7 Best Things To Do in Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park - best things to do

Ranthambore National Park is one of the oldest tiger reserves in India. The park became a part of Project Tiger in 1973 right after its launch. If you are looking for the best things to do in Ranthambore, you have come to the right place.

In this travel guide, we aim to cover absolutely all aspects of Ranthambore trip planning including things to do, safari booking, where to stay, and much more. Follow this guide and start planning your itinerary.

A Quick Glance Through

Where is Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is located in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, about 190 km from Jaipur.

You can find the exact location of the park on the above map.

Some Facts About Ranthambore National Park

  • Initially a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park was created as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955.
  • It was declared a tiger reserve in 1973 and was upgraded to a national park in 1980.
  • The park lies at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya Mountain Ranges and occupies an area of 1,334 square km.
  • It derives its name from the ancient Ranthambore Fort which stands within the boundaries of the national park.
  • The world’s most photographed tigress, Machli, resided in Ranthambore. She was featured in several documentaries, the most famous being the Tiger Queen.

How To Get There

The most convenient way to reach Ranthambore is by train. Sawai Madhopur Junction serves as the nearest railhead which is just about 14 km away.

There are direct trains to Sawai Madhopur from a number of Indian cities like Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, and Agra.

Ranthambore National Park is very well connected by roadways from the nearby cities. From Jaipur, it is roughly a 3.5-hour drive.

Jaipur International Airport is the closest airport. For the onward journey, you can either catch a train from Jaipur or take a cab to get to your hotel in Sawai Madhopur.

A cab ride from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur costs around ₹ 4,000. If you are traveling on budget, train is the cheaper alternative.

Where To Stay

There is no option to stay within the park. You can book your accommodation in Sawai Madhopur where the park is situated. It offers a great range of hotels to suit all budgets.

From elegant resorts with outstanding service to budget-friendly hotels, you will find the perfect place to settle in.

Best Hotels Near Ranthambore National Park

Luxury: Nahargarh Ranthambhore, Vivanta by Taj – Sawai Madhopur Lodge

Mid-range: Jungle Vilas

Budget: Hotel Green Valley Ranthambhore

Things To Do in Ranthambore

1. Spot A Tiger

Ranthambore National Park boasts a sizable population of tigers. According to an estimate by the park officials, there could be around 61 tigers in the park.

However, a majority of them stay away from the tourist glare because they almost never step out of their territory.

So, you can spot only those tigers whose territories fall within the areas designated for safari vehicles. We came to know from our guide that there are around 20 tigers in these areas.

riddhi tigress
Beautiful Sighting of Tigress Riddhi | Best Things To Do in Ranthambore

During our 5-day Ranthambore stay, we did 6 safaris and managed to spot a tiger during 4 safaris.

We sighted three tigresses: Arrowhead (T-84), Riddhi (T-124) and Noor (T-39), and one male tiger.

The tigers of Ranthambore are truly majestic and watching them in their natural home is an experience to cherish.

2. Admire the diversity of wildlife

a group of sambar deer in ranthambore
A Group of Sambar Deer in The Park

The park is blessed with a fabulous diversity of wildlife. There are more than 40 species of mammals, several types of birds, and reptiles.

Apart from the tiger, other predators of Ranthambore are leopard, hyena, jackal, and jungle cat. Hyenas are nocturnal animals and are rare to sight.

The most commonly sighted mammals are chital, sambar deer, wild boar, nilgai, and gray langur.

3. See Crocodiles Basking in The Sun

see mugger crocodiles - one of the incredible things to do in ranthambore
Spotted A Crocodile Family | Incredible Things To Do in Ranthambore

When visiting Ranthambore, it’s not uncommon to see crocodiles soaking up the morning and late afternoon sun.

The park’s plentiful water bodies serve as an important habitat for mugger crocodiles. We spotted quite a few of them including the hatchlings (baby crocodiles).

4. Birdwatch

peacock roaming near a lake

The park is home to an impressive variety of birds. Apart from the residential birds, migratory birds also visit the park during winters. Birdwatching is surely one of the best things to do in Ranthambore national park.

birdwatching - one of the best things to do in ranthambore

These are some of the birds we spotted in the park:

Grey Partridge, Woodpecker, Sandpiper, Heron, Common Kingfisher, Peacock, Painted Stork, White-Throated Kingfisher, and Darter (snakebird).

Also Read: 12 Most Fascinating Birds of Ranthambore National Park.

5. Soak in The Beautiful Vistas of Padam Lake

Padam Lake (Talao) is the largest lake in Ranthambore National Park. As soon as you enter zone 3, this vast lake captures your attention.

padam lake in ranthambore
Padam Talao – Scenic Landscapes | Best Things To Do in Ranthambore

The ornately made Jogi Mahal is also located on the banks of the lake. It was formerly a hunting lodge for the royals of Jaipur.

The area is frequented by animals and birds. So, most safari jeeps halt near the lake. Besides seeing the wildlife, you can enjoy captivating views of the natural surroundings.

