Ranthambore National Park

Tripoto
15th Dec 2014

The Royal walk

Photo of The Royal walk by Rudraksha Chodankar

Way to Ranthambore fort

Photo of Way to Ranthambore fort by Rudraksha Chodankar

Ranthambore fort

Photo of Ranthambore fort by Rudraksha Chodankar

Rufous Treepie

Photo of Rufous Treepie by Rudraksha Chodankar

Brahminy Shelduck

Photo of Brahminy Shelduck by Rudraksha Chodankar

Spotted Owlet

Photo of Spotted Owlet by Rudraksha Chodankar

Wooly Necked Storks

Photo of Wooly Necked Storks by Rudraksha Chodankar

Painted & Wooly Necked Storks

Photo of Painted & Wooly Necked Storks by Rudraksha Chodankar

Ranthambore fort map

Photo of Ranthambore fort map by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of by Rudraksha Chodankar

Grey Francolin

Photo of Grey Francolin by Rudraksha Chodankar

Greater Stone Plover

Photo of Greater Stone Plover by Rudraksha Chodankar

The Royal posture

Photo of The Royal posture by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of by Rudraksha Chodankar

Ranthambore fort vicinity

Photo of Ranthambore fort vicinity by Rudraksha Chodankar

Plum headed parakeets

Photo of Plum headed parakeets by Rudraksha Chodankar

Crocs

Photo of Crocs by Rudraksha Chodankar

The lake view

Photo of The lake view by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of by Rudraksha Chodankar

Jungle Safari begins!

Photo of Jungle Safari begins! by Rudraksha Chodankar

Painted Storks

Photo of Painted Storks by Rudraksha Chodankar

squirrel

Photo of squirrel by Rudraksha Chodankar

Ranthambore Entry Gate

Photo of Ranthambore Entry Gate by Rudraksha Chodankar

Sunset

Photo of Sunset by Rudraksha Chodankar

Eye to Eye!

Photo of Eye to Eye! by Rudraksha Chodankar

Spotted Deers

Photo of Spotted Deers by Rudraksha Chodankar

Little Cormorants

Photo of Little Cormorants by Rudraksha Chodankar

This trip was probably my 1st interaction with nature and wildlife. We were just planning out which places we should visit in north as we had to attend a close friend’s wedding in Delhi and Ranthambore just happened! It was actually part of a full 5 day trip where unfortunately we had allocated just a day’s stay at Ranthambore. We boarded our train from Mumbai Central which reached Kota at around 4 AM. After spending an hour at Kota, we boarded another train to Sawai Madhopur which is the closest station to Ranthambore National Park. We had planned to stay at the Tiger Safari resort and the manager of the resort had arranged a pick up from the station to the resort.

We finally arrived at our resort at around 7:30 AM. Having just a day at our disposal, we decided to do a visit to the Ranthambore fort in morning followed by Jungle Safari in afternoon. The resort manager had arranged a Jeep for the trip to Ranthambore fort and also the Jungle Safari (Rs 6000 per Gypsy with max 6 people; excluding driver and guide). There is also a canter option which is cheaper but I doubt if it would go too deep into the forest. After getting fresh and having a sumptuous breakfast (overpriced for sure); we started our journey to the Ranthambore Fort. It was early February and even though the sun was shining bright, the weather was pretty cold with a chilling breeze. The Ranthambore fort is at the start of the Ranthambore National Park, hence you have to go through the same entry gate. As soon as we crossed the gates, the driver quickly helped us to spot a crocodile relaxing next to a stream. Going further we saw lot of Indian Peafowls, Spotted Deers and Sambar Deers.

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 1/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Spotted Deers

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 2/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Crocodile

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 3/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Way to Ranthambore fort

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 4/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Sambar Deer

The driver also helped us to spot few pug marks along the muddy road. We made a stop at another spot where we saw more Indian Peafowl, but I quickly noticed a crow sized bird with a mix of black, light brown and white colours; the Rufous Treepie. Going a bit further, we saw a flock of the beautiful Plum headed Parakeets..!

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 5/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
squirrel

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 6/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Rufous Treepie

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 7/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Plum headed parakeets

We continued our journey to the base of the fort from where we had climb stairs to reach the top. There are hardly any stairs and you reach the top of the fort pretty quickly. The fortification of the fort is pretty much intact and you have lots to explore on the fort. We were short on time so we had a quick round and returned back to the resort for lunch. I would suggest to keep sometime (at-least 3 hours) to have a good exploration of the fort.

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 8/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Ranthambore fort map

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 9/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Ranthambore fort

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 10/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
View from the Ranthambore fort

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 11/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Ranthambore fort vicinity

During our lunch, all discussions were about the Jungle Safari and whether we would be able to see the big cat. We quickly finished with lunch and were eagerly waiting for our ride to arrive and finally it did. We started the journey where the guide quickly introduced himself and the driver. Within 15-20 minutes we were pretty glad that we had got a very knowledgeable guide in Hemraj. Its only later we found out he is working as a conservationist for more than couple of decades. You can checkout his website and profile at Rathambore Tiger Home. After following the same road as to the fort, we reached another gate from where the safari actually begins. As we finally started with our Jungle Safari, we were greeted by a huge lake which had quite a no. of crocodiles on the shores, little cormorants perching on trees near the shores and couple of Brahminy Shelducks. Looking over the other side, Hemraj quickly helped us in spotting a pair Grey Francolins. He also pointed towards a tree where we could see a spotted owlet.

