Ranthambhor is located near Swai Madhopur town of Swai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. Swai Madhopur can be reached from Delhi by road or by rail. Nizamuddin - Kota Jan Shatabdi express takes 5 hours to reach Swai Madhopur.
I had visited Ranthambhor tiger reserve a few years earlier. It was in the month of December. I saw a large variety of wildlife upclose. Tiger sighting, however, remained elusive. Discounting a few near miss opportunities. As I returned back to hotel dejected, I was adviced to visit the park in summer. In summer months, tigers come near water bodies. As a result chance of sighting improves greatly.
This summer, I decided to take my chance at seeing a tiger upclose. I boarded A/C chair car of Jan Shatabdi express on a summer afternoon at 1.15 pm. I got off Swai Madhopur at around 6 pm in the evening. After travelling in an A/C coach, the outside appeared like a hot oven. I found Swai Madhopur station to be reasonably clean. A view of Swai Madhopur station from the direction of platform 4.
I did not ask for a pickup by hotel. I hailed an autorickshaw to reach Ranthambhor Bagh from platform number 1.
Ranthambhor Bagh is located on the road to Ranthambhor Tiger Reserve. Ranthambhor Bagh is owned and managed by Aditya Singh and his wife, Poonam Singh. Aditya Singh is a wildlife enthusiast and tiger lover and Poonam Singh is an entrepreneur.
Ranthambhor Bagh is a two story structure. It was an old haveli that has been converted to a hotel. I had stayed here before during my earlier visit. Rent of a room is reasonable at Rs. 3560 per night. I stayed in a double occupancy room, that was air conditioned, with attached bath. Bathroom had access to running water. Hot water is made available in winter. Room rent included three meals – breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner. I found staff very friendly and go out of the way to help guests. They even packed me breakfast for my onward journey to Delhi.
Safary must be booked in advance. A valid identification document, passport / voter identification card / adhaar card, must be used at the time of booking safari. Original document must be carried by each visitor. Booking is done by hotel. Cost of each safary is around Rs. 900 in a canter and Rs. 1500 in a gypsy. Once booked, the money is non refundable. One can change booking from canter to gypsy, or vice versa, only if a vacancy arises. Travel by a gypsy is more comfortable and gives visitor more freedom. A visitor has to pay Rs. 450 (Indian) and Rs. 900 (foreign visitors) for carrying a movie camera in the park. An archaic rule at a time when mobile phones and cameras can record video. I availed four safaries this visit. One in the morning and the other in the evening of each day that I spent at Ranthambhor Bagh.
This visit I had spent three nights and two days at Ranthambhor. On the morning of third day, I boarded Jan Shatabdi express, coming form Kota, from Sawai Madhopur station. I reached Delhi at around 1.30 pm in the afternoon. Train was late by 40 minutes.
Efficiency of Northern Railway was praiseworthy. On the day of my departure to Sawai Madhopur, train arrived late by 15 minutes. Yet the same train departed at scheduled time. Compartment was cleaned while train was on the move. Hazrat Nizamuddin station needs to improve its security, cleanliness and crowd management.