28 July 2015

An awesome drive in the wild, through Ranthambore Tiger Reserve!!!

Previous post on Golden Triangle Tour Nahargarh Fort

It was in 2013 Aircel "Tiger as Metaphor of all Life" blogger's meet, that I received the book "The Illustrated Tigers of India", by Valmik Thapar. The book is on Bengal Tigers and mostly from Ranthambore National Park. Since then, I wanted of visit Ranthambore and when we were planning our Golden Triangle tour, we decided to include Ranthambore. The park's official website said it was open from Monday to Friday and we planned our trip accordingly. But only after taking the first safari did we get to know they were on weekends as well, and we had three Safaris in two days. 
Sawai Madhopur is just 3hours drive from Jaipur and all we thought was we could easily get buses to Sawai Madhopur and didn't make any prior booking. But when we checked with the hotel staff at Jaipur, they advised us to take train to Sawai Madhopur, as bus rout was more time consuming. At nth moment we booked our tatkal tickets, and reached Sawai Madhopur by 9 in the night. We had booked next day afternoon safari. I was really not confident about the open gypsy or canter tour with my daughter, as it was my first trip in an open vehicle into the wild. But we had no option to leave kiddo anywhere and we got her along. We reached the booking counter to collect our gate pass and take our tour(if you book with resorts, they take care of the booking and they pick you and drop at the resort). 
Sawai Madhopur is around 130km from Jaipur and once was the hunting hunting ground for the kings of Jaipur, and hence gets the name Sawai, relating it to the Royal family of Jaipur. Ranthambore which was declared a National Park in 1981 is known for the large number of Bengal Tigers in the arena. Besides the national park, this place also has Ranthambore Fort and Jogi Mahal(a forest guest house). 

Welcomed inside the park by this beautiful Peacock
The vehicle takes another hour to collect all the visitors and reaches the park entrance by time. At the entrance, they complete the documentation with the park authority and start the tour. Every vehicle is accompanied by a guide. The sighting of the big cats depends mostly on your driver and guides experience, and your luck. But a safari through national park is just not about big cats. As soon as you enter the woods, you can feel the serenity and calmness. Our first safari was to a core zone, as we had prior booking, other two were to the buffers, which had very rare chance of spotting the big cats. The first tour made us fall in love with the woods so much that, we just wanted to take two more tours, even if we didn't get to spot one. The core zone was the territory of the female T-19 and our driver and guide had enough stories to narrate, these stories from the wild are so fascinating to hear to(if you love such stories do visit RTR website here on tiger stories). We so wanted to see Machli, The Tigress Queen of Ranthambore, but couldn't get to the zone where she was previously found.
A baby croc, soaking in the sun
We clicked almost everything on our way, peacocks, monkeys, antelopes, birds, crocodile, wild boars. Tree pies are everywhere in the park, few follow your vehicle throughout your safari and leave you only when you come out of the park. Water bodies are the best place for spotting the tigers, and the drivers and guides are so familiar with the park that they take you to the best place possible for spotting and still you might be unlucky in spotting one. They trace the tigers with the antelope's warning calls and tiger's pug marks. We could spot pug marks of a tiger, and the drive assumed it was not a fresh but a day or two old mark. During our second day afternoon tour, everyone at the park was speaking about the spotting of one of tiger at the main road, outside the park, still we were not lucky enough in sighting one.
A day or two old pug mark of tiger
Here are few clicks that I clicked during our safari.
Drongo, Heron, Egrets, deers all in one frame
Waiting to spot a tiger, somewhere in those tall grasses
A tree pie

Many of them, as they follow our canter through out our safari

Wild Boars

Three in a row

Attracting the hen
The best part of our third safari was, we got to meet the man himself Mr. Valmik Thapar, who on his way to the wild, as we were heading back.
This was the last leg of our week long Golden Triangle tour, when we spent the last two days at Sawai Madhopur enjoying the wilds. Second day night we took our Rajdhani train from Sawai Madhopur and reached back Mumbai next afternoon.

Travel Info:
By Road: Sawai Madhopur is 180km from Jaipur
By Rail: Its on the Delhi - Mumbai railway line and also very connected to other parts of the region by train.
By Air: Nearest airport Jaipur and Kota.

Safari Timings: Do check their page here for Safari timings and bookings. The park is closed during monsoon, from July to September.


  1. Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is great place where you can see Royal Bengal Tiger. You can also explore the Wildlife safari in Ranthambore National Park

  2. Ranthambore Tiger Safari is the best tour of India i am very interested your post .