Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Queen's Subjects and her Realm

Crocodile, Ranthambore National Park. The lakes of Ranthambore are filled with crocs

Ranthambore attracts throngs of visitors each year, all hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the world's few remaining tigers living in the wild. And this is understandable for it is a truly electrifying event to see the regal creature up close in its natural habitat. I wrote in my last post about our amazing meeting with the Queen of the Lakes.

That being said, there is more to Ranthambore than it's royalty - the tigers rule a beautiful realm with many other amazing creatures as their subjects. They are of course not benevolent rulers as most of the non-flying inhabitants of the park live in fear of the tigers. But whereas we rightly deplore such systems of governance in human society, there is drama, beauty and poetry to be found in the ever-intense battle for survival, which in Ranthambore unfolds itself for the very eyes of the tourists on a daily basis.

Ranthambore is a beautiful park entered through a dramatic narrow gorge, which helps in giving a total sense of isolation from the nearby human settlements in and around the town of Sawai Madhopur. The park is dominated cliffs, lakes and adjacent meadows and finally a dry bush-like forest. The narrow gorge which today acts as a fairy tale entry gate to the park once served as an easily defended road to the mighty Ranthambore fort. The area was densely populated by humans, resulting in historical fort and palace ruins being dotted around the park, furthering the sense of regal grandeur and mystique, which can be found in the air here.

I hope the pictures in this post manage to convey a sense of the atmosphere of the park and why I consider it to be one of the greatest attractions that India has to offer. The only real drawback are the crowds of tourists, but it's no wonder that other people have discovered the attraction of roaring Ranthambore.

The dusty road out of the park - past a grand lake and Ranthambore fort at its spectacular hilltop location

Sambar dear enjoying the shallow waters in front of the ruins of an abandoned palace

Sambar mother with her baby

The golden glow of the late afternoon sun lighting up the colourful leaves of the trees of one of Ranthambore's many dirt roads

Langurs blending in perfectly with the surroundings

In several places you pass under defensive gates of old ramparts in the process of being eaten by the jungle

An old Maharaja's hunting pavillion (possibly used as late as 1970 when the last royal hunt took place here)

Chinkara, also known as Indian gazelle

View of Ranthambore from the ramparts of the massive fort in the middle of the park

Massive Structure inside Ranthambore Fort. Allegedly this is where the Princesses' swimming pool was

Cliffs of Ranthambore's canyons

Emily, James - two of my co-travellers - and myself descending a slope to get a closer view of a couple of crocodiles (Photo: Lone Aagaard Østerbøg)

Our little group visiting Ranthambore together. From the left: Myself, Joanne, Lone, Emily and James

1 comment:

Steve Stanga said...

This looks just fascinating! I love to explore old forts and stuff. I've never even heard of this park in India before, and after seeing your pictures -- I want to go to there!!!