthabhore are Malik Talao, the Ranthambore Fort, Rajbagh Talao, Padam Talao and the Jhalra area.
Among the reptiles, which can be seen here are the Snub
Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Desert Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Banded Kraits,
Cobras, Common Kraits, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Indian Pythons, North
Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Rat Snakes, Russel's Vipers, Saw-scaled Vipers
and the Indian Chameleon.
Safaris in Ranthambhore
The Tourism Department of Rajasthan organizes facilities for wild safari inside the park which enables the visitor to have a look at the flora and fauna. The park is divided into five mutually exclusive tourism zones and one zone is for, to park tourist's vehicles before entering the park. Tigers can be seen in all the zone and Zone 3 is best for wildlife photography.
Safaris last about three and half hours and is available in the mornings as well as evenings. Usually morning safari starts half an hour after sunrise and the evening safari finishes half an hour before sunset. There are two kinds of vehicles the 6 seater drive jeeps called Gypsy and the 20 seater Safari bus called Canters are available in Ranthambhore. One can also book these safaris at the Rajasthan Tourism website.
Fees and Timings:
Park timings : 6.30-10 am, 1.30 - 5.30 pm .
The best time to visit the park is November to April
and January to April is best for tiger sightings. The park closes during
July to September.
Vehicle fee Gypsy/ Canter Rs 225 per person Safari fee Rs 1,350.
Still Cameras : Free, Video : Rs 200/-.
Safari Timings in Winter Morning Safari: 07:30 hrs, Evening Safari: 15:00 hrs, Safari Timings in Summer Morning Safari: 06:30 hrs, Evening Safari: 16:00 hrs.