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Tiger in Ranthambhore National Park

Visit Ranthambhore National Park, India

If you’re expressing an interest in seeing India’s Bengal tigers, it isn’t long before Ranthambhore National Park comes up in conversation. Once the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the park is named after the 10th-century fort at its heart.

Within Ranthambhore, tigers roam through dry deciduous forest and up ravines, and swim in lakes ornamented with the crumbling remains of regal hunting pavilions.

Leopard, Ranthambore National ParkBut, in reality, tigers are just one facet of Ranthambhore’s appeal. A whole cast of predators, including leopards, hyena, wild dogs and jungle cats, are sustained by sambar and spotted deer, chinkaras (Indian gazelles) and blue bulls. There are enough bird species to fill entire guidebooks, as well as wildfowl, crocodiles and tortoises.

The park was one of the first to be included in Project Tiger, an Indian-government-run initiative to conserve this critically endangered species. Ranthambhore now supports a relatively healthy population of tigers (many of which have been named by the rangers), and your best chance of spotting one is on a game drive in the park.

Morning game drives usually start in the cool of dawn, as the sun — and wildlife — begins to rise. Depending on the time of year, it’s worth parking up by one of the lakes to watch the wading birds — and any predators that might come to drink. You usually head back to your hotel or lodge for breakfast and some time to relax, before heading back out in the afternoon.

Hotels are positioned around the outskirts of the park. Many, like Khem Villas, offer guided walks through the surrounding grasslands. You might spot some of the park’s often-overlooked smaller inhabitants, including Indian hares, skittering frogs and the raucous Indian bullfrog.

Garden at Ranthambore Fort Wildlife viewing may be the main focus here, but it’s also worth climbing up to the remains of Ranthambhore Fort. Once one of the largest forts in India, it has seen more than 1,000 years of conflict — although the only current invader is grass, and an occasional monkey. The fort is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can wander through amber-stone courtyards and hallways, and peer across the national park splayed out below.

Ranthambhore is within easy reach of Jaipur and Agra, making it a convenient place to visit if you’re journeying through Rajasthan or around India’s Golden Triangle. This does mean that it’s one of the busiest national parks but, there are more peaceful spots if you know where to look.

For a quieter experience, you could add in a visit to Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary, a small reserve 10 km (7 miles) away, which is particularly good for viewing gazelles.

And, if you’re visiting in the cooler months between November and March, we recommend including a trip to Soorwal Lake. Located around an hours’ drive from the park, it welcomes large flocks of migratory birds, including painted storks, flamingoes and spoonbills.

Best time to visit Ranthambhore National Park

You can travel anytime from October through to May. The best time to go to Ranthambhore is between February and March, when the foliage has started to thin, making wildlife easier to spot. Rain is also rare during this season, and temperatures average a comfortable 27 C (80 f) in the daytime (although it can be cold before the sun rises, so extra layers are needed).

If you’re willing to tackle the rising temperatures in April and May, you stand to see animals that are drawn out, as water sources begin to dry up, from the jungle to larger lakes.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Sophie

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Ranthambhore National Park by calling one of our India specialists on 1 800 817 716

Suggested Ranthambhore National Park itinerary

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Ranthambhore National Park, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Ranthambhore National Park

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    Accommodation choices for Ranthambhore National Park

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Ranthambhore National Park. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Ranthambhore National Park

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Ranthambhore National Park, and which use the best local guides.