Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, before a significant game conserve is the scene where the celebrated Indian Royal Bengal Tiger is finest seen. Ranthambore Tiger Reserve lies on the junction of Aravali valley and Vindhyas just 14 Kilometer from Sawai Madhopur district in Eastern Rajasthan. It sprawls over a varying and undulating landscape. The scenery changes significantly from gentle and steep slopes of the Vindhyas and sharp and conical hills of the Aravali valley. A tenth century fort also blends amicably with the background. Pure sands of Dhok tree (Anogeissus pendula) interspersed with grasslands at the plateaus; meadow in valleys and luxuriant foliage around the canals makes the jungle. Three big lakes – Malik Talab, Raj Bagh and Padam Talab – are similar turquoises studded in the vast jungle that abounds with water vegetation including duckweeds, lilies and lotus.
A major environmental feature within the reserve is the ‘Great Boundary error where the Vindhyas plateau meets the Aravali range. The Rivers Chambal in the South and the Banas River in the North bound the tiger reserve. The reserve is dotted with steep rocky hills and the dominate architecture of Ranthambhor Fort (built in the 10th era), adds to its landscape. The rugged park landscape alternates between dry deciduous jungle, open grassy meadow, dotted by numerous lakes and rivers that are only made passable by rough roads build and maintain by the Forest Department. The Royal Bengal Tiger is not the only attraction at Ranthambhore although it is the one park resident that people come to see many and of other animals and birds like hyena, jackal, bear, deer and leopard etc.
Ranthambore is plagued by the typical problems, encounter by all game reserves in India – people living in and around the reserve and grazing by livestock! Between 1976-1979 twelve villages within Ranthambore National Park were resettled outside the selected park area with only a few people now residing in scattered villages within the park. Of course hunters continue their actions with growing demand from China for Tiger parts. There are no correct figures on how many tigers and hunters kill other animal species, but on occasion proof appears in the form of huge numbers of skins and other body parts initiate on couriers.
The park is fine staffed and the folk who man the canters and the compulsory guides – one for each vehicle, have well-informed of the territory and some even known the Latin names of most species. The tiger is not the only charm at Ranthambore; although it is the one park occupant people come to see. We were fortunate to see numerous varieties of birds including these owlets peering through their burrow pictured here on the right and of course the everywhere languor monkey. Other animals in the park include leopard, jungle cat, hyena, marsh crocodiles, Caracal, jackal, wild boar, bears and different species of deer.
The main foodstuff source for the tiger is the marsh deer like Barasinsga sambhar deer and on occasion the wild boar and also wild buffalo, etc. If you wish to stay near the park, the services on offer are superb. The park gates open a half hour before sunrise and close up half hour after sunset. The timings are dynamically imposed and no omissions are made to this rule.
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