There was a time when the Rajput Kings build their forts inside the jungle and used them as their hunting grounds and holiday home. They had also had a temple above the hill and used to go around the foothills every Wednesday. This is still being practised on some days. Thousands of people throng the forests and walk around the hill, slowly climbing it to reach the sanctum which is on top. This is called ‘ Prakrama’.
It has amazed me every time i see thousands of people walking through a jungle without any fear. They know that the Tiger would be hiding in the bushes and the Tiger knows that these people have been doing this for years. But both don’t fear each other. This shows how we had truly co-existed with the animals for long. But i’m sure the Tigers do get surprised when they see the humans in such large numbers!!
Ranthambore is a World famous Tiger park situated in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is one of the two parks where the ruins of the yesteryears are still found inside the jungle. The other park is Bandhavgarh in Central India. In the pic below, one can see the vast jungle, the famous Padam Tala ( Lake ) with the fort BG.
Now that the Kings have disappeared the Royal Bengal Tigers have taken procession of most of the ruins. Ranthambore consists of rocky out crops, shrub jungles and grassy slopes. The rocky out crops are home for its leopards. The way these small cats have been living with the Tigers have proved a point that the leopards are very adaptable animals.
The forests has been divided into ten zones. Zones one to five on one direction of the town and zones six to ten on the other. The small town of Sawaimodhupur lies in-between them. This town boasts of many resorts which cater to the tourists. With the declaration of 23.06 Cr as the gross revenue for the financial year 2016-17, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) becomes the highest earning wildlife park in India.
Ranthambore is also home to large number of birds. The famous ritual dance of the peacock is a common sight during the summers. The Male peacock, display their feathers to attract the females. This courtship dance is a treat to ones eye.
Out for the fishes are the Ospreys perched with their sharp talons and watchful eyes.
The main attraction of this park is obviously the Tiger. Tourist folk this park to get a sight of this magnificent animal. Ranthambore has been home for the World’s most photographed and oldest Wild Tiger, Machli. She was the tigress who put this park on the World map of wildlife. She lived more than nineteen years. It is her bloodline which is supposed to be thriving here.
She had a very interesting life. First she dethroned her mother to claim her territory. The territory which is the most beautiful place in the entire park. This territory has the famous lake called Padam Tala and the ruined fortresss right in the middle of the lake. This is referred as ZONE 3 and most of the visitors love to go to this place just to enjoy the sheer beauty of the place. She had to put up with many Male tigers, littered thrice and brought her siblings in a very successful manner. She was known to have put up and won a fight with a sixteen feet crocodile. Her cub, then fought her out and claimed the same territory just to loose it to hers!! So it is now the grand daughter of who rules over this territory. She is called The Arrowhead or Junior Machli!!.
This territory is referred as zone three is very beautiful. The lake and the landscape makes it one of my favourite place too.
The forests dept have been managing to keep the tourists not to crowd at one zone, so they allow only a stipulated vehicles in one zone at a time. This does frustrate if one does not get to sight a tiger in his drive. But the jungle is beautiful and one should enjoy the drive and other species rather than just going behind the Tiger. For example the zone 4 which is an extension of zone 3 also has a lake called Malik Tala, where one gets to sight the Sambhar deers in the water. The lucky ones have got a tiger hunt these animals in the lake.
Zone 6 to 10 on the other hand is home for the Indian gazelle. They are called as Chinkaras. These nimble feet deers are very shy and fast. They are close relatives of the Gazelles found on the plains of Maasai Mara.
The months of May and June are very hot and winters do get cold during Dec and Jan. November and April is the one of the best time to be out in this park. The light is magical and a delight to any wildlife photographer.
The nearest airport is Jaipur. It takes a good five hours to reach Sawai Modhpur. The nearest railway station is Sawai Modhpur, which is well connected from Delhi. There are many resorts at Sawai Modhpur where one can stay. My personal favourite or what i call my second home is 'Ranthambore Regency'. The place is know for its hospitality, cleanliness, ever smiling staff, spread of food and customer friendliness. It is owned by Mr.Arvind Jain and his brother Mr.Ravindra Jain. I have not come across such nice people in my life. I’m proud to say that i’m a part of the Regency family. Anyone who have stayed will accept that they felt as Royal as the Tigers that rule Ranthambore..
By : chandrashekar k www.travelunbounded.com