One of the largest national parks in North India, the Ranthambhore National Park was once the private hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. A great expanse of jungle and rocky terrain, the park houses a large 10th-century fort at its centre, and a few ancient temples, mosques, hunting pavilions, and lakes scattered around it. Being in close proximity to the town of Sawai Madhopur, the Ranthambhore National Park is easily accessible and is the preferred destination in the state of Rajasthan to catch a glimpse of the majestic Bengal Tiger.
The park’s fauna consists of species such as the Tiger, Leopard, Nilgai, Sambar, Striped Hyena and Sloth Bear, etc. The park is also home to around 300 species of birds. An early morning safari in the four-wheeled Jeep gives visitors a sneak-peek into the routine of these species. And if lucky, one can also spot the great Bengal Tiger that rules these forests. If not in a Jeep, parts of the Ranthambhore National Park can be traversed on foot for close observation of wildlife. The journey offers a unique perspective, and is calming to the mind. Among the scattered temples and mosques around the Ranthambhore Fort, the Trinetra Ganesh Temple is the most popular, and is considered to be the holiest in the state. Attending any of the five daily aartis held in the temple imbues one with positive energy and a sense of harmony. While returning from the park, shop at the local Dastkar Craft Centre that sells hand-embroidered and block-printed textiles and handicrafts made by the women from nearby rural areas. Products such as saris, bags, scarves, bed sheets, etc. make for beautiful souvenirs and gifts.
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