As we traveled to Ranthambhore in Sawai Madhopur districts of Rajasthan, where dwells the famous Ranthambhore National park and the Ranthambhore Fort, the most interesting thing that caught my attention was that every business center is named after its most cherished attraction, i.e., the Tiger. Some of the names are, “Tiger Haveli”, “Tiger Paan House”, “Sher da Dhaba”, “Tiger Den Resort”, “Sherra Steel House” and the list thus goes on.
Sawai Madhopur is a beautiful city set amidst greenery and hills. The immediate connection one can make with the city is because it houses the world famous Ranthambhore National park and the Ranthambhore Fort which is very much important from historical point of view. Besides, Sawai Madhopur is also famous for its delicious guavas. In fact, one can spot so many vendors selling the fruit on the roadside at quite a low price.
Our main intention of visiting Sawai Madhopur was to visit these two beautiful spots. We stayed in a hotel which again has a prefix “Tiger”. So, by now we are so much used to the word Tiger that it has started giving me a feeling that here people are friends with the tigers and that it is not a harmful animal!
RANTHAMBHORE NATIONAL PARK
Early morning we got up to have one of the most exciting safaris of our life in the wilds of Ranthambhore National park. The early December chill was too much for us to handle though. Hailing from Mumbai, it is difficult to exactly estimate the amount of cold in other places as Mumbai does not have winter as such.
The safari started at around 6.30 in the morning and we were about 12 people on board. At around 7 we entered the national park in zone 4. As we moved ahead the only thought running in my mind was the excitement of encountering a wild tiger here in this open land.
I think for every visitor who comes to Ranthambhore or goes to any other wild hub for that matter, naturally would be swayed by the surrounding environment and spotting rightly for what they are there, would fill their lives with exhilaration and joy.
Ranthambhore National Park is a paradise where so many nature’s bounty and nature co-exist. There were many peacocks around and as if though they were there to greet us. Grazing deer was a common sight around. I saw some birds which were really alien to me till then. Our guide was very well informed and he answered all our questions with ease and confidence. In fact we were greeted with so many different types of birds, even in our hotel premise, that I can confidently call it a heaven for bird lovers too
Still moving ahead with no sight of tiger, I would not lie that little disappointment had set in, not just in me but others were also getting curious. By then we waited in a rest house for freshening up. Just after starting from there our driver stopped the jeep and asked us to keep quiet. The said that from the barking of deer he could guess that a tiger was nearby.
Hearing this we all alerted ourselves and waited motionless in our respective seats. After about waiting for 5 minutes, the moment had come for which we had been waiting all the while. Yes, we saw the tiger in its full grace and refinement.
In about 400 meters, the tiger was right in front of us. As we gazed at the animal, it did sit on our way for a while before heading towards the jungle inside. We had a clear view of the tiger for a good enough time.
Mesmerised by the whole milieu of Ranthambhore, I still wanted a sight of the tiger once again. I am sure we all did. The fulfilment of this journey had set in with this encounter as we headed back out of the national park.
We were informed that Ranthambhore has about 65 to 70 tigers currently. The National area is spread across 400 km. It was bestowed with the title of National park in 1981.
How do they identify each Tiger?
One interesting fact about tiger identification as described by our guide was that they can identify the tigers with the stripes. Every tiger has different stripes which enable the forest people to keep a track of the tiger population. But that’s a big task I guess.
This majestic fort which is also an UNESCO heritage site is one of its kind that will surely take your breath away.
The guide gave us a beautiful description of the fort with the underlying story that really touched my heart. Though most parts of the fort are ruined, it still holds the grandeur of the bygone era. The doors are still standing erect and strong and I couldn’t stop thinking as to how strong they might had been in those days! To top of it, to design n construct such mechanisms in an era that was far away from any modernisation.
I would suggest every tourist or visitor must hire a guide so that you can hear the facts about the fort. As you move ahead there are some spectacular views from top of the fort that wonderful treats to the eyes. There is a Ganesha Temple at the far top of the fort and you must take His blessings as it is a very revered temple by the locals.
But please be careful with the monkeys. Yes, there are hundreds of them loitering here and there but do not worry as they are not harmful. If you have food items in your hand, please keep inside your bag otherwise one of them is sure to snatch it out.
How to Reach Ranthambhore:
By Road: Jaipur – 132 – km / Kota – 108 km/ Agra – 230 km/ Delhi – 360 km
By Air: Nearest Airport is Jaipur
By Train: Sawai Madhopur town is well connected by train as well.
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