Ranthambhore - Legendary Big Cats

gd1418

Member
Quite a few threads exist here about Ranthambhore and what I see common in every thread is that no one (and this includes first-timers), has ever come back without a sighting. What is so great about it? 50+ Tigers in an area of 392 sq.Km., is a good enough density and thus nobody returns disappointed.

My story is a bit different from others. This was my first visit to Ranthambhore. Prior to this, I had been roaming various forests like Sariska, Dudhwa, Rajaji, Bhabhar & Corbett since '91 and all went Tigerless for me. I had great hopes from Ranthambhore. So, after a barren visit to Corbett in April 2010, I planned for R'bhore in October 2010 immediately after the park opened after the monsoon break.

Search the internet, pick up any wildlife magazine or book or ask anyone who has visited Ranthambhore and you shall without fail read or hear this singular line - "Nobody comes back from Ranthambhore without having seen a Tiger". Every single thread on Ranthambhore on other forums too mentioned this and contained awesome photographs - Tiger walking in front of the Gypsy, Tiger lolling on the track and vehicles with gawkers waiting on either side, Tiger drinking water, Tiger cooling itself in the water, Tiger yawning etc., and many more.

All this warmly cockled my heart and I slowly started to build-up the tempo at home. My wife sceptical and kids cynical and uninterested. I had actually started believing her oft repeated statement - " Everyday in the morning, before the parks open for tourist safaris, the forest guards spread out in the jungle and stamp the imprint of a pug-mark at strategic places. This is known to the guides & drivers and they take the unsuspecting tourist to those places after roaming aimlessly here & there and then exclaim that it is a fresh pug-mark and the Tiger went here or there". The tourists get happy seeing the pug-marks. I always used to negate this, but almost two decades of sightless roaming in the forests, was turning me into a believer.

With a lot of persuasion and cajoling I made all of them agree. My son was categorical - "Paapu, will come with you this time only & I must see the Tiger in the wild".

I did not have the heart to tell him that it is not you who can see the Tiger, it is the Tiger that sees you and if deemed fit shall make an appearance. The year 2010 was branded in Delhi/NCR as CWG-2010 and because of that the Delhi Government had declared a holiday for all educational Institutions & Government & semi-Government offices from 1st Ocotber till 17th October.

After the monsoons the National Park was scheduled to open from 1st October and I made my bookings in July. Why so early?

Ranthambhore is a highly commercialised National Park, just like Corbett and apart from the hotel bookings the most important are the safari bookings. One can afford not to have a hotel booking but without a confirmed safari booking, Ranthambhore has nothing else to offer. I planned my stay in Ranthambhore from 3rd to 6th (check-out at 12 pm) with six safaris:

3rd Oct, 2010 - Evening Safari
4th Oct, 2010 - Morning Safari
4th Oct, 2010 - Evening Safari
5th Oct, 2010 - Morning Safari
5th Oct, 2010 - Evening Safari
6th Oct, 2010 - Morning Safari

Why six safaris? Sariska, Dudhwa, Rajaji & Corbett went Tigerless for me. With reports coming in from R'bhore that it was raining Tigers and occassionaly Leopards, I, with a pinch of salt, did not want to take any chances.

A friend from Corbett was instrumental in making all arrangements at R'bhore. My stay was to be at Jungle View Resort and here I found a new friend Guddu Bhai. More about him later and little did I know then that this resort was going to be my permanent abode in my subsequent visits to R'bhore.

With 4 Cottage rooms & 8 Luxury Tents, this was a quaint & lovely place to stay. I had opted for the Cottage room since it had an airconditioner.

Now the wait for the D-day started. I was scheduled to leave for R'bhore on the 3rd October itself and the evening safari was also on the same day. Hence, the target to reach R'bhore was by 12 noon. I had already charted my course and taken printouts of the maps.

3rd October, 2010

So, with a prayer on the lips left at 4 am on the 3rd. Took the NH8 till Manoharpur and then turned left towards Dausa. Destination was Sawai Madhopur via Lalsot.