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 12/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Ranthambore Entry Gate

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 13/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Jungle Safari begins!

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 14/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Brahminy Shelduck

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 15/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Grey Francolin

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 16/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Crocs

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 17/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
The lake view

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 18/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Little Cormorants

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 19/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Spotted Owlet

Going ahead, we could see a lot of Spotted Deers and Indian peafowls. We reached yet another lake where we again saw crocodiles, Brahminy Shelducks, Painted Storks and the Wooly-necked storks. We had spent around 30 minutes in the Safari and we were pretty happy with the different sighting but from this point all we could see was the Indian peafowls and Spotted Deers. Hemraj was pretty well versed with the trail and took us pretty deep in the jungle but there were no signs of the big cat. Being our 1st Safari, we already started to get a bit disappointed. Hemraj told the driver to drive right up-to the peak. The drive was pretty intense, virtually no road and 4X4 option used at all times..! Hats-off to the superb driver. If not for the big cat, this ride itself was one hell of an experience. Once we reached the top, Hemraj got down and listened to the surroundings to see if there were any alarm calls (That’s a sound different animals make when they spot a big cat). There were none! After spending some time, we decided to head back. We were pretty much dejected. This time we came from the other side of the lake where we took a stop. We saw the Red-Wattled lapwings and the Greater Stone Plover.

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 20/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Painted & Wooly Necked Storks

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 21/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Painted Storks

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 22/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Wooly Necked Storks

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 23/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Greater Stone Plover

All of a sudden, Hemraj told the driver to start the Gypsy and go to some spot. He had heard an alarm call. We all jumped in excitement and were ready for the sight. The driver drove to a small lake where Hemraj finally spotted the big cat. We all were so happy and ecstatic that finally we managed to see it. It was pretty much of a glimpse across the light, still was more than a sight enough for us. We thought our journey was complete and that we would head back now. But no, then came the surprise part; Hemraj told the driver to ride to a particular location and just wait there next to the road. Within few minutes, the tiger was right there; around 20 meters away, where he sat and relaxed like a king. There came a point where we just put down our cameras and just enjoyed the sight. If this was not enough, what happened next is something we will never forget. After relaxing for a good 10-15 minutes, the tiger got up, walked right passed our Gypsy. That moment where the tiger was just a couple of meters away from us. We were scared and super happy! This surely is one moment which will remain with us for a long long time, probably forever. Hemraj identified the tiger’s name was “Akash and he was young adult.

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 24/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
The Royal walk

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 25/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Eye to Eye!

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 26/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
The Royal posture

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 27/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
I am coming for you!

We finally started back to the resort and all we discussed was the big cat. A big thanks to Hemraj and the driver. During dinner, we met few of visitors who had done 4 safaris in past two days and did not manage a sighting of the big cat. Only goes to show that one needs to be patient and lucky to see wild animals. More than luck, its patience.

Photo of Ranthambore National Park 28/28 by Rudraksha Chodankar
Sunset

Best time to Visit :

We were told by Hemraj that best time to view the big cats was between May to July when it is hot and the tigers come out to the lakes to cool down. However, I know quite a few friends of mine who have visited in Winters and managed to view the big cats. As I said, a bit of luck and loads of patience is all you need.

If you are amongst the ones who thinks going to a Jungle Safari will surely make you sight a big cat, then the answer is a clear NO. Also, there no point in running after animals or birds; as it would only scare them further away. Rather let them live in their own environment in their own way, and we can stay at some distance and just observe them without disturbing their habitat…

Cheers

We boarded our train from Mumbai Central which reached Kota at around 4 AM.
After spending an hour at Kota, we boarded another train to Sawai Madhopur which is the closest station to Ranthambore National Park.
We had planned to stay at the Tiger Safari resort and the manager of the resort had arranged a pick up from the station to the resort.
As soon as we crossed the gates, the driver quickly helped us to spot a crocodile relaxing next to a stream. Going further we saw lot of Indian Peafowls, Spotted Deers and Sambar Deers. The driver also helped us to spot few pug marks along the muddy road. We made a stop at another spot where we saw more Indian Peafowl, but I quickly noticed a crow sized bird with a mix of black, light brown and white colours; the Rufous Treepie. Going a bit further, we saw a flock of the beautiful Plum headed Parakeets..! I would suggest to keep sometime (at-least 3 hours) to have a good exploration of the fort.
Photo of Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambore Fort Road, Qila Ranthambor, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambore Fort Road, Qila Ranthambor, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambore Fort Road, Qila Ranthambor, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
There came a point where we just put down our cameras and just enjoyed the sight. If this was not enough, what happened next is something we will never forget. After relaxing for a good 10-15 minutes, the tiger got up, walked right passed our Gypsy. That moment where the tiger was just a couple of meters away from us. We were scared and super happy! This surely is one moment which will remain with us for a long long time, probably forever.
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar
Photo of Ranthambore National Park, Prempura, Rajasthan, India by Rudraksha Chodankar