Ranthambore National Park
The medieval history of the district is mainly the history of Ranthambore and the former State of Karauli. Ranthambore was one of the strongest forts of medieval India and is linked to the philanthropy of Prithviraj, the ruler of Shakambhari who had golden cupolas put on the Jain temple of Ranthambore.
After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 AD, the Mughal Empire rapidly disintegrated and petty chieftains started carving new and building their power. Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh of Jaipur State (1751-1768 AD) fortified Sherpur and renamed it Sawai Madhopur in 1765.
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.
Ranthambore national park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957 and in 1974 it gained the protection of "Project Tiger" It got it's status of a National Park in 1981.
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 National park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream. It offers excellent accommodation and internal transportation facilities. The park remains open every year from October to May. Famous for the exciting and frequent tiger sightings captured dramatically in several books, this park is today affected by ecological pressures and poaching.
In Nutshell, Ranthambore National park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream. It offers excellent accommodation and internal transportation facilities and remains open every year from October to Mid June.
This fort stands majestically atop a hill overlooking the entire park. The walk up, one of the only places this mode of transport is possible, is a very refreshing and exciting one as even the big cats have been spotted up there! The view of the surrounding keeps getting better and better as you go up but the view from the fort itself can only be described as breathtaking. It is advisable to take along a good pair of binoculars and if possible a camera with a very powerful lens when visiting the fort.
The soaring Serpent eagles, vultures and other birds can be seen at eye level. Many animals can also be seen along the edges of all the water bodies, which are all visible from here. The fort itself also offers many interesting architectural and historical sights worth viewing and photographing. A trip to the fort is a must if you are a first time visitor to the park. A guide with a good knowledge of the fort's history would always be a good idea.
The villages near Sawai Madhopur town are famous for folk arts, especially for the decorative sketches (Mandana) which adorn the walls of their mud houses. The pet subjects of these Mandanas are animals, birds, flowers and village life.
Located near the Ramsinghpura village, about 9 km from Sawai Madhopur is the Shilpgram Museum. Though we name it as a museum, it is more of a craft village that encompasses and showcases the tremendous diversity in arts, crafts, and cultures of the various Indian states. Shilpgram is a living ethnographic museum, established with an aim to empower craftspeople, especially women, to use their skills as means of economic self-sufficiency, and to bring to the world the cultural heritage of Rajasthan. An embodiment of Rajasthani culture and heritage through arts and crafts, Shilpgram is a site that needs to be seen to be understood and appreciated. If you have a keen eye for arts and crafts and haven’t been to Shilpgram yet, it’s time to add it to your bucket list!