(The Royal adventures)
Located at the east-southern edge of Rajasthan, this region is mainly famous for its historical relevance and stark nature it still encapsulates. Seated at the junction of two of the oldest mountain ranges, Aravali and Vindya, the area is endowed with plenty of rivers and lakes that create an overwhelming fusion of flora and fauna. Also amidst this pristine nature, lies one of the finest architectural marvels of the region, Ranthambore Fort, that has stood the test of time and warfare for centuries and hence remains a popular attraction for history buffs. Though what remains the center of attraction are the Bengal Tigers along with other wildlife creatures that the tourists can witness in their natural habitat. It is this fine blend of these three highlights that put Ranthambore on the map of every traveler interested in nature, history, adventure, or all.
The landmark of the area Ranthambore Fort, a 10th century fortress that remained the key to rule the entire region for centuries to come, still has a shade of mystery to exactly when and who brought it into existence. Largely credited to Chauhan dynasty, one of the earliest rulers to capture it was the renowned Prithviraj Chauhan, after which the fort endured dozens of battles over centuries in the Rajputana-Muslim tussle and finally came under Jaipur province in 17th century. The other prominent part of Ranthambore is its National Park, that remains most popular for its Tiger spotting. The area once served as the royal hunting ground and a buffer in case of invasions. Officially established in 1955, it joined the ambitious ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973 that earned it the title of ‘National Park’ in 1980. Later expanded, today the reserve is crowned as the largest National Park in entire Northern India.
PLACES TO VISIT:
- Ranthambore Fort – Having ruled by some the greatest emperors and generals of their time including Prithviraj Chauhan, Akbar, Iltutmish, Alauddin Khilji, among others, this 10th century fort still bears the scars of intense warfare and reflects on the glorious ages it has witnessed. Built of black stone, the fort also offers a majestic view of expanding forest and lake that you must not miss.
- Ranthambore National Park – Sprawling over 392 sq. km of dry-deciduous forest with rivers on two sides, it is considered one of the finest natural habitat for Bengal Tigers and other wild creatures in the region. The hilly terrain, thick vegetation cover, and plentiful lakes and a high probability to come across some wild creature at every corner, is what attracts both adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. One thing to keep in mind is that the park remains closed during monsoons (July- September).
- Kandhar Fort – Located at an hour drive away, this fort is a fine example of medieval architecture and brilliant fortification that was long ruled by Mewars until they lost to the Mughals.
- Amreshwar Mahadev – Located inside the National Park on the Aravali ranges, this sacred temple of Hindu deity lord Shiva carries much faith in the locals and it receives visitors from all over the country.
- Ghushmeshwar Temple – Having its reference in Hindu ancient mythological book of Puran, this temple is believed to house the last jyotirlinga of Shiva, one of Hindu holy trinity. With many folk lores and myths regarding its establishment and significance, this ancient temple is flocked with devotees throughout the year.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS:
- Kaila Devi Fair – This annual fair organised during the month of April-May at the auspicious occassion of local festival Navratri, it attracts tourists from all over the country. Buzzing with traditional rituals and activities like Kanak Dandoti, Meena Performers, etc the atmosphere around this time is completely charged and is not to be missed.
- Shri Mahavirji Fair – Organised during the Chaitra Shukla Navami to Baisakh Krishna Ekam, of Hindu calendar, in a local village named Chandangaon, this fair carries special relevance to the Jains who remember Bhagwan Mahavir and celebrate the occasion.
- Chauth Mata Temple Fair – Held at the Chauth Mata Temple which is located at the top of a hill, this fair celebrates the Mother goddess in whom the local place high faith.
- Shivratri Fair – Held at Ghushmeshwar Mahadev in village Siwad, an hour drive from Ranthambore, at the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri, this fair is celebrated with much enthusiasm. Along with witnessing rituals that are over 600 years old, you also get to watch local artists put their talents to display.
Whether you are a nature enthusiast or an adventure seeker, Ranthambore National Park is an ideal match for both. Take a guided jeep safari in this expansive forest to discover a rich variety of flora and fauna and get that inexplicable feeling of being surrounded by pristine nature. If you are lucky enough, you might also get to spot tigers that the reserve is renowned for.
The park remains closed during the monsoons (July-August).
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
The best time to visit Ranthambore depends highly on what you want to achieve of your trip. While the the summers (March- June) are typically hot with temperature soaring above 40 degrees celsius quite uncomfortable, it is also the ideal time to spot tigers. The winters (November- February) on the other hand, have shiny days ideal for sightseeing, safari, etc, and chilly nights apt for a cozy bonfire, with overall temperature ranging between 2 to 30 degrees celsius. So, if the sole purpose of your trip is to spot tigers, summers is the time to choose, otherwise prefer winters.
Sunglasses, Hat, Scarf, Sunscreen Lotion; being very dry and hot; sports shoes & binoculars for the safari. Keep your camera with some extra memory for the pictures. Keep some mosquito repellent as well for the safari.
HOW TO REACH:
- By Air – Jaipur International Airport is the closest airport at 153 kms with frequent flights on major domestic and international routes. You can cover the remaining distance by either rail or road.
- By Rail – Sawai Madhopur is the nearest major Railway station at 12.9 kms with well connectivity to all major cities like Agra, Jaipur, Delhi, etc. After that hire a Taxi to reach Ranthambore.
- By Road – Sawai Madhopur bus station is the nearest bus stand at 13.8 kms with regular buses plying for major cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Kota, Agra, among others. Take a taxi from there to reach Ranthambore.