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Ranthambore National Park.
 

Sawai Madhopur is the gateway to the world renowned Ranthambhore National Park- the famous Tiger Reserve , just 12 km away from here. Ranthambhore has been a witness to the rise and fall of many rulers and a series of battle scenes. In the 13th century A.D. Govinda, the grandson of Prithviraj Chauhan took over the reign of the land. Later his successor Vagabhatta, beautified the city and built a noteworthy temple at Jhain. In the middle of the 15th century A.D. Rana Kumbha captured the fort and gifted it to his son to be occupied later by the Hada Rajputs of Bundi and Mughal Emperors Akbar and Aurangazeb. Mughal Emperor Shah Alam gifted it to Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I of Jaipur in 1754 and since then it was maintained as the hunting preserve of the Maharaja. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were part of the royal hunting who stayed here.

Places to Visit
The Fort: Ranthambhore’s royal past manifests itself in the well-preserved imposing fort, built in 994 A.D. atop a steep high creek 200 metres above sea level. Ruined pavilions, walls, chhatris and splendid monuments are interspersed within the majestic fort. An 8th century A.D. Ganesh temple on an open land attracts thousands of devotees and is the venue for an annual fair held on. Bhadrapad Sudi Chaturthi, fourth day of the bright half, in the month of Bhadra.

Ranthambhore National Park :

The 392 sq. km. Park comprises of dry deciduous forests sprawling over an undulating terrain of the Aravalli and Vindhyan ranges .The park is one of the finest tiger reserves in the country under the Project Tiger. The majestic predators, assured of protection, roam freely during the day time and can be seen at close quarters. Ranthambhore sanctuary has a large number of sambhar, chital. Nilgai, chinkara, langur , wild boar and peafowl.

A system of three pretty artificial lakes-Padam Talab, Rajbagh and Milak Talab, alongwith a number of anicuts are part of the biosphere. Besides enhancing the scenic beauty of the Park, they are an important source of water for the inhabitants of the park. While deer congregate here to drink water, fresh water crocodiles can be seen basking in the winter sun to regulate their body temperature. The lake also attracts a large number of migratory and local birds. The local fauna of the park includes leopard, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, sloth bear and a little population of pythons. The lovely Jogi Mahal overlooking the pretty Padam Talab at the foot of the fort has a Forest Rest House. Other accommodation outside the fort also ensures a comfortable stay.

Earlier the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur, the Park at Ranthambhore was once the scene of royal hunting parties. Today, it is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in the country to see these majestic predators in the wild. The tigers can be spotted quite often even during the day, at their normal pursuits - hunting and taking care of their young. With the strict measures that have been taken for their conservation, they seem quite accustomed to human activity and are not disturbed by it. A good time to visit is between November and April when the nature of the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common.

Ranthambhore has large numbers of sambar, chital and nilgai. Sounders of boar and an occasional gazelle the chinkara can be seen, as also the Indian hare, mongoose and monitor lizards. The lakes and pools at the Park are where the deer congregate and where it is easiest to see the animals. Among the other local fauna are the leopard, hyena, jackal, jungle cats, sloth bear and marsh crocodile. A view of the Jogi Mahal deciduous forests of the ancient Aravalli range, are excellent tiger country and Sariska, was once the royal reserve of the rulers of Alwar. Declared a sanctuary in 1955, it became a Tiger Reserve in 1979 under Project Tiger. Jacanas, painted stork, black stork, and white necked stork are seen along the water bodies.

Peafowl are found in abundance and other birds include Bonelli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, the great Indian horned owl, quail, partridge, spur fowl and the paradise flycatcher. The Park which covers an area of 392 sq. km. is set between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India. The terrain is rugged and there are rocky ridges, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools. Ranthambhore's royal past manifests itself in the picturesque ruins that dot the Park. There are lake palaces, chhatris, old fortifications and a majestic thousand year old fort on a height overlooking the Park. The forest rest house at the foot of the Ranthambhore fort is located in the lovely Jogi Mahal.

 
 
 
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