The road till Manoharpur was a breeze being the NH8. From there till Dausa was a single lane SH, good at places and bad in patches. The road expansion work too was going on. Dausa to Lalsot was simply horrible and traversing on this stretch the mounting of one my Hellas Rallye 3000 broke. Had to remove that unit, taped the wire and continued with one Hella. Lalsot to Sawai was again pockmarked at places. It was 11:30 when we entered Sawai Madhopur. In the town there is a roundabout called the Ranthambhore circle from where when you turn left you come on a stretch of road that has hotels, motels, resorts & lodges on the periphery of the Jungle. Our resort too was on that road but much deeper and about a kilometer from the main entry to the forest. By 12 we were settled in our room and having light breakfast. The evening safari was to start from 3 pm and the gypsy with the guide would come at 2:30.

We had two & half hours before the safari would start and within this period the resort people were to serve us lunch. Funnily, there were only two guests including us at the resort. The other guest were a pair of American ladies who had come from Jaipur and had gone for the morning safari and were due to come back. The park had just opened and today was the third day. I had surmised that since it is the begining, the animals would be roaming more freely as the tourist influx was low and the sightings would be more & better. How wrong I was, that I was to know later.

to continue.../-
 
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Great Ranthambhore..................
Great Tiger Reserve.....................
Great Words..................................
Great Implanted Pug Marks..................
LOL !
 

Chetan Kulkarni

Super User
Love this. It is raining tiger tales in BCMT. Keep them coming.

I had done 8 safaris in Ranthambore once and came back tigerless. On the other side my similar safaris in Bandhavgarh had around 10 sightings if I remember correctly :)
 

kdacharya

Super User
Love this. It is raining tiger tales in BCMT. Keep them coming.

I had done 8 safaris in Ranthambore once and came back tigerless. On the other side my similar safaris in Bandhavgarh had around 10 sightings if I remember correctly :)
GD and Chetan,
how accessible is Bandhavgarh from either Bombay or Delhi?
 

sach.sri

Member
GD and Chetan,
how accessible is Bandhavgarh from either Bombay or Delhi?
There are trains till Umaria (the nearest station for Bandhavgarh) that you can take from Delhi and then can arrange for a pickup from your hotel. Alternatively - flight/train to Jabalpur and then cab ride to Bandhavgarh.

But i think it is better from Bombay - i think there is a very convenient train from Bombay timing wise that takes you to Bandhavgarh.


BTW - GD sir, it is not done - posting a thread on RTR w/o any pics in the first post! Teasers to bante hain!!!
 

Chetan Kulkarni

Super User
GD and Chetan,
how accessible is Bandhavgarh from either Bombay or Delhi?
I think Sach has answered your question. I prefer the flight option from Delhi to Jabalpur and then a drive to Bandhavgarh. Saves a lot of time. The road is also good so that travel is not too bad either. If you plan to go there see if you can get Salim as a driver. He is a personality but he is a brilliant driver :)
 

gd1418

Member
You know the reason KD. I am hampered. This thread is in a flashback mode currently, hence pictures would not be a problem, but the latest will have to wait.

gd,

lovely tantalizing start. Koshy sirji's thread is missing you sorely.
Best,
Already answered, but to add, I prefer to drive and had done so in 2011.

GD and Chetan,

how accessible is Bandhavgarh from either Bombay or Delhi?
iMac crash ho gaya hai aur Apple uspar research kar raha hai. I'm kind of stuck.

BTW - GD sir, it is not done - posting a thread on RTR w/o any pics in the first post! Teasers to bante hain!!!
 

gd1418

Member
Just an important update about Ranthambhore:

This should be a good news for the tourists as well as the wildlifers. Ranthambhore has opened one more zone for the public. Currently 9 zones were open to public:

Zone 1, 4 & 5 - near Singhdwaar

Zone 2 & 3 - At the footsteps of the Fort

Zone 6 - Kundaal

Zone 7 - Baalas

Zone 8 - Chidi Kho

Zone 9 - Qualji


News courtesy: Shri Dhirendra Godha, Samachar Jagat

Currently T 43 (male) and T 13 (female) with her 4 cubs, occupy this new zone.
 

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