Everything You Need To Know About Ranthambore National Park

  • Bunnik Tours
  • 25 Jan 24

Nestled in the heart of India's Rajasthan, this renowned wildlife sanctuary beckons with its rich biodiversity and captivating landscapes. Dive into the park's historical roots, tracing its evolution from a hunting ground for Maharajas to a sanctuary dedicated to preserving the delicate balance of its diverse ecosystems.

Bengal Tiger in Ranthambore National Park by Matt Baldock

Bengal Tiger in Ranthambore National Park by Matt Baldock

Ranthambore National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not merely a destination for wildlife enthusiasts but a treasure trove of stories and ecological wonders. From the majestic Bengal tigers that roam its territory to the ancient Ranthambore Fort overlooking the park, this sanctuary is a must-visit for nature lovers and adventurers alike. Join us in uncovering the essence of Ranthambore National Park, and get inspired for the special experience you can enjoy on our Colours of Rajasthan tour.




Ranthambore National Park’s Wildlife

Royal Bengal Tigers

Ranthambore National Park is home to a thriving Bengal tiger population and is known as one of the best places to see wild tigers in their natural habitat. In its earlier days, however, the park served a very different purpose, as the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur who used to hunt tigers and other animals for sport. In a pivotal shift in 1973, Ranthambore National Park was designated as one of India's tiger reserves under Project Tiger. This government-led conservation initiative aimed to protect the endangered Bengal tigers and other animal species, along with their habitats. From its origins as a hunting ground, Ranthambore evolved into a crucial haven for wildlife preservation.

Machli the tigress in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India
Machli, Ranthambore National Park by Allan Hopkins/Flickr

Close up of Machli in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India
Machli, Ranthambore National Park by Brinda Sarkar

One particularly famous tigress who lived in the national park, Machli, captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike over her 19 years. Known as the Tigress Queen of Ranthambore, she was the most photographed and filmed tiger in the world, appearing in many documentaries and magazines and earning millions of dollars for India through tourism. Among other feats, the legendary tigress killed a 4 and a half metre crocodile, defended her territory against larger male tigers and even raised cubs with only one eye and no canine teeth! When she eventually passed away in 2016, Machli was given a traditional Hindu funeral, wrapped in white linen and flower garlands, and cremated with full honours by the park staff and the local people.



The leopards of Ranthambore National Park are some of the most elusive and fascinating wild animals. Smaller than tigers, they’re more agile and adaptable and are often found in the rocky hills and valleys of the park, where they have less competition from tigers. Leopards are also more tolerant of human presence and can coexist with the local Rabari tribe. However, leopards are very secretive and unpredictable, so sighting them is not guaranteed.



Kingfisher perched on a brand in Ranthambore National Park
Kingfisher by Lensnmatter/Flickr

Painted spurfowl in Ranthambore National Park
Painted Spurfowl by Koshy Koshy/Flickr

Big cats aside, Ranthambore National Park is also a haven for birdwatchers with over 300 species of native and migratory birds. You can find a variety of birds in different habitats including serpent eagle, waterfowl, cormorant, painted spurfowl, sarus crane, bronzed-winged jacana, sandpiper, kingfisher, nightjar, painted sandgrouse, and great-horned owl. Most of the birds can be found around the 3 large lakes, Padam Talao, Malik Talao and Rajbagh Talao.


Geographical Features

Kachida Valley

Sitting on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park, the Kachida Valley is a scenic and wildlife-rich area surrounded by low jagged hills. The valley is home to a large population of panthers after they migrated to avoid conflict with the Bengal tigers, and is also a great place to spot India’s sloth bears, who are attracted to the bee hives and ant hills in the area. Take a jeep safari from the park to explore this beautiful valley and for a chance to spot some wildlife.


Padam Talao Lake

Raj Bagh Ruins on the shore of Padam Talao Lake in Ranthambore National Park
Raj Bagh Ruins on Padam Talao in Ranthambore National Park by Matt Baldock

Padam Talao, the largest lake nestled within the heart of Ranthambore National Park, serves as a captivating centrepiece in this renowned wildlife sanctuary. Its name is derived from the vibrant water lilies that carpet its surface during the summer months, creating a picturesque contrast against the lush greenery of the surrounding forest and the blue sky above. 

