The road trip between Delhi and Ranthambore can still be identified as a significant amalgamation of the regal charm of a city that likes to take a walk along the wild side. The highway which connects Ranthambore to Delhi is a picturesque drive that is abundantly speckled with beautiful towns and villages. This absolutely exemplifies the region’s rich heritage and exquisite culture.
Best Time To Visit
Home to the majestic tigers, the Ranthambore National Park only remains open during certain times of the year. The park opens on the 1st of October, right after the monsoons, till 30th June every year.
Most travellers who frequently visit this region agree that the best time to visit the area is between October and February. The winters can be quite pleasant with temperatures ranging between 8°C - 15°C.
Summer, on the other hand, could get scalding with temperatures skyrocketing to 45°C. While the days have such high temperatures, the scorching heat dries most of the vegetation making tiger sightings probable. Animals in the summer heat can be frequently found near water holes to making them traceable.
The park remains closed during the monsoons. While you can explore the region, entry to the park is prohibited.
There are three routes that you can select from when embarking on your road trip to Ranthambore from Delhi.
- Not the fastest route, but comes highly recommended is driving via NH 48 and NH148
- Delhi to Ranthambore via RJ SH 25
- Alternatively, take the NH 48
This route takes you via the NH 48 and NH 148 and is around 394 kms in distance. Time taken while driving on this route is about 8 hrs and 24 mins.
Delhi – Gurugram – Neemrana – Dausa – Sawai Madhopur - Ranthambore
You take around 8 hours and 29 minutes covering 376 kms via the RJ SH 25 route.
Delhi – Gurugram – Alwar – Lalsot – Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambore
Even with a longer distance of 457 kms, the time taken is probably the shortest at 8 hours and 23 minutes.
Delhi – Gurugram – Neemrana – Jaipur – Vanasthali – Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambore
What To Eat And Stopovers
Whichever route you choose to take, you will come across several attractions. Many are historical but a lot of them natural too. Take some time out and explore them.
- Neemrana Fort Palace: Converted into a luxury heritage hotel, this is one of the main attractions on the Delhi – Ranthambore route. This was established as a fort way back in 1467 by Raja Dup and was the capital of the Chauhan dynasty.
- Sariska National Park: Cushioned between the breath-taking Aravalli Hills, Sariska is a must see when you pass through Neemrana. Its dense forests, lush green grasslands are home to a healthy tiger population along with other species such as leopards, jungle cat, dhole, hyenas and chital amongst many others.
- Bala Quila or Alwar Fort: Bala Quila constructed on a hilltop in the Aravalli range, is possibly the oldest gem in the Alwar sightseeing list. Adding to the fort’s magnificence is its 15 large and 51 small towers. This makes it one of the architectural wonders which are worth witnessing in person. As you climb all the way to the top, you can catch spectacular views of the city.
- Angeethi: As you pop into Alwar for a bit of exploring, take some time out to drop into this budget restaurant that serves a limited yet mighty delicious menu. With a humble ambience, the taste and quality of food make your visit really worth.
- Peacock Rooftop Restaurant at Hotel Pearl Palace: This all-day restaurant has been themed after a peacock, which also boasts of a rooftop seating arrangement. As you drive through Jaipur, drop in here to sip a drink or grab a bite as you sit and admire the old Hathroi Fort, which is located only a few metres away.
- Rajasthani Midway: Focussing on the Indian cuisines, Rajasthani Midway is a great traditional restaurant located in Mahwah, near Jaipur. You have the option of outdoor seating where you can sit and sip a cup of ginger tea along with steaming hot chicken samosas. The restaurant also offers a vegetarian menu. It might be a tad bit expensive, but worth every penny that you spend.
- Rajasthan Motel: A popular haunt for tourists driving between Delhi and Ranthambore, great food, great service and great people are what truly defines Rajasthan Motel. Located in Dausa on Bharatpur Road, just midway between Jaipur and Agra, it has been voted one of the best places to stop for a bite. Apart from chicken tikka masala, which is absolutely delicious, you can access free Wi-fi and indulge in some retail therapy with their attached lifestyle store.
- Food Plaza: A master in Indian, Chinese and Argentinian cuisines, Food Plaza, is undoubtedly, the king of the roads. Located close to Balaji temple in Mahwah, you will get tasty, freshly cooked food which will not pinch a hole in your pocket. They have a live kitchen and some of their must try items on the menu are kadai paneer, vegetarian thali and seal the meal with a glass of good cold lassi.
- Highway Tadka: Known for their variety in food, Highway Tadka caters to a global palette with dishes ranging across Indian, fast food, Asian, diner style, vegetarian and vegan options to choose from. Tourists highly recommend this joint and it can cater to big group lunches too.
Reaching There And Places To Visit
Ranthambore is undoubtedly world famous for its national park. However, there are other attractions in the region which draws travellers from far and wide.
- Ranthambore National Park: Topping the list is this tiger reserve that is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise. With a tiger population of 70, this is the perfect forest for safaris, nature hikes, bird watching and several other thrilling activities.
- Ranthambore Fort: This 8th century is believed to have been built by the Chauhan dynasty, making it a must for your Ranthambore sightseeing list. There are lakes, multiple species of flora and fauna around the fort making it a hotspot picnic destination amongst decades of history.
- Surwal Lake: Located among pictographic settings, Surwal Lake is a haven for migratory birds during the winter season. And it is tranquillity that you are after, then this is certainly the place to be.
- Dastkar Ranthambore: You may be on a peaceful getaway, but there is never any harm in indulging in some retail therapy. Rajasthan is famous for its artisan crafts, art, etc. Dastkar Ranthambore was an initiative started to resettle communities in the Sawai Madhopur area directed towards reviving local craftsmanship such as tie-dye, block printing, patchwork, etc.
