Step into Ranthambore national park on a safari holiday with Yonder and you will think you’ve stepped into Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. It’s that magical. In fact, Ranthambore national park has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The best location to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan, it comprising 1,334sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, all once a maharajas’ magnificent hunting grounds.
At its core is a truly magnificent fort perched high on limestone cliffs dating back to the 5th century. And scattered around the fort are ancient Hindu and Jain temples, hunting pavilions, crocodile-filled lakes and vine-covered burial tombs. If you want to imagine Mowgli whisked away to the Monkey City and its jungle-festooned ruins, this is the place.
Kipling’s own words sum it up better than we ever could: ‘Some king had built it long ago on a little hill. You could still trace the stone causeways that led up to the ruined gates where the last splinters of wood hung to the worn, rusted hinges. Trees had grown into and out of the walls; the battlements were tumbled down and decayed, and wild creepers hung out of the windows the of the towers in the walls in bushy, hanging clumps.’
Here, where the jungle envelops crumbling temples, you expect to see Sher Khan come padding out of the undergrowth at any moment. And he doesn’t disappoint. Thanks to some excellent conservation initiatives, there are 66 Bengal tigers now living in the park. The number has steadily increased since 1993 when it hit an all time low of just 13 due to poaching.
Today, Ranthambore is considered to be the best place to go if you hope to go in search of the endangered Bengal tiger. Of course, seeing one is partly down to luck and you should try to leave time to go on at least three safaris to improve your chances.
Believe us, when it first happens and you witness arguably the world’s most magnificent creature in its natural habitat, it’s a moment you will treasure for ever.
While you’re out on Ranthambore national park safari, you’ll almost certainly see a monkey troop or two, while deer and crocs are ubiquitous. Bird life, from owls to eagles and from kingfishers to hoopoes, is in plentiful supply and if you are lucky enough to come across a tiger or leopard kill, you might find hyenas or jackals scavenging. Sloth bears also call this magical place home.
The park is easily accessed and what’s more, in our humble opinion the Ranthambore accommodation Yonder has selected represent some of the most brilliant options in India.
Ranthambore is The Jungle Book made mind-bogglingly real. As if you were stepping out into a scene from the recent film of Rudyard Kipling’s tales. But while Kipling initially set The Jungle Book in Rajasthan, he later shifted the setting, to around Pench National Park, a little further south in central India.
Having already quoted Kipling, we will leave you with another great Victorian’s words. If William Blake’s rousing lines inspire you to visit Ranthambore, we are quite confident you will be glad you did.
‘Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?’
Visiting Ranthambore is all about spending time inside the national park. The safaris are fab and the accommodation is superb.
However, if you get itchy feet there are a couple of interesting places to visit. The Women’s Cooperative, known as Daskar, empowers around 300 local women and supports them in their endeavours to be economically independent through the production and sale of handmade goods.
If flying around the countryside using petrol seems out of sorts with your vision of conservation, you can opt for four-legged transport on trusty Rajasthani horses. Note that this is only for accomplished riders and that horseback safaris only take place outside the park.
All of the hotels that we feature operate their dining on a fully-inclusive basis. This is fortunate as there aren’t any local restaurants to venture out to.
Watering holes, other than for the wildlife, are only found within the camps. What could be better than sitting around the campfire with a gin and tonic in hand looking up at the starlit sky?
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