Sawai Madhopur Things to Do

  • Arriving just after sunrise
    Arriving just after sunrise
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  • Leopard on the prowl
    Leopard on the prowl
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  • On alert
    On alert
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Best Rated Things to Do in Sawai Madhopur

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    The elusive tigers of Ranthambore

    by lynnehamman Updated Mar 26, 2009

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    Ranthambore National Park is vast.Unfortunately, the Maharajahs of a previous era had a great love of hunting, and thousands of tigers were hunted and killed, in the name of "sport". The Tiger-hunts were called "Shikhars", and it was a favourite way of entertaining guests. In 1955 The Queen & Prince Philip were guests of the Maharajah, and Prince Philip bagged a tiger or two. Its hard for me to understand how anyone could have found any pleasure in shooting one of these magnificent animals. But it happened. The result of this is that the Tiger is now an endangered species. The "Project Tiger" conservation effort started in Ranthambore, and has been moderately succesful, but there was much corruption, involving poaching & bribery implicating Government Officials. That was a few years ago, and now the program seems to be increasing the Tiger population. There is yet a long way to go yet . The Tigers of Ranthambore are a rare sight.We heard from other people that they had had a sighting.,but we had no luck, even after 4 trips.
    We saw many other species if wild animal,however, and the bird-life is prolific. Leopards, wild deer, foxes, chitals (spotted deers) and Sambar (largest Indian deer). Jungle cats (small wild cats) and Chinkara (Indian Gazelle). There are over 260 species of birds, and we saw many.
    The lake had a fair amount of water, and the animals and birds were congregating there, enjoying the cool water. Wonderful photo opportunities.
    The best time to see animals is very early morning, and at sunset. We went out with 12 other people, on what is called a "canter" . Its really like an over-sized Jeep, with an open area at back to sit. There are about 7 different trails that can be followed, and the canter takes a different route on each trip. jeeps also can be hired, with a guide/driver. We tried both, but preferred the canter.The Jeep or Canter will pick up passengers (pre-arranged) from hotel.
    We stayed at the old Royal Hunting lodge (Castle Jhoomer Baori ) (see accomodation tip) and the staff packed a breakfast for us every morning, which we ate along the way. We left at 5.30am!!! Take warm clothing, it gets very cold on the drive, morning and late afternoon.

    Lake inside the Park with animals Out looking for wildlife with our gang. Tame Birds Wild Deer, grazing Owl in his house
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  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    Ranthambore Fort

    by lynnehamman Updated Mar 26, 2009

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    This mighty 10th century fortress stands 700 feet high atop a hill, and it is quite a climb to reach it.There are three Hindu temples within the fort, and we passed many,many pilgrims while climbing the many steep and winding steps to reach the top.Having been beseiged and conquered over the centuries,the fort was captured by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1559. In the 17th century the fort was passed on to the Maharajah of Jaipur. The fortress remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence in 1947. The surrounding hills became the Royal hunting grounds of the Maharajahs, and the former Royal hunting Lodge,which is perched high upon a mountainside, is now a Rajasthan Tourist Government Guest House. We stayed there.(see accomodation tips).Thousands of Langurs (an type of Indian monkey) are everywhere.They are fairly aggressive - so do not try and make friends!The Fort was interesting to explore-there are gates that still have evil-looking elephant spikes in them, chatris and cenotaphs. Beautiful Hindu religious stone carvings around every corner.

    Steps leading to Entrance of Fort Richard climbing through aperture in Gate Entrance to Ranthambore Fort Ranthambore Fort Inside the Fort
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    • Castles and Palaces
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    Daskar Craft Centre

    by lynnehamman Written Oct 26, 2008

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    This craft centre was really worth the visit. It has been established to give the lower-caste local women an outlet for the beautiful hand made clothes, bags , bedspreads and other textile crafts that they produce. They get a decent share of the profits, and it provides them with much needed financial assitance. We bought clothing there, (Richard still wears his favourite shirt) and I bought handbags, a wall hanging, and various bits and pieces. The craft centre is situated in a leafy glen, with the women sitting quietly outside, doing the hand sewing. They were colorfully dressed, and shyly covered their smiling faces when I approached, asking if I could photograph them. Needless to say, they obliged.

    Local women outside Daskar, sewing Women working at Daskar Craft Centre
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  • MattTB's Profile Photo

    Tiger Tiger Burning Bright!

    by MattTB Written Apr 13, 2004

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    As with all wildlife encounters nothing is certain, I suggest you take at least 4 days of morning and afternoon drives to guarantee you see a Tiger, otherwise you could dissappointed. Also book with a good company, even the big tour companies promise private jeep rides, but when you get to Ranthambhore many people find that they do not have a private jeep drive. The company we used Tigertrails is the only reliable company on this issue!