- Raj Bagh Ruins: Ranthambore National Park gets a touch of Rajasthan’s royalty from the Raj Bagh ruins that remain standing magnificently even today. The ruins still retain their sense of uniqueness, making it sought after destination of the list.
- Jogi Mahal: Initially used as a rest house or a hunting lodge located on the edge of Padam Lake, Jogi Mahal is one of the most photographed monuments in the region. Next to it stands a large banyan tree which is among the biggest in the country. Constructed by the royal family of Jaipur, catch a glimpse as you take an early morning gipsy safari.
- Kachida Valley: Encircled by rugged mountains makes this valley a relatively unexplored sight in Ranthambore. Kachida is surrounded by lush green vegetation with a thriving population of panthers and bears. Apart from the Rathambore National Park, this should be next on your list of wildlife sightings.
Overnight Halts If Any
Even if this is an 8 hour+ drive, there are tons of locations along the route where you can halt for a night, not necessarily because you are tired but just as an opportunity to explore the sights along the way.
- Ramada by Wyndham Neemrana: Neemrana can be your first stop where you get the chance to explore the grand and imposing Neemrana Fort Palace. The hotel is a mid-range property and is located just off the Delhi-Jaipur Highway. With well-appointed rooms displaying modern designs, the hotel is a welcoming sight for a tired traveller. As you drive towards Ranthambore, the Ramada by Wyndham Neemrana is a perfect mid-way stopover on your road trip.
- V Resorts Utsav Camp: Stay extravagantly amongst enormous topography in the cushion precinct of Sariska National Park and discover not only wildlife and forests but also numerous dwellings of archival significance. The harmonious sound of wind rustling leaves, strolling peacocks, little groves, the perfect vista of Aravalli hills, and the perfume of wildflowers is sure to indulge your sanities. A short break in the V Resorts Utsav Camp will certainly delight you with boundless exhilaration.
Stay And Eat With Other Eating Places
Ranthambore is located in the small district of Sawai Madhopur which can charm your taste buds in a variety of ways. For those not aware, the region is well known for its sweet treats.
- The Oberoi Vanyavilas – Ranthambore: If you are happy to splurge then this is the place for you to do it. Topping the list of fine dining experiences in Ranthambore, the Oberoi Vanyavilas is an unforgettable experience. With tented rooms, that defines luxury, brings the sound of the jungle as you lie in your king-sized beds. Take an early morning walk through the grounds and indulge in some bird watching as this a haven for a variety of bird species. The food and ambience are amazing. Menu options include international as well as Indian cuisine. Service is prompt, friendly and attentive. Remember to try their chicken and mustard baguette which is simply delicious.
- Vivanta by Taj - Sawai Madhopur Lodge: Offering a much more reasonable stay, the Vivanta by Taj - Sawai Madhopur Lodge is a heritage property is located only 3 kms. from the railway station and 20 minutes from the national park. A former hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Rajasthan built in 1930, the Taj Group of hotels converted into a luxury accommodation that is spread across 12 acres of the forest. Offering international dining at its restaurants, the dining room, the food is absolutely a delight for your taste buds with a service experience that is spot on.
Points To Note While Planning A Road Trip (Car /Bike)
Before going on any road trips, you must check that your vehicle is in top condition, able to withstand the journey of driving long distances. Depending on the type of vehicle you are planning to take – make sure your bike or car is insured. Before embarking on the trip, you could get a credible mechanic to scrutinize or service your vehicle.
Summers in Ranthambore can be blisteringly hot. If you are visiting then, it is advisable to wear cotton shirts or t-shirts along with cotton trousers or shorts. Sunscreen lotions are a must. It is essential to invest in straps for just about anything, even your glasses. Carry hats, caps or scraps as you may be taking open air jeep safaris. Refill your water bottles rather than just buying bottled water as they are more environmentally friendly. During winters, the climate is exactly the opposite. Early mornings can be nippy. However, as the day passes it becomes pleasant, and a light sweatshirt would be enough. You could also carry camouflage clothing and wear those, if allowed. Do not forget to wear comfortable trekking shoes and a pair of thick socks. You could also keep a pair of loafers or floaters handy in your bag. Lastly, your camera and extra batteries are a must-have on this journey to capture memories for a lifetime.
Diesel and Petrol Pumps
This route is frequented by the travellers all year round. Therefore, you will find gas stations within reasonable distance of each other. Do keep a jerrycan in case of emergencies.
You will get network connectivity for the majority part of your journey unless you are travelling through areas, which are quite remote. While you can follow the GPS on your mobile, have a physical map handy if you do happen to lose connectivity at any point in time. Keep the phone/mobile set on automatic subscriber updates so that it can auto switch in case of a network drop.
There is no dearth of ATMs along the way. However, do keep a sufficient amount of cash with you for emergencies and if you wish to savour some of the local culture and treats as your travel to your destination.
There are garages and service centres located intermittently where you will be able to access mechanic services.
Medical centres, government hospitals, and private establishments are scattered along the route.
Power is not an issue here as this is an excellent travel destination for tourists from around the globe. The hotels have adequate power backups if there is indeed a rare power cuts situation.
It is just smart to bring along your tool kit in case there is an issue with your vehicle as you are on your road trip. With a tool kit containing essentials such as screwdrivers, a swiss knife, a crescent wrench, a first aid kit, pliers – two sets, duct tapes, scissors, air pressure gauge for tyres, you may be able to fix the problem yourself.
Author: Meenakshi Sircar
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