Rocky Ranthambore

Whenever I used to think of Rajasthan picture that came to my mind was of majestic forts, beautiful palaces, colorful festivals, golden sand dunes and adventurous camel rides. But a visit to Ranthambore changed it. Rolling hills, valleys and plateaus intercepted with forest streams and romantic water holes full of life with rare wild life is added to the list.

A group of 8, driving from Delhi to Ranthambore in 2 cars – Alto and Esteem
Route we followed: Delhi – Gurgaon – Jaipur – Dausa – Lalsot – Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambore

With a good mix of Silky smooth highway roads and narrow bumpy village roads we covered the distance of around 460 kms in 10 hrs (with breaks). People in their colorful gears busy with daily chores, birds and animals roaming around freely and a maze of road side dhabas offering spicy food – all made our drive worth remembering. We took some of the best shots of the trip on our way.

On the way to Ranthambore

On the way to Ranthambore


We decided to stay in a not-so-costly hotel in Sawai Madhopur. Gathered some information about the park and its wildlife from locals and decided to go on an early morning safari the next day.
Safari:
The safari is arranged in huge canters that can accommodate 20 – 25 people at a time. One has to be really lucky to get the tickets at one go due to great demand of these topless useless mini trucks that intrude the privacy of animals as much as the picnickers who are least interested in wildlife.

Ready for Safari

Ready for Safari

Unlike many other National parks I have visited, Dudhwa, Bandabgarh, Kaziranga to name a few, the Ranthambore is plagued by ever-increasing popularity of “thoughtless tourism” which leads to more and more invasion of insensible picnickers, making the park a noisy cafeteria, and leaving the wild lives more fragile striving for their privacy.
Exploring Rathambore:
Disappointed with the experience, we decided to explore the place on our own the next day. Drove to Ranthambore fort on our small Alto, halting at few places where we sighted good variety of birds that included woodpeckers, babbler, magpie, bee eaters, varieties of pigeon, peacock and peahens and many more of which I don’t know the names.

Exploring Ranthambore

Exploring Ranthambore

The avian population in this “Tiger Reserve” makes it a bird lover’s paradise and a photographer’s dream. One can hear the ‘tok tok’ of a woodpecker peeping out of the thick of the branches, a magpie flying past as you try to capture it in your camera… The ceaseless musical bird calls enchanted us as we drove further deep.

Aves at Ranthambore

Aves at Ranthambore

The Fort:
Climbing the heights of the Ranthambore fort gave us a good chance to view the landscape from above. Rolling hills, valleys and plateaus intercepted with forest streams and romantic water holes provided a memorable impression of a deep green jungle and its rare wildlife.

The Fort

The Fort

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On our way back we visited small cottage industries and shops on the outskirts of the park that provide employment to the local ladies and offer us a good chance to take back souvenirs as memories of our trip.

Local Artisans

Local Artisans

And thus came to an end, our Rocky Ranthambore trip.

  • maheh semwal

    It ended soon, I wish there could be some more pictures & details of safari.

  • Hi Shailza, I have visited Ranthambore but fell ill and had to spend all of my time at the hotel. However, I can understand your disappointment in the behaviour of the tourists. I’ve seen that myself when I visited Corbett. While some people simply don’t understand that talking, laughing, and singing makes it very difficult to catch wildlife unawares, some do it deliberately to show how ‘cool’ they are. And it make me very angry when at the end of the safari those ‘cool’ people say “Told you we won’t see anything. The Forest authorities are just trying to fool everyone.”

    I think there should be some way to ensure tha people don’t treat safaris as regular picnics. Presence of a forest officer on the jeep/van could do the trick.

  • @Vibha, Hi Vibha I am totally agreed with you. Last month I was there in Mount Abu’s wild life zone known as Travor’s tank, and I was so annoyed with bunch of Gujratis who were shouting like anything, talking loudly and calling wild animals as if they will appear on demand. I don’t want to blame a community but my experience with Gujratis people in Mount Abu was worst. Even my guide says, lets go…now you can’t see anything but them only.

    I strongly feel that there must be some control for those who are going inside the wild life park for picnic, zoo are better place for them.

