Ranthambhore: a photo story

A male Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) passes through the grasslands of Ranthambhore.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy

Working for Lonely Planet has its advantages. It was that time of the year when the travel bug starts to wiggle about and all you can do is sit and think where you want to go next. Luckily for me, I had on my hands a spanking new advance copy of Short Escapes from New Delhi. A few hours later, I had zeroed in on Ranthambhore. Lady luck seemed to be smiling down on me and i even managed to get train tickets in Short Notice. The Dehradun Express (19020) was just perfect for the job. It left Nizamuddin Station at 10 pm and I found myself in a deserted Sawai Madhopur station at 5:25 am. The hotel that i had chosen from our travel guide had sent a car over and it took the driver around 10 minutes to locate me. The fact that i was the only person in the station probably helped.

Finally, my Ranthambhore adventure is on!

Bodhisattva Sen Roy is the Digital Editor of Lonely Planet India. When he is not helping people travel, he can be found on some remote Himalayan road, riding away on his motorcycle. Many of his travel (mis)adventures can be read here. You can tweet to him @insenroy

First animal sighting in Ranthambhore - a gorgeous male spotted deer (Axis axis).
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Dirt tracks in the forest make any Ranthambhore safari an epic adventure. This photograph was taken in Zone 9, which is an isolated body of forest cut off from the main national park. Many more isolated zones like this will be joined together in the near future thus expanding the area of the park and consequently the tiger habitat.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
March-April is the time when Palash, or 'flame of the forest' blooms. This is what it looks like. And mind you, this was a dull day.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Different zones of Ranthambhore have different characteristics. Take Zone 6 for example - It was vast rolling grasslands, patrolled by hers of Nilgai and Sambhar deer. This was where the now extinct Indian Cheetah thrived.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Welcome to Zone 2. Here, you will have to negotiate dense forests and narrow gullies, all under the watchful eyes of the Ranthambhore Fort.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
An Egret strikes a graceful pose at a water-hole in Zone 2.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
A Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis). What a beauty!
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Zones 1-5 of Ranthambhore National Park have a common approach road. The landscape along the road is spectacular, to say the least. You come across crocodile-filled ponds, some spectacular hilly terrain and of course, great views of the formidable fortress of Ranthambhore.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Zones 3 and 4, in all probability have the largest congregations of wildlife in the park, thanks to the three sizable lakes. Here you can spot Sambhar deer (Rusa unicolor) foraging for aquatic grass.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
And if you thought that tigers are the only large predators of Ranthambhore, think again!
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Our guide spotted this water hole in Zone 4. According to him water-holes of this kind are the favoured places for tigers to spend the day. We waited and waited... but the tiger did not show.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Rufous Treepies are friendly birds. If you see one (or many, in this case) hold out some biscuit crumbs in your hand, chances are they will come, sit on your hand, eat the builcuit and fly off. They have sharp talons, mind you, so you might be left with a few scratches.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Zone 3 is supposed to be the most scenic. I did not go there but snapped this photograph of one of the zone's most prominent features from the fort. Zone 3 was made famous by a tiger called Machli, one of Ranthambhore's most famous residents.
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy
Finally! It was our sixth and last safari and we were due to board the train in the next few hours when suddenly there is a big commotion and this one emerges out of a thicket. According to our guide, this was Sultan, a two year old male that had just established its territory. The best time to see a tiger in Ranthambhore is in May and June when the forest almost dries up and the heat forces the tigers to make multiple trips to the water hole in the daytime. What are you waiting for?
Photographer: Bodhisattva Sen Roy

3 Comments

    • Daksh

      May 13, 2013, 8:10:07 am

    • Excellent article

    • Ranthambore

      October 29, 2013, 2:19:27 pm

    • Wonderful clicks.. I like all the images and your story.. Ranthambhore known as the Ranthambhore National Park, because of its high density of wildlife and the incidence of tigers in the national park and its immediate neighborhood. All the Ranthambhore Safaris in this are conducted in the national park, Sawai Madhopur and Sawai Mansingh refuge, because this is the only part of the whole Project Tiger reserve that has a well and visible population of wild tigers.
      Hotels In Ranthambore

    • Koustav Biswas

      October 15, 2016, 10:33:00 pm

    • Very nice write up! I am having safari booked for zone 1 and zone 6, so where should I report? Pls help.

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