Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, located in Rajasthan, India, is renowned for its Bengal tigers. Situated in the northwestern part of the country, the reserve spans approximately 1,500 square kilometers and encompasses the Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary, and Keladevi Wildlife Sanctuary. Together with the recently established Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve, Ranthambhore forms one of the largest continuous protected habitats in Rajasthan.

Explore Trips to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, with its breathtaking landscape, rich biodiversity, and historical significance, is an unparalleled destination for nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers, and history aficionados. The Ranthambore National Park, as the centerpiece of the reserve, is integral to the conservation efforts for the Bengal tiger and represents the harmonious coexistence of natural beauty and cultural heritage.

 

These itineraries serve as  guidelines and examples. They are crafted to spark your imagination and offer meticulously selected suggestions. You’re welcome to follow them or tailor them to your preferences. Every journey is fully customizable.

Luxury Safari to Ranthambhore
6+ Days.

Lux Tiger Safari to Ranthambhore

Enjoy a truly luxurious stay at a high-end tented safari camp; one of India's finest properties. All while discovering the best of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

All trips are customized.

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Photo Safari to Ranthambhore National Park
7+ Days.

Photo Safari to Ranthambhore

Leverage the incredible talents of one of India's premier safari teams with decades of wildlife film-making and photography experience.

All trips are customized.

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Rajasthan Culture & Wildlife Trip
8+ Days.

Wildlife & Culture of Rajasthan

Experience the rich culture and history of Rajasthan alongside it's amazing wildlife on a trip that combines Jaipur, Udaipur, and Ranthambhore.

All trips are customized.

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Tigers & Leopards of Rajasthan
9+ Days.

Tigers & Leopards of Rajasthan

Explore both Jawai and Ranthambhore on a trip to two different corners of the beautiful state of Rajasthan in search of leopards and tigers.

All trips are customized.

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India's wildlife by private jet
9+ Days.

India's Wildlife by Private Jet

Visit Ranthambhore, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh by private jet. Flying privately offers a hassle-free experience, bypassing long transfers.

All trips are customized.

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Ultimate Tiger Trip
14+ Days.

The Ultimate Tiger Trip

The crown jewel of tiger trips: visit a combination of Ranthambhore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, and Satpura Tiger Reserves.

All trips are customized.

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Properties by Ranthambhore National Park

Luxury Safari to Ranthambhore
6+ Days.

SUJÁN Sher Bagh

Enjoy a truly luxurious stay at a high-end tented safari camp; one of India's finest properties. All while discovering the best of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

All trips are customized.

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Photo Safari to Ranthambhore National Park
7+ Days.

Aman-I-Khas

Leverage the incredible talents of one of India's premier safari teams with decades of wildlife film-making and photography experience.

All trips are customized.

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Rajasthan Culture & Wildlife Trip
8+ Days.

Ranthambhore Bagh

Experience the rich culture and history of Rajasthan alongside it's amazing wildlife on a trip that combines Jaipur, Udaipur, and Ranthambhore.

All trips are customized.

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Tigers & Leopards of Rajasthan
9+ Days.

Oberoi Vanyavilas

Explore both Jawai and Ranthambhore on a trip to two different corners of the beautiful state of Rajasthan in search of leopards and tigers.

All trips are customized.

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India's wildlife by private jet
9+ Days.

Khem Villas

Visit Ranthambhore, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh by private jet. Flying privately offers a hassle-free experience, bypassing long transfers.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Ultimate Tiger Trip
14+ Days.

The Ultimate Tiger Trip

The crown jewel of tiger trips: visit a combination of Ranthambhore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, and Satpura Tiger Reserves.

All trips are customized.

View Trip

Brief: Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

The reserve is distinguished by its predominantly dry deciduous forest, which provides excellent visibility. Ranthambhore’s forests are situated at the confluence of two hill ranges, the Aravallies and the Vindhyas, marking the extreme western edge of the tiger’s territory in India. At the heart of Ranthambore National Park, there is a medieval fort, a rest house known as Jogi Mahal, and three lakes – Padam Talao, Rajbagh, and the seasonal Malik Talao. These features serve as focal points for a significant portion of the tiger activity within the park.

 

Ranthambhore is renowned as one of the best locations in India to observe Bengal tigers in their natural habitat. Tigers in the reserve have become accustomed to human presence, and can be spotted even during the daytime. This is a consequence of the prohibition of hunting in India in 1972, which provided tigers with a level of protection they had not experienced for centuries.

By the 1980s, the absence of human disturbances such as hunting and deforestation within Ranthambhore allowed tiger cubs to grow without fear of humans.

 

As a result, these cubs and subsequent generations exhibited indifference towards human observers, providing an extraordinary opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts and scientists.

 

In the protected environment of Ranthambhore, tigers gradually lost their fear of daylight and began to reveal their activities, which previously remained concealed under the veil of darkness. This behavior contrasts with tigers in denser habitats or regions with dispersed populations, where spotting them is more challenging and often requires scientists to track their movements using radio collars.

 

In addition to Bengal tigers, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is home to a rich diversity of other wildlife species, making it a vital sanctuary for the conservation and study of India’s diverse ecosystems.

Accessibility and Infrastructure

Private jeep on tiger safaris in India

Gateway to the Reserve

Sawai Madhopur, a bustling town situated nearby, acts as the primary access point for visitors intending to explore the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Sawai Madhopur is a significant railway junction, facilitating easy access for visitors coming from various parts of the country.

