ranthambhor national park, before a princely game conserve is the scene where the celebrated indian tiger is best seen. ranthambhor tiger reserve lies on the junction of aravali and vindhyas just 14 kms from sawai madhopur in eastern rajasthan. it sprawls over a varying and undulating landscape. the scenery changes dramatically from gentle and steep slopes of the vindhyas and sharp and conical hills of the aravali. a tenth century fort also blends amicably with the background. pure sands of dhok (anogeissus pendula) interspersed with grasslands at the plateaus, meadows in valleys and luxuriant foliage around the canals make the jungle. three big lakes – padam talab (meaning lake), malik talab and raj bagh – are similar turquoises studded in the vast forest that abounds with aquatic vegetation including duckweeds, lilies and lotus. a significant geological feature within the park is the 'great boundary fault' where the vindhaya plateau meets the aravali range. the rivers chambal in the south and the banas in the north bound the national park. the park is dotted with steep rocky hills and the dominating architecture of ranthambhor fort (built in the 10th century), adds to its landscape. the rugged park terrain alternates between dry deciduous forest, open grassy meadow, dotted by several lakes and rivers that are only made passable by rough roads built and maintained by the forest service.
the tiger is not the only attraction at ranthambhor; although it is the one park resident that people come to see. a variety of birds including owlets, the ubiquitous langur (monkey), leopard, caracal, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, marsh crocodiles, wild boar, bears and various species of deer are the other attractions.