Ranthambhore National Park
Ranthambore is best known 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 1973 with an allotted area of 60 mi2. It was later expanded to become what is now called, the Ranthambore 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 Ranthambore. This was significantly lower than the recorded tiger population of the reserve in 1982, which then stood at 44. According to non-government sources there were 34 adult tigers in the Ranthambore National Park 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 Ranthambore having enough tigers to participate in the Sariska Tiger Reserve relocation efforts. The first aerial relocation of the male tiger (Dara) from Ranthambore to Sariska was done using a Mi-17 helicopter on 28 Jun 2008 by Wing Commander Vimal Raj. Unfortunately, this translocated tiger died on 15 November 2010 due to poisoning.
- Forests: The Park consists of typical dry deciduous elements with Anogeissus pendula forests - a dominant tree species. However, mix deciduous elements could be seen in the valleys and along water bodies. The Flora of the Park is represented by 539 species of flowering plants.
- Tigers: The Park is one of the best national parks in the country to spot a tiger. This majestic predator can be spotted ambling or basking under the sun here.
- Safari Rides: The core park area has been divided into several zones and the safari vehicles go on one of those zones. Since there is a good chance of not sighting a tiger in one outing, people usually take more than one ride. There are a lot of quality resorts on the way from Sawai Madhopur to the national park.
- Ranthambore Fort : The majestic fort, built in 10th-century, towers over the entire park area. It stands at a height of 700 feet above the surrounding plain. Inside the fort, there are three red Karauli stone temples devoted to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji. There is also a Digamber Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath. The temples were constructed in 12th and 13th centuries.
- Padam Talao: This is the largest of the all the lakes located inside the park, and the beautiful red sandstone Jogi Mahal is located at the very edge of this lake. A gigantic banyan tree, considered to be India’s second largest, is near the lake.