  • Welcome to Ghumakkar, Shailza. Nice article and great pictures, I really liked the one captioned ‘The Fort’. I have been to Ranthambore twice and really liked it – spotted a tiger and a leopard in different Safaris. And I understand what you’re saying about a lot of spilled-over tourist groups. Well, some places of key importance like Agra, Jaipur and then a few in Rajasthan, are equally over-exposed to Indian and Foreign tourists – this results into the corruption of the properties and the local-ites. As conscious and educated travelers, we must do what we can – ignore the noise, look for what you came for, not create litter of any kind and discourage the local vendors who try to fleece the visitors.

    And yes, what we discovered at Ranthambore – Sundays are more likely to be overbooked because of Palace of Wheels pulling over at Sawai Madhopur, so its is better to make a prior booking for the safaris over the net.

  • ashok sharma

    beautiful narration,good photos.

  • Welcome aboard Shailza. Nice post.

    You do not necessarily need to go all the way to Jaipur (though we did the same in our first trip) and there are shorters way available which would take you there by lunch, if you start early. Here is the road review post which lists all of these routes in detail.

    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/03/12/delhi-ranthambore-road-review/

    @ Amit, Shailza – Desh mera rangrex hai Babu, Ghat Ghat yahan ghat-ta Jadu :-). I guess we need to learn to live amid the diversity-n-freedom all of us have. There would be times when you would not like something and I guess we can at best try to be at our best behavior, hoping that more folks would mimick it and make the place better :-) I am seeing lot of Rajasthan stories in drafts and am waiting to read them as they get published.

  • maheh semwal

    Dear Nandan & Smita,

    She has already been welcomed with her first story “Chakrata A Paradise for Nature Lovers”

    • Miss from my side. I need to get better at remembering things.

  • Nandan, I tried on my Corbett trip to set a good example with good behavior, but I was laughed at for hoping for a sighting. The first time I went to Corbett, it was a much more rewarding ride with frequent Sambhars, peacock, and deer sightings. But the second time was just hopeless. I think the authorities need to interfere somewhere as it is not only a question of the safaris not being rewarding, it is also about interfering with the natural habitat of wildlife. We need to respect them and be as unintrusive as possible.

  • @ Maheh – I was so disappointed with the safari so did not write much about it. Will share with ghumakkar community my Dudhwa experience which was my best wild life experience till date.

    @ Vibha, Nandan and Amit – As Vibha rightly said it is not only a question of the safaris not being rewarding, it is also about interfering with the natural habitat of wildlife…. We need to respect them.
    Yeah Amit I totally agree those going just for fun should visit zoos and not Reserve forests. At Ranthambore I felt like even the authorities were more interested in making money by sending those huge truck like safaris to disturb the wild life peace :-(

    @ Smita – Glad you liked the pictures. Thanks for suggestion… Hope I get to see “better” Ranthambore in my next visit

    @ Ashok – Thanks :-)

    @ Nandan – Thanks for the alternate route. Seems I have to visit Ranthambore again… following shorter route, avoiding Sunday and booking my safari well in advance :-)

  • Anir

    Ranthambore has once been the most popular and the most sought after by the wild life photographers among the Tiger sanctuaries. But what is left today is nothing but the old skeleton and mockery of wildlife….and I agree with most of the participants here that the poachers, corrupt govt officials and senseless picnickers all contribute to the desecration of the area. And also, may come as a disappointing and shocking for some, to those who have seen Tiger there, the forest staffs physically carried and leave food for tigers in the early morning and evening in some selected zones there , consequent those tigers left in the forest only frequent on those so called ‘Core Area’ and they simply lack the vigor , look and ability of a wild tiger. Thus, any VIP or VVIP s on their visit (rad it tour) to Ranthambore are being taken to those areas and only where on can ‘spot’ a tiger or leopard with maximum probality. I gathered this information from the locals and ‘unofficial’ forest staffs on my visit to Ranthambore,

  • shalabh

    Can anyone suggest good budget hotel to stay in Ranthambore. We will be reaching late in night around 12Pm or 1 AM. Not sure we can get hotel then. better book in advance.
    Will be starting on 22nd Dec from Delhi.