Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is situated in India. is northwestern state of Rajasthan, near the town of Sawai Madhopur, midway between Bharatpur and Kota townships. It is surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravali hill ranges and is very near to the outer fringes of the Thar Desert. The entire area has sprawling tracts of the desert and semi-desert vegetation. Originally a hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore was declared a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1980, it became a national park and listed among the reserves protected under Project Tiger (1973). Presently the Kaila Devi Sanctuary, also famous for its tigers,and Mansingh Sanctuary also form part of Ranthambore Reserve.
Ranthambore National Park sprawls over an estimated area of 400 sq kms. Steep crags embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and a top one of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambore Fort, built in the 10th century. The terrain fluctuates between impregnable forests and open bushland. The forest is the typically dry deciduous type, with dhok, being the most prominent tree. The entry point to the Ranthambore National Park, goes straight to the foot of the fort and the forest rest house, Jogi Mahal. The latter boasts of the second-largest banyan tree in India.
The Padam Talab, the Raj Bagh Talab and the Malik Talab are some of the lakes in the area, that attract the tiger population. They have been spotted at the edges of these lakes, and Jogi Mahal itself. Old crumbling walls, ruined pavilions, wells, and other ancient structures stand witness to the region's glorious past. The entire forest is peppered with the battlements and spillovers of the Ranthambore Fort - tigers are said to frequent these ruins, too. As a result of stringent efforts in conservation, tigers, the prime assets of the Park, have become more and more active during the day. More than in any other park or sanctuary in India, tigers are easily spotted here in daylight. They can be seen lolling around lazily in the sun, or feverishly hunting down Sambar around the lakes.
The terrain is rugged and there are rocky ridges, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools. Ranthambhore is an oasis of dense dry deciduous forests amidst a vast tract of semi arid scrub and thorny desert vegetation surrounded by the hills of the Vindhyas and the Aravalis. Although latest reports show that the tiger population of Ranthambhore is on the decline, it’s still one of India’s best places to see the great cat in all its glory.
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