History of Ranthambhore

The fort at Ranthambore is built in 944 CE. However as with most of the ancient monuments the exact dates may be in a muddle. Nevertheless the forts have a constant evolutionary period and witness the turbulent turns of history and also of stable periods of peace and development.

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In later periods Ranthambhore or Ratanstabha as it was earlier called was subject to rule and ravage by Muslim invaders. It was eventually recaptured by the Chauhans the valiant Rajputs of Rajasthan.

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The fort still stands proud albeit in not a very good state of preservation. The rulers have changed hand from Rajputs to the Bengal Tigers. In contemporary era it had become a hunting lodge of the Maharajahs of Jaipur.

It has now become historic part of Ranthambhore National Park the land of the tigers.

The temples stand out depicting India’s religious status of the past. There are three Hindu temples and two Jain temples situated in the fort complex. The Hindu temples are devoted to Lord Ram, Shiva and Ganesh.

The visitors on tiger safari can sight the fort and the temples and the unique man made talabs or ponds. The water bodies are where most of the wild denizens frequent especially deer like the chital and sambar. The aquatic vegetation is the chief attraction. And this is where the tigers and the crocodiles hunt day and night.

The land of the tiger Ranthambhore National Park is a major  tourist attraction. It is visited by large number of tourists from all over the World. The major attractions are the mammals and the birds.

For tiger safaris tourists stay at a number of hotels near the park. Most of the hotels are situated at Sawai Madhopur about half an hours drive from the reserve. The best way t reach is from Jaipur the Capital of Rajasthan. It is six hours drive from the Capital.

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Bandhavgarh Niche Habitats

For regular visitors to Bandhavgarh the niche habitats creates deeper interest in the National Park. They bring about greater understanding of the whole ecosystem.   On my many visits apart from animal watching I take deep interest in these unique niches with characteristic beauty.

Sidha Baba

The very first is the site of Lord Shiva Lingam called Sidh Baba. This is the spot frequented by tigers that cross over the adjacent meadow. Visitors and wildlife photographers and film makers stop here to pray. This is to ask for success in their endeavour from Lord Shiva. The lingam is perhaps as old as the fort at the top.

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Chakradhara Meadow

Inundated by passing Charanganga River this is the finest specimen of marshy meadow. The grasslands are habitat of the prey species that are hunted by the tigers here. This offers a thrilling spectacle of the hunted and the hunter. The mountain rivers crosses over to the side of another mountain forming a small deep passage which offers succor to the big cats during the hot summers.

chakrdhara

Gopalpur Pond

This is an ideal place for birding especially the migrants that arrive here in the winters. This is preferred spot for tigers during the summers and the surroundings are ideal for waiting for thirsty prey to arrive. Many tigresses have made this their regular haunt.

Badi Gufa – Big Cave

For bat lovers this is an ideal haunt. The cave is carved out of an igneous rock and acted as court chambers for the rulers in 10th Century AD. The walls contain colony of bats as well as Brahmi script. The cave is grilled so that big cats and other animals do not enter it in absence of humans.

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Sesh Shayya

The reclining Lord Vishnu carved out of rock is twenty feet long. The pool on the right is inundated by number of trickles that seep down from the Bandhavgarh Mountain eventually flowing downhill as Charanganga River. The surrounding canopy of dense Sal is an ideal breeding ground of the tigers.

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Ketkiya Breaks (Aromatic Kewara)

The aromatic kewara plants thrive here in wild abundance forming a unique habitat. The tall stands of Arjun and Jamun Trees support the shrubs to grow well.

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Bhitari Bah (Meadow)

Fed by Bhitari rivulet the slush formation is supported grass and buch a medicinal herb. The niche is supported by Jamun and Arjun Trees.  The slush filled grassland is preferred by the deer to forage giving ample opportunity for big cats on hunt.

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Sita Mandap (Arch)

The arch is a unique geological formation under which a stream flows to form a pool at distance. A number of rock and cave formations give the place a unique importance. Though closed for visitors one can have a look downstream. Tigers inhabit this spot hence it is not accessible by humans.

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The destination abounds in niche habitats through the park. An extensive exploration of Bandhavgarh could result in amazing discoveries. Good thing is these places have not gone unnoticed and are now preserved forever. The formation of Bandhavgarh National Park and its declaration as protected are has been a boon. Many such unfortunate places have been lost due to human encroachment and destruction of forests.

Ranthambhore A Gem in The Triangle

The popular circuit does not include Ranthambhore but eventually creeps in the itinerary. The Golden Triangle as it is known is one of the most popular sightseeing package in India. The itinerary comprises of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Ranthambore is a much wanted addition to this itinerary especially for the lovers of wilderness.

Jaipur is the jewel in the crown with magnificent palaces, forts and havelis. The architectural splendour is stunning and is embellished by fine carvings, wall paintings, murals and frescoes. Most of the buildings are painted uniform pink and hence it is named as the Pink City. Being the Capital of Rajasthan State, it has well developed infrastructure and connectivity.

Some of the eye catching edifices are Amer Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahal and the Jantar Mantar which is an astronomical  observatory. The list does not end here the Pink City is home to magnificent gardens, fountains and temples. These are all worth a visit.

The desert city is absolutely colorful with vibrant people and lifestyle. The bazaars are full of life with shopping malls and restaurants big and small. The eateries are a must visit in order to experience the wonderful Marwari food spicy and wholesome. The food has a distinct characteristic flavours, the spices used and the style is much different from rest of India.

