Located around 13.5 km from Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore National Park is one of the best destinations for bird watching at the foothills of Vindhya and Aravali mountain ranges. The park is spread over 500 sq. km, including Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary. It is dotted with a lot of historical structures to take you back to the era of Maharajas. The park has a lot of water bodies spread around to provide great relief to animals and birds in the humid and hot summers. Ranthambore Fort stands proudly tall over the hill. You can find a lot of ruins all around the jungle to give the mixed and wonderful feel of “history meets nature”. At Ranthambore National Park, tourists even capture tigers hunting other animals.
History and Topography
Established as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary by the Government of India in 1955, Ranthambore National Park was later announced as a major Project Tiger Reserve in 1973. Ranthambore was announced as a national park on November 1, 1980 and forests are named as Keladevi Sanctuary and Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary. Ranthambore is well regarded for having rough and craggy landscape with steep outcrops and low hills.
Aravali Range is well regarded for hilly regions with moderate slopes on one side and ridges on other. The expanse of Aravali ranges is covered by undulating lands, along with a few small valleys and terrains. These valleys have a huge array of wildlife and diverse and natural beauty. These valleys are also regarded as the ultimate spots for tigers. The steep water streams flow into the Chambal River in the south of forest and Banas River in the north.
But a lot of these steep streams of water are channels which are seasonal, accepting a few water streams which are permanent and flowing through the sharp ridges. It is because water is not absorbed into the soil because of rocky layers beneath the streams. Both Banas and Chambal Rivers in Ranthambore have great values to help the flora and fauna to flourish in the jungles.
The ravines are created by the sandy soil across the river banks and a few ravines are up to 50m deep along the Chambal River and around 8 km long. The forest landscape varies significantly from mild to vertical ones to steep and pointed hills. From Vindhya to Aravali hills, the geography is subject to change.
Ranthambore Fort is a 10 century old fort which adds to the vintage attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage site is located just in the heart of the jungle. The Dhok covers the whole forests with sparse and dense grasslands across the water bodies, abundant flora and valleys across the canals. Some of the beautiful lakes like Malik Talao, Padam Talao and Raj Bagh Talao add to the beauty of the forest as they are very diverse in aquatic vegetation like lilies, duckweeds and lotus.
Ranthambore National Park is truly blessed by dry and subtropical climate and receives all three seasons – summer, winter and rainy – all the year round. Summer months start from April to July. Monsoons last from July till September when the park remains closed. The park opens again in October. Season starts to change during this month and winter starts from November till March.
The weather changes again from winter to summer during the month of March. The atmosphere turns dry and very hot with around 40 to 45 degrees C during the daytime in May and June. The mercury hovers around 30 Degree Celsius at night. Due to this reason, a lot of wild animals are found deep into the valleys or around the lakes.
From November to March, temperature goes down to ~10-20 degrees Celsius during the winter. Sometimes, the temperature drops to 2 degrees Celsius in December and January when the atmosphere goes foggy. If you don’t like the summer heat, you may plan your visit during the winter season to explore the rich beauty and diversity of Ranthambore.
Popular Bird Species in Ranthambore
Apart from diverse fauna species, Ranthambore National Park houses a huge range of bird species. Hence, it is one of the best destinations for bird watching in India. It is well regarded as the natural habitat for tigers along with over 320 bird species, including cormorant, waterfowl, serpent eagle, sarus crane, spurfowl, sandpiper, bronzed-winged jacana, painted sandgrouse, nightjar, and great horned owl. Ranthambore welcomes a lot of migratory birds during winters to its wetlands. Hence, both orinthologists and bird watchers have a perfect excuse to head to this national park and watch these creatures around Malik Talao, Padam Talao and Rajbagh Talao.
Some of the most common birds found in Ranthambore are Woodpeckers, Greylag Goose, Indian Gray Hornbills, Bee Eaters, Common Kingfishers, Asian Palm Swift, Parakeets, Owl, Dove, Snipes, Crakes, Pigeons, Gulls, Sandpipers, Eagles, Great Crested Grebe, Herons, Egrets, Flamingos, Pelicans, Shrikes, Cuckoo shrikes, Orioles, Drongos, Wood Shrikes, Flycatchers, Ioras, Finches, Falcons and others.
Best Time to visit Ranthambore
Summer – The temperature soars up to 40 degrees Celsius from April to June. But you are more likely to spot tigers and other wildlife as they frequently visit water holes.
Winter – Starting from October to March, winter is considered to be a great time to explore Ranthambore. It is well regarded for beautiful weather. A lot of animals are used to basking in the sun during this season. So, there are high chances of wildlife viewing.
During monsoons, core zones from 1 to 5 remain closed in Ranthambore National Park. So, you can only visit the buffer zone during this period.
Air – Nearest airport to Ranthambore National Park is Jaipur, which is located around 180 km. You can hire private vehicles or taxis to get to the park.
Rail – Located only around 13 km, Sawai Madhopur is the closest railway station which enjoys direct connectivity to Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.
Road – Ranthambore is well connected to Allahabad and Udaipur via NH76, Delhi via NH8 and NH11A, Jaipur via SH24, and Bharatpur and Agra via SH1. It is located around 1031 km from Mumbai, 388 km from Udaipur, 239km from Agra, and 381km from Delhi.
Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest and most prominent national parks in India. It houses a variety of flora and fauna species. The growing population of tigers is the reason why thousands of tourists visit every year. But diverse landscapes and historical attractions are also the other reasons to visit Ranthambore. Be sure to book your safari in advance because limited numbers of vehicles are permitted inside the park at a time and it receives a huge crowd of tourists during peak months.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best season for bird watching in Ranthambore?
If you are planning a visit to Ranthambore especially for bird watching, be sure to choose the winter season because it receives plenty of migratory birds, such as Sarus Crane.
How many bird species can I spot in Ranthambore?
You can spot up to 320 migratory and indigenous bird species in Ranthambore.
Which bird species are mostly found in Ranthambore?
Ranthambore welcomes various rare and migratory bird species like painted spurfowl, cormorant, bronze-winged jacana, sarus crane, kingfisher, sandpiper, painted sandgrouse, nightjar, waterfowl and serpent eagle.
Which are the best bird watching spots in the national park?
Some of the prominent bird-watching locations in Ranthambore are Kachida Valley, Jhalra region, Ranthambore Fort, Padam Talao, Malik Talao and Rajbagh Talao.