Besides its role as an access point, Sawai Madhopur offers a range of amenities and accommodations for tourists. Most accommodations are located near the town and along the main road to Ranthambore, with some exclusive properties situated near Khilchipur, close to the park’s boundaries.

 

Exploring Ranthambhore National Park

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve offers guided tours through jeep and canter safaris, allowing visitors to explore designated areas. The Ranthambore National Park within the reserve is divided into ten zones for tourism purposes. Zones 1-5 constitute the core area, while Zones 6-10 belong to the buffer zone. Each zone is unique in terms of landscape and wildlife sightings.

It is also notable that each zone, while offering different experiences, does not rank as better or worse than any other. The diversity in zones allows for a broad spectrum of experiences for visitors.

Flora and Fauna

Flora of the Reserve

The reserve’s semi-arid habitat is interspersed with dry deciduous forests dominated by the Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) tree. Other noteworthy trees include the Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Mango (Mangifera indica), and the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma). The reserve’s green cover provides vital sustenance for the resident herbivore population and forms an essential component of the ecosystem.

 

Fauna of the Reserve

Mammals

The flagship species of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is the Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). The reserve boasts a population of over 70 tigers. The imposing Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), which is the largest deer species in South Asia, and the Spotted Deer (Axis axis), are prevalent in the reserve. Other mammals include Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), and various species of monkeys and antelopes.

Avifauna

Ranthambore National Park within the Tiger Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 350 species recorded. Iconic bird species include the Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda), Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striata), and Dusky Eagle Owl (Bubo coromandus). In winter, the park is visited by migratory species such as ducks, raptors, flycatchers, and warblers.

Reptiles

The reserve is home to over 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. Notable reptile species include the Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja), Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator), and Indian Rock Python (Python molurus).

Topography and Geology

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve’s terrain is a varied mix of rolling hills, plateaus, rivers, and lakes. The underlying geology is dominated by Vindhyan sandstone and limestone, which has shaped the rugged landscape.

 

Zone Specific Topography

Zones 1-5 in the core area of Ranthambore National Park feature rugged terrain with steep hills, rocky outcrops, and dense forests. The Padam Talao lake, one of the largest in the park, is located in Zone 3.

Zones 6-10, which are buffer zones, exhibit more gentle and open landscapes with flat plains, grasslands, and clusters of trees and shrubs. These zones also include several small lakes and water bodies.

Water Bodies

Ranthambore is bordered by the Banas River in the north and the Chambal River in the south. In addition to rivers, the reserve contains several lakes, including Padam Talao and Malik Talao. These water bodies are critical for the reserve’s ecosystem, particularly for the wildlife that resides within.

Historic Monuments

Private jeep on tiger safaris in India

Ranthambore Fort

Situated within the Ranthambore National Park is the Ranthambore Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The fort, constructed by the Chahamanas, has seen numerous historical developments and changes in control over the years, including a brief period of capture by the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century.

 

Various rulers, including those of Mewar, Hada Rajputs of Bundi, and the Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, held the fort over the centuries. The Mughal Emperor Akbar captured the fort in 1568. In the 17th century, the fort came under the control of the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur and remained with them until Indian Independence. It then became part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.

 

The fort, which provides an extensive view of the surrounding national park, is now a popular tourist attraction. Inside, there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesha, Shiva, and Ramlalaji, built in the 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone, along with a Jain temple dedicated to Lord Sumatinath and Lord Sambhavanath. Ranthambore Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 as part of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan group.

 

Jogi Mahal

Zone 3 of the Ranthambore National Park houses Jogi Mahal, a red structure situated by the banks of Padam Talao. It was constructed as a hunting lodge and was frequented by royalty and heads of state. Currently, it is not open to the public due to the movements of large carnivores in its vicinity.

Local Conservation Non-Profit in Ranthambhore

Tiger Watch is a dedicated organization centered in the heart of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, striving to redefine the concept of wildlife conservation. This team of passionate individuals is continually engaged on the frontlines, battling to safeguard not just the tigers, but the entire habitat they inhabit. By operating at the core of these critical conservation challenges, Tiger Watch ensures the wellbeing of the Reserve’s ecology.

 

Tiger Watch is integrally connected to the local communities that envelop the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Its efforts largely rely on the active involvement of these indigenous people, with the Mogya traditional hunting tribe being its oldest collaborator. In the wake of the third tiger poaching crisis during the mid-2000s, Tiger Watch’s critical intelligence led to the arrest of several poaching factions, and they undertook initiatives to integrate the Mogya tribe into mainstream society via education, thus curbing poaching. Their successful efforts led to the tiger population skyrocketing from 18 in 2005 to over 60 presently.

 

However, with half of these tigers dwelling outside the reserve, new challenges emerged. To address this, Tiger Watch, in conjunction with the Rajasthan Forest Department, initiated the Village Wildlife Volunteer Program. This program equips volunteers, drawn from peripheral villages and belonging to pastoral communities, with essential skills such as wildlife tracking and camera trapping. These volunteers serve as the primary source of information for wildlife monitoring and anti-poaching initiatives, providing crucial updates to Tiger Watch and the Forest Department via smartphones.

Tiger Watch is a reputable local non-profit, you can donate here.