India's National Parks
Ranthambor encompasses nearly 152 square miles of dry deciduous forest in south western Rajasthan and, in the heart of this forest, the Aravali and Vindhya ranges meet. The park derives its name from the fort of Ranthambor which sits on a rocky outcrop in the forest. The fort dates back to the 11th century when it was a vital citadel for the control of central India. In 1981 Ranthambor was awarded National Park status and though overrun by vegetation, remnants of the summer palaces, temples and guard stones within the fort still remain.
Ranthambor is famous for its tigers and is a favorite with photographers. With strict tiger preservation measures, tigers have become more active during the day and can be encountered by visitors in broad daylight. Sighting a tiger can never be a sure shot, but here one comes as close to it as is possible.
The landscape is dotted with ancient banyan trees, dhok & pipal trees, clusters of mango trees and crisscrossed with evergreen belts. The terrain is made up of massive rock formations, steep scarps, perennial lakes and streams and forest suddenly opening up into large areas of savannah. For a relatively small area, the park has a rich diversity of fauna and flora - species list includes 300 trees, 50 aquatic plants, 272 birds, 12 reptiles (including the marsh crocodile) & amphibians and 30 mammals.
Other than the tiger, other predators found in Ranthambor are leopard, striped hyena, jackal, caracal and jungle cat. Also seen are sloth bear, sambar deer, chital (spotted) deer, nilgai (blue bull) antelope, wild boar, chinkara (Indian) gazelle, Indian hare, mongoose, common langur, palm civet, palm squirrel, porcupine and monitor lizard.
Special thanks to Nina Rao of Rare Earth Explorations for contributions on India's parks.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Ranthambor National Park Travel Q&A
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