Ranthambore happened in the month of April. Yes. In the scorching heat of Rajasthan, we decided to visit our first ever National Park. Why, you ask? Because, if you wish to spot a tiger, then summer months are the best! Less vegetation, more visibility.
How we decided on Ranthambore?
Ranthambore wasn’t our first choice. Since we were planning to visit Delhi for a close friend’s wedding, obviously, our first choice was the much-hyped Jim Corbett National Park. But, here is the thing with Jim Corbett: you need to get a permit in advance to enter the zones, which were already sold out by the time we tried our luck. Sigh! Nonetheless, my husband suggested Ranthambore and I am so glad we made this trip happen.
More about Ranthambore:
Ranthambore National Park is a huge wildlife reserve in the district of Sawai-Madhopur, Rajasthan. The park is 400 square kilometers vast. There are many ways to reach Ranthambore and since we were in Delhi, railways were the easiest option available to us. Caught an early morning train from Delhi and we were at our hotel by noon. You can also choose to travel by air, the nearest airport is Jaipur. Distance from Jaipur by car is about 180 kilometers.
Hotels and accommodations:
Although, Sawai-Madhopur is a small village, there are umpteen number of options available for hotels. From cheap accommodations to lavish hotels, choose as per your wish. We opted for Hotel Nahargarh. This is a luxury hotel with such an amazing architecture. The hospitality of the staff members deserves a mention. Choosing a good hotel is very important when travelling to Ranthambore, because the only thing that will keep you occupied for a few hours a day will be your safaris and you will end up tired and famished in your hotel. So make sure the hotel has good recommendations for stay and food.
Animals of Ranthambore:
There are close to 60 plus tigers in the reserve and they are well taken care of by the Park officials. The main attraction is, of course, the Bengal Tigers, and people from all over the country and globe visit the reserve to get a close look at the striped cat and click amazing photographs. It is a treat for the photographers since the animals here are used to all the staring and are comfortable in their habitat. It aches me deeply to write that I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the Tigress that we spotted. Now I know what a difficult task it is to become a wild-life photographer. It’s not easy to capture beautiful candid shots of animals that are constantly on the move and most of the time, the conditions won’t be favorable. Other than tigers, you can spot Sambar deer, Spotted deer, Striped Hyenas, Sloth bears and so many other animals. Bird enthusiasts will be more than happy because of the vast number of bird species visiting the reserve, which is close to 272.
You can opt for either a Canter (20 people) or a Jeep (6 people excluding driver and guide) for your safaris. Canter will cost you around Rs.800/- per person and Jeep will cost you more. Since our Jeep was booked at the last minute, we had to pay roughly Rs.1500/- per person for one safari. Personally, I would recommend the Jeep as Canters can be very chaotic. People are generally advised to keep their voices low when they spot an animal, but I remember, people had lost control with extreme excitement and they began to yell when they spotted the Tigress. It could be dangerous to your life and bothersome to animals. People, please do not yell!Also, morning time is the best to take a safari in the forest, as afternoon heat can be unbearable for some.
Safari timings (approx): Mornings: 6 AM to 9:30 AM | Evenings: 3 PM to 6:30 PM
Best time to visit:
Best time to visit Ranthambore would be from March to May. Most people prefer November because of the cooler temperatures.
What to wear:
Because of the unbearable heat, I would highly recommend wearing comfortable clothes and not worry too much about the way you look, because, by the time the safari ends, there will be sweat all over your body and sand in your hair. Remember to carry a HAT, people! A bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated is a must! Needless to say, carry your CAMERA and capture all the amazing animal shots.
We are more than happy that we took this trip. This has inspired us to visit other Tiger Reserves in India. Take a trip to Ranthambore and get closer to animals!