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After visiting New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur all sightseeing destinations tourists love to experience wilderness which is Ranthambore. The destination is a popular tiger reserve and a biodiversity hub. It is an enchanting land that is home to tigers and leopards, and myriads of life forms.

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Wild safaris are organized here on open jeeps and canters in the morning and evening. A tiger sighting is almost guaranteed if you stay for three nights. Other animals seen on safaris are the leopard, sloth bear and the crocodile.  Birds are in plentiful and some of the are much less seen species.

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Ranthambhore is an excellent birding destination and offers greater opportunity for wildlife photography in India. Tigers are frequently seen hence it is most coveted by photographers and tourists alike. For the lens men the best option for photographing wildlife is on an open jeep. The summer season offers plenty of light and lot of opportunity as wildlife congregation begins.

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The open jeep safaris are organized in advance since entry is limited. The safaris can be booked with the help of the hotel management that you have decided to stay at.

The park is situated near Sawai Madhopur township which is about six hours drive from Jaipur City.

Tadoba A New Discovery

Formerly a hunting ground the tiger reserve was created as National Park in the year 1995. It gained popularity quite late as compared to Bandhavgarh and Kanha. The fame has come about by leaps and bounds. Spectacular tiger sightings have been the reason albeit the landscape is not as charismatic as the others.

Who cares as long as the tigers are seen with ease. Well judging how picturesque is the landscape depends upon individual choice. All tiger habitats in India have a characteristic beauty for tigers appear delightfully majestic in the wild. The beauty of the animal is bewildering and the charismatic grace and aggression is simply captivating.

 

The Tadoba reserve is situated in the hinterlands of Maharashtra in India. It is basically habituated by tribal communities and tigers. Other animals that are the part of this ecosystem are the leopard, wild dog, bison, sloth bear, sambar, Nilgai and the spotted deer. Langur and wild boars are common while barking deer too is seen often.

The destination abounds in avian species adding better spotting during the park safaris. Tourism is allowed in limited areas called as zones. But that is good enough to offer sightings of tigers and other animals besides plenty of birds. Marsh crocodiles can be seen in and around the water bodies along with scores of turtles and freshwater fishes.

Male Tiger on Jeep Safari

Entry permits are required for park excursions in the mornings and the evening rounds. These can be arranged by the resorts you have booked for a stay. The earlier it is done the better it is for the entries are limited and you can end up visiting the buffer zones. The accommodation too can run out of space so please do all your bookings beforehand especially if you are arriving from overseas.

Jayesh Shah & His World of Birds

Jayesh Shah resides in Ahmadabad in Gujarat. I have known him and his wife Vandana Shah for a long time. Jayesh is wildlife enthusiast with interest in birds and an excellent hard working photographer. Vandana is equally good at birding and makes delicious food.

We had many birding sessions at Nal Sarovar and Thol besides excursions in the vicinity of their house in Thaltej. The couple worked for sometime at Kanha National Park. They now move around scoring all the wildlife places they can. Here are some bird images by Jayesh Shah.

SarusCranewithChicks
Sarus Crane
BlackRumpedFlameback
Black Rumped FlameBack
CommonEveningBrown
Common Evening Brown Butterfly
DarkBandBushbrown
DarkBandBushbrown Butterfly
CrabPlovers
Shore Birds

godwits IndianSkimmer JuvenileOpenBilledStorks PurpleSwamphen RosyPelican

Cubs Of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Bandhavgarh needs no introduction at least for those well entrenched into Indian wildlife. At the moment as of year 2015 there are 20 plus cubs in the tiger reserve. Tigers are prolific breeders and in the protected areas of India the survival rate is impressive. On the discussion with many experts on tigers the survival rates at times could be as much as hundred percent. Hence in the tiger reserves like Bandhavgarh the population of the big cats has successfully risen since the inception of protection. tigercubbandhavgarhBandhavgarhtigerreservephoto

We developed and secured ecosytems is the ley to the survival of big cats in the World and the country has gradully succeeded in estabilishing more than forty eight tiger reserves and many protected areas. Albeit there are reserves with poor mangement, poaching and man animal conflict the overall success has been impressive with more than 2200 tigers in India. This figure is an increase over figures prevaling earlier.

Due to dense canopy in many parts of the park the cubs are assured ot safe heavens. The protective zeal of a possive mother is another key factor of successful breeding. For young cubs almost all predators can kill and consume. But as the cubs grow older the are a match for many. The intelligent and caring upbringing assures that the young tigers are able to fend for themselves by the time they are about two years old. They are able hunt independantly and to carve out their own  territory.

Tala Zone

Banbai female 01 cubs

Rajbehra area 4 cubs

Chakdhara 03 Cubs

Mirchni female expected 03 cubs not confirm yet

Magdhi Zone

Patiha area 3 Cubs

Jobi area 03 Cubs

Khituli Zone

Nigha Nala area 03 Cubs

Dham Dhama area 03 cubs

Marjadh Garh Khituli zone 03 cubs

Tigers breed year around but I have seen active mating in winters thanks to the comfort factors in this period. It takes about three days of mating for the tigress to get impregnated. The gestation period is of  three months and the female has to fend for herself and the cubs for about two years or more when the young ones separate. Females are ready to mate after period of every two and half years.
Here is an estimate of cubs present in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in MP in India. The figures are limited to the tree tourist zones which are very well protected. The estimate of cubs surviving in the buffer zone and connected forest is not given here.

Teerath Singh organizes package tours to all the reserves in India. He also offers packages for wildlife photography in India. He is himslef a good photographer with many publications to his name. He has earlier worked as a nature guide and then
entered business of a tour operator.
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