Ranthambore

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            The Ranthambore National Park encompasses nearly 400 sq. kms. of dry deciduous forest in south western Rajasthan. The Park derives its name form the fortress of Ranthambore which sits on a rocky outcrop in the forest. Vast in size , it encompasses an area of nearly 7 kms. in circumference. Its history dates back to the 11th century when Rana Hamir ruled from its ramparts. Its massive battlements enclose one of India's most ancient forts. The was a vital citadel for the control of central India and over the centuries many wars were fought for its possession.

Nature overflows here with her bounty and variety. The area has  preponderance of dhok trees but there is an abundance of ancient banyan and peepal trees with their spreading roots adding to the general luxuriance of the area. Very now and again one stumbles upon massive  rock formation, steep scarps, perennial lakes and streams.  Ranthambore has a remarkable rich and diverse flora and fauna. The species lists for the area include nearly 300 trees, 50 aquatic plants and more than 100 species of herbs, grasses, climbers and seasonal plants. The bird list for the National Park contains 272 species and the mammal list has 30. There are at least a dozen species of reptiles and amphibians, perhaps a dozen fishes and profusion of insect life that has still to be catalogued. No wonder that the U.S. president Bill Clinton visited this place in early 2000, and was fortunate to see two wild tigers on the same day.

 

            The forests are very colorful, with the passage of each season the forest changes color. During the monsoons everything turns a vibrant and lush green and the prevailing sound is that of gurgling streams and waterfalls. AT the onset of the summer the contrast is sharp and the forest seems to shrivel under the scorching sun. The wide grasslands burn with the heat, the rocks reflect back t you and you feel the forest is melting. Two river systems, the Chambal and the Banas, cut around the forest on the border of Madhya Pradesh, nature has showered its treasures on this tiny paradise. In the dry and semi dry areas wildlife is invariably concentrated near water which is why sighting animals is so easy in Ranthambore.

Every evening a large population of sambar, chital and wild boar frequent rajbagh and often tigers walk through the grass at the edge of this lake in anticipation of a kill. 

 

            The best and the only way to see the natures exuberance is through a two hundred kilometers of jeep able, fair weather road which provide excellent access to remote areas. Several sanctums have been left untouched and isolated with no roads and thus no human intrusion. This allows the animals the peace and privacy so necessary to their well being, for if they were constantly disturbed they would find it difficult to to procreate and rear their young. 

In the last 10 years the tiger population has increases here considerably, there has been no human encroachments since 1979. The mother was no longer teaching them to avoid man, hence tiger sighting is easy. Today Ranthambore is not only the finest paradise for the tiger, but also the sambhar and it is only place in India where sambhar are seen so easily and in such large numbers.   

Leopards, the Indian sloth bear and the innumerable crocodiles make it a vital pulsating ecological system. Dotted with lakes and streams it is a bird watchers dream. 

 

            The Ranthambore park is open only during the day time and accommodations are available only outside the park. There are many site seeing spots adjoining the park. The Mansarover lake lies just on the outskirts of the National Park approx. 20 kms from from the park and is known for its scenic beauty and various kinds of migratory bird. Surwal lake which is just 8 kms is another heaven for bird lovers, since it attracts many kinds of migratory birds also a beautiful site for camping. Devpura which is 15 kms is a unique place where black bucks and antelopes are found. Pali ghat on the banks of river chambal is an excellent spot for boating and camping. Indergarh a 15th century fort which is located in the middle of a forested valley infested with wildlife is again a place to camp.

Today man is sowing the seeds of his own destruction. Numerous forms of life are slowly disappearing from this planet of which they are an integral part. Man and every living organism that makes up this world are interlocked in a complex and delicate matrix of life. If one strand breaks, the matrix is weakened and man draws closer to the disintegration of his habitat and therefore himself. Man must therefore find his own balance with nature so that wilderness areas like Ranthambore can survive into the future. 

Some useful information 

Nearest Rail Head : Sawaimadhopur 5 kms
Several trains a day from Delhi, Mumbai, Agra & 
Jaipur. 
Nearest Airport : Jaipur - 170 kms, Delhi - 350 kms.
Weather : April - June (very warm), July-September
                 park closed, October-March ( very cold)
Area       : 392 Sq. kms.
Location : The district of Sawai Madhopur in South
                  Western Rajasthan.
Max. Temp : 48o C ( June )
Min. Temp :   2o C (January)
Rainfall  : 900 mm per year



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