India // Rajasthan //

Ranthambore National Park

No Indian nature reserve can guarantee a tiger sighting, but at RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK the odds are probably better than anywhere else: the park itself is relatively small, and the resident tigers are famously unperturbed by humans, hunting in broad daylight and rarely shying from cameras or jeep-loads of tourists. Combine the big cats’ bravado with the park’s proximity to the Delhi–Agra–Jaipur “Golden Triangle”, and you’ll understand why Ranthambore attracts the number of visitors it does.

Ranthambore National Park is one of India’s most popular, with more than eighty thousand visitors a year, and can get ridiculously busy throughout the cool winter months, especially around Diwali and New Year. The summer months from April to June are a lot quieter, but obviously very hot. There are currently around 35 adult tigers in the park, plus healthy populations of chital, nilgai, jackals, leopards, jungle cats and a wide array of birds. The original core section of the national park has recently been extended with the addition of three new buffer zones, designed to provide space for the park’s ever-expanding number of tigers. You’re also allowed to get out of your vehicle and walk in these areas (which you’re not allowed to do in the main park), although in general they’re not so good for tiger-spotting.

Note that the core section of Ranthambore is closed annually from 1 July to 30 September with the exception of the three buffer zones, which remain open year round. The best time to visit is during the dry season (Oct–March), when the lack of water entices the larger animals out to the lakeside. During and immediately after the monsoons they’re more likely to remain in the forest. More information can be gleaned from Project Tiger’s excellent booklet, The Ultimate Ranthambore Guide, on sale in local souvenir shops.

  • Visiting the park