Drive deep into lush green forests in a zone where by no means are you allowed to get out of the vehicle, and walking even a couple of steps is prohibited. See wild animals, not behind bars but in their natural habitat living their lives like they are meant to – in the jungle. Crocodiles lazing, Sambar deer running about, peacocks dancing and if you are lucky maybe you will even be able to spot a diurnal tiger that this place is famous for.
This and so much more is in store for you just five hours away from the concrete jungle of Delhi. It’s a regular spot for wildlife and nature lovers but even for regular travellers like me, who just want to do something other than the usual on a weekend, Ranthambore national park is a treat.
Here’s a quick snapshot:
This trip was just an attempt to get away from Delhi and celebrate a friend’s birthday in the wilderness. We didn’t really give much thought to the destination but just jumped at the most convenient location from Delhi and hence began the journey to Sawai Madhopur.
There are several trains from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur. Some good options –
- Dehradun express (19020), which starts at 9:55 PM from Delhi and reaches SWM at 5:20 in the morning.
- Hazrat Nizammudin – Kota SF special (09808), which departs Delhi at 5:15 AM and reaches at 11:20 AM.
There are several other trains which take a much shorter time but these timings are the best suited for a weekend traveller.
- There are no direct busses, the only way is to take a bus to Mathura and a train from there to Sawai Madhopur.
- If you decide to drive it will take around 7-8 hours to reach.
Distance between Sawai Madhopur railway station and Ranthambore national park is around 30 minutes by auto. Autos are easily available even early morning at the station.
Where to stay
The hotel that we stayed at added to our excitement. There were cute, little cottages with very comfortable beds and a spacious bathroom. The swimming pool was beautiful, though in the winter chill none of us was brave enough to go for a swim. They had a dining hall and a dining area outside in the garden as well.
Raj Palace Resort (Ph: 09828299948 ) Main Ranthambore road, Sawai Madhopur
Though the next time I visited Ranthambore, with my family, we wanted to stay in tents instead and a little away from Ranthambore. We stayed at ‘Tiger den’ which is nestled in the middle of woods, has luxury swiss cottage tents and also permanent cottages. This place was more secluded and it was a little like camping in the jungle at night.
Tigen den resort (Ph:- 07462252070 ) Village: Khilchipur, Near Ranthambhore National Park, Sawaimadhopur
What to do
The day we reached in the morning we got the permit for the evening safari and left for the national park after lunch. There are two safari timings in a day, 6 to 11 and afternoon 2 to 7 with a variation of half an hour depending on the season.
For the morning safari it’s advisable to get a pass and permit the day before. And for the permit you will need two passport size pictures and an identity proof so do remember to carry these. The pass costs around 700 INR per person and we chose to go by the canter. The other option is taking the open jeep.
The safari is a treat, even if you don’t get to see the tigers there is plenty of other wild life you get to watch. And the whole experience of venturing into a forest where wild animals are wandering about is very thrilling.
Here are a few snaps from the Wildlife Safari we took:
Rajasthani folk music and dance
Later in the evening the hotel had arranged for a folk music and dance group to perform for us. The good part of being in Rajasthan is that you find artists everywhere. Merrily, we sang and danced to the tunes of folk music late into the night.
The next day morning we decided to visit the Ranthambore fort. This fort is built at the edge of the park and as you go up you can see the entire park from here. The fort has many sites of historical importance and you can spend hours there exploring the different buildings there or walking to the edge and enjoying the beautiful sight from there. We spent quite some time there and after getting back the rest of the time was spent at the pool at our hotel.
There are a couple of other lakes and ruins worth visiting if you decide to spend more time in the city.
We took the Sunday night train to Delhi and despite our hectic schedule, spending all this time in the wilderness gave us all the energy required to head to work Monday morning.
Photo Credits : Satyen Chopra & Kalyan Shankar Meduri
Planning a trip to Ranthambore?
Here are some tips to help you plan better
• Mode of Travel : Train (till Sawai Madhopur Railway station ~ 11kms from Ranthambore), Car
• Nearest Airport : Sanganer Airport, Jaipur. Approx. 160 kms from Ranthambore.
• Who to take along : Friends, Family, Go Solo
• Food : Try Rajasthani Cuisine
• Duration : 2 days
• Major attractions : Ranthambore National park, Ranthambore fort
• Nearby cities : Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Bharatpur
• Best time to visit : October – June (National park remains shut from July to September)
• Must carry : Photo ID’s, two passport size pictures, binoculars
• Cost : 4000 INR approx. per person
For more information , you can log on to Ranthambore national park’s website
If you want to take a printout/PDF version of this post to refer on your trip, you may request the same in the comments below. We will be glad to mail you the same in an attempt to make the planning process easier for you.
If you have already been here or to other similar places, share your experiences or engage in a conversation below. (Alternatively, here’s a link to the discussion on our facebook page)
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