Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest game reserves in India and one of the most important in the Far East. Home to a wide variety of fauna, it is undoubtedly most famous for its small but highy visible population of tigers. One of India’s Project Tiger reserves, the government has spent significant resources on preserving the local habit to protect the ever shrinking population of the region’s large cats.
The area where Ranthambore is located is in one of the oldest and most densely populated parts of India. Just south of the New Delhi-Agra-Jaipur triangle, it is impressive that significant large animal populations survived here through the Colonial era. Fortunately the new government thought to establish the area as a sanctuary in 1955 and a protected reserve in 1973. It became a full-fledged national park in 1980 and expanded several times in the decades since. It is now a key Project Tiger site, where concerted government efforts strive to protect the tiger population.
Ranthambore is a diverse ecosystem with a wide variety of wildlife. It incorporates remnants of forests that once stretched over a much wider area. It is home to numerous species of deer and other larger animals like sloth bears and leopards. The star attraction hands down is the population of tigers. While these are unfortunately down to only a few dozen, they get around, and tiger spotting are common.
Ranthambore National Park is a relatively small 400 square km in size, but is very accessible. The closest major town is Sawai Madhopur, ten miles to the west, while Jaipur is seventy miles northwest. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.ranthamborenationalpark.com (official website).