Ranthambhor National Park
It is situated 14 kms from Sawai Madhopur. The park derives its name from the Ranthambhor Fort situated within its precincts. The Park is a remarkable example of a precariously balanced arid ecosystem. Surrounded by the Vindhyas and the Aravalis, amidst vast, arid and denuded tracts of the desert ecology of Rajasthan, lies this oasis of biomass. The Ranthambhor National Park spreads over an area of 392 sq. kms of thick forest with nullahs and waterfalls. The vegetation of the Park is the tropical dry deciduous and tropical thorn forest type. Due to its hilly tract, water is confined to narrow valleys and some lakes.
Important tree species include Dhok, Flame of the Forest, Ber, Aam and Acocia Lenco Phleea. Rajbag, Padam Talab and Malik Talab lakes are a paradise for wildlife and are full of Nymphaeas and Lotus.
The herbivorous population includes chital, sambhar, blue bull and chinkara. Sambhar deer is the pride of the Park. There is no park in Asia where these largest of all Asiatic deers can be seen so frequently during the day time.
Wild boars and langurs are a common sight. Among the reptiles, crocodiles can be seen basking in the sun near the lakes.
The tiger is the biggest attraction of the Park. According to naturalists, Ranthambhor is one of the best parks in the country for observing and photographing the activities of the tiger.
Other carnivores in the Park include the leopard, hyena, jackal, fox, caracal, jungle cat and ratel. Around 80 sloth bears are known to exist in the Park.
The Park has more than 300 varieties of birds. Common birds seen in the reserve are peafowls, parakeets, doves, partridges, storks, egrets, flycatchers, eagles and owls. During the winter months, migratory birds such as graylag goose, ruddy shelduck and pintails are also seen.
Some rare birds like the black eagle and the crested hawk eagle have also been sighted in the Park recently.
Recently the Kaila Devi Sanctuary to the north-east of Ranthambhor National Park, which is also famous for its tiger, and Sawai man Singh Sanctuary towards the south have been included in the Park and are now a part of Ranthambhor National Park.
The dry deciduous forest of Kaila Devi is spread over 676 sq. kms. Beside the tiger, visitors can also see the leopard, hyena, sambhar, chital, blue bull, fox, jungle cat, jackal, crocodile, gharial and a variety of birds.
This Valley, which consists of many rocky outcrops & low hills, is located close to the outskirts of the park. A jeep would be the ideal mode of transport when trying to visit this area. This area contains a majority of the Panther population of the park. The panthers avoid venturing into the main jungle to avoid conflicts with tiger, who are known to kill them. This area also has a good population of beers.