Straight forward drive with a mix of good and bad roads with plenty of character and scenery
Planning for Bharatpur and Ranthambhor
The best time to visit is the winter months - from November to February. The temperature is pleasant and ideal for a safari into the sanctuary. If photography is a high priority with you, it would pay to visit during the summer months of April and May, but be warned it is very hot and the mercury can soar up to 48 degrees C.
The Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary doesn’t allow vehicles, so the only way to get around inside is on cycle or cycle-rickshaw. At Ranthambhor however, the only way to roam the sanctuary is in the forest department’s Gypsys or Canters. While seats on a Canter are easily available, the popular Gypsys are usually booked in advance. So if you’re keen on going on a Gypsy safari, contact the Project Tiger Office (or the Forest Department) at 07462-220223, and book in advance.
Do remember to pack in a good pair of binoculars, insect repellent and rolls of 400 ISO film. A bean-bag also helps for slow-shutter speed shots.
Get your car serviced and the suspension checked.
The roads from Dausa to Ranthambhor are absolutely horrible. Carry a spare tube if you’re running tubeless tyres.
The 150km run from Delhi to Mathura however is a pleasure. The double-laning ends when you leave NH 2 and get onto SH 33. The road from Mathura to Bharatpur is okay with the occasional bad stretch. On the 230km drive from Bharatpur to Ranthambhor, the road till Duasa is fantastic. Beyond that the roads take a turn for the worse. The entire drive after Duasa goes through rural Rajasthan and there are scenes straight out of storybooks. Little children will wave out to you and laugh in glee when you wave back.
As you approach Sawai Madhopur keep your eyes peeled for wild neelgais frolicking in the fields. You’ll see quite a few of them at full gallop in the mustard fields bordering the roads. Other wildlife you may chance upon on your drive to Ranthambhor are mongoose, wild boar, foxes and plenty of raucous monkeys.
Inside the sanctuaries
Do keep in mind that inside the game parks you are a guest. The place primarily belongs to the birds and animals that reside there. Given below are a few guidelines which, if followed, will give you an enchanting experience during your visit and ensure that generations to follow will experience the same.
Don’t litter - Plastic is a killer - small animals can choke to death on it. What’s more, it isn’t bio-degradable and harms the environment. Desist from bringing polythene bags into the parks.
Don’t smoke - Forest fires can wipe out entire forests. And cigarette smoke can scare away animals that would have shown themselves normally.
Talk softly and wear subtle colours - Silence is the key to getting good sightings. Wearing unobtrusive clothing that blends in with the surroundings keeps the animals at ease and in turn you get good sightings and photography opportunities.
Don’t tease the animals - This is an unhealthy practice. It’s also risky - not for the animals but for you, should you happen to tease a big cat like a tiger or a leopard. They can cease your existence with one swipe of their paw.
Don’t get out of your Jeep - In Ranthambhor, there is a revered rule that doesn’t allow visitors to step out of their vehicles. Follow that rule - it’s there to safeguard your life. Should you break it, the guide is fined.
Issue: 165 | May 2013
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