Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest and most famous national parks in northern India. It is situated in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, about 130 km from Jaipur, which is also the nearest airport. The nearest town and railway station is at Sawai Madhopur, about 11 km away.
Ranthambhore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India, and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Ranthambhore became a national park in 1980. In 1984, the adjacent forests were declared the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary, and in 1991 the tiger reserve was enlarged to include Sawai Man Singh and Keladevi sanctuaries.
Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. Tigers can be easily spotted even during the day Time. Good time to visit Ranthambore National park is in November and May when the nature of the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.
The park lies at the edge of a plateau, and is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. There are several lakes in the park. It is named for the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the national park. The park covers an area of 392 km², and is famous for its tiger population, and is one of India's Project Tiger reserves. Other major wild animals include the tiger, leopard, nilgai, dhole, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital. It is also home to wide variety of trees, plants, birds and reptiles. Ranthambore is also the site for one of the largest banyan trees in India.
Ranthambhore is most famous for its large tiger population. As tourism in the park increased, so did the population of neighbouring villages. This led to increasing amounts of fatal human-tiger interactions and poaching. The Indian Government started Project Tiger in 1972 with an allotted area of 60 mi2. It was later expanded to become what is now called, the Ranthambhore National Park. Besides tigers, the reserve has thriving bird population with more than 270 different species of birds here.
In 2005, there were 26 tigers living in Ranthambhore. This was significantly lower than the recorded tiger population of the reserve in 1982, which then stood at 44. According to non-government sources the number of tigers in the Ranthambhore National Park were 34 in 2008. In 2008, more than 14 tiger cubs were also recorded. This was largely attributed to sustained efforts by forest officials to curb poaching. Villagers in the region were being given incentives to stay out of the park and surveillance cameras were also fitted across the reserve. The Indian government also committed US$153 million for the efforts. These efforts have been successful with Ranthambhore having enough tigers to participate in the Sariska Tiger Reserve relocation efforts.
By Air : Jaipur at 145 km is the nearest airport from Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary.
By Rail : Ranthambore National Park is around 11 km away from Sawai Madhopur railway station, that lies on the Delhi to Bombay trunk route. By Road : A good network of buses connect Sawai Madhopur, the nearest town from Ranthambore to all the major cities within the state of Rajasthan.