Situated in the green bowl of southeastern Rajasthan in the district Sawai Madhopur, the Ranathambore National Park covers an area of 392 km2. The park is bounded by two great rivers of Rajasthan- Banas and Chambal from north and south sides respectively. The two rivers sourced many lakes within the park largest being the Padam Talao, Raj Talao, and Malik Talao.
The park was initially a hunting reserve of the royal family of Jaipur and Karauli, a fact that can be attributed for the presence of architectural sites situated within. The foremost building here is the 10th glorious testament of the noble dynasty of Chauhans- the Ranthambore fort, after which the park is named. The other sites include the ancient red sandstone palace named Jogi Mahal on the shore of Padam Talao, ruins of Raj Bagh, Jain temples, temple of Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva. Apparently, the place is a treat not just for the nature lovers but also for the architecture enthusiasts.
Though the place has considerable historic significance, its wildlife still remains the most distinguished factor. A gamut of fauna is present here for birdwatchers and other ethologists. The prominent species that can be easily sighted here include antelopes (Nilgai, Sambar, Chinkara, Cheetal, Blackbucks), Semians (gray Langur, rhesus Macaque), amphibians (common Indian toad, common frogs), reptiles (Rat Snakes, Russel's Vipers, Saw-scaled Vipers, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Common Kraits, Indian Chameleon, Indian Pythons, Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Desert Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles), canidae (Jackals, striped hyena, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes), rodents (Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Fivestriped Palm Squirels), felines (Jungle cats, Caracals, Leopards, Desert Cats, Bengal Tiger) and other mammals (Sloth bears, Rufoustailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Common Palm Civets, Common Yellow Bats, Indian False Vampires, Indian Porcupines, Long-eared Hedgehogs, honey badgers, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets, Common mongoose).
The avifauna of the park includes Asian Palm Swift , Bulbul, Bee Eaters, Bitterns, Bayas, Bitterns, Cuckoos, Common Kingfishers, Crakes, Cormorants, Crows, Cuckoo-Shrikes, Darters, Dove, Drongos, Eagles, Egrets, Flamingos, Flycatchers, Finches, Falcons, Gulls, Great Crested Grebe, Herons, Indian Gray Hornbills, Ibis, Graylag Goose, Loras, Minivets, Munias, Mynas, Nightjars, Orioles, Owl, Pigeon, Parakeets, Pelicans, Pittas, Pipits, Sparrows, Sandpipers, Snipes, Storks, Shrikes, Treepies, Terns, Woodpeckers, Wood Shrikes, and Wagtails.
With all these marvelous animals inhabiting the park, nothing catches one’s eyes as a Royal Bengal Tiger, the most eminent part of the park’s fauna. In fact, the Bengal tigers (and for that matter tigresses too) of the place had received global recognition. The oldest tigress on Earth ‘The Lady of the Lakes’- Machli Sr. (she deceased this year on 18 August) and Broken Tail (one of the world’s most prestigious wildlife film) fame Broken Tail tiger were the two well-known denizens of this great tiger reserve, that according to the 2014 census inhabits 62 adult tigers.To support such a magnificent fauna, the flora of the land, too, is quite rich with over 539 species of flowering plants. The park is also the home to the second largest Banyan tree in India. The terrain of the place includes open bush-land, rocky lands with lakes, and dense tropical, all of which you can explore with 3-hour Safari rides that are carried out from 6:30 in the morning till 2 in the noon.