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Introduction - Ranthambore National Park

Surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravali hill ranges and located very near to the outer fringes of the Thar Desert, Ranthambore is one of the many famous travel destinations in the western state of India - Rajasthan. Generally, vacation in Ranthambore means a visit to the tiger reserve here. However, Ranthambore has much more to offer to tourists on their vacations in Ranthambore. Tours in Ranthambore offers the best of the desert land as well as plain area near the hills. Due to its proximity to the Thar Desert, the vegetation here is that of a deciduous forest.

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is situated near the town of Sawai Madhopur, midway between Bharatpur and Kota townships. The entire area has sprawling tracts of desert and semi-desert vegetation. Originally a hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore was declared a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1980s, it became a national park and was listed among the reserves protected under Project Tiger (1973). Presently the Kaila Devi Sanctuary, also famous for its tigers, and the Man Singh Sanctuary form a part of Ranthambore Reserve.

Ranthambore national park's abandoned fortress, lakes and above all it's `friendly' tigers have made it one of the most filmed wildlife reserves in the world. More so than at any other Indian wildlife reserve, tigers can be observed during full daylight, lazing about or hunting, and rarely shy from cameras and jeep-loads of tourists. I have visited Ranthambore twice, during Nov 95 and Oct 98, and saw wild tiger on both occasions.

Nestling between the Aravali and Vindhya hills, Ranthambore remains one of Rajasthan's last sizeable stretches of verdant grassland and jungle. The terrain is rugged with rocky escarpments, hills and valleys containing rivers and lakes. It's forests were once part of the jungles of central India and is of the tropical dry deciduous type, with dhok (Anogeissus pendulla) being the most prominent tree. Ranthambore is fed by several perennial rivers and contains a number of permanent lakes complete with resident crocodiles. Commonly observed wildlife includes langurs, peacocks, sambar deer, spotted deer (chital), wild boars, blue bull (nilgai), crocodiles, Indian gazelle (chinkara) and black buck.

Ranthambore was once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur and it's royal heritage manifests itself in the picturesque ruins that dot the park. There are hunting lodges, chhatris, old fortifications and a majestic thousand year old fort overlooking the park.

Tours in Ranthambore offer tourists the best opportunity in the world to photograph the tiger in its natural habitat. During your vacations in Ranthambore, you can indulge in any of the adventurous activities that the park offers. Jeep safari, cultural and traditional experience of the Meena tribes, night out in the many hideouts in the park are some of the options you must not miss when you trav