    We were extremely lucky and saw a Tiger on our first drive in the park. The guide and driver look for pug marks in the tracks, we hear a deer making a warning call, then a monkey warning call.... we drive to where we hear the commotion... and there is the king of beasts!

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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Ranthambhore National Park - a must see

    by 850prc Updated Dec 13, 2008

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    Located just abeam of the town of Sawai Madhopur, and approximately 160 miles south of Jaipur lies one of India and Rajasthan's treasures, the world-renowned Ranthambhore National Park. This stunningly beautiful territory was, as are many present-day preserves in India, once a royal hunting retreat. In fact, what is presently Ranthambhore has been created by the merging of several smaller territories and properties over the last century.

    Today's Ranthambhore consists of some 1400 square kilometers, including marshlands, craggy rocks and mountains, grassy plains and semi-tropical abodes. Dotted among the glorious natural beauty are many abandoned (by humans anyway) temples and covered structures, evoking memories and analogies to Kipling's classing JUNGLE BOOK. In addition to the abandoned temples, be sure to enjoy the view of the ruined 9th century fort, which is perched on a rocky precipice, some 150 meters above the Ranthambhore Information Center area. You can actually visit the fort, you'll be taking a moderate little hike up to the summit. Wear sensible shoes and bring your camera.... lots of nice views.

    Visiting Ranthambhore is the reason many - and probably most - visitors to Sawai Madhopur are here. The park is managed by the Indian government, and access is somewhat restricted and quite regulated. The only options for "safaris" in Ranthambhore are via jeep (they call them gypsies) and a larger 20-person vehicle they call canters. There are three main sections of the park, and each "safari" is generally limited to one section and lasts for three hours. You have no say in which section of the park you visit, and really cannot plan in advance so that you visit all three. It's totally a luck of the draw thing. For more information on visiting the park/transportation, please see my "GYPSY OR CANTER, WHAT'S YOUR PLEASURE?" Sawai Mahopur transportation tip.

    Without a doubt, Ranthambhore equals tigers to its visitors. However, tiger sightings are never a guarantee. It is absolutely possible to visit the park numerous times without a tiger sighting. That being said, it's said that you have at least a 30% chance of seeing a big cat on any given safari. And, I was surprised to see how up close these sighting can actually be. OUR tiger sighting gave us a peek at a male Bengal tiger ONLY 40 meters away. Needless to say, staying in the jeep or canter is a MUST. :)

    There are other rare and beautiful animals resident at Ranthambhore. For example, we actually had a look at a couple of leopards hiding in the underbrush. They were some 300 meters away, and were quite difficult to initially spot. But, we had terrific and patient guides - they made sure we got a good look. Under my packing tip for Sawai Madhopur, I posted a photo I took of the leopards. Realize that leopards are very very shy, and that we were a good distance away. Sure, we came to Ranthambhore looking to see a tiger, and we'd have been disappointed to not see one. But, for what it's worth, our guides were ten times more excited to have found these leopards than the tigers. Apparently finding them is quite a coup. So, our first safari through Ranthambhore was special.... we saw a tiger AND two leopards.

    There are also crocodiles, all sorts of deer, other mammals, birds, reptiles, snakes, etc. It's a very special place to visit if you truly admire the diversity of nature, and love viewing it in the wild.

    If you go to India, and you're in this part of the country, add Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambhore to the itinerary. It fits very nicely into almost any "golden triangle" tour plan.

    Ranthambhore's ruined 9th century fort The reason you go - the  Bengal Tiger
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  • MattTB's Profile Photo

    Not Just Tigers!

    by MattTB Written Apr 13, 2004

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    Ranthambhore is perfect Leopard country, I reckon there must be more Leopards than Tigers! We didn't see one though. Also the Sloth Bear is common at the right season.. we didn't see one of these either!! See what I mean about wildlife being unpredictable!

    There are other animals too, spotted deer, antelope, crocodiles, monkies, mongoose, wild boar, wild dog etc... we saw some of the animals mentioned!

    A Jackal
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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Tiger Hunting

    by 850prc Updated Dec 13, 2008

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    I'm aware that it'll seem to be both a superfluous and redundant tip, but Tiger Hunting - at least for a look and a photo - is absolute a must-do in Sawai Madhopur/Ranthambhore. There's a reason that touts are selling t-shirts and hats all over town with tigers emblazoned all over them.

    In truth, there isn't much that YOU can do to enhance your chances of finding a tiger, other than to schedule multiple safari rides (3 hours each) through the park. The more chances you take, the better your statistical probability of seeing one of these beauties in the wild. I can't say for certain, but I am told and have read that the guides that work the "gypsies" (the small jeeps) are generally more qualified and experienced, but that's an unfair slam against the canter crews - some of whom may be excellent. But, it makes sense that traveling in a smaller vehicle might increase your chances of finding the elusive tiger.