Jogi Mahal in Ranthambore National Park by Matt Baldock

You’ll also find the Jogi Mahal sitting on the tranquil shores of Padam Talao, a historic structure that once served as a hunting lodge for the royal family of Jaipur. The lake is a bustling hub for wildlife, and one of the only places to spot the rare Chinkara deer. Serving as the park’s main water source, visitors can see animals at the lake’s edge morning and night, making it a great location for wildlife photography!


Ranthambore Fort

View of the Ranthambore Fort ruins in Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore Fort by Shaz.Syed13/Wikimedia

Battees Khamba Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort by Kandukuru Nagarjun/Flickr

Perched dramatically on the edge of a cliff, the Ranthambore Fort commands a stunning vantage point over Ranthambore National Park, providing sweeping panoramas of the surrounding forests. Built by the Chauhan rulers in the 10th century, the fort served as a strategic stronghold, witnessing many battles and sieges waged by various dynasties and invaders, including the Ghurids, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals, and the Marathas.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Ranthambore Fort seamlessly merges Rajput and Mughal architectural styles, serving as a testament to the cultural fusion shaped by various dynasties. Towering walls, imposing gateways, and intricate carvings pay homage to the architectural brilliance of ancient India. Beyond its historical significance, the Ranthambore Fort holds religious importance, housing several temples and monuments, such as the Shiva Temple and the Ganesh Temple. As you explore the fort, its majestic presence will captivate you, and the tales it has preserved throughout the centuries unfold around you.


Trinetra Ganesh Temple

Within the walls of the historic Ranthambore Fort, you can find the renowned, ancient Trinetra Ganesh Temple. Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the revered elephant-headed god of wisdom and success, this temple is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Rajasthan. Setting this temple apart is its unique idol featuring Ganesha with three eyes (Trinetra) and the fact that this is the only temple  in the world where Lord Ganesha is depicted seated alongside his entire family, including his two wives and two sons.

Trinetra Ganesh Temple is also known as ‘Pratham Ganesha’, meaning the first Ganesha, and is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna and Lord Rama worshipped Ganesha before their important missions.

The Ganesha Temple receives countless letters from devotees seeking Ganesha’s blessings for their challenges and each year hosts a grand fair during Ganesh Chaturthi, commemorating the birthday of Ganesha.


See Ranthambore National Park’s stunning wildlife and plants for yourself on our India tour

Have we left you intrigued? If you’re ready to begin your safari adventure today and scout for majestic Bengal tigers, check out our Colours of Rajasthan tour. On this tour we spend a full day exploring the treasures that Ranthambore National Park has to offer on morning and afternoon game drives, with breakfast and dinner included.

Contact our friendly team of Travel Specialists to start planning your India adventure today!


Frequently asked questions

Why is Ranthambore National Park so famous?

Ranthambore National Park is famous for its wildlife, especially the Bengal tiger, which is the main attraction for tourists and wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to a diverse variety of flora and fauna including leopards, sloth bears, caracals, nilgais, sambar deer, crocodiles, and many species of birds. It is one of the largest and most renowned national parks in northern India, covering an area of 1,334 km2. Ranthambore National Park also houses the 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and several temples and monuments. The park offers a unique opportunity to witness the majestic and magnificent predators in their natural habitat, as well as to explore the rich history and culture of the region.


How did Ranthambore National Park get its name?

Ranthambore National Park is named after the historic Ranthambore Fort which lies within the park. The fort was built in the 10th century by the Chauhan rulers and was a strategic stronghold in the region.


Which animal is Ranthambore famous for?

Ranthambore is famous for its Bengal tigers, which are the main attraction for tourists and wildlife enthusiasts. The park has a high density of tigers and offers a good chance of spotting them in their natural habitat. On our Colours of Rajasthan tour we’ll enjoy a day of game drives through Ranthambore National Park to search for tigers and other wildlife.


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