We arrived in Sawai Madhopur specifically to try and spot wild Tigers in Ranthambore National Park. However, its impossible to ignore the magnificent Ranthambore Fort. It sits high on an escarpment in the middle of the National Park. We’d already seen the glorious Gwalior Fort, the dirty Delhi Red Fort and the lovely Agra Fort. We also planned to see more of the Rajasthan Hill Forts, so this was too good an opportunity to pass up.
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Where to Stay in Ranthambore
There are some great places to stay in Ranthambore– here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Ranthambore, mid-range places to stay in Ranthambore, and budget accommodation in Ranthambore.
Ranthambore Regency, Ranthambore: The Ranthambore Regency hotel is located in the Sawaimadhopur part of Ranthambore. Each room at this luxury hotel in Ranthambore is equipped with air-conditioning, a balcony, a private bathroom with a shower and hairdryer, complimentary drinks, a seating area, and a mini-bar. Enjoy a hearty meal at the on-site restaurant, refreshing drinks at the bar, and freshly brewed coffee at the coffee shop. Barbeque facilities are also available along with an outdoor pool, a garden/lounge area, and a games room. The Ranthambore Regency hotel is a great location and accommodation option in Ranthambore. See room rates and availability here.
Sawai Madhopur Lodge, Ranthambore: The Sawai Madhopur Lodge is situated within the wilderness of Ranthambore, one of India’s most renowned National Parks. The rooms at this fabulous Ranthambore lodge feature a 32-inch flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, a mini-bar, a private bathroom, a coffee/tea maker, and a complimentary WiFi connection. Sawai Madhopur’s Dining Room serves guests varying cuisines, royal family recipes, and local delicacies; the lodge also has Tiger Bar for drinks and games of billiards. A fitness center is also open 24/7 and comes complete with treadmills, cycles, and free weights. The Sawa Madhopur is a fantastic place to explore Ranthambore. Check rates and availability here.
Ranthambhore Heritage Haveli, Ranthambore: Located just 500 meters from Ranthambore National Park, the Ranthambhore Heritage Haveli is located within the lush green nature of Ranthambore. This luxury haveli features rooms with a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, a private bathroom with a hairdryer, and a small seating area. This super Ranthambore accommodation has a multi-cuisine restaurant, a swimming pool, a spa, and a lush green garden. The Ranthambore Heritage Haveli is a comfortable accommodation nestled within the rich nature of Ranthambore. Read more reviews, check room rates, and see available dates here.
Ranthambore Fort – UNESCO Hill Fort of Rajasthan
Ranthambore Fort is one of the six forts included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site under the title of “Hill Forts of Rajasthan”. The fort walls are around 7 kilometres long and it was founded in 944. Its located on an outcrop 700 feet above the surrounding land and was built by the Nagil Jats. There were also Buddhist stupa established here in the 3rd century by Ashoka, who’s pillar we saw in the glorious Sanchi earlier in our trip.
We make it a point to visit forts. Here’s our list of the 10 incredible Indian Forts you should should visit.
Ranthambore Fort gets its name from two hills – Thanbhor, on which the fort is located, and Ran which is nearby.
The fort has a long and detailed history, but eventually was passed to the Maharajas of Jaipur in the 17th century. It remained part of Jaipur until Indian Independence. Ranthambore National Park that now surrounds the fort was a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Jaipur joined the state of Rajasthan in 1950. Ranthambore Fort contains three Hindu temples which are dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji. There’s also a Jain temple here too.
Our Tour of Ranthambore Fort
We arrived in Sawai Madhopur, checked into our hotel and then had lunch. After lunch on that first day we took a tour with Vishnu who runs the Green View Hotel. He’s also a National Park Guide. We left for our tour at 4pm, paying 1500 INR for his guiding services, a driver and a jeep for a three hour tour. This fee also included our park entry fees.
There were just us two, Vishnu and our driver in a small “gypsy” jeep. En-route to the fort Vishnu gave us an overview, background and history of the fort, ensuring we understood the most pertinent bits.
It takes perhaps 15 minutes to drive into the National Park. Then it’s a further few minutes to drive to steps at the base of the Fort. This is where you leave the jeep and start the climb up the fort. It’s not an onerous climb, the path is stone clad and good.
Wildlife in Ranthambore Fort
Going through the park you’ll pass deer, peacocks and langur monkeys. Literally, just at the side of the road.
I’m definitely not a monkey fan. The langur’s, however, are more pleasant than the more aggressive red faced monkeys that you’ll find in the town. That said, don’t leave anything lying around or it will disappear pretty quickly!
Arrested Decay in the Fort
The fort is in an arrested state of decay, many walls have been repaired and its possible to still see some of the decoration in some areas. There is, though, graffiti, but not a huge amount.
You will find fabulous views over Ranthambore National Park and be able to see that the fort’s defences are superb. There are still a number of active temples throughout the fort. They’re well worth putting your head into, especially if you have a guide to explain further. I don’t know how you would visit the park without a guide, as you’re not allowed to drive into the park without one.
Don’t miss the water tanks. It’s here, where, according to legend, thousands of Ranthambore women committed mass suicide, rather than falling prey to an invading army.
Don’t Miss out on Ranthambore Fort
If you’ve seen the Red Fort in Delhi, or Agra Fort, then you might be tempted to give Ranthambore Fort a miss and just head to see the tigers. Don’t! The wild forts of India have a mystique all of their own. They’re remote, often in harsh countryside, and so beautiful in their desolation. There just happen to be wild tigers at Ranthambore too. Don’t miss them either!
Where we stayed near Ranthambore
We booked into the Green View Hotel in Sawai Madophur, based on previous reviews, paying 823 INR for a two night stay in a big room with a private bathroom. It was a 20 minute walk from the railway station, although there are auto drivers there who will tell you it’s impossible to walk. You can also pre-book a transfer with the hotel for 200 INR.
- More Forts in India
UNESCO Sites to Visit in India
If you like visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, then you’ll love our guides to India’s best World Heritage sites
- Champaner Pavagadh, in Gujarat
- The Taj Mahal in Agra
- The Ajanta Caves
- Ellora Caves
- Khajuraho’s Temples
- Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
- The Hill Forts of Rajasthan
- The Darjeeling Hill Railway
- Qutub Minar in Delhi
- The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya
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