    My advice is to simple be ready to go. Have your camera ready to go and keep your eyes wide open. You never know what you're going to see in Ranthambhore, and wouldn't it be a hoot if YOU saw a tiger before it caught the attention of your naturalist guide? (Unlikely, but possible)

    Just 40 meters away, a male bengal tiger same tiger, different photo
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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Take a GOOOOOOOOOD look at the Tiger Temples

    by 850prc Written Dec 14, 2008

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    As I've already mentioned, there are quite a few abandoned and overgrown temples and small structures throughout Ranthambhore, relics of its royal hunting grounds past. One bit of advice that I was given by all of our guides, with regard to tiger spotting....

    There are several of these "Tiger Temples" across a large body of water in what they call Section 1 of the park. The guides say that tigers often like to lay in the portals of these temples, surveying their lands in a fashion befitting the Raj royalty of the past. If you happen to see a tiger or two in the windows of these temples, from across the water, it would be a fabulous photo. All you need is a telephoto and some luck.

    So, be sure to fix your binoculars on the Tiger Temples and have a gooooood look. FWIW, we didn't find any tigers in the temples on our visits.

    imagine a tiger lounging in one of those windows
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  • grets's Profile Photo

    Tiger Safari # 1

    by grets Written Mar 8, 2005

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    Tracking tiger is done by many different means. Every day sightings are recorded at the visitors centre, so by going back to the place it was seen the previous day, you may be lucky. Relying on warning calls by chital and langurs can be very successful, but not in our case. Although we hear the calls and set off in the general direction of the sound – there is no tiger to be found. Oh, the thrill of the chase.

    Always on the lookout for pug marks in the sand, the naturalists can determine whether the tiger has passed through here recently, and which direction it took. These very fresh marks are seen along the track leading down to Malik Lake, but despite following the direction of the paw prints – pug marks is all we see. Oh, the thrill of the chase.

    Tiger pug marks
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    Tiger Safari # 3

    by grets Written Mar 8, 2005

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    It seems like an eternity before she appears from behind the trees, and although she is out of the forest, now the long grass almost obscures her, despite her great size. Oh, what a beauty she is! I can hardly contain my enthusiasm and I can feel my heart rate increasing as I watch her saunter down towards the lake.

    Tiger
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  • wispofcloud's Profile Photo

    The Park Safari!

    by wispofcloud Written Jan 2, 2005

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    It's really fun to take the safari ride on 4WD inside the park. You can hire these four wheel drive vehicles with a driver for between Rs. 600 and Rs. 1000 for one trip consisting of around 3 hours.

    What is really nice about this "safari" is that though you may not get to see the tiger in all its glory, you will definitely see a multitude of other fauna.

    There are all manner of ungulates from the spectacular Sambhar deer to the Nilghai, the largest ungulate in the world. You will see ospreys and seagulls, which leave you wondering whether you really are in the desert! At the right time of the year, you may also see some Siberian Cranes, here for the winter.

    picture credit - Husain
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  • grets's Profile Photo

    Tiger Safari # 2

    by grets Written Mar 8, 2005

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    On the second morning, as we are admiring the birds congregating by Malik Lake, the naturalist gets very excited. “Tiger!” he shouts in a whisper. We can all feel the adrenalin rising and the excitement mounting as we look in the direction he is pointing. There, in amongst the forest, is a huge tigress, strolling along as if she doesn’t have a care in the world. Partly concealed by the trees, it is as if she is ‘burning bright’ as in the poem. She appears to be glowing intensely and beautifully – no camouflage here!

    Tiger
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  • grets's Profile Photo

    Tiger Safari # 6

    by grets Written Mar 8, 2005

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    Holding my breath for fear of missing just a second of this amazing spectacle, I gasp as she suddenly and with the ease of an agile domestic cat jumps up on the wall of the dam. The incredulity of the swiftness and surprise of the leap has left us all in awe. This really is the ultimate in tiger spotting!

    Tiger
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    Tiger Safari # 5

    by grets Written Mar 8, 2005

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    She carries on for a couple of seconds towards the lake, before she turns away from us and continues walking in apparent determination, as if she is oblivious to a Cantor full of very thrilled tourists with cameras clicking. What a majestic animal she is!

    Tiger
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  • grets's Profile Photo

    Tiger Safari # 9

    by grets Written Mar 8, 2005

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    After gracing us with her presence for one minute and 45 seconds, she jumps off the wall and disappears back into the jungle from where she came. We were incredibly blessed with such a wonderful sighting, reasonably close and for a comparatively long time. Now we can go home happy – this is what we came to see. Sigh.

    Tiger
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