6. Hike The Ranthambore Fort

Nestled in the precincts of Ranthambore National Park, the iconic Ranthambore Fort was constructed in the 10th century by the Chauhan rulers.

The fort is well-known for its architectural brilliance. In 2013, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with five other hill forts of Rajasthan.

ranthambore fort

It features huge gates, domes, water tanks, and several temples. Hiking this fort is one of the epic things to do in Ranthambore.

The fort affords panoramic views of Ranthambore National Park. It is tucked between the hills and the entry is through the park’s main entrance (gate 1 to 5 safari point).

It takes roughly 15 minutes to get to the base of the fort by jeep. A flight of steps from the base leads to the fort.

7. Visit Trinetra Ganesh Temple

The Trinetra Ganesh Temple sits inside Ranthambore Fort. It was built more than 700 years ago by king Hammir Dev Chauhan.

trinetra ganesh temple entry point
Trinetra Ganesh Temple Entry Point

It is a popular temple and is visited by locals and tourists alike.

The deity of the temple is called Trinetra Ganesh because the idol has three eyes (Tri means three, Netra means eye).

You need to climb up the hill via stairs to get there.

Safari Zones

tiger safari in ranthambore

Ranthambore National Park has 10 safari zones.

Zones 1 to 5 have a common entrance but each zone follows a unique route. These five zones are considered the best for tiger sightings. However, all zones boast beautiful landscapes and opulent wildlife.

There are several water bodies in zone 2 and 3. So, tigers are often sighted near water holes in these areas. Zones 6 to 10 were added later to support the growth of visitor flow.

Zone 6 and 1 are adjacent to each other but the entry points are different. Zone 9 is the furthest from the main entrance, approximately 45 km away.

Tip: When booking your safari permit, try zones 1 to 5 first. If you can’t get that, try zones 6 to 7. If zones 1 to 7 are completely booked then try zones 8 to 10.

Safari Cost

There are 2 types of vehicles: 6-seater jeep, and 20-seater canter.

Safari cost for Indian Nationals (as of May 2022)

Jeep: ₹ 1,180 per person. This includes the guide fee.

Canter: Approximately ₹ 600 to 700 per person.

The charges for foreign nationals are roughly double.

Besides these, the park also offers Half Day and Full Day safari options. Although they are fairly expensive, safari jeeps are allowed to move across zones without any restrictions.

Online Safari Booking Process

Here are the steps to book Ranthambore safari permit online.

1: Open this URL in your browser: https://fmdss.forest.rajasthan.gov.in/

2: Click on SSO login

3: Click on Registration. You will see two options:

– Only for residents of Rajasthan – using Jan Aadhaar
– All Others – using Google sign in

For most people, it is the second option.

4: You will receive your SSO ID through the mail. Login using your credentials.

5: Choose the “Forest & Wildlife” application on the logged-in screen.

6: Then click on Wildlife Permit Booking.

7: Select Place as Ranthambore National Park. Enter zone, date of visit and shift (morning/evening), and vehicle type (canter/jeep). If seats are available, you can proceed with the booking.

8: Make the payment. You will receive an email confirmation after successful payment. Download and print your permit.

Tip: It requires several attempts to book a permit successfully because the portal sometimes doesn’t work properly. If you are not comfortable booking through the Government website, you can get the permit booked through your hotel.

Safari Timings

1st April – 16th May

Morning (6:00 – 9:30 AM), Afternoon (3:00 – 6:30 PM)

17th May – 30th June

Morning (6:00 – 9:30 AM), Afternoon (3:30 – 7:00 PM)

1st October – 31st October

Morning (6:30 – 10:00 AM), Afternoon (2:30 – 6:00 PM)

1st November – 31st January

Morning (7:00 – 10:30 AM), Afternoon (2:00 – 5:30 PM)

1st February – 31st March

Morning (6:30 – 10:00 AM), Afternoon (2:30 – 6:00 PM)

Best Time To Visit

The most optimal time to visit Ranthambore National Park is from November to March.

As the summer season approaches, mercury starts rising. It is manageable in April with daytime temperatures hovering around 32-34°c.

In the months of May and June, the temperature can go as high as 44°c. If you plan to visit Ranthambore in the peak summer, be prepared to deal with the scorching heat.

The park closes during monsoon from July to September.

Further Reading

For more national park travel inspiration and tips, you might want to read some of these posts:

12 Best Places To See Tigers in India.

The Ultimate Guide To Tadoba National Park.

Bandhavgarh National Park – A Complete Travel Guide.

Kanha National Park  – Treasures of Wildlife.

5 Best Things To Do in  Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Ultimate Guide To Pench Tiger Reserve.

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – A Gem of Western Ghats.

Best National Parks to Spot Snow Leopards in India.

A Guide To Visiting Kabini, Biodiversity Hotspot of Karnataka.

Over To You Now…

We hope you found this travel guide with the best things to do in Ranthambore helpful. Have we missed covering something? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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