Ranthambhore National Park Travel Blog› entry 2 of 10 › view all entries
Transferring to the New Delhi Railway Station this morning we take a train south to Sawai Madhopur. From where we drive the short distance to Ranthambore National Park on the eastern borders of Rajasthan. One of the best of India’s ‘Project Tiger’ conservation projects, Ranthambore was once the private preserve of the Maharajahs of Jaipur and encompasses nearly 400 sq km of lush jungle,lakes and ancient temples that provide a haven for crocodiles, leopards, tigers and some 300 species of birds.
This is probably one of the best parks in the country for spotting tigers and during the dry season from September to May, when water is scarce, the animals stay close to the lakes and rivers, affording some ideal opportunities to search out these most elusive and magnificent of animals.
This afternoon we take an optional excursion to the 10th century remains of Ranthambore Fort, perched on a hilltop overlooking the park. From up here you can get some fabulous views across the surrounding landscape towards the meeting point of the Aravali and Vindhya Hills. Spread across some 7 kilometres, the fort is one of the oldest in the country, said to have been built by a Chauhan chieftain during the middle years of the 10th century. Passing into the hands of the Mughals, it was gifted to the Maharajah of Jaipur in the 17th century and today presents a magnificent reminder to an age of grandeur, with temples and mosques and intricate carved halls throughout, including one of the most important Ganesh temples in the country that even today attracts pilgrims from all over. I take binoculars with me as there is always a chance of spotting a tiger drinking at the waters of the lake below. No luck for us today though.