Ranthambore National Park, India

One of the largest national parks in northern India, Ranthambore teems with tigers, drawing wildlife photographers and naturalists on the prowl for these majestic moggies. Deers, hyenas and birds are also happy to pose for a close-up. Framed by the craggy Aravali Range, the jungle park has seen its fair share of legendary battles and the rise and demise of empires. Today, the landscape is punctuated with ancient temples and hunting pavilions, crumbling mosques and vast reservoirs, as well as the magnificent 1,000-year-old Ranthambore Fort.

When to go

The park is green and lush in October and November following the rains but the thick jungle cover makes tiger spotting a challenge. From December to February, winter temperatures dip and tiger sightings rise. March to June is hot and dry with daily temperatures passing 40°C; if you can stand the heat this is the best time for seeing wildlife. The park closes over the muggy monsoon season from July to September.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Touch down in Jaipur International Airport (www.jaipurairport.com), which is serviced by domestic carriers GoAir (www.goair.in), Jet Airways (www.jetairways.com), Spice Jet (www.spicejet.com) and Indian Airlines (www.airindia.in). From Jaipur, the 180-kilometre trip to the park takes around three hours. If you're staying at Aman-i-Khás, ask the hotel to arrange transfers for US$200 a car.
  • Trains

    Pick up a train from Delhi, Jaipur or Mumbai to Sawai Madhopur Railway Station, the nearest jumping off point for the park. Visit www.indiarail.gov.in for timetables and fares, and be sure to book in advance as first-class tickets can book out weeks in advance.
  • Automobiles

    The drive from Jaipur takes roughly three hours but the potholed road from capital Delhi, 450 kilometres away, can take eight hours or more. Ask your hotel to arrange transfers, rather than tackling the hectic drive yourself, or seek out the services of TWX (+91 11 4379 9700; www.travelworldexperiences.com), who can sort out flights and drivers for jaunts throughout India.
  • Taxis

    The dusty streets of hub town Sawai Madhopur are quiet, save for the odd camel or a packed-to-the-gills jeep; organise a car through your hotel for getting around.